Formerly the Thinking Catholic Strategic Center
Vic Biorseth, Monday, March 30, 2015
The abandonment of a sense of scandal is scandalous, in and of itself.
This is about the slow conquest of all that is good, by evil, through the failure of good to oppose the conquest. When evil infects society slowly, and with a smile, and is not immediately repulsed, it becomes an integral part of the whole and begins to metastasize, like a cancer. In this way, evil can take over a culture from the inside, with the deceitful smile, instead of from outside, with the sword.
What, exactly, is Scandal?
So, in any given human society or culture, if it is indeed identifiable as a distinct human society or culture, there are established standards of conduct and rules of behavior for that distinct society. When someone within that society radically and publicly steps outside those standards and rules, that is a Scandal, and the members of the society are said to be Scandalized. The society itself is Scandalized.
In the normal course of events, the one who openly and scandalously behaves in such a manner is anathematized or excluded in some way from the larger society, until and unless that person publicly repents of the public scandalous behavior and returns to normal conduct, in accordance with the mercy and charity of the larger society.
When it is the other way round, and the society willingly accepts the scandalous behavior as no longer being outside the society's established standards of conduct and rules of behavior, the rules have changed. As the rules change to accommodate scandals, the society itself changes in accordance with the rule changes.
Here's what the Catechism of the Catholic Church says about Scandal:
When Jesus began his mission He sent out, first, His chosen twelve Apostles, with specific instructions to preach His word. Then, He appointed and sent out seventy others ahead of Him, two by two. He did not authorize them to modify His word, but to speak it; if any would not receive it, they were to be left in their state of rejection of the Word. The point? Everyone is not going to accept the Word. That's the way it was, and that's the way it is. The Word is a point of division, not inclusion.
Here are His instructions, given to His evangelists, regarding rejection of the message in the first evangelization efforts:
Note that He did not instruct His chosen evangelists to modify or soften His words to them in order to make them happy or mollify them or convince them. The instructions were to speak the Word and move on. He knew full well that evil was in the world and that everyone would not receive Him; that's why He came. He came to redeem all those who would be redeemed. By their own free will choice.
He knew many would not choose His redemption.
It's pretty clear the redemptive message would be accepted by some and rejected by others, and that the result of Jesus' mission on earth would be the establishment of His Church and an anti-Church. His Church on earth is known as the Church Militant, because this, right here, is where war is waged between good and evil, until the last day.
When the difference between good and evil is blurred to the point of the elimination of any sense of scandal, evil has won the cultural battle, and the culture is open to evil, if not already gone over to evil.
That is the case whenever nothing is shocking any more. Anything goes. Scandal? What scandal? What's scandalous any more?
Pornography is legal, and openly available, and almost unavoidable. Homosexuality is open, public, proud and even militant. Fornication and cohabitation are quite common. Marriage is now so trivialized as to have become a mere occasional formality and reason to party, and divorce so easy as to sometimes be a mere mutual agreement, since the advent of "no fault" divorce.
Note that we are talking about what's going on inside His Church today.
It's bad enough that our legal system, involving civil and criminal justice and the courts at all levels, from top to bottom, regularly and even systematically seem to oppose Christian teaching, expression and practice at every legal opportunity to do so, despite the
Constitutional prohibition. And that they appear to champion and sponsor sin and evil. And it's bad enough that politicians and political candidates openly court the sinful vote and the opposition to good vote. But many if not most of these attorneys, judges, justices, politicians and political candidates call themselves Christian, and many are even Catholic Christians, held by all to be "in good standing". It is becoming the new social norm. None of them hold any of this to be in any way scandalous.
The Libertarian movement contributes to this trend, by rejecting the idea of one unified moral standard for the whole of the American culture. Libertarians falsely claim to stand "agnostic" toward what they call the Social Issues, and they embrace Conservatism only as it pertains to living in accordance with the Constitution, with a "softened" emphasis on the Constitutionally protected rights to Christian expression and worship. In point of fact, Libertarians reject outright what they call "Social Conservatism" and any attempt by any other Conservatives to make or keep American culture moral, in the Judao-Christian meaning of that word. Many of these, too, call themselves Christian, or even Catholic. But nothing scandalizes them. Nothing at all.
This accepting, non-anathematizing, super-inclusion of sin and evil into the larger culture has brought us to the point of important public figures pronouncing and announcing to the world that we are no longer - or even that we never were - a Christian nation. No less a personage than the current President of the United States declares us to not be a Christian people. Comrade Obama, peace be upon him, publicly declares to the very world that he worships that America is not a Christian nation. And we the people do not appear to be scandalized by that official proclamation.
Perhaps rightfully so; perhaps we are no longer Christian.
If we are Christian, we've certainly got a funny way of showing it.
We elected him. Twice.
The Catholic Church is deeply involved in this movement away from any recognized Christian behavior, and toward and into evil behavior. The scandalous examples are everywhere to be seen.
We see very public so-called Catholic political promoters and sponsors and champions of the pure evil of unlimited abortion being welcomed to Holy Eucharist by Catholic Priests, Bishops and Cardinals, as exemplified by Cardinal Wuerl of Washington DC. This highly public behavior is perfectly acceptable to Cardinal Wuerl, who sees no sacrilege in it and no scandal in it at all. He welcomes obstinate unrepentant sinners who are extremely public in their sin to the Communion Rail. They actively campaign for the increase in the killing of innocent babies, and they are cheerfully welcomed to fully participate in all the Catholic Sacraments in Washington DC.
We see very public, open, practicing homosexuals, who parade their condition in public on purpose, making certain that everyone knows about their chosen "life style" being welcomed to Holy Eucharist by Catholic Priests, Bishops and Cardinals, as exemplified by Cardinal Dolan of New York City. He welcomes obstinate unrepentant sinners who are extremely public in their sin to the Communion Rail. Cardinal Dolan congratulates active homosexuals when they "come out" and bear public witness to the wonders of their condition. Homosexual activists and promoters are cheerfully welcomed to fully participate in all the Catholic Sacraments in New York City.
We see very public adulterers who have divorced and remarried in direct contradiction of Catholic Doctrine being welcomed to Holy Eucharist by Priests, Bishops and Cardinals, as exemplified by Cardinal Kasper of Germany. He not only welcomes obstinate unrepentant sinners who are quite open about their sin to the Communion rail, but he goes so far as to lobby and crusade for their cause, and try to persuade the Pope to change the unchangeable Doctrines of the Church to promote the adultery. Adulterers are cheerfully welcomed to fully participate in all the Catholic Sacraments in Germany.
And the only visible reaction of Pope Francis to all of this, so far, was to demote and chastise the strongest defenders of Church Doctrine among the Cardinals, and to promote and encourage the most scandalous opponents of Church Doctrine among the Cardinals.
Have the Doctrines changed, or has the Culture changed?
You tell me.
Where there is no sense of Scandal, Christian Culture is dead.
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Respond to This Article Below The Last Comment
Date: Mon Mar 30 22:29:27 2015
Thanks for stating what is right before our eyes, but many are unable to see. As you point out, scandal is increased when it is revealed and embraced, BUT scandal starts when the wrong is done (#3 in your list).
Thank God for Cardinal Burke, Bishop Athanatius Schneider and other defenders of the Faith. The actions of Cardinal Dolan (and the same applies to O'Malley and Wuerl) are so scandalous that Dolan's lack of adherence to Catholic truth is so obvious that we can only conclude he no longer believes the truths of the faith (and the Ten Commandments).
Date: Mon Mar 30 22:31:41 2015
Location: Windsor, Ontario, Canada
Do you think that men who know what ultimately needs to be done, will not act? Do you think that our Lord Jesus, has been somehow defeated? Are we all not here, as God has put us, waiting to do His will, as He already knows, who will act, and who will not act?
You ask, where are those good knights, and why are they not fighting evil? Are they in Rome? Are they in a private compound in Florida? Are they in political groups and committees? No, I'm afraid not.
I propose, that those who will do the fight are already here, in place, as they always have been, anonymous, known only to God. At home in regular houses, doing regular things, raising a family, helping neighbors, receiving priests, and being little. This sounds like a minority. It is. And evil doesn't stand a chance!
Instead of searching for the highest ground, or the largest audience, or sensational news presentations, we must encourage others, especially children, to seek the infinite depths of love located in our own hearts.
My granddaughter was 6 at the time, we were at the bus stop, waiting for the bus to pick her up for school. We had a few minutes to wait, so I started a little game of questions. I asked what her favorite food was. She answered quickly, "pizza". I asked what her favorite color was, "green"! I asked what was her favorite animal, a "cat"! I asked a few more questions, having fun, then I asked her what her favorite, single word was. Without hesitation..."I love you"!
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.
Get in the fight! Engage the Enemy!
Seek the Truth; find the Way; live the Life; please God, and live forever.
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Enter ye in at the narrow gate: for wide is the gate, and
broad is the way that leadeth to destruction, and many there are who go in
thereat. How narrow is the gate, and strait is the way that leadeth to life:
and few there are that find it! Beware of false prophets, who come to you in
the clothing of sheep, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.
Jesus Christ; Matt 7:13-15
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