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By Alex Carros

Last issue, colleague and friend of mine Jordan Jardine published an article in which he argued that libertarian Catholics are “a thing,” and that not all members of the Church are socially conservative Republicans. Now, before I begin, I want to make it clear to both Jordan and you, the readers, that I am not trying to shame or browbeat anyone for what they believe. He, like you, is entitled to have opinions on whatever issues he so chooses. The only point I want to make here is that you cannot hold some of the opinions expressed in Jordan’s article while being a faithful, believing member of the Catholic Church. I will not address his demographic data, like the Pew Research polls, since I want to focus more so on the specific moral and political stances that he claims Catholics are free to have.

First and foremost is the stance on abortion. While I commend Jordan for denouncing abortion as evil, the exceptions of its use in “cases of rape, incest, or when the mother’s life is in danger” is not a tenable attitude for a faithful Catholic. The Catechism of the Catholic Church, which is more or less “the Catholic Handbook”, makes the Church’s stance utterly clear: abortion is a clear, undisputable moral evil that robs an innocent human being of life. The language used in the document is rather straightforward: “Since the first century the Church has affirmed the moral evil of every procured abortion This teaching has not changed and remains unchangeable. Direct abortion, that is to say, abortion willed either as an end or a means, is gravely contrary to the moral law.” (taken from line 2271). It supports the historical aspect of the claim with writings from the Church Fathers, such as the dictum “You shall not kill the embryo by abortion and shall not cause the newborn to perish” from the Didache (an official first-century Catholic decree). For this reason you cannot be pro-choice (regardless of the circumstances of the procedure) and be a faithful Catholic.

Next, Jordan writes that he has “always supported the right for gay and lesbian couples to marry…” This is likewise not a position a Catholic is free to make. Once again, quoting from the Catechism of the Catholic Church: “Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity, tradition has always declared that ‘homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered’…Under no circumstances can they be approved.” Further, the Church has continually affirmed that “the union of man and woman in marriage is a way of imitating in the flesh the Creator’s generosity and fecundity…” (2357). Never, in 2000 years of sacred history, has Catholicism ever accepted or encouraged same-sex marriage. However, it is entirely possible that Jordan was taking an entirely civic stance on the matter, specifically saying that in the eyes of secular law, two men or two women should be free to enter into any marriage contract they see fit. I am inclined to agree with this position, not because I agree with it morally or ethically, but rather because I want the government (particularly the federal government) completely divorced from the institution. However, being a faithful Catholic requires opposing same-sex marriage at the societal level, as we believe traditional marriage to be the best possible environment for raising children. Jordan’s other comments on abolishing centralized secular authority are sound.

Curiously, Jordan writes that Pope Francis is “breaking the stereotype that Catholics and Christians are stuffy social conservatives.” 1) Catholics are Christians. In fact we were (and are) the very first Christians. 2) Pope Francis has been very, very clear in his personal and official opposition to both abortion and same-sex marriage. Regarding the latter, for example, he referred to it as “anthropological regression”, and believes that the LGBTQ movements are practicing “ideological colonization.” While he did affirm the fact that no human being has the right to judge the entirety of another person (i.e. if they’re going to Heaven or Hell), this is not the same as condoning homosexual behavior. All he said was that we’re incapable of knowing another person’s destination after death, though we are still obligated as Catholics to condemn sinful actions and encourage a life of chastity. The Pope cannot, under any circumstances, officially support a heretical notion on the sanctity of marriage nor the sinfulness of unchaste sexual actions. The most he can do, as Jordan somewhat pointed out, is be soft on openly condemning it. To be fair, the Holy Father has been rather “wishy-washy” on making definitive statements.

Lastly, I wish to address Jordan’s claim that “God cares more about punishing murderers, rapists, thieves, and frauds than punishing two consenting adults of the same sex loving each other and not bothering anyone else.” There are several problems with this statement, the first and most obvious being that God doesn’t have to prioritize which sins (particularly mortal sins, or sins that send a soul to Hell if unrepented) are more important in punishing. This implies that God has a limited amount of time, attention, or resources to dispense His divine justice. Since there are limits on time for us mortal beings, we should focus on murderers and rapists and not on people in same-sex relationships, but God is infinite. That’s the whole point: God is endless, omnipresent, and all powerful. And to be Catholic isn’t to be a libertarian in the social sense. We, as Catholics, aren’t called to a life of absolute freedom and pleasure. We are called to live in accordance with God’s laws for the Universe in order to be with Him forever after death. Whether or not we’re hurting a third party is irrelevant: sex, by its very nature, is meant to be unitive and procreative. Since all homosexual sex is by its very nature non-procreative, it violates the natural law and fundamental purpose of the sexual act. For this reason, a person who knowingly engages in these actions is deliberately breaking God’s divine mandate. And since they are choosing against Him, they are choosing against being with Him. And the state of being without God is being in Hell, literally. It is for this reason that the Church has affirmed for 2000 years that we must obey God in all things, and encourage others to do so.

So no, “more social liberalism” would not be “great for the Catholic Church.” Social liberalism, and its championing of the will of the individual, is utterly contrary to Church teaching. Socially Liberal Catholicism is not, in fact, Catholicism, despite what many bishops or priests might say. Divine moral law is by its very nature eternal, since it has its origin in an infinite, timeless God. It cannot be changed or molded by the times (a heresy called “Modernism”), and it has no care for popular opinion. Converts, who Jordan think will come en masse, will not actually be believing the true Faith within the  Catholic religion, and will thus be putting their immortal souls at risk. It is for this reason that I must insist that the term “Catholic” be reserved only for those who believe in the entirety of what the Church teaches, and has taught, since its divine creator established it on Saint Peter.

One Reply to “Left-Leaning Catholics Aren’t A Thing”

  1. Very thoughtful and had very detailed research, I can tell. I might be a little careful about saying “left-leaning Catholics aren’t a thing” because I think there are a lot of other issues besides social issues with those being what this article focuses on. Myself I’m Christian but I’m liberal on other issues while being socially conservative.
    This article uses logic as it’s main argument. It has many logical analogies used.

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