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Boston Catholic Journal - Critical Catholic Commentary in the Twilight of Reason
 


 

The Queer and Impulsive God of

The Recreant Steward and the Captain of the Tower Guard

Fiducia supplicans

 

This “declaration on Catholic doctrine,” which is more properly an aberration from it — is Francis’s latest effort to appease a coterie of his most ardent supporters by attempting to legitimize “irregular” — which is to say, “sinful”— “unions” of actively-engaged homosexuals by invoking “blessings” upon them. It is effectively summarized in paragraph (31)
 

FS 31. “These forms of blessing express a supplication that God may grant those aids that come from the impulses of his Spirit—what classical theology calls “actual grace”—so that human relationships may mature and grow in fidelity to the Gospel, that they may be freed from their imperfections and frailties, and that they may express themselves in the ever-increasing dimension of the divine love.”

 

There are two very serious problems with this statement. Once concerns the manipulation of language, and one concerns a calculated misrepresentation of the notion of Actual Grace. Both are intended to mislead the casual reader, and to promote an agendum (specifically, homosexuality as acceptable to God and the Catholic Church — other supposed “irregular unions” implied are simply intentional distractions) that is not simply contrary to Catholic Teaching, but is militantly hostile to it.

Let us look at the first:

   “These [so-called “pastoral”] forms of blessing express a supplication that God
may grant those aids that come from the impulses of his Spirit …”
 

This is a very queer notion. First, God does not have “impulses.” Consider the definition of “impulse” from four respectable sources:

 

  • “a sudden spontaneous inclination or incitement to some usually unpremeditated action” 1

  • “a sudden strong wish to do something” 2

  • “a sudden desire to do something” 3

  • “a sudden wish or urge that prompts an unpremeditated act or feeling; an abrupt inclination4

What God is Not

Italicized above are all the words in each definition that do not, and cannot, possibly pertain to God.

  • God is never “spontaneous” [happening or done in a natural, often sudden way, without any planning or without being forced”]. He does not act with “out of the blue” spontaneity. Spontaneity implies a sudden change in God, but God does not change.

  • Neither is God ever “motivated:” He is His own cause: nothing “other” than Himself motivates Him.

  • Nor is God ever “inclined” to do something or anything, for this would imply a change within Him from potentiality (or as the Schoolmen called it, “potency”) to act; as it were, from His possessing something potentially but not choosing to actualize it, or cause it to be. But that would mean that the Being of God is not a pure Act, but has the potential to be more than it is — and this is not what we understand by “God”: that is to say, we do not understand by God one who can be more than He is and chooses not to be, for such a being, capable of being more than He is, cannot be God, for He would be less than He could be, and such a being we do not understand to be God.

  • Neither is God susceptible to “incitement” for the same reasons outlined above — still less to “unpremeditated action” (an omniscient, all-knowing, God cannot possibly possess anything “unpremeditated”, i.e. something He did not know or purpose).

  • Nor is God susceptible to “desires,” since He possesses all that could be desired in the possession of Himself.

  • For the same reasons He does not “wish” for anything, nor is He “inclined” toward anything, or have “urges” for anything. Even anthropologically understood, they cannot be predicated of God or in any way pertain to Him.

All these things pertain to the notion of “impulses.”
 

No Blessings Can Come from What is Not God

There are no blessings, then, that can possibly come from the fiction called “the impulses of his (sic, presumably God’s) Spirit,” for God the Holy Spirit, as we have gone to pains to demonstrate, does not have, and cannot have, “impulses.”

Furthermore, to conflate this illegitimate and meaningless notion of God behaving “impulsively” with the legitimate theological concept of Actual Grace is nothing less than an attempt at theological legerdemain (trickery). In a word, the connection between the two is spurious.

Perhaps the most succinct description of Actual Grace is along these lines: It is the grace given to the achievement of, and not enduring beyond, a salutary action that itself, as inherently good (for God will not and cannot give us grace to do something evil), and which is granted through the merits of Jesus Christ.

More to the point, it is an irreconcilable contradiction to claim that people living in objectively sinful relationships — or the sins that Francis, Fernández & Friends prefer to verbally sanitize as “irregular unions” — are, in fact, capable of receiving an actual blessing that will assist them in achieving an action that is neither spiritually nor naturally salutary or good, for the action (active homosexuality) is intrinsically sinful, and as sinful, eo ipso evil.

 Few appear willing to state this inescapable conclusion for fear of being “socially incorrect” or “hurting the feelings of others.” However, “hurting the feelings” of others so that their immortal souls may avoid Hell and attain to Heaven is an inestimably good act. It is an act of love, for love ever wills the good of the other and no evil.
 

Not on Merit

Since Francis is keen to discourage piety in Catholics (dismissing reverence toward the Holy Eucharist as an attitude of regarding it as “a prize for the perfect” 5 — as though any Catholic deems himself perfect), or filial adherence to long established Church teaching as “rigidity,” “backwardness,” and more 6,  we must hasten to add that the objection to a “blessing” of the sort proposed is not based on a matter of “merit,” since no one — absolutely no one — “merits” the grace of God in any form, Sanctifying, Habitual, or Actual. Francis cannot implicitly argue (as he did, concerning the Eucharist) that heterosexual couples (“proudly”) deem themselves meritorious of blessings (and are therefore unworthy of them), while (“humble”) homosexual “couples” recognize they are not worthy of them (and are therefore worthy of them). Why? We had just stated it: No one is deserving or worthy of them.

But for this reason, are we to understand that the notion of sin no longer applies to human actions? For this reason is murder, or adultery, or active homosexuality not a sin? How did we even arrive at the semblance such ridiculous argumentum ad absudum?

It is simple: the proposition — Fiducia supplicans — itself is absurd: that God can and will bless what is sinful and abhorrent to Him.

 

Geoffrey K. Mondello
Editor
Boston Catholic Journal

December 29, 2023
Feast of St. Thomas Becket

   Printable PDF Version

Comments? Write us:  editor@boston-catholic-journal.com

See:

 

_______________________

1 https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/impulse

2 https://dictionary.cambridge.org/us/dictionary/english/impulse

3 https://www.collinsdictionary.com/us/dictionary/english/impulse

4 https://www.thefreedictionary.com/impulse

5 Evangelium Gaudium 5.47

6 Fundamentalists [who] keep God away from accompanying his people, they divert their minds from him and transform him into an ideology. So, in the name of this ideological god, they kill, they attack, destroy, slander”, “narcissists,” idolaters”, “rebels”, “legalists”, “inflexible”, cf. https://www.lifesitenews.com/blogs/popes-rhetoric-against-fundamentalist-catholics-could-help-pave-way-for-act/

 


 

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I know your works ... that you have but little power, and yet you have kept My word, and have not denied My Name.
(Apocalypse 3.8)

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