Shop for thousands of Catholic gifts at Aquinas and More/affiliate/ThinkingCath1376
SiteSell Hosting

Download a Permanent Printable PDF Version of This Article.

The Law in One Sentence.

Sunday, September 4, 2011; Twenty-Third Sunday in Ordinary Time

Ez 33:7-9
Ps 95:1-2, 6-7, 8-9
Rom 13:8-10
Mt 18:15-20

“All the commandments are summed up in this saying: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

Paul, writing to the Romans, is on very firm ground here. He’s quoting the Lord Jesus Himself. Love is the fulfillment of the law. And that makes it simple, right? And easy? Just love others, which is pleasant anyway, and you will have fulfilled the law. No need to do anything else, or to know anything else; no need for the traditions of the rabbis or the teaching of the Church, all those thousands of years of careful moral theology, splitting of hairs. It’s really quite simple, isn’t it? Just love your neighbor.

Though I’ve noticed sometimes I think I’m loving my neighbor but my neighbor disagrees. Well, okay, so I need some objective basis to make a judgment whether I’m actually serving my neighbor’s true welfare, or simply serving myself. Surely the bare fact that someone doesn’t appreciate my effort doesn’t make my effort wrong. So what does Paul say again? – love is the fulfillment of the law because love does no evil to the neighbor. Evil. Can we have a definition please? Or an example?

Okay, I’m walking along the street with my neighbor, out for a morning stroll, and I push her out of the way of a truck careening onto the sidewalk. Saved her life. That’s good, not evil. If I hadn’t pushed her would that have been evil? Sure. So now we have sins of omission. Failure to do good can be as bad as actually doing evil. How much, then, am I obliged to do, failure of which would be evil? What if I could have pushed her out of the way, or jumped out of the way myself, but not both? What if she is intent on murdering her husband when she gets home from the walk? What if I have a large family to support and she is single? “Love your neighbor” sounded so simple when we started out, but take it out into the world and it gets complicated. Which is why all the great philosophers, Christian or not, have felt the need to develop a system of ethics. And why all the great religions of the world have a moral theology. Man is a spiritual creature, a moral creature, aware of good and evil and needing to choose.

Christianity not only has a body of moral reasoning, but claims to enjoy a special charism from God to reason correctly, and the authority to make it stick. Christ said, “I am with you until the end of the age”, and “I will lead you into all truth”, and “what you bind on earth will be bound in heaven.” He said this to Peter, and to the Church; to Peter, and so we believe that when a successor of Peter makes a formal statement on faith or morals, the Holy Spirit is guarding him from error, a charism known as infallibility. And we believe the same about an Ecumenical (Universal) Council of the Church’s bishops. But this charism extends only to matters of Christian faith or morals. It would be foolish to seek a papal declaration on the prospects for the Bengals this year; foolish and, in this case, totally unnecessary.

Sometimes people will look for an escape clause and say, “ah, but such and so hasn’t been infallibly declared by a pope or a council so I’m free to do as I whish and still be a Catholic in good standing.” I’ve noticed that the escape clause is most often attempted on sexual issues. But the escape clause is a chimera. Something that has been consistently taught from the beginning has as much claim on us as something that has received a formal declaration. This is known as the ordinary magisterium.

I recently read something about the dissent over contraception, so that might be as good an example as another. The Bible values creation, and so sex and procreation were always affirmed as God’s design. In the face of contrary pagan values, and then the anti-creation doctrines of heretical groups from within Christianity which condemned procreation, the Church insisted that sexual love and procreation belonged together. This was a consistent teaching. Even the Protestant Reformers condemned contraception. Even Sigmund Freud, the non-Christian pioneer of modern psychology, whom many regard as having been fairly obsessed with sex, thought that contraception perverted the natural significance and purpose of sexual relations.

The Catholic Church doesn’t look to Freud for moral guidance, but it is kind of interesting to find affirmation of its ancient teaching from a source such as that. It wasn’t until the 1932 Lambeth Conference of the Anglican Church that any significant Christian group considered that there could be circumstances that might justify contraception. The teaching authority of the Catholic Church continues to hold the original rule, though it does accept natural family planning as being consistent with Christian values. One might say that Church teaching is not so much anti-birth control as anti artificial contraception. Some ask, “what difference does it make, the result being the same?” But there might be multiple means of reaching the same end, some good, others bad. The end does not justify the means.

One practical indicator of the difference between natural family planning and artificial contraception can be found in the divorce rates. Couples using NFP have much lower rates of divorce than couples contracepting. Couples have told me that their practice of NFP develops attitudes that contribute to marital harmony, virtues like communication, patient forbearance, shared sacrifice, submission of immediate wishes to a greater reality.

The differing divorce rates are natural indicators that the teaching on contraception is true, but they don’t give authority to the teaching. The authority, on this or any other matter of faith or morals, comes from the Author: the Creator, Who became man and founded a Church to teach in His name, accompanied by His promise of guidance.

The Church is the instrument of God’s mercy, a watchman not for the House of Israel but for the whole of humanity, warning people of false ideas about human nature, human purpose, and what makes for genuine happiness. Her efforts in this regard are not always appreciated. She is in fact hated and persecuted for saying what she does to the modern world, but so was her Lord for saying what He said to the ancient world.

If the Church simply blessed whatever people had a mind to do, she would be no more than chaplain on a cruise to nowhere, without a captain or a rudder. Instead she, like her Lord, is a sign of contradiction to the present age, taking her lumps as she saves who she can for the life in the age to come.


Hover-Link Footnotes:  For the convenience of those readers using devices that lack a mouse, these footnotes are provided for all webpages, in case any webpage contains any hover-links.  (If you don't have a mouse, you can't "hover" the mouse over a link, without clicking, to just to see the related Acronym appear.)

SLIMC1 Secularist Liberal Intellectual Media Complex
GESGOEAEOT2 Gradually, Ever So Gradually, Over Eons And Eons Of Time
PEWAG3 Punctuated Equilibrium's Wild Assed Guess
TTRSTF4 Them There Real Scientifical Type Fellers
TTRSPTF5 Them There Real Smart Perfesser Type Fellers
TTRSJTF6 Them There Real Smart Journalistical Type Fellers
SNRTACBT7 Surely No Right Thinking Adult Could Believe Today
STNSEACPB8 Surely Today No Serious, Educated Adult Could Possibly Believe
WDN9 We Don't Know
BMDFP10 Baboons, Mongrel Dogs, Filthy Pigs
HBAACOTE11 Human Beings Are A Cancer On The Earth
ACLU12 Anti-Christian Litigation Union
FLORMPORIF13 Flagrant Liar, Or, Mindless Parrot, Or, Innocent Fool
MEJTML14 Marxist Ends-Justify-The-Means Liar
IEJTML15 Islamic Ends-Justify-The-Means Liar
MPAV16 Marxist Principles And Values
WBESSWG17 Wise, Benign, Elite, Super-Scientific World Governance
TRMITM18 The Reason Man's In This Mess
IYI19 Intellectual Yet Idiotic

Reference Material

Return to Latest News page

Return to HOME PAGE

Respond to This Article Below The Last Comment


Respond to this specific article immediately below.  Or,
publish your own new subject Web Page.  Or,
publish your own unrelated brief Passing Thought.

Thursday, March 14, 2013
Converted Page to SBI! Release 3.0 BB 2.0. 

Date:  Sun Dec 14 2014
From:  Vic Biorseth

Changes pursuant to changing the website URL and name from 
Thinking Catholic Strategic Center to
Catholic American Thinker.

Pulled the trigger on the 301 MOVE IT option June 1, 2014. Working my way through all the webpages.  . 



Language and Tone Statement

Please note the language and tone of this monitored Website. This is not the place to stack up vulgar one-liners and crude rejoinders.  While you may support, oppose or introduce any position or argument, submissions must meet our standards of logical rigor and civil discourse.  We will not participate in merely trading insults, nor will we tolerate participants merely trading insults.  Participants should not be thin-skinned or over sensitive to criticism, but should be prepared to defend their arguments when challenged.  If you don’t really have a coherent argument or counter-argument of your own, sit down and don’t embarrass yourself. Nonsensical, immoral or merely insulting submissions will not be published here.  If you have something serious to contribute to the conversation, back it up, keep it clean and keep it civil.  We humbly apologize to all religious conservative thinkers for the need to even say these things, but the New Liberals are what they are, and the internet is what it is. 

If you fear intolerant Leftist repercussions, do not use your real name and do not include email or any identifying information.  Elite Culturally Marxist Authoritarians cannot and will not tolerate your freedom of speech or any opposition to their own rigid pro-Marxist/anti-Christian/anti-American/Globalist/anti-Nation/immoral/anti-white/racist and bigoted point of view. 


Please note that all fields followed by an asterisk must be filled in.

Please enter the word that you see below.


Copyrighted Material

Catch me at Trafeze
Your Host, Vic Biorseth

Never be lukewarm.
Life itself demands passion.
He who is indifferent to God has already forfeited his soul.
He who is indifferent to politics has already forfeited his liberty.
In America, religion is not mere window dressing and citizenship is not a spectator sport.
Do not allow our common destiny as a whole people to just happen without your input. 

Catholic American Thinker
Free E-zine Subscription

You will receive immediate email newsletters with links to new articles as they are published here.  Your email is perfectly secure here; we use it only to send you the
Catholic American Thinker
and nothing else.

Back Issues

Keep This Website Going
Traditional Latin Tridentine Mass, offered at Assumption Grotto Church in  Detroit, Michigan.  Our deepest prayer, our highest form of worship, and the way God should be treated.

Find a Latin Mass

The Vietnam War Proved the American News Media's Treacherous Anti-American Marxism.
Note the Military Assault Rifle common to the American Founding Era.

Atheist Genesis:

In the beginning there was nothing, and nothing happened to nothing.
And then nothing accidentally exploded and created everything.
And then some bits of everything accidentally encountered other bits of everything and formed some new kinds of everything.
And then some bits of everything accidentally arranged themselves into self-replicating bits of everything.
And then some self-replicating bits of everything accidentally arranged themselves into dinosaurs.

(See The Darwinism Pages)

If you can't find the page you're looking for, try the