TO LIGHT A FIRE!
In Pursuit of Love or Perdition?
Vincent J. Genovesi, S.J. is the relatively unknown Jesuit author of the moral theology reference book entitled “In Pursuit of Love”. It is apparently a favorite textbook on sexual morality used by Jesuit professors especially for priests and nuns studying at the Loyola School of Theology and at the Ateneo itself. As its sub-title indicates, the book presents itself as a seeming authority on Catholic moral teachings on Human Sexuality. As of last week however, Genovesi has become no longer an obscure person, at least within the confines of Metro Manila Catholic schools of theology of whatever kind.
Aside from having studied at those ultra-liberal-modernist-theology oriented Jesuit schools such as Fordham in New York City and Woodstock in Maryland and being a professor at St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia, Genovesi’s seeming authoritativeness as a teacher on sexual morality, appears to be due to the fact that he is a veritable mouthpiece of the much more wellknown and original core group of DISSENTING Catholic theologians. They have long fulminated against official Catholic teachings on premarital sex, contraception, abortion, ordination of women, clerical celibacy among others.
And so from start to finish, the book is rife with footnotes ascribing such seeming authoritativeness and intellectual gravitas to the similar earlier opinions of those original and media glorified modernist DISSIDENTS. Thus Charles E. Curran the ordained Catholic priest who was disqualified from teaching Catholic Theology by the Vatican as early as 1986, and Jesuits Richard A. McCormick, S.J. (died 2000), Francis A. Sullivan, S.J., Karl Rahner, S.J. (died 1984), to name a few, compose the core group of this Jesuit dominated “footnote-periti” of the book In Pursuit of Love.
And so too in the wake of our nationwide controversy on the Reproductive Health Bill, it was not surprising why the Internet’s local chain of interlinked e-mail addresses among rival Catholic school faculties and alumni intelligentsia, was filled with criss-crossing comments and counter-comments soon after someone had posted the original critique with its palpable outrage over the Ateneo Jesuits having the gall to publish the book for local distribution through their Jesuit Communications Foundation.
I confess that I too received a fair amount of those comments about Genovesi’s book, most probably because the e-mail senders still remember that on July 31, 2005 (Feast of St. Ignatius of Loyola) I must have shocked a good number of personalities within my own Jesuit and Ateneo alumni circle of friends, as a result of my hardhitting comments and shocking revelations in my autobiography Light A Fire II
In truth I received enough of those Genovesi-related materials via the Internet to prod me ASAP into looking for and buying the book immediately! And also, to revive my long dormant Blog by writing this commentary.
With all due respect to everybody, thus I submit that from a truly Catholic conviction, Genovesi’s treatise should be considered as in pursuit, NOT of LOVE, but of moral PERDITION and CONFUSION – whether willy nilly or not, but certainly because of the author’s non-Catholic point of view!
There is no other conclusion logically possible for authentic Catholics, for the simple reason that Genovesi’s In Pursuit of Love (GIPOL, henceforth for brevity) is based on philosophical propositions, factual allegations and definitions of terms which are obviously contrary to the perennial and authentic teachings of the Catholic Church Magisterium. And more particularly in fact, GIPOL directly contradicts the most recent Papal encyclicals on the subject matter, i.e. Humanae Vitae, Evangelium Vitae, Veritatis Splendor and Vatican II itself, in a manner and tone which suggest as if these magisterial teachings were written by doddering old-fashioned clergymen and ignoramuses on the Catholic Theology on faith and morals.
On Authentic Catholic Teaching
Vatican II’s Dogmatic Constitution on the Church (Lumen Gentium or Light of the World) has already emphatically re-affirmed the 2,000 plus years old doctrine, that our Catholic bishops united with the Pope are the Catholic Church’s “authentic teachers”, that is, teachers endowed with “the authority of Christ.” GIPOL however repeatedly manifests in no uncertain terms, that the late 20th century albeit contrary opinions of Genovesi, Curran, Sullivan, McCormick, Rahner et al are at a superior level of logic, as well as moral and theological authoritativeness.
Furthermore, in Vatican II’s Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation (Dei Verbum) it is ALSO RE-AFFIRMED that “the task of authentically interpreting the Word of God, whether written or handed down, has been entrusted EXCLUSIVELY to the living teaching office of the Church, whose authority is exercised in the name of Jesus Christ” (DV10)
And yet according to GIPOL: ( page 67, Chapter2 )
“To speak, then, of authentic teachings of the Church does not mean that such teachings are always or necessarily true or accurate. Rather, the authentic teachings of the Church are those that are official or authoritative because they are proposed by the hierarchical magisterium.” (page 67, ibid with emphasis added)
And thus by GIPOL’s convoluted logic such “authentic” teachings, despite being “official” or “authoritative”, are supposedly “NOT always NOR necessarily true or accurate”. Therefore, GIPOL has clearly yet arrogantly laid down their self-serving basis for Church-wide disobedience to the Magisterium. For the unavoidable conclusion from GIPOL’s grossly faulty logic is that the authentic teachings of the Magisterium of the Catholic Church are NOT reliable, may even be erroneous, and thus surely non-infallible… while their own dissenting views are presumed to be reliable, and even supposedly consistent with the opinions of a majority of Catholic theologians.
And yet in Genovesi’s singleminded attempts to convince his readers that the Catholic Church Magisterium is allegedly teaching outmoded and erroneous moral principles, particularly on sexual morality and contraceptives, the author merely succeeded in highlighting the monstrous features of GIPOL’s mainly neo-Jesuit road map to perdition. Thus for example, the following:
Morally wrong but still supposedly okay!
Second; intercourse outside marriage might be seen as an objective moral wrong but subjectively not sinful in the following scenarios: (1) after dating steadily for three years, two young adults become engaged with plans to be married within a year. After prayerful reflection and careful discussion, they honestly believe that given their mutual love, intercourse would not be wrong for them; this is their sincere judgment. Objectively, they may be mistaken in their evaluation and an objective moral wrong may be involved, but there would probably be no serious sin on their part; (2) two teenagers, who have been bombarded by the sexual fireworks of our society and who find themselves pushed to false sophistication, may wind up in a relationship that stirs their feelings far more than they understand or can cope with; their passions prevail and become their masters, leading the couple into periodic episodes of genital involvement. Here again, objective moral wrong exists, but if there is truly a curtailment of the couple’s freedom, the reality of serious subjective guilt or sin seems unlikely. Pastorally, of course, these teenagers need to be informed of the human and spiritual harm associated with their activity. It is to be hoped, too, that they can be brought to a change of behavior.” (GIPOL, page 175 with emphasis added)
Twitting Church Teaching
“…After recognizing that it is morally permitted to engage in sexual intercourse while maintaining the desire and intention to avoid conception, we must then ask whether any means other than periodic abstinence may be used morally to achieve the intended goal of not procreating.
The answer offered both by Humane Vitae and by the long-standing Catholic tradition is no. The argument offered is that contraceptive intercourse is against the natural order of things as intended and established by God, who wills that the procreative and unitive dimensions of the conjugal act be kept inseparable. (NOTE: Hence contraception is an intrinsic evil!) As suggested earlier, however, this line of reasoning appears flawed in that God and nature have seen to it that in no small measure the procreative and unitive dimensions of human sexuality are separable and separated – during a woman’s cyclic periods of infertility, after menopause, and in instances of biological sterility. (NOTE: Separate in time/space, but nevertheless inseparable in their purpose, by God’s sovereign Will!)
Two Wrongs Make it Right?
…As we shall see, any number (big deal!?!) of Catholic theologians now maintain that assuming spouses are responsibly motivated and are not acting out of selfish or materialistic contraceptive mentality, the use of artificial contraception does not constitute a moral evil or sin and is not even an objective moral wrong.” (page 201, ibid, with emphasis and comments added! )
“… adolescents, young adults, and anyone else who cannot be dissuaded from engaging in non-marital, pre-marital, or extra-marital intercourse, should be encouraged to a careful use of some kind of contraception. Moral responsibility would seem to demand this course of action.” (page 223, ibid) NOTE: Obviously their student priests, nuns and even bishops would be included among “anyone else” who are being “encouraged” by GIPOL to indulge in contraception in order to cover-up their illicit sexual activities!
GIPOL’s topsy-turvy hierarchy on moral authority:
Should it happen that a seemingly infallible teaching not be received or accepted as such by the body of the faithful, we are given some indication that the magisterium has failed to fulfill the necessary conditions for teaching infallibly and thus exceeded its competence to do so… But what can be maintained is this: while it is not the faithful’s acceptance or reception in faith that makes a particular teaching of the magisterium infallible, nonetheless, such acceptance by the believing community does certify or notarize that the teaching is in fact infallible. (page 71, GIPOL) NOTE: Thus according to these Jesuit dissidents, it is now the lay faithful in general, and NOT the hierarchy, who may certify that in fact any such teaching by the Magisterium is “in fact infallible!” And just who will they be? And what is their minimum number necessary so that such “faithful” lay people will qualify as a group to become some sort of super-magisterium, PRAY TELL!
In short, just because an inchoate number of DISSIDENT Catholics have rejected the Papal encyclical Humanae Vitae (HV), then GIPOL presumes Pope Paul VI must have “failed to fulfill the necessary conditions for teaching infallibly and thus… exceeded (his) competence to do so”. And per GIPOL, only if and when this present selective rejection of HV by these dissidents will have turned into UNIVERSAL acceptance, would there be a “certification” or “notarization” that HV is in fact infallible! But that’s the same kind of veto power the Pharisses wanted to impose on Jesus Christ…
The most HIDEOUS of GIPOL monstrosities are from Rahner & Curran:
For now I propose we listen to some of the theological voices in the consensus that denies there can be (NOTE: in other words, there CANNOT BE) any infallible teaching when dealing with specific moral norms and questions. According to Karl Rahner, S.J., “apart from wholly universal moral norms of an abstract kind… there are hardly any particular or individual norms of Christian morality which could be proclaimed by the ordinary or extraordinary teaching authority of the Church in such a way that they could be unequivocally and certainly declared to have the force of dogmas”. A similar but perhaps slightly stronger position is taken by Charles Curran: “There has never been an infallible pronouncement or teaching on a specific moral matter; the very nature of specific moral actions makes it impossible, in my judgment, to have any infallible pronouncements in this area.” (page 72, ibid with emphasis added)
For us Christians, to be directed by a true moral conscience means that we are giving honest expression to our desire to live in the manner we think, (NOTE: To each his own truth!) best embodies the kind of love revealed in and by Christ for our imitation. (page 83, ibid)
NOTE: Charles Curran is the priest who was formally prohibited and disqualified by Pope John Paul II in 1986 from teaching theology in any Catholic institution! And Karl Rahner (died in 1984) among his many other dissenting propositions, questioned the validity of our Catholic belief in the REAL PRESENCE of Christ’s body and blood, soul and divinity in the Blessed Sacrament…
Obviously, these dissident Catholic theologians’ opinion in the preceding text (page 83, ibid), endorse a universal kind of moral relativism to be embraced even by Christians. It is a relativism where everybody has his/her own definition of moral truth, and is encouraged to behave as they see fit and “do his/her own thing” provided they themselves “think (it) best” to do so.
More of GIPOL’S most noxious dissident monstrosity: (page 232, ibid)
RESPONSIBLE (sic!) DISSENT FROM AUTHENTIC FALLIBLE TEACHING
Earlier in this volume we considered the essential role the magisterium plays in the articulation and explanation of moral teachings. We indicated that the Church clearly has a right and a duty to address any issue of personal or public morality. [CAUTION: Please note the cleverly camouflaged thus seeming concession to “the Church” having a clear right and duty to address moral issues. Consider however that “the Church” they are referring to is NOT the Magisterium, but the Church in general, thus certainly and self-servingly including themselves as dissidents! The following textual continuation makes this point more obvious….]
(continued) We noted as well that the clear theological consensus today maintains that with regard to specific norms of morality, the magisterium has never exercised its official teaching authority in an infallible way by means of any solemn definition issued either by a pope or by the college of bishops gathered together in an ecumenical council. [NOTE: Until the year 1996 when the 1st Edition of GIPOL was first published by the Order of St. Benedict, Inc., Collegeville, Minnesota, therefore such a supposed “theological consensus” would like us Catholics to believe that ever since Christ ascended to Heaven, we never had the benefit of any official, infallible and specific Catholic moral teachings at all!]
But what about AFTER 1996?
Moreover, there is still some discussion about whether the magisterium could ever teach infallibly concerning specific moral norms. Francis A. Sullivan, S.J. claims that most Catholic theologians (how does Sullivan know that for sure?) and moralists now judge that the particular norms of a morality based solely on the natural law are simply not proper matter for irreformable or infallible teaching. As Sullivan rightly observes, the judgment of these moralists “rules out not only the possibility of the infallible definition of such a norm, but also the claim that such a norm has ever been, or could be, infallibly taught by the ordinary universal magisterium. (page 232, ibid, with emphasis added)
In short, even the specific moral norms from the Ten Commandments, or its synthesis in the Two Greatest Commandments, supposedly have NEVER been and could NEVER ever be considered as infallible, according to GIPOL!
HOW DO WE REFUTE SUCH MONSTROUSLY HERETICAL PROPOSITIONS?
A point by point refutation of even just the most fundamental fallacies in GIPOL would surely require a much longer presentation. It would also probably be too tedious and too difficult for ordinary Catholics to understand much less to digest and remember.
There is a simpler yet equally logical way to prove that a proposition is FALSE. It is done by first assuming for the sake of argument, that the proposition is true. And if by proceeding arguendo, step by step from that assumption, you end up unavoidably in an obviously false or untenable conclusion, (Reductio ad absurdum!), then you will have logically proven that such a proposition was really and demonstrably FALSE.
And so assuming for the sake of argument that the teachings of ALL the Popes starting from St. Peter and the various Catholic magisteria united with these Popes during their lifetimes including the present one loyal to Benedict XVI, per these Jesuit dissident theologians Genovesi, Sullivan, McCormick, Rahner et al, yes -- ALL THOSE magisterial teachings -- should be “ruled out”, or DISQUALIFIED. Let us even presume that all these were invalid, not only as to the “possibility of the infallible definition” of any moral norm, but also the claim that any such norm has “ever been, or could be, infallibly taught by the ordinary universal magisterium”, as is being claimed by GIPOL on page 232 thereof.
If we accept the foregoing assumptions, we will also therefore not be able to AVOID coming to the mindboggling and faith-shattering conclusion that: Any Tom, Dick and Harry’s claim for a moral truth will be just as valid or non-valid as somebody else’s! Also, there will be NOTHING which Catholics or any other religious group may claim to be a truly moral certitude! And so, nobody but nobody could truly claim any moral principle is absolutely true, much less impose that belief on the conscience of anybody! In short, its either moral RELATIVISM or worse, ethical NIHILISM! Reductio ad absurdum!
And here is what my old Webster’s College Dictionary has to say on NIHILISM.
a) the denial of the existence of any basis for knowledge or truth
b) the general rejection of customary beliefs in morality, religion etc. also ethical nihilism
And from Wikipedia: “the term nihilism is sometimes used synonymously with ANOMIE, to denote the general mood of despair at the pointlessness of existence when they realize there are no necessary norms, rules or laws (or are simply claimed to be destructively amoralistic).
Need we say anything more? Or shouldn’t we all exclaim with great sadness to be addressed even to ourselves, to these dissident Jesuit theologians, to their Jesuit confreres and their students at the Ateneo de Manila, and to local Church authorities who as shepherds of Christ are supposed to defend His flock from marauding wolves especially those disguised as sheep, or even as false pastors: “Ubinam gentium sumus?” For where and how in the world have we the supposedly loyal sons and daughters of numberless saints all of whom were absolutely loyal to the Church Magisterium, such as St. Paul the Apostle of the Gentiles, Ignatius of Loyola, Francis Xavier, Robert Bellarmine, St. Benedict, St. Benilde, Thomas Aquinas or the Blessed Virgin Mary herself, and yet have sunk ourselves down to such disastrous depths of moral absurdity and permissiveness?
Last week NBA basketball star Allen Iverson, (who was recently traded by the Philadelphia 76ers to the Detroit Pistons), was ordered by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, to pay a hefty penalty of $260,000 to a certain Marvin Godfrey. The 3-judge
At about the same time last week, this time at Notre Dame University in South Bend, Indiana (where in 1952 I failed to join my late brother Valdemar in Notre Dame’s College of Engineering by not having met its academic requirements), the Catholic Bishop of Indiana, John D’ Arcy publicly announced over the diocesan Website, that he would no longer attend this year’s Commencement Exercises, as a result of U.S. President Barack Obama’s having been invited as its primary Guest Speaker, even without the Bishop’s prior knowledge nor consent.
Bishop D’ Arcy emphasized that he made his decision after much prayerful discernment, and that he intended no disrespect for the U.S. President. He did so simply because “a bishop must teach the Catholic faith in season and out of season”, and not only by his words - - but by his actions. He further added: “My decision is not an attack on anyone, but in defense of the truth about human life. The Catholic community and Catholic institutions should not honor those who act in defiance of our fundamental moral principles. They should not be given awards, honors or platforms which would suggest support for their actions. Indeed the measure of any Catholic institution is not only what it stands for, but also what it will NOT stand for”. (Ateneo Jesuits, please note!)
Some four years ago I was able to obtain from the Internet, a copy of a Jesuit priest’s letter written on October 25, 2001 to his Superior General. I had it reproduced in toto in Chapter 19, page 305 of my autobiography LIGHT A FIRE II. Here it is once again, for it is similar in substance to that of Bishop D’ Arcy’s objections about Obama.
Dear Fr. Kolvenbach,
Thank you for your letter of 3rd September. I apologize for not replying sooner. These last few weeks have been traumatic, culminating in a collapse and my hospitalization at the end of October for four days. It was not life-threatening, just the result of the tensions of the last 30 years, as a result of which I will be retiring in the next few months.
In confirming your decision to refuse me permission to publish my book, Pope’s Men: The Jesuits Yesterday and Today, you say that you have no objection to my manifesting conscience on this matter; only to the manner in which I have made it, i.e., by a book of this nature. I accept this. My concerns can be briefly stated in this open letter. This will enable me to manifest that conscience most directly and ease the pressure on it.
That conscience has been under strain since 1968 when the Society as a whole, despite Fr. Arrupe’s exhortations on the matter, refused to support Paul VI on Humanae Vitae. Since Ignatius founded the Society to campaign for God in faithful obedience to the Papacy, and to put aside all judgment of our own to obey in all things our Holy Mother, the hierarchical Church, our duty here was clear and our refusal to do it was scandalous.
Since 1965 four General Congregations have accepted that some of us have been remiss in our duty of obedience to the popes and the hierarchical Church and promised we would change our policies, but we have not. Too many Jesuits are still giving the opposite impression and going unchallenged. I was not so long ago told by a distinguished Catholic academic that he admired Jesuits because they “can say and do what they like in the Church and get away with it”. I pointed out to him that we are not all tarred with the same brush. He was more than a little surprised.
Fr. Arrupe warned that if three popes have called us to account, then it is Christ the Lord who expects something better of us. He also warned us that to fail in fidelity to the Papacy is to sign our own death sentence. Far from resenting John Paul II’s intervention in 1981, he saw it as an occasion for demonstrating that wholehearted obedience to the Holy See to which we are vowed. Our response generally has been quite different, doing the minimum necessary to ensure no further action was taken against us and feeling aggrieved that we have been wrongly treated.
You yourself have reminded us that fidelity to the Holy See is of the essence of our vocation, and when the 33rd General Congregation asked you to look again at the rules for thinking with the Church in the light of the Council you said that they are as valid today as ever. My experience of the Society tells me that that is not the way Jesuits on the whole think. The general view is that we are an autonomous organization in the Church and should be allowed to proceed as we think fit.
Far from superiors generally giving us a lead in faithful obedience to the Pope and the Magisterium, too many (of these superiors) regard anyone who insists these are the essence of the Jesuit vocation, as stupid or malicious. I on many occasions have had to resist pressure from such men to abandon these ideals; this is a complete perversion of Jesuit obedience; to have been subject to such pressure is a form of spiritual and mental torture, a scandal that should not be allowed to pass unchallenged.
I write this letter on our patronal feast day, and I cannot help reflecting on Campion’s words, when on his capture he was taken before the Queen. His fidelity to the Papacy being challenged, he told his questioners that that was “my greatest glory”. Such is the tradition of the
Yours in Christ,
Rodger Charles, SJ
Our children and grandchildren at the Ateneo de Manila and in other Catholic schools where these rabidly dissident yet supposedly “still Catholic” theologians’ PREDILECTION for moral relativism and/or ethical nihilism have been taught or promoted in one form or another, have therefore been morally and intellectually beaten up black and blue, since the 1960s. Thus in comparison, such INTRINSIC EVIL perpetrated on thousands of young minds, has been certainly far worse than the physical trauma Iverson’s bodyguards inflicted on just one person. As Fr. Rodger Charles, S.J. expressed in his letter, it is our “own death sentence” and a form of “spiritual and moral torture” and a “scandal that should not be allowed to pass unchallenged.”
I shudder therefore over what the Divine Supreme Court will deem as a just and appropriate “millstone” type of sentence or judgment,* even on those who merely have negligently stood idly by and unconcerned, all the while that our innocent children and grandchildren and even theirs too, have been repeatedly scandalized, mauled and mutilated, morally and intellectually, for heaven knows how long!
And for those who have been actually teaching or deliberately abetting such monstrous falsehoods? Lord, PLEASE have mercy… ESPECIALLY on Thy REPENTANT sons and daughters whose souls have been uniquely consecrated to Thee, particularly as priests and bishops of Thy one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church…
EDUARDO B. OLAGUER
Catholic Xybrspace Apostolate
The Catholic Bishops of the
* Matthew 18: 6-7