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Saturday, 25 October 2014

How Dare I Tell Kevin that I fear for His Eternal Soul?

I did it twice tonight – and it troubles me. He and I both profess Catholicism, he for much longer than I. Is it simply impertinence for me to suggest that his opinions are heretical? Perhaps.

[A Digression on Damnation (Is Hell Empty?):
Two thinkers inform me here. Fr Robert Barron, very erudite, pleases me by proposing that we may legitimately hope that all men are saved. He quotes Catholic thinkers in support of this view. I hope that I am saved. Many non-Catholics are better men than I. I hope that they are saved. I also hope that people who have committed egregiously evil sins are also saved. It’s not up to me. C S Lewis, as great a Christian thinker as we have encountered in several generations, suggests that Hell is locked on the inside, that Hell’s inmates are there because they choose to separate themselves from God. Like all Christians, I have to face the fact that Christ Himself spoke of damnation, perhaps more than elsewhere in the Scriptures. Christianity is not comfortable. And yet, we know how weak and wicked we are; but we love our families. We would not condemn any of them to eternal torture on any grounds. God is our Father, surely a better father or brother than any of us. The most painful (and inescapable) Catholic teachers tell us that one of the joys of Heaven is the view of the torments of the damned. St Thomas, a good and compassionate man while alive would surely not morph into a sadist in Heaven. I find it hard to believe that the sight of Justice triumphant would trump human affection. I am for Justice, by the way.]

On what grounds did I accuse Kevin of heresy? Well, he started it. He wanted to know what I thought about the Catholic synod on sex and families. I was ready for this. Cousin Geoff had already suggested that only the sexually active could possibly have valid opinions on sex, families, contraception, abortion, homosexuality etc. This is as absurd a proposition as I can imagine. Only criminals should be consulted on crime? Only teachers have valid views on education?

Kevin thinks, and I agree, that we need to know how an unwanted pregnancy affects (for example) a teenager or a mother with multiple children. But we have always known that there are such things as ethical dilemmas. Given situation x and options y and z, we do face a choice between y and z. It is not just a choice between x (which suits us) and y (which does not). Our normal criterion (that the effect on 3rd parties is relevant) is not something which we can simply discard. Leftists and Rightists have a preferential option for the weak. Who is weaker than an unborn child? Killing unborn babies is evil. It may suit the mother; she may tell us so if we consult her. It is evil nonetheless. Kevin is pro-life but he is relativistic in his thinking. He cannot oppose abortion as confidently as I can. Needless to say, this does not make me a better person – only a better thinker.

A rugby game involves forwards and backs. In the scrum there may be a dispute. The referee decides – he is not a participant in the game. He represents the spectators, the rugby community. He should be ‘indifferent’. He should interpret the rules. A fundamental rule is that the strong should not exploit the weak.

Sixteen Tons and What d’you Get; Another Day Older and Deeper and Debt?
Rowe vs Wade

It is wicked when workers are trapped by exploitative employers into debt-slavery. It is wicked when defenceless babies are killed.

We talked for half an hour or more. He is free to raise any of his points in response to this and I’ll quote them verbatim but he doesn’t read this blog.

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