Faith is Not Horshoes
Too many play fast and loose with their Faith. The only way to score a ringer is to toe the line as God has commanded. To buck God one may find oneself as a new species: not only shod of one's shoes but possibly being a horse's posterior possessing permanent hooves with the rest of the goats of damnation.
"Morality and conscience buffered or softened by fraudulent swipes of supposed reasonableness and progressive evaluation is morality and conscience truncated at its very core. Wilkes is either too foolish or too sinister in pretending that the solution to issues such as abortion, priestly marriage, priestly celibacy, women's ordination, and sodomite relationships is simply sprinkling serious thought and deliberation on controversial and critical areas. Such pretensions are the condiment of the devil."
We've all heard the axiom applied to sports, politics, life and, yes, religion: "Close, but this isn't horseshoes!" It's true, for only in the game of horseshoes does one garner points or an advantage if one gets his steel hoof closer to the spike than his competitor. But it seems today, especially when it comes to the Faith, that people play fast and loose and, despite what they may think, by their actions and words clearly convey that the horseshoe principle does work. In fact, when it comes to true Roman Catholicism, anything close to the spike is counted by the world and modern church.
I bring this up because I want to provide proof of what I say, the contradictions and inane logic these exemplifiers of this fallacy express. I recently heard about a book called Good Enough Catholics by a writer named Paul Wilkes who has also written Excellent Catholic Parishes. On the latter, unless he is talking about Traditional Catholic parishes, there is no such thing in the modern church as an "excellent" "Catholic" parish today. But his premises are hollow and without documented proof. From what I have drawn from reviews and summaries of this book, I feel compelled to respond to the basic premise put forth by this man. Simply put, it appears that Wilkes seems to believe that almost anything is "good enough" as long as one's individual conscience is not troubled. The only thing worse than this rubbish is the fact that so many clueless Catholics actually believe the rubbish itself because such trash conforms to and validates their buffet/cafeteria attitude.
A Middle Ground is Demonic Compromise
Wilkes presents us with strict guidelines on one side and total rejection of such guidelines on the other and then strolls forth waving what he believes to be his profound and "reasonable" solution to these "extremes". According to Wilkes, all one needs to do is seriously consider the various issues and views involved, generate a sense of one's comfort with these things, and then act upon that comfort of conscience accordingly. In short, Wilkes tells us that some people blindly say "no way", others blindly say "my way", and his deep solution is to say "my way after some thought". People can pretend to be evaluating things or convince themselves that they are, but the bottom line is that well-studied arrogance and disobedience is still disobedience, defiance with rationalizations is still defiance, and reasoned compromise is simply compromise.
Morality and conscience buffered or softened by fraudulent swipes of supposed reasonableness and progressive evaluation is morality and conscience truncated at its very core. Wilkes is either too foolish or too sinister in pretending that the solution to issues such as abortion, priestly marriage, priestly celibacy, women's ordination, and sodomite relationships is simply sprinkling serious thought and deliberation on controversial and critical areas. Such pretensions are the condiment of the devil.
The analysis and solutions proposed by Wilkes turn out to be nothing more than relativism concealed as thoughtful deliberation. Such thinking implies three destructive premises. First, it implies that there is no absolute, attainable goal of moral conduct for human beings. If there is no clear moral bull's eye, then one cannot possibly aim for a target that does not exist. If one cannot possibly aim for that target, then it follows that shooting for close enough is enough. Second, it implies that anyone who directly aims for any such clear target is a fool to be discarded and conversely anyone who is satisfied with coming "close enough" is somehow realistic, sensible, reasonable, and enlightened.
Lastly, Wilkes implies that the key to our moral dilemmas lies within our complete grasp and control. In short, Wilkes turns the sin from the evil act or intent into the failure to adequately justify that act or intent. Given this distorted view of morality, my serious deliberation to evil eliminates that evil if I am more comfortable in that evil than its absence!
Many critics have called the writings of Wilkes "anti-Catholic trash" and warned Catholics to avoid his rubbish. A deluded nutritional writer may tell us that eating fast food can be justified, but that assertion alone will not prevent such fast food from being unhealthy nevertheless. I am sure that Satan came up with many justifications for rebelling against God Almighty, but these excuses or claims were dust in the wind. Worst of all, if offering alcohol as a healthy, non-addictive drink is fraud, then offering that alcohol to alcoholics is an abomination. Those strong in their faith will either not read or swat away the Wilkes suggestions. Those weak in their faith will have fallen long before they ever read his words. Tragically, it is precisely those whose faith is still fluid and suggestible that will be lulled into the toxic influence of these foul premises. Like the alcoholic or the overweight victim, these confused Catholics will swoon to and swallow the trash put forth by Wilkes because it validates their confusion.
Examples of This Influence: The View from Hell
Pointing out the liberal hypocrisy and bias of journalists is like catching fish in a pail…it is so easy that one wonders if one is accomplishing anything by doing it.
Despite the ease of this enterprise, I am compelled to mention an example of this absurd bias poisoned by this toxic influence. Barbara Walters is often cited as one of the most powerful and influential women in the world and likewise a ground-breaking journalist, yet one must realize that those usually painting her out to be some kind of media icon are either media types themselves or at least observers and publications sympathetic to her leanings. In the interest of time, space, and intestinal fortitude, three recent examples of Walters' arrogant bias will suffice.
Walters is nothing if not unabashedly liberal and therefore there is no need to discuss her positions on sodomite relationships and abortion. However, what I have found most interesting is her interpretation of what is disgusting, gross, unacceptable, uncomfortable, and inappropriate motherly behavior. A number of months ago Walters made headlines when she and her airhead counterparts on her show The View criticized mothers who breast feed their children in public. Walters whined about how one such mother made her and her hairdresser feel oh so uncomfortable on a flight. On the other hand, it is a safe bet that Walters is pro-abortion, which means that she does not find it disgusting, gross, unacceptable, uncomfortable, and inappropriate for a woman to have her unborn child dismembered and ripped from her womb so she can go on with her life unencumbered! Feeding your child as God and nature intended versus killing your child against the intentions of God. Walters finds the first to be something gross which should not be done in public yet very publicly supports the second as a right. It seems to me that her view seems twisted.
Just a month ago on the September 22nd edition of The View, Walters and her cohorts read and criticized parts of the Catechism of The Catholic Church dealing with homosexuality and generally attacked Church teaching on women, celibacy, and homosexuality. Now I realize all the flaws in the CCC and how relativism can be stretched, especially in this tome. But one wonders if Walters will now read The Torah, The Koran, and other religious codes and repeat this activity. Please do not hold your breath waiting for this second edition of The View as it is unlikely to occur given political reality, media bias, and the rules of hypocrisy. Apparently Walters thinks that attacking Catholics is as easy as the pail fishing activity described above. Sadly, given the media's despicable agenda, she is right.
Walters has also often openly questioned whether people like John Roberts and others can ever fulfill their duties as jurists and leaders without letting their Catholic beliefs influence those duties. Again, please do not wait for her to similarly wonder if people like Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a Jew, and others can similarly fulfill their duties independent of their religious beliefs. First of all, it is absurd to pretend that one's values and beliefs do not influence one's fulfillment of one's duties in some way. Secondly, if one's values and beliefs are sound, then it there should be no problem with that influence. Thirdly, please explain to me why the Catholic faith is uniquely capable of such influence and other beliefs are not.
So we can see here The View from Hell. Yet Walters is applauded by the media as a pioneer and ground-breaking journalist, but she is simply another example of the biased, secularist, and liberal agenda which that media spews forth daily. Somewhere down the line this woman, like so many of her ilk, actually began to believe that her opinion and views carry any weight worth considering. The trash that emanates from her mouth and her contortions to justify and promote the liberal agenda are merely accessories to the hypocrisy that she characterizes whenever she speaks. While she may find public breast feeding more distasteful than murdering the unborn, centuries of theological and spiritual tradition easy targets for ridicule by imbeciles, and Catholic values and upbringing poisonous to independent objectivity, one must remember that her views are grounded in mindless prejudice and ignorance posing as serious analysis and comment. Walters is perhaps most famous for her so-called "interview scoops" wherein she chats with hard-to-get celebrities and leaders. Based on her agenda and bias, I am sure that she can still get an exclusive interview with the devil someday.
While Walters and her ilk could be categorized under those Christ referred to when He cried out from the cross, "Father, forgive them for they don't know what they are doing", what excuse do you give those who know better?
There is no doubt that at the front of every crowd of lost Catholic souls, one will find a lost shepherd who has violated his or her duty to guide and serve those souls toward Heaven and away from hell. No, I don't have the room or time to list all the bishops here who fit that category. But let me provide two examples of this toxic influence: Two such lost guides are Sister Jeannine Gramick and Bishop J. Terry Steib. Apparently, one of The New Order's prime directives has been to flip the signs toward each of the above destinations in opposite directions!
The already very lost and so-called "Catholic" University of Notre Dame has held a Queer Film Festival for two consecutive years. It is held in February and has honored such people as Terrence McNally, who wrote the blasphemous play Corpus Christi which depicts Christ and His disciples as homosexuals! Not only is it despicable that a so-called "Catholic" university should host such an event and honor such people, but it is both an abomination and an absurd insult to true Catholic teaching.
If the above is not vile enough, then what comes next should top off the baked blasphemy being cooked at this cauldron of Catholic caricature. At one of these festivals, Gramick is reported to have uttered to students, "I'm beginning to believe that the greatest sin for lesbians and gay people is to want to be straight" (LifeSite News, 2/14/05). This abomination of a nun is telling young people at a Catholic university that sin is virtue and virtue is sin! Obviously, this dribble does not come from a clueless imbecile but a ghoulish, sinister, cunning, and treacherous agent of evil out to intoxicate and infect young, clueless minds with distorted theology. Simply put, the fact that this institution pretending to be Catholic even allows this fool to tell anyone what she believes is proof positive that it has become nothing short of a headquarters for hell leading souls to an eternal place of lower learning! Notre Dame may be back in college football, but it has eternally fumbled the ball in Catholic education and example!
As for Stieb, when people think of Memphis, Tennessee they often think of Elvis Presley shocking people with his suggestive moves, but they can now think of Bishop J. Terry Steib shocking good Catholics with his suggestions of sin and blasphemous beliefs. This lost shepherd has told people that homosexuality is a "unique gift" and that "all gay and lesbian Catholics are wonderful and good Catholic people". He has also said that the "parents of gay and lesbian Catholics are extremely proud of their children" and assured sodomites that "God's love is unconditional".
What has come out of this cleric's mouth is so absurd and distorted that one needs to take a deep breath before commenting on his trash. First of all, God has taught us that sodomy is a depraved and disordered sin, so to say that God would give us a depraved and disordered sin as a gift is beyond my capacity to accept coming from someone who claims to be serving God. Secondly, apparently Steib believes that being a sodomite takes one to a higher moral level since he proclaims that all Catholic sodomites are good Catholic people when nobody can ever claim that all of any group are good Catholic people. The twisted logic here can only lead to two absurd conclusions. If Steib thinks that all Catholics are automatically good, this would mean that one's moral behavior has no bearing on goodness, virtue and salvation, which renders sin an empty myth and blows off most of The Bible and virtually everything Christ ever said. Furthermore, if he thinks all Catholics are good, then why say that all sodomite Catholics are good? The reason is likely that he did not mean that all Catholics are good, just sodomite Catholics! In other words, Steib is telling us that he will attest to the goodness of sodomite Catholics but not all Catholics, as if being a sodomite was some kind of a virtue that elevated a regular, possibly defective Catholic, into an automatically good one.
The fact that Steib tells us that God's love is unconditional further explains the recesses of his lost mind and soul. Apparently, when Christ told Mary Magdalene and just about every sinner he ever helped to "sin no more", He really meant in Steib's warped logic to, "Keep on doing what you are doing because God loves you anyway, so why stop?" God's love is boundless provided we follow His Commandments and Word. If we reject or ignore that Word, however, everything from Psalm 5:5 to Proverbs 8:17 to John 3:38 to Apocalypse 2:6-7 tells us that God will not tolerate such sin. If God's love is so unconditional, what happened to Sodom and Gomorrah? Did God just miss a memo or something? Oh, yes, I forgot, people like Gramick and Steib would not believe that Sodom and Gomorrah ever happened since their beliefs and claims blow off most of the Bible anyway.
Elvis may have left the building, and this earth, but the devil has certainly entered via the imbecilic trash uttered by Steib and so many others who try to condone sin because they do not love God, do not want to obey His Commandments; evidently do not take salvation seriously. Those are just a few of a plethora of toxic influences that can infect and poison souls.
Anyone wishing to see the current state of the New Order Church in America need only look to Notre Dame and Memphis, where two lost shepherds are leading souls toward perdition with their demonic, twisted, and distorted ramblings painted as virtuous mercy and compassion. Notice, I didn't even mention until now the heretic Richard McBrien posing as head of theology at the golden dome for he is the media darling to give Americans the pulse of the Catholic Church. The problem is, as we can see, these people aren't Catholic. How dare they speak for Catholics.
Now we are all sinners capable and well-versed in offending our Lord at every turn. We are all defective humans who often fall to our weakness and must reach out to a compassionate and merciful God by recognizing our sin, asking for forgiveness, and loving God enough to get up and keep trying to serve Him as best we can. It is not hypocrisy to point out sin in others while one is sinful if one recognizes one's own sin and tries to flee it. However, it is the height of arrogance and hypocrisy to dive into sin and lead others to it as well by telling them that the water is nice, warm, safe, and a health benefit! These chefs of moral mischief may be preparing a soup of sin to feed the rationalized minds of lax Catholics, but let us pray that as few as possible will be staying for dinner and that the diners of damnation where these chefs cook will be closed by the department of salvation as soon as possible.
Finally, we can see what happens when people take it upon themselves to be their own Magisterium. Strange that their ideas have no correlation with what the Church always taught. It is all the new way of doing things - the evolution of doctrine because we are much smarter than those in the dark ages. Check the great book of life and I believe you'll find many, many, many more souls there who died in the Middle Ages than in these modern times. So much for enlightenment. Also so much for trash like Wilkes' books. Wilkes also pushes a program called "New Beginnings" in promoting more of the poison of "do your own thing" for the "unity of the community" - a blueprint for the New Order towards a One World Order. He is a dangerous influence on those Catholics looking for justifications to sin. Like an enabler offering liquor to an alcoholic, Wilkes offers the pretense of a solution carved in his flimsy façade. Anyone who claims to be a true Catholic must accept the fact that God Almighty is all good, all knowing, all perfect, and the source of absolute truth and natural law. It is also clear that we are defective human beings incapable of such perfection. How does one reconcile the resulting gap between God's perfection and our imperfection given our duty to serve and follow God? Wilkes tells us that this gap is meaningless as long as we seriously feel comfortable with that gap God tells us that while He knows our imperfection, He still wants us to make the effort to reach for moral perfection nevertheless. I don't hear that from Barbara Walters, Jeannine Gramick, Terry Steib or any other progressive bishops today. Wilkes also wrote a book called The 7 Secrets of Successful Catholics. Given the fact that Wilkes pretends to provide guidelines for such things as how single, unmarried sexual activity can be morally carried out, the greatest secret may well be how anyone ever concluded that Wilkes is qualified to help anyone reach moral decisions! I think we all know it is Wilkes himself who needs help; he and those who subscribe to playing fast and loose with spiritual horseshoes because when it comes to the Faith, they aren't even close!
Editor's Note: Heaven is once again under attack by those who would seek to ignore and overthrow God's majesty and authority. Gabriel Garnica, educator and attorney, submits regular insights and commentaries to remind and help guide readers toward a deeper and more assertive faith. Touching on topics and issues ranging from personal faith, doctrine, education, scripture, the media, family life, morality, and values, Gabriel's notes are music to traditional ears but unpleasant tones to those who have bought into the misguided notions so prevalent and spreading in today's Catholic world.