Cleansing Fire

Defending Truth and Tradition in the Roman Catholic Church

Obfuscation as Virtue?

October 8th, 2014, Promulgated by Diane Harris

Say what you mean, and mean what you say.”  Can anyone actually argue with that aphorism?  Or how about the Epistle of St. James (5:12):  “…let your yes be yes and your no be no, that you may not fall under condemnation.”

Opening of Synod 2014

Opening of Synod 2014

But one listening to much preaching from the pulpit in recent years — oh, I mean homilizing from the ambo — knows that lack of clarity can masquerade as virtue.  Question:  “What did Father say?”  Answer:  “Whatever you wanted to hear.”  Lest we think that the art of obfuscation is only a personal characteristic of a particular preacher, the desire to obfuscate was on exhibit at the second full day of the Synod in Rome.  What was especially interesting is that it was one of the few pieces of information that Fr. Rosica chose to publicize in the early release.  (Keep an eye on what gets covered in the press releases!)  At that time he didn’t identify the source, but today’s Zenit release indicates that Cardinal Nichols, Archbishop of Westminister, has at least been the source of recommending changing the words “living in sin” to something where people “feel welcomed.”   In the earlier release, “disordered” and/or “intrinsically disordered” was also indicted as language to change, in discussion of same-sex attraction.  And “contraceptive mindset” was also singled out for criticism.”

For video go here:

For the later Zenit story go here:

Excerpt:  “During the remarks by Fr. Thomas Rosica, who is assisting the Vatican communications team for the English-speaking press, it was underscored that ‘although no changes to doctrine whatsoever were discussed,’ there was, however, ‘a stress placed on changing language’.  As the discussions continued, the spokesman explained this must happen in various areas so that people feel welcomed, rather than rejected, particularly when they hear certain negative terms, like ‘living in sin.’”  [Sidebar:  I have other questions for Fr. Rosica or whoever does the English translations for Pope Francis, who himself does not speak English.  There have been many elements of Pope Francis’s pronouncements which are strange, but I’ll just single out the one in which he used the word “sourpuss.”  That is hardly a word a pope would use, let alone someone not familiar with American slang.  Might this be part of the reason why Pope Francis comes across strangely at times in the English translations of what he is purported to have said?   Is his meaning being hijacked by someone else’s agenda? Or are the translations faithful to his intent?  How would we know?]

Back to the Synod –The idea of altering language, which is already in place and well understood, is dangerous, in my opinion.   It is reminiscent of the early days after Roe vs. Wade, and how calling abortion “murder” produced an instant response from the feminist advocates, accusing the speaker of rude language, a lie, divisiveness.  It reminds me of how “pro-choice” became the positive spin, marketing-word to describe killing babies.  And in advocating neutral to positive language,  it became harder for the laity (let alone the ordained) to take action and stand up for the Lord’s teaching).  Primped-up language enables its users to fantasize that differences of belief are minimal, and that a consensus can actually be reached on a moral issue! Would it, in retrospect, have been better for Catholics to never have stopped speaking the truth, and calling abortion “murder?”

Implications:  Just what are the implications for no longer using the term: “living in sin?”  Before dropping the words, shouldn’t someone be able to explain why two unmarried people living together in a sexual relationship are NOT living in sin?  Are there some alternative words to be proposed?  How will alternative words serve Truth?  Or is the not-so-hidden agenda to no longer notice, e.g., that the governor of NYS is “living in sin?”  How are we to understand Christ’s words: “Go and sin no more?”  Did He mean to say “Go and don’t do what you really weren’t doing?”

And what are we to do about all the journal articles, teachings, books etc. which describe in detail the meaning of “intrinsic evils”?  Rewrite and reissue?  How about Pope Benedict’s specific teaching that one who is intrinsically disordered in sexual orientation cannot be a priest?  Would removing such language facilitate more ordinations of the intrinsically disordered?  Is the government planning to ban the word “disordered” when applied to same-sex activity, and burn the books and writings already off the press?  Why should the Church facilitate silencing its own members?  Surely that is what will happen to us if the Church does it first.  And the Spiritual Work of Mercy to instruct the ignorant will have very little meaning.

When people show up at their physician’s office or the drug store or at Planned Parenthood for contraceptives, as “good Catholics” should they not use the word “contraceptive?”  Will that make the sin less if they call it a “health care Rx?”  Does the world really need us to be that many steps removed from reality?  Or are Catholics once again the object of being silenced as a way to control us and to promote the health care agenda for contraceptives?  How does acting (and speaking) as if something is NOT a sin, open the road to repentance?

Has altering “words” any purpose other than silencing truth?  Should scripture be rewritten to remove mention of sin all together and to excise the reality of hell?   Should Christ’s words like “brood of vipers,”  or “whitened sepulchers”  be eliminated?   A cosmetic fix and media spin of changing the words is beneath the dignity of the Church’s obligation to teach truth, and of human beings’ right to receive it.  Without truth, there is no evangelization.  The delegates can go home.


13 Responses to “Obfuscation as Virtue?”

  1. Pianist9591 says:

    Indeed. Being merciful to people who are in bondage to sin is important, because that can be the very instrument for drawing people to the Church. However, “mercy” without Truth is not mercy at all – it’s coddling. People don’t need to be coddled. That will not lead them to freedom from sin. Truth as revealed in the Scriptures & in the teachings of the Holy Catholic Church – that is what will lead people to holiness. Christ said that He came to give us abundant life, but He also said that we must pick up our cross daily. Mercy & Truth – they must go hand in hand.

  2. Gretchen says:

    Two words. Orwell. Newspeak.

  3. Ben Anderson says:

    The cure for problems caused by progressivism? More radical progressivism.

    Pray and fast.

  4. CPT Tom says:

    Of course, because what we need in the Church today is LESS clarity…because that has worked out so well the last 50 years! Here in NY our Bishops let the government redefine marriage with barely a shrug, and now we have Cardinal Dolan in NY saying that life issues aren’t anything worth going to the mat for, and there is nothing wrong with Catholics identifying as Gay. Intrinsically disordered. nope. Living in Sin…too harsh. Who are we to judge? *head banging*

  5. JLo says:

    This synod’s suggestions/subscriptions will tell me if the knot in my stomach since Pope Benedict XVI retired has a basis in anything but my personal fears. Watching keenly with holy Hope that Truth will prevail; else…. What?!

  6. Richard Thomas says:

    It’s interesting how progressivism has infiltrated almost every organization , including various religions. Didn’t the Anglicans recently remove the word “Satan” from their baptismal rite? Boy, we are in one huge rebellion. Every aspect of society. Right now, not many are defending truth. Even the Catholic Church is paralized by Modernism and cannot really speak and teach the truth.

  7. Bernie says:

    JLo: me, too.

  8. annonymouse says:

    Here’s the plan – if we get rid of sin, we don’t need mercy! And if we don’t need mercy, we don’t need a Savior! Christ was born, lived, died and rose again for nothing!

    Could have been devised by Screwtape or Our Father Below, and, if the spin in the press is accurate, it’s being embraced at the synod.

  9. militia says:

    Michael Voris nails it tonight….and what is happening in Rome is scary. Here is the link:

  10. Diane Harris says:

    If you think Voris is scary, try reading the 58 point document that came out of the Synod today. THAT is very scary.

    And here is the very reliable LifeSiteNews’ take on the matter:

    Its headline reads: “Earthquake: Vatican Synod mid-term report suggests emphasizing ‘positive’ aspects of cohabitation, homosexuality.” By Patrick B. Craine

    That such a document could even be released by the Cardinal participants is a great shame for the Church, and shows clearly where the real problems are — in the hierarchy and its inability to govern in accordance with Christ’s Teaching. Finally, the Gospel words become much clearer: Luke 18:7-8

    “And will not God vindicate His elect, who cry to him day and night? Will He delay long over them? I tell you, He will vindicate them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of man comes, will He find faith on earth?”

    Now we also have a much deeper understanding of what Paul VI meant when he said that the smoke of Satan had entered the Church.

    Maranatha. Come Lord Jesus.

  11. annonymouse says:

    Another key part of the plan: completely confuse the faithful. Find the “positive aspects” in objectively mortal sin, and never, ever, use such language, lest anyone be led to repent and convert.

  12. annonymouse says:

    Another key part of the plan: completely confuse the faithful. Find the “positive aspects” in objectively mortal sin, and never, ever, use such language, lest anyone be led to repent and convert. St. Thomas More, pray for us!

  13. Sid says:

    Diane is quite correct in that that the Pope, his press team, and/or his English translator(s) have a knack for enigmatic, equivocal, and fur-raising little quips, sound bites, and draft documents. The Holy Father is certainly a very smart man and of course divinely guided by the Holy Spirit. I’m not sure his advisers are as guided, though when all these pronouncements/working documents/whatever get sent up the flagpole to see how the faithful (and media) react. The only thing that gets accomplished is that people on BOTH sides of every issue get anxious/irate/disappointed.

    They need to discuss things in private, reach decisions, and then (only then!) issue the findings in unambiguous language, preferably Latin which (being near-dead) is less subject to linguistic evolution. People can hire their own translators. Please consider carefully, make decisions, and finally publish once. Do so in Latin and be very precise and crystal-clear.

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