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Sophistry Slouching Toward Apostasy: Response to the Commonweal Essay of Joseph Bottum Comments

I read the 9,000 word essay entitled The Things We Share: A Catholic's Case for Same-Sex Marriage last weekend. It was written by Joseph Bottum for Commonweal magazine. In fact, I read it several times. Each time, it broke my heart at an even deeper level. The first thing I did was to pray about my response. I decided to wait until I could let my emotional reaction to it calm down a bit. I knew the utter despair that this essay would ... Continue Reading

11 - 20 of 26 Comments

  1. Kyle
    1 year ago

    The tragedy of the "Moderns", in the moral relativism infecting our time, is the individualistic, and rather lazy ideal of some great new virtue called "Tolerance." This third 'wave' of modern thought likes to mock those who stand for a distinction between right and wrong, good and evil, and even sanity vs. insanity. They claim that by trying to actually stand for true virtues, character, and a "good" life rather than "mere" life, we are a bunch of bigots.

    Ironically, bigotry, as intolerance, is exactly what the moderns hypocritically practice themselves. Their lack of tolerance for divine and natural reasoning, for a meaningful search to try and understand the basic foundations of what will constitute a loving, lasting, and healthy society, is a clear mark of exactly what Socrates preached, namely, "that the unexamined life is not worth living."

    If we don't search for truth, if we get swept up with the tide of believing that everything involving ethics and morality are just opinions, then we have missed the boat. Drowned by a confused view of rights and freedom, we actually become the intolerant folk that we so detest, because the very notion of "truth" infringes on our on personal egocentric world.

    Thank God we have the gift of prayer, we need it more than ever!

    "Art, like morality, consists of drawing the line somewhere."- GK Chesterton

  2. Nancy
    1 year ago

    Within The Seamless Garment, there is this common thread, there is no division in Christ's One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church,The Church that Christ Was baptized into and promised to remain within. If ecumenism does not lead one to His Church, outside which there is no Salvation, then it is a false spirit of ecumenism.

    Perfect Love desires Salvation for one's beloved.

    "I Give you a new commandment, Love one another a I Have Loved you." - Jesus The Christ

  3. Bob
    1 year ago

    One word describes my feeling, "depressed" but I add deeply disappointed. Why people would attack the deacon as a hater is beyond comprehension. Defending the teaching of the Church as an ordained minister by no means should arouse such direct and personal hate filled attacks. The Evil Spirit of darkness is at work here and will continue to the end of time. We know what happens when the Covenant is broken and even with the fact that His mercy endures for ever, a Father must discipline His children in order to properly bring them up in the Faith. Sin has consequences, therefore, brothers and sisters must speak up to bring about the awareness of these meretricious arguments so people don't fall for these false claims.

  4. Tom McGuire
    1 year ago

    Deacon Keith your readers should know that Joseph Bottum is quoted in the UCNA as saying: “I'm not dissenting from Church doctrine here [in the Commonweal article], in any way...”

  5. Oakes Spalding
    1 year ago

    "Join me in praying for him to recover his clarity and once again turn his substantial gifts back toward defending all that is good and true."

    Not to be too much of a pessimist, but can anyone here point out a similar case where the person really did "turn back"? It strikes me that the opposite is almost always the case. Before long Bottum will be decrying the "hate" in the Pro-Life movement or writing op-eds in support of Hillary Clinton's 2016 campaign, or whatever.

  6. Deacon Phil Mayer
    1 year ago

    Deacon Keith,

    It seems that you are quite the intellectual! At least, I found your response to be "intellectual"........perhaps even more "intellectual" than Joseph Bottom's article. But then I am not one who can judge such things as .... "it takes one to know one."

    To me, Joseph Bottom's article seemed a reasonable reflection and response to the crisis in our culture that is evident by the FACT of civil gay marriage. It is here.......

    How do we respond to it (gay marriage)? With redoubled effort at intellectual argumentation? Will this "intellectualism" be the answer?

    I think that Pope Francis is pointing the way. The question modern man is asking is not, "What is truth?" This is of no interest to him. The question of modern man is not so much a question as a demand, "How should I live? Show me how to live!"...

    What modern man needs is not more arguments....... but to see the full human life, the Christian life, LIVED!!! And that life of Faith is the the joy and the gladness of the Encounter with the Risen Lord. This Event (the Event of Christ) is not a natural law argument. It is something that happens. It happens and changes everything. This is our only hope......... the Encounter and life with the Risen Lord Jesus.

    I respect your thoughts.....your arguments. I also respect Joseph Bottum's reflections and conclusions. But none of this is the "heart" of Faith........ what is happening in our culture is the consequence of the lack of Faith. We need to live Faith!

    God is good and will bring good out of this........ let's not be afraid. We can go out into the world (especially to the "peripheries") and bear witness........a witness that is Love made flesh......the Presence of Christ!!

    Deacon Phil Mayer

  7. David Mills
    1 year ago

    A small correction: Jody was replaced first by James Nuechterlein as interim editor and then by R. R. Reno. I was deputy editor and then became executive editor when Reno began as editor in April 2011.

  8. Ann Malley
    1 year ago

    Maimonides: Mr. Buttoms is the one being narrow minded as he has limited himself to his own personal views based on what? His own ideas - very narrow and dangerous road. How does this man know that homosexual pseudo-marriage doesn't or will not harm anyone? He doesn't. He doesn't see past the sentimental, temporary fix that is momentarily popular. And he'll be long dead when others suffer the repercussions of his leading others to toss out common sense, the natural law, and Church teaching.

    This is not to say that war and poverty are not important issues. But the Bible itself calls out the sin of Sodom as one of those that cry to Heaven. This is not a construct of the good Deacon. It is Truth. And it is highly open minded to accept the spiritual realities we cannot see and act accordingly.

    Otherwise we all run the risk of behaving like heady youths, filled with our own ideas of what the world is and/or should be like, only to come to the realization after hurting ourselves, others, and often the whole of our community that our parents were right.


  9. Fr. Tim Moyle
    1 year ago

    I too was deeply disappointed by Jody Bottom's column. It is difficult for me to understand how he came to such a flawed conclusion given his deep faith and commitment to the Catholic Church.

    While I appreciate his pastoral desire to not alienate gays and lesbians from the Catholic community, demeaning and opposing the philosophy and theology that sustains our conception of marriage is not the way to go. Christian truth is itself an expression of mercy insofar as it tells us that everyone is welcome into God's grace. We must not deny truth with a false soft-sell of the reality which that truth demands when it comes to determining the rightness (or not) of our actions. Put in terms of Jody's commentary, it is inappropriate to say that same-sex marriages are legitimate just because it may lead one to a more chaste lifestyle. If a sexual act is sinful, the fact that it occurs only with one other person doesn't make it acceptable to God. For example, to argue as he does leaves Jody open to an argument that so long as one only steals from one merchant and not everywhere they shop mitigates or erases my sin.

    One final point: Thank you Deacon Keith for the charity you display in your assessment of Jody's piece. Indeed the best response we can offer (aside from pointing out its significant errors in logic and theology) is to lift him up in prayer in the hope that the light of reason and faith will assist him in seeing the errors in his present belief that the Church should accept what is a clearly sinful as being acceptable to God.

    Fr. Tim Moyle
    Diocese of Pembroke

  10. Maimonides
    1 year ago

    I'm sorry, Deacon Keith, that you feel such distaste towards your fellow human beings. I'm sorry too that you believe that the entire world must subscribe to your way of thinking. "Natural Moral Law" is a phrase that you and, sadly, many other close-minded people feel that they can use to continue to justify their narrowness and rigidity; The "thinness" that Mr. Buttoms spoke on refers to exactly this phenomenon. Furthermore, he didn't misread anything, you did. He argued that Gay marriage, as something that no one has to participate in if they don't want to, and as something that does no actual harm to anyone, should be further down the list of priorities than say, poverty or the uncontrollable violence in the middle east.

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