Since faith is one, it must be professed in all its purity and integrity". Pope Francis/Pope Benedict
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Thursday, 13 August 2015

Rejecting the Church's Teaching: A Guide for the Combox Troll

The Church's teaching can be a difficult obstacle to attaining your political or economic objectives. Fortunately it is ignored most of the time and easily disposed of in those few instances when it is being publicly proclaimed. Here are some tactics that may prove useful in dealing with these pests.

1. Set up a straw man. Do not attack papal encyclicals directly. This risks placing you in direct opposition to the Vicar of Christ. Instead attack secondary or local expressions of these. For example, attacking Evangelium Vitae directly would place you in direct opposition to a canonized saint. This would be uncomfortable at best. Concentrate your attentions on local bishops and bishops conferences as some Americans have done to such great effect with Cardinal Bernardin. Media and politicians have exploited the seamless garment concept for their own ends so why can't we? 

2. Set up your own hierarchy of issues. The classic technique for countering the seamless garment argument is to use it as a smokescreen. Those issues you favor are used to mask those issues you disagree with. By a careful ordering of the list you can easily ignore the bottom of the list. Just because the Church wants to serve you a banquet doesn't mean you can't pick out the dishes you like.

3. Exploit cause and effect. The killing of a baby in an abortion is a direct effect of an evil action and requires no great understanding. However, the death of a woman of a drug overdose upon release from prison or a young man suffering a mental breakdown at the back of a street car is murky at best. Most people are quite incapable of following the chain of causation and cannot separate societal responsibility from personal culpability.  In other words, the baby is innocent but the drug addict is personally at fault for their own demise. Keep it black and white and simple. Most people do not want to think deeply on these issues especially if it involves self reflection. 

4. Exploit the emotions, especially anger and resentment. Most people do not want to pick up their cross. They want to lash out and blame someone, anyone, for the pain and misfortune they have experienced. This reservoir of anger and resentment sits there just beneath the surface waiting to be tapped. Why not take advantage of it? Harnessing this anger and directing it at a target of your own choosing can be a very effective tactic. If you are careful you can come up smelling of roses while others do your dirty work.

5. Exploit people's greed and self interest. Most people are not billionaire capitalists but most people have some vested interest in the system. It may be a mutual fund or retirement plan. It may even be the Horatio Alger myth of rags to riches that motivates people. In any case people fear that any systemic change in society may cost them personally.

6. Appeal to patriotism or nationalism. What better way to counter a religious concept with than with a pseudo religious concept like patriotism? Cold war rhetoric can be used to great effect, especially epithets like communist, Marxist and fascist. Most people have only a vague notion about the real meaning of these terms but are conditioned to an almost instinctive response to them. You want the instinctive emotional reaction with little or no conscious thought behind it. It is enough that people react as though to some enemy. This is called demonization.

7. Exploit the Winnipeg Statement loophole. The reaction to Humanae Vitae contained in the Winnipeg Statement states
In accord with the accepted principles of moral theology, if these persons have tried sincerely but without success to pursue a line of conduct in keeping with the given directives, they may be safely assured that, whoever honestly chooses that course which seems right to him does so in good conscience.
This has been extensively used to promote dissent on the matter of birth control but a careful reading of it will reveal that the same rationale can be as easily applied to Quadragesimo Anno or Evangelii Gaudium as to Humanae Vitae. You might want to be careful with this one though. Just do it and don't bother publishing any high sounding statements about it. Such things have a way of biting you in the end.

8. Exploit the infallibility loophole. This is the notion that anything not proposed as infallible teaching is optional and can be safely ignored. Another variation of this is to call into question the pope's expertise in economics or political science. Americanists and other social modernists have been portraying the pope as some foreign potentate who has no real understanding of their society for well over a century. 

9. When all else fails, poison the well. Most people, however devout and blameless, have something you can latch on to. Find out what this mistake or error in judgement is and harp on it at every opportunity. Soon this seed of doubt will grow into a noxious weed, which will blot out any positive regard your opponent may have.

5 comments:

Lawrence and Susan Fox said...

Dear Freyr,
I would like to read your link "Unraveling the Seamless Garment." But it links to Sir Colin Davis - Edward Elgar - Enigma Variations - Variation IX (Adagio) "Nimrod" Now I know you guys like music, so maybe you accidentally grabbed one of your favorite music links.

As for the Seamless Garment, while I naturally fight abortion, euthanasia and contraception in a sort of seamless manner, re: capital punishment, I still believe in self defense, and #PrisonLivesMatter. Helpless, young retarded mentally ill men are brutalized in prison every day by people who should probably have received the death penalty because U.S. prisons can't keep people safe! I've met too many heartbroken grandmothers to ever say the death penalty should always be discarded. I agree with Pope Francis however it shouldn't be used as a means of revenge.

But the regarding the "Seamless Garment," Susan Fox says let it be anathema! Too many liberal priests and bishops have used it as an excuse to vote Demoncrat! In the U.S., capital punishment is still regulated by the states, abortion is not, neither is marriage. Any state that wants can ban capital punishment as it wishes. Many have mistakenly said Republican vs Demoncrat is a question of anti-abortion or anti-capital punishment, and because of the "Seamless Garment" I am free to vote in good conscience as a DEMONcrat because capital punishment is just as bad as abortion. No you are not. Go to confession if you have made this shameless mistake. The murder of innocents is always wrong. Capital Punishment can be justified in some cases, although I agree generally we don't need it if people are kept in isolation! And don't escape! (Neither happens).

Any Republican who believes that capital punishment can be legal is supporting state rights, not capital punishment. He or she is saying let the states decide. Don't take away state rights. That's a big difference. A DEMONcrat is almost always saying the murder of children is a right, and the states should have no say in the matter.

The "seamless garment" gave us HHS Regulations that are forcing the Little Sisters of the Poor out of their apostolate to the poor because they don't want to pay for contraception. The "seamless garment" gave us stealth euthanasia in the Obama unaffordable health "care." Even the poor in the U.S. have higher medical care costs with the phony Obama "care" because all it is is a BIG TAX INCREASE that caused people to lose their health insurance and their doctor. It's stealth taxation.

Of course, nowadays you also have to watch your Republican candidate closely as he might talk big and pro-life, but once in office he just turns into a limp noodle. God bless you. Susan Fox www.christsfaithfulwitness.com

Freyr said...

Edward Elgar? Only Barona would come up with that one. He fixed the links so I am sure he will fix them back. As for the seamless garment, it is a phrase popularized by Cardinal Bernardin. It should be taken seriously only insofar as it correctly reflects the infallible ordinary and universal magisterium as expressed in Evangelium Vitae.

Lawrence and Susan Fox said...

Gospel of Life doe not say that capital punishment is equally as grave a matter as abortion. The Seamless Garment implies that it is. Unfortunately, the USCCB said racism is equally bad as abortion, and they did it in a so-called pro-life document called Faithful Citizenship right before the first election that got us Barack Obama. I had pro-life Catholic friends who were genuinely confused by Faithful Citizenship who voted for the DEMONcrat Obama. Whoever wrote that version of Faithful Citizenship needs to go to confession, also bishops who promoted it. It put the Little Sisters of the Poor into the situation they are in. God have mercy. They knew not what they do. Susan Fox www.christsfaithfulwitness.com.

Freyr said...

Ok, some basic ground rules for documents... look who signed it. Statements like "the Vatican says" or "the seamless garment says" should immediately be greeted with suspicion. The Vatican is a hill with a basilica on it. The seamless garment is a bit of PR fluff that even Cardinal Bernardin didn't nail down for a long time. A bishops conference is a comittee with no doctrinal authority beyond that of an individual bishop. Evangelium Vitae is authoritative. Anything else is the Classics Comics version. Voters guides are usually a complete waste.

Lawrence and Susan Fox said...

Right Freyr. I agree. That's why the Seamless Garment is nothing to me but a means of confusion, a weapon for the enemies of the Church. And I read your link on it. Unfortunately while bishops' conferences have no canonical status whatsoever, individual bishops give them the authority! How many times have bishops and priests told me they had to obey the USCCB, and that's why they were putting the tabernacle in the broom closet! It was individual bishops who pushed that Faithful Citizenship onto the parishes before the election. Lawrence and I put flyers on the cars in the Church parking lots showing the position of each candidate on the issue of abortion, and Lawrence was publicly chastised when he showed up for Mass later in the morning! "You are jeopardizing our tax exempt status!" Let me tell you. That's idolatry. And I hope they take all the Catholic Church's money and we can hear Mass out in the field. www.christsfaithfulwitness.com Susan Fox