Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

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"The progressive agenda has come down to condoms"

For evidence that this judgment by Fr. Neuhaus is correct, go here.

Discussions - 7 Comments

Thank you for the comparison - it shows baldly how correct Neuhaus is. By the way, Peggy Noonan has a very smart, moving op-ed in the WSJ.

Cohen makes several incredibly stupid claims, but here are the worst.

"As for gays, he clearly considers them to be an abomination." No Catholic should think this, and the Pope doesn’t. He considers ACTING on homosexual thoughts a sin just as he would adultery or pedophilia, but he does not think homosexuals themselves are. They are created in the image of God and worthy of love, compassion, and respect. Benedict XVI does hate sin however, though not sinners.

Secondly, Cohen claims that condoms are the cheapest, most effective way to stop AIDS. Actually, I thought abstinence was. Entering into a monogamous marriage while considering fornication or adultery a sin is a great way to stop the AIDS crisis around the world. But, the modernist culture doesn’t recognize any of these sexual acts as wrong. Go ahead, do all of them, the condom will protect you, are the lies that modernism preaches.

Finally, he tries to argue that a moral framework for sex is against human nature. Actually, the natural law that God created with His gift of sexuality to promote unity and procreation truly matches the human person. Just because we can have sex does not exclude the moral framework and allow us to act like wild animals. One has to exercise control over one’s passions and desires. The pre-Christian ancient Greeks knew this. The human nature he should focus on is our rebelliousness from what is true and good for that which is sinful and hedonistic. "Better to reign in Hell than serve in Heaven" seems closer to human nature and is supported by the mantra propagated by modernism.

So, has the therapeutic modernism that Cohen is promoting given us any true freedom or made humanity truly joyful? We are suffering more, less joyful, more depressed, and less interested in the pursuit of the splendor and beauty of truth.

In general it is a tactic of the right wing to marginalize progressive christians. Makes sense as a political matter, but it’s just empirically wrong. The flip side of it is that the right marginalizes progressive aspects of Catholic teaching, such as the strong opposition to the death penalty and severe doubts about preemptive war, both things that the new pope has had a few things to say about, and both things that the right wing press has ignored in recent days, as far as I can tell.

I am uncomfortable with the terms "progressive Christians" and "conservative Christians," for Christians (at least in the Catholic Church) are for Christ, not for a political agenda. If Christ’s teachings are conservative by the world’s standards, that is fine. If they are liberal, that works too. There are no progressive or conservative "elements" to Catholic teaching; there are only Catholic ones. That said, we must remember to address all of the issues, from abortion to the death penalty, from marriage to peace, so as to present the whole Gospel, not merely that part of it which bodes well for a particular political party. Pope Benedict understands all of this quite well, as anyone who has read anything he has written knows, and will make a good and holy pastor in the mold of John XXIII and John Paul II. Viva il Papa!

Tony, great points. However, I have a problem with one very small thing: Abstinence is the cheapest birth control, but the point was on availablilty and support of their use in epidemic regions like Africa. There AIDS is not passed by promiscuity, it is passed through those in wedlock, and in areas with different definitions of when it is acceptible to have sex. As of now, the Catholic church does not approve of aid in the form or condoms to the African countries ravaged by AIDS.

AIDS in these developing countries has very little to do with desires of the flesh, and much more to do with stopping an epidemic with the means most easily used and distributed to those who do not have the same moral and religious convictions as our Nation or the Catholic church.

Other than that, well stated.

Joel, I’m no expert on Africa, but from everything I understand, there is a great deal of promiscuity in marriages especially among men who have mistresses or see prostitutes.

1. If they aren’t Catholic, why should they care what the Church’s teachings are (with respect to abstinence and contraception).

2. Does the Catholic church have all the money in the world so others are unable to "educate" men and women in Africa?

3. If no, then what rights have any non-Catholic to dictate to the Catholic Church where, how, to whom, or why they distribute aid?

Good. So try and stop promiscuity with outreach programs and moral teachings. AIDS, however, is an epidemic that does not choose only gays and promiscuous people.

Luke: They should care because with the Catholic church’s stance on contraception there is much influence on the current administration to cut family planning (Planned Parenthood, of abortion rights fame, for instance). This also includes exported medical help and financial handouts. All of your questions come back to the influence of the church on American politics today. President Bush has a moderate anti-abortion stance, which is partly fueled by his own Christian-based moral objections, and some to do with influence from externalities, like Catholic voters. Reduction in the funding for non-profit oganizations that operate with AIDS relief has created a problem in paying for the education and contraception programs that are sensical in reducing the increase in cases of AIDS in Africa.

Therefore, Luke, the church has a very large influence on who gets funding for what kinds of programs. Here lies the "new" problem of separation of church and state.

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