Pride, Definitely his favorite Sin

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Pride, Definitely his favorite Sin

Every­one is enti­tled to his own opin­ion, but not his own facts.

Attrib­uted to Daniel Patrick Moynihan

Once you have made the World an end, and faith a means, you have almost won your man, and it makes very lit­tle dif­fer­ence what kind of worldly end he is pur­su­ing. Pro­vided that meet­ings, pam­phlets, poli­cies, move­ments, causes, and cru­sades, mat­ter more to him than prayers and sacra­ments and char­ity, he is ours — and the more ‘reli­gious’ (on those terms) the more securely ours. I could show you a pretty cage­ful down here.”

C.S. Lewis The Screw­tape let­ters VII

One of the old­est teach­ings of the church is the dan­ger of the sin of pride. It is listed as the first of the deadly sins. It a sin that damned Angels and reg­u­larly damns men.

The irony and the dan­ger of this sin is the clever ways that the Devil uses it to strike. One of the most clever cards played is using the dif­fer­ence between a wrong opin­ion (com­pletely not sin­ful) and a wrong action (very very sinful).

There are plenty of faith­ful catholics, who attend mass, who receive the sacra­ments who might, on a per­sonal level, dis­agree with a par­tic­u­lar doc­trine or teach­ing of the church.

A great exam­ple of this came from the late Synod on the fam­ily where sev­eral Car­di­nals expressed their opin­ion that the church should con­sider revis­ing the rules con­cern­ing how the church deals with divorced & remar­ried catholics.

By its nature a synod or a coun­cil is a place of debate and man being a think­ing and rea­son­ing crea­ture will nat­u­rally ana­lyze sit­u­a­tions and come to con­clu­sions based on expe­ri­ence, thus while I dis­agree with Car­di­nal Kasper’s opin­ion on the sub­ject I pre­sume that he was advanc­ing this opin­ion from pure motives:

It could very well be that Car­di­nal Kasper and those like him truly believe relax­ing the rules for com­mu­nion on divorced and/​or gay cou­ples will win souls for Christ, it may be they con­sider such moves reforms in the best tra­di­tion of the mercy of Christ, while I strongly dis­agree with this fool­ish­ness I pre­sume that’s a ques­tion of error rather than sin.

Now as long as this is expressed as part of the synod debate or given as a pri­vate per­sonal opin­ion that opin­ion is not in itself sin­ful or even writ­ten as an argu­ment that’s not a prob­lem and that’s one of the two traps for the faithful,

In the exam­ple above Pol­BE­Cath was quite cor­rect that the Car­di­nal was lying con­cern­ing a recorded state­ment. (If you don’t know the story you need to read this this and this). How­ever to call him a “heretic” is the trap that is being laid for us who strongly dis­agree with the Cardinal’s opinion

A “Heretic” is defined at Meriam Web​ster​.com as:

a dis­senter from estab­lished reli­gious dogma; espe­cially : a bap­tized mem­ber of the Roman Catholic Church who dis­avows a revealed truth

While Car­di­nal Kaspar’s actions con­cern­ing the Pentin mat­ter were objec­tively sin­ful, his opin­ions con­cern­ing how do deal with divorced Catholics, expressed as such, does not and will not cross over to heresy until and unless he

1. Dis­avows or defies the cur­rent teaching/​doctrines of the church

2. Uses his author­ity as a prince of the church to teach and encour­age oth­ers to defy the cur­rent doc­trine of the church.

3. Pro­claims as a prince of the church that the doc­trine and teach­ing of the church is in error.

As long as he doesn’t cross that line not only is he not a “heretic” his opin­ion doesn’t even con­sti­tute a sin and thus judg­ing him a “heretic” would be com­mit­ting both the sin of calumny, the sin of “judg­ing” and the sin of pride.

Now let’s say he crosses the line, let’s say that the church decides, as it is likely to do, to main­tain the cur­rent rules con­cern­ing com­mu­nion for divorced catholics fol­low­ing the wise advice of the five Car­di­nals. If and when this hap­pens if Car­di­nal Kas­par or Car­di­nal Rein­hard Marx or oth­ers choose to defy said teach­ing, they would at that point, in fact be com­mit­ting the sin of heresy.

And if they did so and did not choose to repent then they would be mod­ern ver­sions of Luther and Henry VIII sub­sti­tut­ing their judge­ment for that of the Holy Spirit and the church it guides, no dif­fer­ent that a Geor­gia Walker in Kansas or so-​called “Bishop” Brid­get Mary Mee­han.

The con­se­quences of sub­sti­tut­ing your judge­ment for the church’s judge­ment are dire. One of my biggest regrets was accept­ing advice directly con­trary to the teach­ing of the church from a priest who gave it to me went to him with a prob­lem. You not only sin, you lead oth­ers into the same swamp.

But even if they do this and earn the cri­tique or even excom­mu­ni­ca­tion from the church that doesn’t mean the Devil will not be set­ting the trap of pride for those who do not copy their errors as Christ him­self warned us:

He then addressed this para­ble to those who were con­vinced of their own right­eous­ness and despised every­one else.

Two peo­ple went up to the tem­ple area to pray; one was a Phar­isee and the other was a tax collector.

The Phar­isee took up his posi­tion and spoke this prayer to him­self, ‘O God, I thank you that I am not like the rest of human­ity — greedy, dis­hon­est, adul­ter­ous — or even like this tax col­lec­tor. I fast twice a week, and I pay tithes on my whole income.’

But the tax col­lec­tor stood off at a dis­tance and would not even raise his eyes to heaven but beat his breast and prayed, ‘O God, be mer­ci­ful to me a sinner.’

I tell you, the lat­ter went home jus­ti­fied, not the for­mer; for every­one who exalts him­self will be hum­bled, and the one who hum­bles him­self will be exalted.”

Luke 18:914

Remem­ber these sins and errors are no dif­fer­ent than any other, com­pletely for­giv­able by sacra­men­tal con­fes­sion. Even one who is excom­mu­ni­cated can return to full com­mu­nion with Rome (Fr. Leonard Feeney being an excel­lent exam­ple of this.) The trick is, rather pat­ting one­self on the back is to approach God with the humil­ity of the sin­ners we all are.

Set as your goal to speak, write, live and pray toward the goal of sal­va­tion for our­selves and oth­ers. In doing so we will be avoid­ing the Pride­ful traps set for us and work for the day, where as St. Pope John Paul II wrote That They May Be One.

Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts.

Attributed to Daniel Patrick Moynihan

Once you have made the World an end, and faith a means, you have almost won your man, and it makes very little difference what kind of worldly end he is pursuing. Provided that meetings, pamphlets, policies, movements, causes, and crusades, matter more to him than prayers and sacraments and charity, he is ours — and the more ‘religious’ (on those terms) the more securely ours. I could show you a pretty cageful down here.”

C.S. Lewis The Screwtape letters VII

One of the oldest teachings of the church is the danger of the sin of pride.  It is listed as the first of the deadly sins.  It a sin that damned Angels and regularly damns men.

The irony and the danger of this sin is the clever ways that the Devil uses it to strike.  One of the most clever cards played is using the difference between a wrong opinion (completely not sinful) and a wrong action (very very sinful).

There are plenty of faithful catholics, who attend mass, who receive the sacraments who might, on a personal level, disagree with a particular doctrine or teaching of the church.

A great example of this came from the late Synod on the family where several Cardinals expressed their opinion that the church should consider revising the rules concerning how the church deals with divorced & remarried catholics.

By its nature a synod or a council is a place of debate and man being a thinking and reasoning creature will naturally analyze situations and come to conclusions based on experience, thus while I disagree with Cardinal Kasper’s opinion on the subject I presume that he was advancing this opinion from pure motives:

It could very well be that Cardinal Kasper and those like him truly believe relaxing the rules for communion on divorced and/or gay couples will win souls for Christ, it may be they consider such moves reforms in the best tradition of the mercy of Christ, while I strongly disagree with this foolishness I presume that’s a question of error rather than sin.

Now as long as this is expressed as part of the synod debate or given as a private personal opinion that opinion is not in itself sinful or even written as an argument that’s not a problem and that’s one of the two traps for the faithful,

In the example above PolBECath was quite correct that the Cardinal was lying concerning a recorded statement.  (If you don’t know the story you need to read this this and this).  However to call him a “heretic” is the trap that is being laid for us who strongly disagree with the Cardinal’s opinion

A “Heretic” is defined at Meriam Webster.com as:

a dissenter from established religious dogma; especially :  a baptized member of the Roman Catholic Church who disavows a revealed truth

While Cardinal Kaspar’s actions concerning the Pentin matter were objectively sinful,  his opinions concerning how do deal with divorced Catholics, expressed as such, does not and will not cross over to  heresy until and unless he

1.  Disavows or defies the current teaching/doctrines of the church

2.  Uses his authority as a prince of the church to teach and encourage others to defy the current doctrine of the church.

3.  Proclaims as a prince of the church that the doctrine and teaching of the church is in error.

As long as he doesn’t cross that line not only is he not a “heretic” his opinion doesn’t even constitute a sin and thus judging him a “heretic” would be committing both the sin of calumny, the sin of “judging” and the sin of pride.

Now let’s say he crosses the line, let’s say that the church decides, as it is likely to do,  to maintain the current rules concerning communion for divorced catholics following the wise advice of the five Cardinals.  If and when this happens if Cardinal Kaspar or Cardinal Reinhard Marx or others choose to defy said teaching, they would at that point, in fact be committing the sin of heresy.

And if they did so and did not choose to repent then they would be modern versions of Luther and Henry VIII substituting their judgement for that of the Holy Spirit and the church it guides, no different that a Georgia Walker in Kansas or so-called  “Bishop” Bridget Mary Meehan.

The consequences of substituting your judgement for the church’s judgement are dire.  One of my biggest regrets was accepting advice directly contrary to the teaching of the church from a priest who gave it to me went to him with a problem.  You not only sin, you lead others into the same swamp.

But even if they do this and earn the critique or even excommunication from the church that doesn’t mean the Devil will not be setting the trap of pride for those who do not copy their errors as Christ himself warned us:

He then addressed this parable to those who were convinced of their own righteousness and despised everyone else.

Two people went up to the temple area to pray; one was a Pharisee and the other was a tax collector.

The Pharisee took up his position and spoke this prayer to himself, ‘O God, I thank you that I am not like the rest of humanity – greedy, dishonest, adulterous – or even like this tax collector.  I fast twice a week, and I pay tithes on my whole income.’

But the tax collector stood off at a distance and would not even raise his eyes to heaven but beat his breast and prayed, ‘O God, be merciful to me a sinner.’  

I tell you, the latter went home justified, not the former; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”

Luke 18:9-14

Remember these sins and errors are no different than any other, completely forgivable by sacramental confession.  Even one who is excommunicated can return to full communion with Rome (Fr. Leonard Feeney being an excellent example of this.)  The trick is, rather patting oneself on the back is to approach God with the humility of the sinners we all are.

Set as your goal to speak, write, live and pray toward the goal of salvation for ourselves and others.  In doing so we will be avoiding the Prideful traps set for us and work for the day, where as St. Pope John Paul II wrote That They May Be One.