Thursday, January 17, 2013

Sin Your Way to Salvation!

Two very odd and rather funny things about this Matt McGuiness debate.


1. McGuiness' defenders in the comboxes here keep telling me over and over that I'm misreading him.  And then they proceed to paraphrase what he's saying so that I can understand it, and they proceed to say exactly what I'm claiming McGuiness is saying.  It goes something like this ...

"You've misread him totally!  He's not saying you can sin your way to salvation!  He's saying that if you're sinning a little bit, you should sin a whole lot more so you'll be miserable and repent and find salvation!"


2. It is impossible to criticize the content of anyone's argument without being accused of being judgmental and committing a mortal sin, such as calumny or detraction.

This is not so funny, actually.

For example, Dawn Eden, who was a victim of childhood sexual abuse, complains that McGuiness opens his article by making light of a teenage girl being sodomized.  And what has the reaction been?  Criticism of Dawn Eden!  How dare she judge Matt McGuiness.


Anyway, keep your eye on the comboxes here and elsewhere and you'll see these two responses playing themselves out again and again.  McGuiness, I'm afraid, has two more installments of his "reflections on pornography" still to be published (foolishly) by CNA, an organization that needs to man up and put a stop to this before it gets worse.

But they won't, and the voices of sanity and Catholic orthodoxy that will be raised will be shouted down for 1. misunderstanding things - which will then be explained in a way that makes it clear that nothing was misunderstood; and 2. for rash judgment, calumny, and detraction - for apparently if you say, "You are wrong to tell people that virtue, mortification and penance will not help sinners; that the only help for sin is more sinning," you are yourself a sinner in saying so.

But of course by that logic, if I'm really guilty of rash judgment, calumny and detraction, I should pile it on more and more, shouldn't I?  If a porn addict who dabbles in porn should go all out and throw himself into porn, then a supercilious prig like me should go all out and become a real jack ass, right?

Now that's a game plan!  And it's something I can handle!


Joey Higgins said...

If it were possible to study, I think it would be interesting to find out how many people open with, "You're not being charitable," or the equivalent when they are doing the same thing. There seems to be a trend from my experience in the accuser missing the point of the accused more often than not. And why wouldn't it be that way? If you had a good argument, you'd probably open with that.

Now, sometimes I have misunderstood and not be charitable, but that is the exception.

Thanks for following this issue.

Scott W. said...

Good point Joey. Or as I sometimes say, "Uncharitable" is the Christian version of the race card--to be thrown out as a trump when you have no substantive argument.

Seraph said...

As any good priest will tell you, the first rule in the spiritual life is to stop sinning!

It boggles the mind that anyone can even attempt to defend mortal sin. We are never justified in committing mortal sin, ever. Moral evil is moral evil. Ends do not justify the means.

We have a generation of "conservative" Catholics who know really don't know philosophy, theology, ethics, or even the teachings of the saints from the previous centuries. They are culturally and philosophically liberal with their Catholicism being shallow.

Anonymous said...

I read the McG article and something that struck me was his very cushy rhetoric. I happen to have a very keen BS meter, so I took a closer look. The articles are clearly addressed to women. He is telling women to stop freaking about porn usage. He addresses nothing manly about porn in the sense of its affects, but he gets all comfy with FEELINGS. Ya know, when men feeeeeeel worse because he was watching hardcore porn he will suddenly see Jesus. Those feeeeeelings will then free him from. It keeps bringing to mind Luther's bit about the dung ball covered in snow; he is just dung after all, and will eventually notice the snow. The problem is ; he's still just a dung ball. These sin boldly types are denying everyone Christ's image and Goodness and ability to be virtuous. The almost passive aggressive nature of the writing further indicated to me that he's targeting women... Huh... Didn't some other biblical figure target women at the cost of her husband?
Any woman with a husband who is dealing with a porn problem needs to seek to understand the biochemical effects and the psychology of addiction; not to encourage him to find a rock bottom, because that's the only way out. Encouraging that only hurts her and her conjugal relationship with her husband.
I could go on quite a bit about this, as a woman, but my last words are BEWARE. Authentic help is available and the sacrament of reconciliation should be the first and frequent stop.

Anonymous said...

Sorry! I am the last anon... I am Katheryn and have been fascinated by this blog all day.

Chris said...

FYI- Alice Von Hildebrand has a piece on Catholic News Agency today. I don't know if it is directly in reply to the McGuiness article, but it addresses some of the more basic errors under the idea that there is moral evil that is redeemable or has value, something propounded by McGuiness and also C. West.

Kevin said...

I think we might be waiting awhile before we see pats two and three. CNA took some obvious blowback on this, and they are going to be a bit more careful going forward.

Probably for the best. Nobody wants to outright censor Mr. McGuiness, but he should realize he is entering into the public sphere, so he needs to be a lot more careful.

And I hope nobody will mind me adding my own two cents to this debate over at Catholic Lane:

Scott W. said...

he articles are clearly addressed to women. He is telling women to stop freaking about porn usage. He addresses nothing manly about porn in the sense of its affects, but he gets all comfy with FEELINGS.

Good observation. I hadn't thought of that. Obviously we can't be dismissive of feelings, but too often they are used as a cover to obscure objective reality.

Scott W. said...

P.S. Pardon me for playing grammar schoolmarm, but it's "effects", not "affects".

Anonymous said...

Tell that to auto-correct, schoolmarm.