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The Measure of Sincerity

A number of people seem to have misunderstood my last post, so I'm going to make this more explicit.

Catholic Obama supporters justified their support of the most pro-abortion presidential candidate in history by appealing to the principle of double-effect. (Even those who did not work this out explicitly must have done so implicitly, in order for it to be justified). In other words, they supported Obama knowing of his wicked and vicious policies on the theory that there were other proportionate reasons to support him. Whether explicitly or implicitly, they appealed to the moral theology of double-effect to justify material cooperation with his vicious policies because they thought it would be good for him to be elected in spite of his vicious policies.

Any Catholic Obama supporters who did not vote for him on this basis were formally cooperating with Obama's wicked and vicious policies, committed a grave sin, and will go to Hell for it if they do not repent, confess, and do penance. I'm not really addressing those Catholics in my posts, but I do pray for their damned souls, that they may repent before it is too late.

Now that the election is over, the measure of Catholic Obama supporters' sincerity will be how vocally, publicly, unequivocally, and persistently Catholic Obama supporters oppose his vicious and wicked policies. They no longer have any proportionate reason to cooperate with his vicious and wicked policies, because the election is over. Furthermore, the fact that they materially cooperated with his wicked and vicious policies in the first place brings upon them an especially grave obligation to oppose those policies, just as a country which engages in war has a grave obligation to mitigate and repair damages - however unintended - caused by that war.

And it is in this vocal, public, unequivocal, and persistent opposition to Obama's vicious and wicked policies that Catholic Obama supporters can count on the help of social conservatives.

(Cross-posted)

Comments (54)

I'm a Protestant who has no business, and sees no purpose in berating Catholics for their sins against God and His creation. We Protestants have plenty of our own sins which we must account for internally -- Protestant Hussein Obama supporters?, a contradiction in terms to my mind.

But I like your style in this entry, Zippy, and felt the need to say so. So there ya go.

Any Catholic Obama supporter who did not vote for him on this basis was formally cooperating with Obama's wicked and vicious policies, committed a grave sin, and will go to Hell for it

Good Lord. I never would have thought something so dumb would come from one so intelligent and well-versed in Catholic Doctrine/Theology as your own self.

There are conditions for a Mortal Sin that can not be assumed to exist in all of those you just condemned. That "conclusion" reads more like Calvinism than Catholicism.

How about a retraction, apology, and a rewrite of that sentence?

He said "if they do not repent." I don't see any problem with that in terms of Catholic theology.

Let's put it a little differently: Suppose someone was an Obama supporter _because_ he thinks abortion should be legal, _because_ he thinks state parental consent restrictions on minors' abortions should be struck down by federal over-ride, or _because_ he thinks newborn infants who are "too young" should not be protected in law as persons. That's just to name three of Obama's really dreadful policy positions. There are plenty of other awful things, like Obama's plan to set up an "Obama Youth" movement in which all children will be required to do government-approved "community work," but that, while very bad in its implications, esp. in the present context, is at least not murderous.

The point, however, is that someone who knows the moral truth and knowingly and deliberately supports moral evil is in a very grave position as far as his immortal soul.

If anything, it is Protestants who would deny this if they believe that "once saved, always saved." Zippy's concerns over these people's souls are contrary to one view held widely in the Protestant evangelical world--that there can't be any such thing as being in danger of losing your soul, because you are saved or damned definitively based on whether you have or haven't received Jesus as Savior once for all at a particular point in time.

How about a retraction, apology, and a rewrite of that sentence?
Absolutely not. It is the truth. As I said in reply to a similar objection on my blog:
Formal cooperation with grave evil is a mortal sin. If one does not repent, confess, and do penance for mortal sin, one goes to Hell. All I have done is restate Catholic doctrine.

I don't claim to know (for example) whether God in His grace gives everyone a final chance at the moment of death to repent in full knowledge, so I certainly don't claim to know who in particular does and does not go to Hell. But I do know the doctrine. Sorry if stating it outright makes you uncomfortable.

How about a retraction, apology, and a rewrite of that sentence?

How do you rewrite a retraction?

"That "conclusion" reads more like Calvinism than Catholicism."

You're flatly and expansively wrong about Calvinism. So "how about a retraction, apology, and a rewrite of that sentence?"

Sorry if stating it outright makes you uncomfortable.

Zippy. It didn't make me uncomfortable. It made me laugh and caused me to think, "He has GOT to be kidding."

Those with authority to teach in the Catholic Church are the Pope and Bishops in union with him. That is, Zippy is not part of The Magisterium. If a vote for Obama meant one committed a Mortal Sin then I missed reading Our Sweet Jesus on Earth, Pope Benedict XVI, or any Bishop in union with him, teaching that or warning that would be the result if one voted for Obama.

Now, you can write whatever you desire but I desire to laugh when you write as you did.

Frankly, Zippy, I flat-out love almost every single thing you write and agree, whole-heartedly, with almost every single word you write. And, I appreciate your great sense of humor. However, your "... I do pray for their damned souls ..." is just your personal judgment on the state of their souls written in a manner that would seduce into envy the soul of Increase Mather.

You know you are wrong. Just admit it.

How do you rewrite a retraction?

Mr. Luce. Prolly about as poorly as I drafted that sentence.

"That "conclusion" reads more like Calvinism than Catholicism."

You're flatly and expansively wrong about Calvinism. So "how about a retraction, apology, and a rewrite of that sentence?"

Mr. Bauman. OK. I retract that statement. I apologise for writing and posting that sentence.

Here is the rewrite: That "conclusion" reads more like something arising out of the worst excesses of Calvinism than it reads like a conclusion arising from orthodox Catholicism.

"Catholic Obama supporters justified their support..."

This should readtried to justify their support..."

All the other issues and reasons taken together did not add up to a proportionate reason to vote for Obama.

On a related topic: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081109/ap_on_el_pr/obama

"President-elect Obama's transition chief said Sunday the incoming administration is looking to reverse President Bush's executive orders on stem cell research, oil and gas drilling and other matters."

"John Podesta said the president can use such orders to move quickly without waiting for Congress to act, highlighting the extraordinary powers a president can wield beyond signing legislation approved by Congress. Podesta said people should expect Obama to use those powers to reverse many policies of the Bush administration."

It's sad when a Democrat will use that executive power to kill people without waiting for Congress to "act", and the only thing we can get from our Republican "allies" is a promise to nominate "conservative" SC justices. What about using that power to stop the killing of the innocents?

If a vote for Obama meant one committed a Mortal Sin then I missed reading ...
Ah, I see. The problem is with your reading comprehension. I didn't say that a vote for Obama was a mortal sin. Here is Cardinal Ratzinger, making essentially the point that I made:
A Catholic would be guilty of formal cooperation in evil, and so unworthy to present himself for Holy Communion, if he were to deliberately vote for a candidate precisely because of the candidate’s permissive stand on abortion and/or euthanasia...
What about using that power to stop the killing of the innocents?

Too late now. I predict an 8-year wait until that chance comes around again, and at such time, I recommend we seek out a candidate who's pro-life position is grounded philosophically, not sentimentally. I wonder if Mrs. Palin, for all of her talents, virtues and charms, is such a candidate.

Catholic Obama supporters justified their support of the most pro-abortion presidential candidate in history by appealing to the principle of double-effect. (Even those who did not work this out explicitly must have done so implicitly, in order for it to be justified).

Zippy. That is just flat-out silly. You are imputing the most malign motives to folks you have never met. I'll bet that many Catholics got their ideas about Obama via the debates and the MSM TV coverage, their local Fish Wrap, and their local Parish Sermons. And I'd be willing to bet that many Catholics never heard about his radical abortion ideas/votes.

Any Catholic Obama supporters who did not vote for him on this basis were formally cooperating with Obama's wicked and vicious policies, committed a grave sin, and will go to Hell for it if they do not repent, confess, and do penance. I'm not really addressing those Catholics in my posts, but I do pray for their damned souls, that they may repent before it is too late.

Because you did not earlier take the opportunity to do so, I suspect you will not admit an error here so I will just finish my involvement here by noting you have committed a grave sin by judging the state of the souls of others.

I 'spose I ought also write I did not vote for Obama.

And I'd be willing to bet that many Catholics never heard about his radical abortion ideas/votes.

I would find that very surprising indeed since its been blared throughout every public outlet of information for the past two years. And if they haven't heard it, they have absolutely no business voting on such an uninformed basis.

Zippy. That is just flat-out silly. You are imputing the most malign motives to folks you have never met.
I'm not imputing malign motives to specific named persons. I can't tell who voted with what motivation (except in cases where the person has said so himself, and assuming sincerity), nor do I pretend to be able to tell, nor, frankly, do I particularly want to know.

I merely point out that they fall into two categories: those who voted for Obama in spite of his wicked and vicious policies and for other reasons (remote material cooperation), versus those who voted for him because of or with indifference to his wicked and vicious policies (formal cooperation). Formal cooperation with grave evil is, indeed, mortal sin, as has been pointed out by Cardinal Ratzinger and many bishops. And I do pray for the damned souls of those who formally cooperated with Obama's wicked policies through their votes. You should too.

"essentially the point I made"???

*Somebody's* "reading comprehension" is lacking here. Maybe it's mine: The quotation you give from Cardinal Ratzinger seems to me quite different from what you're saying, in extremely important ways. He is speaking of those who "deliberately vote for a candidate precisely because of the candidate’s permissive stand on abortion and/or euthanasia"; you seem to be casting a much wider net. His quotation, for instance, doesn't concern those who just don't take the abortion issue into account in deciding how to vote. That's just one of many possible examples. In the quotation you give, he is speaking only of those who vote with a particular motive; you of all those who voted for Obama except those who had a particular rationale for doing so (explained in the second paragraph of your post). So any who don't utilize the rationale of your second paragraph, but who also don't vote "precisely because of the candidate's permissive stand," will be the scope of your claim, but not of his.

In addition to that important difference in the *scope* of the claims, there is what looks *to me* a big difference in *force*: Not only is Cardinal Ratzinger speaking of a narrower group of Catholics than you, but what he has to say about those in the scope of his claim seems milder than the flaming condemnation you toss at those in the scope of your claim. But that's just how it looks to my Protestant eyes. I am not at all wise in the ways of Roman Catholicism, and so it may very well be, for all I can tell, that in RCC-speak, the force of Ratzinger's quoted claim really does amount to the same as the force of your claim. I am interested in being educated on that point.

Cardinal Ratzinger and I are making precisely the same distinction: the distinction between remote material cooperation with grave evil (voting for Obama in spite of his wicked policies for other reasons, as I say in my first paragraph) and formal cooperation with grave evil (voting for Obama because of his wicked policies, my second paragraph).

Well, I don't see how I can make the difference in scope between your claim & the quoted claim of Ratzinger's any clearer than I did above, so whoever is having "reading comprehension" issues here seems to have them in a way that's beyond easy repair.

I don't see how I can make the difference in scope between your claim & the quoted claim of Ratzinger's any clearer than I did above, ...

I don't either. As the authoritative interpreter of my own words, I'm telling you that there isn't a difference.

As the authoritative interpreter of my own words

Zippy, Classic! Best delivered while wearing an ascot and monocles, while smoking from a white-tipped cigarette-holder.

?????
A: I'm making the essentially the same claim as C
B: Here's an important difference...
A: (not addressing the difference pointed out): As the authoritative interpreter of my own words, I'm telling you that there isn't a difference.

I think Keith may just be missing my use of the word "implicitly". A vote for Obama was either explicitly or implicitly justified under double-effect, or it was formal cooperation with grave evil. (Or it was done in complete ignorance of the existence of his wicked policies, I suppose, as IMNS suggests). That exhaustively describes the possibilities.

I think my post clearly distinguishes between (1) voting for Obama despite his wicked and vicious policies (remote material cooperation with evil) and (2) voting for him because of his wicked and vicious policies. People stamping their feet and insisting that my words mean something else do not impress me.

I think Keith may just be missing my use of the word "implicitly".

You know, I doubt that's it. I just noted the part of your claim that I'll put in all-caps here:

Even those who did not work this out explicitly must have done so implicitly, IN ORDER FOR IT TO BE JUSTIFIED.

So, even if you're right that they have to use the rationale you suggest for them to be justified (and let's just grant that for the sake of argument), the distinct possibility is of course still left open that someone might UNJUSTIFIABLY come to the pro-Obama conclusion by other, mistaken, lines of thought (and so might not be using your suggested rationale at all, even implicitly). Such a person, so long as they're not voting "precisely because of the candidate’s permissive stand" would not fall in the scope of Ratzinger's claim that you quote above. But they would seem to fall in the scope of what you're saying in your paragraph that starts with the words "Any Catholic Obama supporters who did not vote for him on this basis..." This particular problem could be fixed in many ways, one of the most obvious of which would be for you to change the force of your claim from

...will go to Hell for it if they do not repent, confess, and do penance

to:

...either have some unjustified belief or else will go to Hell for this if they do not repent, confess, and do penance

But there are other patches available, too.

Zippy. I was afraid you could not admit you were wrong about judging the souls of others.

1859 Mortal sin requires full knowledge and complete consent. It presupposes knowledge of the sinful character of the act, of its opposition to God's law. It also implies a consent sufficiently deliberate to be a personal choice. Feigned ignorance and hardness of heart do not diminish, but rather increase, the voluntary character of a sin.

1860 Unintentional ignorance can diminish or even remove the imputability of a grave offense. But no one is deemed to be ignorant of the principles of the moral law, which are written in the conscience of every man. The promptings of feelings and passions can also diminish the voluntary and free character of the offense, as can external pressures or pathological disorders. Sin committed through malice, by deliberate choice of evil, is the gravest.

1861 Mortal sin is a radical possibility of human freedom, as is love itself. It results in the loss of charity and the privation of sanctifying grace, that is, of the state of grace. If it is not redeemed by repentance and God's forgiveness, it causes exclusion from Christ's kingdom and the eternal death of hell, for our freedom has the power to make choices for ever, with no turning back. However, although we can judge that an act is in itself a grave offense, we must entrust judgment of persons to the justice and mercy of God.

Brother, Zippy. You will be judged like you judge others. And with that, I will stop commenting on this particular post.

Brother, Zippy. You will be judged like you judge others. And with that, I will stop commenting on this particular post.

Perhaps you should stop as it seems you've no understanding of what it is you are objecting.

It is the type of reasoning in your above comments prevalent in today's society that diminishes the seriousness of such sins and dismiss the utter sinfulness of acts of sin altogether, not unlike today's brand of Christians who would go to the extent of normalizing acts of sins rather than seeing them for the sins they are.

Note please the distinction between condemning particular acts of sin and the sinner themselves!

I suppose someone could try to wedge in an issue over the class of people who were "indifferent to" Obama's wicked policies. How does that fall into the category of formal cooperation with them?

That doesn't make a big difference to me, though, because it's pretty darned bad to be indifferent to someone's wicked policies, anyway.

Keith:

Such a person, so long as they're not voting "precisely because of the candidate’s permissive stand" would not fall in the scope of Ratzinger's claim that you quote above.
Right. Knowing cooperation with evil is either material, or formal; that exhaustively describes the possibilities, though they can be subclassed.

Look, I don't blame protestants for not knowing the "inside baseball" of Catholic moral theology off the top of their heads. But the distinction I am drawing is just the classical distinction between formal and material cooperation.

IMNS:

Brother, Zippy. You will be judged like you judge others.
I'm not judging others; I'm just asserting doctrine. Where have I condemned any particular person?

I'm not judging others; I'm just asserting doctrine. Where have I condemned any particular person?

Exactly the point I was attempting to make in my above comments. I guess St. Paul was "judging others", too, given certain contents in his epistles! Zippy is just as bad!

That doesn't make a big difference to me, though, because it's pretty darned bad to be indifferent to someone's wicked policies, anyway.

Well, out of respect for Zippy, I'll not go into the "lukewarm"ness of certain people's acts.

Lydia:

Indifference w.r.t. Obama's abortion policies would imply material cooperation; but since indifference w.r.t. the legality of abortion is in itself gravely immoral, the point is rather moot.

Another issue is of Lothar the boy raised by wolves, invincibly ignorant of Obama's abortion positions, who voted for him because the sound of his voice was soothing.

Folks seem to be losing sight of the fact that the paragraphs under criticism aren't even the meat of the post. They just lay out whom the post is addressing.

Zippy,

Folks seem to be losing sight of the fact that the paragraphs under criticism aren't even the meat of the post. They just lay out whom the post is addressing.

Your continued attempts at this is as flawed as the rationalizing of Obama's Catholic supporters.

Do you really believe that even if folks of the latter were to express their dissent for those policies Obama himself had pledged his undying devotion in bringing to fruition once elected, that he would acknowledge and, further, give heed to their opposition to these?

Tell me, do you really believe Obama won't overturn Bush restrictions on ESCR research and expand their federal funding? Not to mention, his pro-abort policies soon to be realized...

Thus, I raise my glass to those who believe Obama was such a virtuous man who stood for social justice, for those who believed that not enough of the Innocent were being sacrificed on the altar of Moloch and for those who virtually did nothing and refused to stand in his way!

Good job all around!

May the Sea of Innocent Blood rise higher still for the Glory of god!

My continued attempts at what? And how does the rest of your comment even relate?

I've published no guesses as to the sincerity of those I am addressing. I've merely articulated a measure of that sincerity.

I speak to this: "And it is in this vocal, public, unequivocal, and persistent opposition to Obama's vicious and wicked policies that Catholic Obama supporters can count on the help of social conservatives."

However, you overlook the futility of such protests (perhaps more futile than that of a vote itself?)

It appears you neglected recent events such as:

11.09.08 But did anyone think it would be so quick? http://www.inforumblog.com/?p=1971

EXCERPT
Senator Obama made the clear and firm promise to Planned Parenthood that he would act swirftly to loosen (or remove) abortion limits if elected president.

So it was not surprising when human rights activists worried, just after the election, that abortions would increase and even be exported under his administration.

The United Nations is expected to aggressively promote abortions worldwide with Barack Obama as the new president of the United States. One of the top pro-life lobbyists at the United Nations says he worries the floodgates will come open to perhaps make abortion an international right…

“It is likely the new president will work almost immediately to correct what his ideological allies like CRR [Center for Reproductive Rights] view as multiple mistakes of the Bush administration with regard to international social policy,” [C-Fam president Austin] Ruse writes in the Friday Fax.

Which is exactly what the Obama transition team announced today.

President-elect Barack Obama is poised to move swiftly to reverse actions that President Bush took using executive authority, and his transition team is reviewing limits on stem cell research and the expansion of oil and gas drilling, among other issues, members of the team said Sunday.

As mentioned in the post below, one of those “other issues” is “reproductive rights”.

“There’s a lot that the president can do using his executive authority without waiting for Congressional action, and I think we’ll see the president do that,” John D. Podesta, a top transition leader, said Sunday. “He feels like he has a real mandate for change. We need to get off the course that the Bush administration has set.”

Ari:

I haven't neglected anything. But given that you are in your usual form here I see little point in responding. If you get to the point where you feel you want to discuss the subject at hand, by all means let me know.

Zippy. You know the Four Last Things; Death, Judgment, Heaven, Hell.

You have them out of order. You have pronounced the Judgment - but I do pray for their damned souls before they have reached the first of the four last things - Death.

You write they are damned. That makes no sense. God does not Damn a soul and then Undamn a soul after Contrition,Confession, Penance. Is it your idea that prior to Death we have a God who Damns and then quickens souls in that manner?

You seem unable to uncouple my specific complaint from the context of your commentary.

It would be helpful, for me at least, if you could post a sample sentence from any Encyclical, Ecumenical Council, Papal Allocution, Papal Exhortation etc which reads like what you wrote.

Thanks.

My goodness! Stop it, will ya??? Pay attention to the whole of Zippy's statement:

I do pray for their damned souls, that they may repent before it is too late
.

aritocles. No. I will not stop it. Zippy has written that souls are Damned prior to their death. That may be Calvinism. It ain't Catholicism.

++++++++++++++++++++ begin quotes +++++++++++++


Nov. 6, 2006 (CWNews.com) - Pope Benedict XVI reminded the faithful that mortal sin leads to damnation, in a sobering message at his Angelus audience on November 5.

The Pope devoted most of his Sunday audience to a reflection on the Christian understanding of death. An affluent society, he observed, often avoids the topic of death, but inevitably every mortal is brought face to face with this reality, which seems "radically hostile and contrary to our natural vocation to life and to happiness."

Through his redemptive suffering, the Pope continued, "Jesus revolutionized the meaning of death," making Christians realize that death is not a final end. Since the Resurrection, he continued, "death is not the same; it has been deprived of its sting."

However, the Holy Father remarked, there is a form of death that should be more fearsome to believes: the death of the soul in sin. .Indeed," said the Pope, "those who die in unrepented mortal sin, closed off from God's love by their prideful rejection, exclude themselves from the kingdom of life."

+++++++++++++ end quotes ++++++++++++++++++++

For the sake of goodness, and orthodox Theology, and simple sequential logic, it must be admitted the Pope has it right. One's soul is not damned prior to death. IF one dies in Mortal Sin, one is damned.

First Comes Death,


Then comes Damnation;


Then Comes Charon


Leading us to Hell's Eternal Nation

IMNS,

Do you agree that if a soul guilty of mortal sin does not repent prior to death, that this soul is in fact damned?

You write they are damned. That makes no sense.
So the sum total of your objection is that I used the term "damned souls" as shorthand for "people in a state of mortal sin who must repent, confess, and do penance in order to avoid Hell", when I had already made it clear that that category was the referent, where the sentence in question was simply a matter of excluding those persons from the category of persons I was addressing with the post, in a post which in any event is not even about the moral theology of mortal sin at all? That use of shorthand is what, in your view, requires a retraction, rewrite, and apology?
I used the term "damned souls" as shorthand for "people in a state of mortal sin who must repent, confess, and do penance in order to avoid Hell"

Precisely.

(FWIW, at least IMNS was conscientious about such things even if mistakened in the matter.)

...in a post which in any event is not even about the moral theology of mortal sin at all?

Right.

Can we now talk about how we can all join together to rise & rage ever so futilely against a regime determined to kill millions of innocents, not only nationwide by power of executive authority (as the Obama transition team says he is wont to do as Obama himself had promised) but in concert with his Pro-Death allies around the world to make the Pro-Death culture a global reality?

http://www.inforumblog.com/?p=1971

Can we now talk about how we can all join together to rise & rage ever so futilely against a regime determined to kill millions of innocents...

I don't think that's going to happen, Ari. They're having too much fun changing the subject.

Do you agree that if a soul guilty of mortal sin does not repent prior to death, that this soul is in fact damned?


No.

Radio Replies:

916. Is a man definitely judged at death?

Yes. "It is appointed unto men once to die, and after this the judgment." Heb. IX., 27. Retribution follows immediately after death. Souls are judged individually at once, so that probation comes to an end with this life.

Zippy. In re your 6:30 P.M. post. I pointed out you erred. And you don't like to admit error (Thus the long reframe in your post).

We all have weaknesses, Zippy. We all err, even, at times, you.

And yes, writing one is damned before one dies is wrong.

As for, finally, getting back to the major point, that could have been done long ago had you just humbly admitted you erred.

Don't worry. I won't ever try such a thing again in the future. It's like pulling hen's teeth.

I pointed out you erred. And you don't like to admit error ...
Oh please. I have no doubt at all that my writing is filled with all sorts of places for a pedant to become lost in irrelevant off-topic niggling. That is the nature of discussion in general.

Clearly, this post was about how wrong Zippy was for believing the Catholic notion that folks guilty of mortal sin are damned unless they repent accordingly prior to death.

Bad Zippy. Very Bad.

Now that's all settled, can we talk about topics more germane to the pressing issue at hand?

Like the hopeless task of opposing the heinous policies of a soon-to-be instated Pro-Death administration?

Or must we continue this needless wrangling with the baseless accusations of a larval pedant?

And with that, I will stop commenting on this particular post.

Some people just can't keep their promises.

Mr. Luce. UNtil Zippy asked me a question, that was my intent.

Oh please. I have no doubt at all that my writing is filled with all sorts of places for a pedant to become lost in irrelevant off-topic niggling. That is the nature of discussion in general.

That was not off topic. You were writing about damned souls. And it is not pedantry to point-out a serious theological error that you made.

Zippy. You are a very intelligent man but your repeated refusal to admit your mistake was not wise. And your latest summary of what happened is self-serving and seeks to put the burden of blame on me. (I'm pedantic)

So, your defensive intellectualising has not been either impressive or convincing but it has been successful in shooing the messenger.

I'm outta here.

IMNS:

For future reference, when I use the term "damned souls" in colloquial discussion I mean any soul in a state of mortal sin. Just FYI.

And after all that...I'm still on Zippy's (logic's) side.

Ok that was a low blow, but Zippy's arguments ARE more convincing for me. Perhaps I'm just an angry person...

Pray for me!

So I was just flipping through the cable channels, and I stopped on EWTN. The guy talking was Richard Geraghty -- they occasionally flashed his name on the bottom of the screen. He was saying that it was Catholic teaching that missing Sunday mass is a mortal sin. It wasn't absolutely clear to me (I did come in in the middle of it), but it wasn't sounding like this was a matter of *always* or *consistently* missing, but just a matter of missing it. & yes, it did have to be on Sunday: can't escape by any substitutions. Is this right? That puts the above discussion in something of a new light for me. Maybe mortal sins are a lot easier to come by than I was imagining.

(I googled the man's name, together with "missing sunday mass," and this ewtn page turned up:
ewtn.com/vexperts/showmessage.asp?number=427920&Pg=Forum13&Pgnu=2&recnu=50
But on the show he said a lot that isn't on this web page.

For Catholics, it's a mortal sin to miss Sunday Mass because it would be breaking one of the Commandments; namely, Keep the Sabbath Holy.

Well, much as I am temperamentally inclined to support the priest in that case in fact he is wrong on the moral theology.

My post breaks down Catholic Obama voters into two general categories: those who voted for Obama in spite of his evil policies and for other reasons, and those who voted for him because of and in support of his evil policies. The former is remote material cooperation with grave evil, which can be justified in the presence of a proportionate reason (that is, can be justified either implicitly or explicitly under the principle of double-effect); the latter is formal cooperation with grave evil and is always itself gravely wrong. Formal cooperation with grave evil is "grave matter"; remote material cooperation with grave evil is not (necessarily) grave matter. Mortal sin requires grave matter, knowledge, and deliberate consent. An Obama voter who voted for him because of his support for legal abortion has knowingly and deliberately chosen grave evil: that is, has committed mortal sin. That is why Cardinal Ratzinger says that such a voter must not present himself for Holy Communion prior to repenting, confessing, and doing penance.

Now I happen to believe that there was no proportionate reason to vote for Obama, which means it was objectively wrong to vote for Obama even if one did so while opposing his evil policies like his support for legal abortion; but that doesn't make voting for Obama in itself grave matter. It is objectively wrong to tell a white lie, but it isn't grave matter to tell a white lie. Telling a white lie is venial sin: we shouldn't do it, but it doesn't cut us off from the Sacraments, which are the ordinary means of salvation.

So a Catholic who voted for Obama in part because of Obama's support for legal abortion should indeed go to confession and do penance before presenting himself to receive the Blessed Sacrament. A Catholic who voted for Obama for other reasons while firmly disagreeing with Obama's support for legal abortion does not necessarily have to do that.

And yes, deliberately skipping Sunday Mass (or Mass on a Holy Day of Obligation) in the absence of extenuating circumstances (e.g. being sick, being unable to get transportation, etc) is also grave matter.

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