Catholic-Islam Dialogue: Reciprocity the Key

Wednesday, May 12, AD 2010

For the past few years I have been taking my Catholic school students over to the nearby Mosque, as part of their World Religions research. It has gone well, everyone is on their best behavior, and it gives the students a chance to hear about Islam from devout Muslims, in their own place of worship. I also have visited the Mosque and Islamic community during the time of my run for public office to speak and dialogue about issues where we would find some common ground. It has all been a very positive experience, but there is one large elephant in the room that must be paid attention to.

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53 Responses to Catholic-Islam Dialogue: Reciprocity the Key

  • Even if we were to accept all of Saudi Arabia as a special case similar to Vatican City, what about the entire rest of the muslim world? The constitutions of Pakistan, Syria, Jordan, Egypt, Iraq, and Afghanistan all recognize Islamic law as the basis for their legal system, often to the exclusion of anything else. Source:

  • Good argument. So much for the Vatican-Saudi Arabia comparison. I can understand Mecca, and perhaps Medina, not allowing churches or synagogues, but not Riyadh or the rest of the country. That us like Milan or Venice not allowing non-Catholic places of worship.

  • You are wrong.

    Muhammedanism is a vicious affront to Our Lord and Savior, and a threat to world peace. It has been waging a desultory war against the rest of mankind since about 640 Anno Domini.

    Your ‘good’ muslims are biding their time and financing global terrorism . . .

  • T. Shaw- I take my cue from the Magisterium- dialogue is encouraged, Muslims worship the same God as we- Jews do not worship in full comprehension of the Blessed Trinity- but we do not say they do not worship the One, True God.

    In some very important ways we have much more in common with a faithful Muslim than with a hardened secularist who is pro-abortion, pro-gay marriage and so forth- if we are talking about non-negotiable type issues.

    The problem is the reciprocity of religious liberty- and this is a major, major stumbling block that must be addressed for honest dialogue to take place- otherwise we would do well to suspect that dialogue is a one-way street and infiltration of our society in order to radically curtail our Christian freedom is a real threat to society- so let’s not go too far with our beef against Islam, but let’s stay connected to our Magisterium in how we proceed in relationship to these believers.

  • Tim,

    A good post.

    Though there is one point I disagree with and that is jihad.

    jihad is usually described as an internal struggle inside each man’s heart for moral purity.

    Only within the last couple of decades has this line of thought been thrown around.

    Jihad explicitly does mean the subjugation of non-Muslim nations if they refuse to convert without force.

    There is nothing in the Quran nor the hadiths that state anything close to the Just War Doctrine that we have.

    Just my two cents worth.

  • I work with several devout, normal muslims & I like them. I doubt very much that they’re “biding their time”, for heaven’s sake.
    OTOH, since you’re taking your cues from the Vatican, I hope you explain to your class what the word syncretism means.

  • Vatican Council II indicates that all Jews and Muslims in Rome are on the way to Hell. The Bible, the Church and Vatican Council II says Jews and Muslims need to convert into the Catholic Church to go to Heaven. All of them. Ad Gentes 7 says all people need Catholic Faith and the Baptism of water for salvation. All means everyone with no exceptions.

    Therefore, all must be converted to Him, made known by the Church’s preaching, and all must be incorporated into Him by baptism and into the Church which is His body. For Christ Himself “by stressing in express language the necessity of faith and baptism (cf. Mark 16:16; John 3:5), at the same time confirmed the necessity of the Church, into which men enter by baptism, as by a door.-Ad Gentes 7,Vatican Council II.

    Ad Gentes 7 says those who know about Jesus and the Catholic Church and yet do not enter are on the way to Hell. In Italy Muslims and Jews know about Jesus and the Catholic Church. It is a mortal sin of faith when they do not enter the Catholic Church.

    Therefore those men cannot be saved, who though aware that God, through Jesus Christ founded the Church as something necessary, still do not wish to enter into it, or to persevere in it.-Ad Gentes 7, Vatican Council II

    Whosoever, therefore, knowing that the Catholic Church was made necessary by Christ, would refuse to enter or to remain in it, could not be saved.-Lumen Gentium 14, Vatican Council II

  • Tito- as for jihad- what I was describing is how the Islam rep. describes it when asked about it- also most of the textbooks go with this description over the one you gave. As for Just War Doctrine- that was not their chosen term but it was my own given how they described the militant dimension to jihad- basically that a Muslim population has the right to defend themselves when attacked- which is how many feel about situations in the Middle East as in Israel/Palestine, Iraq, Afghanistan- they would say that the fighting was provoked by foreign invaders- and the only thing they regret are the terrorist responses against civilian targets. That is their side of things anyway- for me the issue of religious freedom/reciprocity is the one that they could not come up with any kind of decent response, and seem to be hiding from such a dialogue on that front- which is why I think it is important to put stress on it as I believe the Holy Father has strongly suggested-

    to gb- I’m not sure if I’m catching your drift- are you of the view that since the Church teaches that Jews and Muslims worship the same God as we do- despite not having an appreciation for the fullness of the truth of the Blessed Trinity- that this is syncretism- or am I missing your point?


    The Catechism of the Catholic Church indicates that de facto non Catholics need to enter the Catholic Church for salvation. It also uses the word all (CCC 836) as does Vatican Council II (Ad Gentes 7).

    CCC 1257 affirms the dogma when it says that the Church knows of no means to eternal beatitude other than the baptism of water. This is a reference to explicit salvation for all with no known exceptions.

    CCC 1257 also says that for salvation God is not restricted to the Sacraments. This must not be interpreted as opposing the dogma or the earlier part of CCC 1257. This is a possibility, ‘in certain circumstances’ (Letter of the Holy Office 1949) and we cannot judge any specific cases.

    However, those, who through no fault of their own do not know either the Gospel of Christ or his Church, can achieve salvation by seeking God with a sincere heart and by trying to do God’s will (Second Vatican Council). Although God can lead all people to salvation, the Church still has the duty to evangelize all men.-CCC 848
    Those who are in invincible ignorance can be saved -and this does not conflict with the ex cathedra dogma that everyone with no exception needs to enter the Church to avoid Hell. It is a conceptual, de jure understanding.

    How do we understand this saying from the Church Fathers? All salvation comes from Christ through his Body, the Church which is necessary for salvation because Christ is present in his Church…-CCC846

    Here the Catechism places de jure and defacto salvation together. It does not conflict with the ex cathedra teaching that everyone with no exception needs to enter the Catholic Church .We cannot personally know any cases of a genuine invincible ignorance, baptism of desire or a good conscience.

    The Father wants to reunite all humanity into his Son’s Church. According to St. Augustine and St. Ambrose, the Church was prefigured by Noah’s ark, which alone saved the world from the flood.-CCC 845
    Here again we have an affirmation of the ex cathedra dogma, the infallible teaching that de facto everyone needs to enter the only Ark of Salvation.

    The dogma, the infallible teaching is that de facto every person needs to enter the Catholic Church, Jesus’ Mystical Body (Colossians) for salvation, with no exceptions, known to us. Pope Pius XII called it the infallible teaching (Letter of the Holy Office 1949).This would apply to non Catholics in Rome.

    If there are exceptions to the ordinary means of salvation which is the baptism of water and Catholic Faith it will be known to God only and Jesus only will judge. So in a sense mentioning it is irrelevant at the level of personal evangelisation personal contact with non-Catholics.

    All men are certainly called to this Catholic unity. The Catholic faithful, others who believe in Christ and all mankind belong to or are ordered to Catholic unity.-CCC 836
    Here again we have an affirmation of the ex cathedra dogma and the word all is used as in Ad Gentes 7.

    Here is the ex cathedra dogma extra ecclesiam nulla salus.

    1. “There is but one universal Church of the faithful, outside which no one at all is saved.” (Pope Innocent III, Fourth Lateran Council, 1215.).

    2. “We declare, say, define, and pronounce that it is absolutely necessary for the salvation of every human creature to be subject to the Roman Pontiff.” (Pope Boniface VIII, the Bull Unam Sanctam, 302.).

    3.“The most Holy Roman Church firmly believes, professes and preaches that none of those existing outside the Catholic Church, not only pagans, but also Jews and heretics and schismatics, can have a share in life eternal; but that they will go into the eternal fire which was prepared for the devil and his angels, unless before death they are joined with Her; and that so important is the unity of this ecclesiastical body that only those remaining within this unity can profit by the sacraments of the Church unto salvation, and they alone can receive an eternal recompense for their fasts, their almsgivings, their other works of Christian piety and the duties of a Christian soldier. No one, let his almsgiving be as great as it may, no one, even if he pour out his blood for the Name of Christ, can be saved, unless he remain within the bosom and the unity of the Catholic Church.” (Pope Eugene IV, the Bull Cantate Domino, 1441.) – from the website and “No Salvation outside the Church”: Link List, the Three Dogmatic Statements Regarding EENS)
    The ex cathedra dogma does not say that ‘those who through no fault of their own do not know either the Gospel or Christ or his Church, or who have a sincere heart’ do not have to enter the Catholic Church to go to Heaven. Everyone has to enter the Church and there are no exceptions. This was the infallible teaching for centuries (Letter of the Holy Office 1949)

    However, those, who through no fault of their own do not know either the Gospel of Christ or his Church, can achieve salvation by seeking God with a sincere heart and by trying to do God’s will (Second Vatican Council). Although God can lead all people to salvation, the Church still has the duty to evangelize all men.-CCC 848
    It means that those who are the exceptions to the baptism of water are rare cases,’ in certain circumstances’, known only to God (Letter of the Holy Office 1949). We cannot judge. So the explicit salvation teaching for all to enter the Church, of the Catechism of the Catholic Church still holds. It is in accord with the dogma.

    The Catechism of the Catholic Church says all people need to enter the Catholic Church to go to Heaven, the Church is the only Ark of Noah that saves in the flood and the Catholic Church knows of no other means to eternal beatitude other than the Baptism of water (which is given to adults who have Catholic Faith).The Catechism says God wants all people to be united into the Catholic Church, it is in the Catholic Church that God wants all people to worship him. So this is a reference to the infallible teaching based on the Bible and Catholic Tradition. It is the teaching of the Magisterium of the past and today.

    Vatican Council II indicates that all Jews and Muslims in Rome and Italy are on the way to Hell. The Bible, the Church and Vatican Council II say Jews and Muslims need to convert into the Catholic Church to go to Heaven. All of them. Ad Gentes 7 says all people need Catholic Faith and the Baptism of water for salvation. All means everyone with no exceptions.

    Therefore, all must be converted to Him, made known by the Church’s preaching, and all must be incorporated into Him by baptism and into the Church which is His body. For Christ Himself “by stressing in express language the necessity of faith and baptism (cf. Mark 16:16; John 3:5), at the same time confirmed the necessity of the Church, into which men enter by baptism, as by a door.-Ad Gentes 7,Vatican Council II.
    Ad Gentes 7 says those who know about Jesus and the Catholic Church and yet do not enter are on the way to Hell. In Italy Muslims and Jews know about Jesus and the Catholic Church. It is a mortal sin of faith when they do not enter the Catholic Church.

    Therefore those men cannot be saved, who though aware that God, through Jesus Christ founded the Church as something necessary, still do not wish to enter into it, or to persevere in it.-Ad Gentes 7, Vatican Council II
    Whosoever, therefore, knowing that the Catholic Church was made necessary by Christ, would refuse to enter or to remain in it, could not be saved.-Lumen Gentium 14, Vatican Council II
    The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Vatican has positively endorsed the ex cathedra dogma extra ecclesiam nulla salus in Responses to Some questions regarding certain Aspects of the Doctrine of the Church in which it refers to ‘the traditional doctrine’, ‘according to Catholic doctrine’

    Cardinal William Levada, Prefect, Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) and Archbishop Angelo Amato, former Secretary, CDF emphasize in Responses to Some questions regarding certain Aspects of the Doctrine of the Church:

    Christ “established here on earth” only one Church and instituted it as a “visible and spiritual community”, that from its beginning and throughout the centuries has always existed and will always exist, and in which alone are found all the elements that Christ himself instituted. “This one Church of Christ, which we confess in the Creed as one, holy, catholic and apostolic.

    This Church, constituted and organised in this world as a society, subsists in the Catholic Church, governed by the successor of Peter and the Bishops in communion with him”.]the word “subsists” can only be attributed to the Catholic Church alone precisely because it refers to the mark of unity that we profess in the symbols of the faith (I believe… in the “one” Church); and this “one” Church subsists in the Catholic Church.-Responses to Some Questions Regarding certain Aspects of the Doctrine on the Church.(June 29, 2007)
    So Responses to Some Questions Regarding certain Aspects of the Doctrine on the Church does not explain are understanding of Church (ecclesiology) as a break from Tradition and extra ecclesiam nulla salus.It repeats the message of Vatican Council II that the Church is a necessity for salvation (Ad Gentes 7, Lumen Gentium 14). We do not separate Jesus from the Church, even though elements of salvation can be present outside the visible boundaries of the church. De facto everyone needs to enter the Catholic Church; it is a necessity for salvation .All non-Catholics need to enter through the ordinary way of salvation which is the baptism of water and Catholic Faith. De facto everyone needs to enter the Church.

    De jure (conceptually, in theory, intellectually, in theology) we could debate or discuss exceptions to the need of salvation, those without the baptism of water. However these are exceptions known only to God. They are unknown to us. They are unknown to us since only Jesus can judge. He will decide.

    Responses states

    “It follows that these separated churches and Communities, though we believe they suffer from defects, are deprived neither of significance nor importance in the mystery of salvation. In fact the Spirit of Christ has not refrained from using them as instruments of salvation, whose value derives from that fullness of grace and of truth which has been entrusted to the Catholic Church”
    In ‘certain circumstances’ as Pope Pius XII states (Letter of the Holy Office 1949) those with implicit faith, those who are not Catholics ,can be saved (without Catholic Faith and the Baptism of water).So we cannot interpret ‘It follows that these separated churches and Communities….’ as referring to the ordinary way of salvation. Since only in ‘certain circumstances’; exceptionally and known to God only can members of separated Churches and communities be saved without Catholic Faith in the Catholic Church. The ordinary way of salvation is the baptism of water and Catholic Faith. For example the Catechism states that the Catholic Church knows of no way to eternal beatitude other than the baptism of water (given to adults with Catholic Faith). So this is the ordinary way. Yet CCC 1257 also says salvation is not limited to the Sacraments. So here we have the dejure, extraordinary reference to the exceptional means of salvation. In a way it is irrelevant to us since it will be judged only by Jesus.

    If ‘“It follows that these separated churches and Communities…’ was a reference to the ordinary way of salvation then it would contradict Vatican Council II. Since Ad Gentes 7, states “all people” need Catholic Faith and the Baptism of water for salvation. All.

    If de facto we know specifically, personally, that someone in ‘these separated churches and Communities’ can be saved, then it would contradict the dogma extra ecclesiam nulla salus.

    So dejure, conceptually we know “It follows that these separated churches and Communities, though we believe they suffer from defects, are deprived neither of significance nor importance in the mystery of salvation. In fact the Spirit of Christ has not refrained from using them as instruments of salvation, whose value derives from that fullness…’-is possible. De jure (conceptually, in theory, intellectually, in theology) we could debate or discuss this possibility.

    De facto it is clear that there are no exceptions to ‘ Christ “established here on earth” only one Church and instituted it as a “visible and spiritual community”, that from its beginning and throughout the centuries has always existed and will always exist, and in which alone are found all the elements that Christ himself instituted. “This one Church of Christ, which we confess in the Creed as one, holy, catholic and apostolic.

    De facto (in evangelising, in personal contact with non-Catholics) there is no one who specifically has the baptism of desire, who I know is in invincible ignorance or who I can judge has good conscience.

    We know that all Muslims and Jews in Rome need to enter the Catholic Church to avoid Hell. This has been Catholic teaching for centuries and it is affirmed in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, Vatican Council II, the ex cathedra dogma extra ecclesiam nulla salus, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith document, besides other Church documents and the Bible.

  • The reason I think that the reciprocity of religious freedom is so important is not just so that the small/minority Christian populations may live to see another day- but also so that the Good News of Jesus Christ can lawfully be preached in order to fulfill Christ’s command to His disciples. We are obliged to preach the saving Gospel- yet we are not here to judge- that is Christ’s work- so we cannot go around asking folks- “Are you Saved?” for we are working out our own salvation in fear and trembling. Ours is to witness Christ and His Church to all people everywhere- and the fact that America has chosen to go about doing business as usual with two major nations that have zero respect for religious liberty and the freedom to preach Christ and Church- well that says a whole lot about the powers-that-be in this Land of ours. Of course, some Free Market ideologues will claim that doing business with tyrannical forces- giving mighty tithes to those powers and letting them set upon their own peoples to exploit their labor and “compete” against workers in other lands who have their freedom- that this is all part of God’s plan of free corporate enterprise.

    The question I have is when does engagement really just mask a selling off of your own ideals and morality in the name of Money- the love of which is the root of many evils??

  • Lionel, Vatican II states (in Lumen Gentium 16) that “those also can attain to salvation who through no fault of their own do not know the Gospel of Christ or His Church, yet sincerely seek God and moved by grace strive by their deeds to do His will as it is known to them through the dictates of conscience.”

    The same paragraph talks about Jews & Muslims having the possibility of salvation.

  • Another aspect in the dialog with the imam (assuming he’s interested in continuing it) is that Christianity does not compel its followers to force it upon others, nor does it say that we must prohibit other places of worship.

  • I’m not entirely on board with the idea that Christians and Muslims worship the same God. It would require divorcing God from his nature too much — how much of the Christian understanding of God has to do with the Trinity and Incarnation? If Muslims deny those doctrines outright, I don’t see how they’re actually worshipping the same God. The theology is too important to dismiss the differences.

  • ” During the class visits the question of terrorism and jihad always comes up and that isn’t the big problem for the Islamic representative as one might think. They distance themselves from an interpretation of the Qu’ran that allows for the killing of innocents- and jihad is usually described as an internal struggle inside each man’s heart for moral purity. Most Muslims seem to go along with a rough sketch of the Catholic Just War Doctrine, which allows them to support military “resistance” such as in Palestine and elsewhere, but not to agree with all the tactics of warfare conducted as such. Similar to what many Catholics would say about America’s involvement in World War II, but not agreeing that the dropping of nuclear bombs on civilian centers was legitmate. So much for that hot button issue. ”

    Very many mosques in the United States are influenced to a greater or lesser extent by Wahhabism. The great paradox is that whilst both the Republican and Democratic parties in the US, maintain the fiction that Saudi Arabia is an ally of the United States, Saudi Arabia is in fact a committed enemy of the United States.Wahhabism will not accept that any country that ever was under Muslim rule can be legitimately ruled by non-Muslims, it is as simple as that. Since both Spain and America are pledged to mutual defense under the NATO treaty, that from a Wahhabi perspective places America in a state of war with the Muslim Ummah, ( World Wide Muslim Community ),.

    It is inherently dangerous to use the word terrorism in discussion with Muslims, in the way the author of the article may well has used it, for the reason that Muslims who are committed to deception ” taqiyya ” of Christians and other non-Muslims have ample scope for word games in relation to the term ” terrorism “. For example, if asked about 9/11, they might say that they ” unreservedly condemn the terrorism, that occurred on 9/11 “, sounds good doesn’t it, what they could be saying is that they fully support aircraft having been hijacked and crashed in to the Twin Towers of the WTC, NYC, NY and they fully support an aircraft having been hijacked and crashed in to the Pentagon but condemn as an act of terrorism, attempts by the crew and passengers of United Airlines flight 93 to regain control of the aircraft from the hijackers. As regards ” innocents ” in war, one must understand that term within the context of the territorial claims of the Wahhabis, once the US does not recognize Spain as being a rightful part of Islamic territory, all Americans who do not reject the US Government’s position that Spain is not an Islamic territory become legitimate targets for military attacks. The difference between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and al-Qaeda is not one of theology and interpretation of Islam, it is one of tactics. The Saudi religious establishment believe for the present, that more can be achieved with respect to Islamic conquest, by infiltration and manipulation of the enemy through political, ideological, economic and psychological warfare techniques than simple military attacks, whilst al-Qaeda believe more conventional military insurgency techniques are appropriate at this time.

    Undercover Mosque the Return

    By the way with regard to the nuclear weapons used against Japan, it is arguable that more Japanese would have died if the US had sought to bring the war to a conclusion using conventional military methods.

  • Middle East oil is poisoning Western society, since for example the Saudis use a substantial part of their oil revenue to foster interpretations of Islam, which are antagonistic to Western liberal, ( that is ” liberal ” as used in British English, as is quite different to how the term is used in American English ), society. America needs to ramp up alternative energy technologies that will displace oil consumption. One of the arguments that the oil industry uses against supporters of renewables, is that they want people to live in huts, eat porridge and wear clothes made out of grass, simply not true, there is nothing of green freakery in for example sitting down in a restaurant car having a fine meal in a train cruising at 350 miles per hour which is being supplied with electricity by wind turbines.

    TGV world train speed record 3/4/2007 357mph English version

  • From the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

    •841 The Church’s relationship with the Muslims. “The plan of salvation also includes those who acknowledge the Creator, in the first place amongst whom are the Muslims; these profess to hold the faith of Abraham, and together with us they adore the one, merciful God, mankind’s judge on the last day.”[330]

    This is the basis for any fruitful dialogue- but without reciprocity of religious freedom we would be fools to participate in commerce and provide student visas for those who are serving the brand of Islam that would see the Saudi system of governance as ideal. In fact it is our substantial involvement with Saudi Arabia that actually provokes the bin Laden element- that along with the other biggie- support for Israel over the Palestinians. If our ties to the Saudi leadership was actually leading to religious freedom for Christianity in that country, it would be one thing, but our economic/political ties seem to have the added negative of encouraging the Saudi leaders to continue proving their Islamic bonafides by cracking down on anything non-Islamic and funding Mosques in Rome and supporting radical Islamic causes other than the ones directly targeting the Saudi leaders themselves. We totally played into this during the anti-Soviet era by encouraging Saudi money and Intelligence into Afghanistan-

    Let us do business with Muslim-Majority States that respect religious liberty and allow for Christian free speech and worship, and cut way back on ties with those Muslim States who don;t- this should be a big issue among Christians in this country- but the pragmatists and corporatists are the ones dominating the political and economic decisions.

  • ” Let us do business with Muslim-Majority States that respect religious liberty and allow for Christian free speech and worship, and cut way back on ties with those Muslim States who don;t- this should be a big issue among Christians in this country- but the pragmatists and corporatists are the ones dominating the political and economic decisions. ”

    Some people would argue that the above is a naive dogooder policy but it actually makes a lot of sense from a perspective of hard-nosed realpolitik, national security and the long term financial perspective. My view is that donations from Saudi Arabia to US mosques, educational establishments and pressure groups should attract substantial rates of US taxation and that the US Federal Government should have a discretionary power to withdraw tax exempt status from organizations which accept donations from Saudi Arabia.

    WELSH Guard plays “Darth Vader” for Saudi King

  • Chris we cannot interpret LG 16 as de facto salvation. This would be heresy. It would contradict the ex cathedra dogma extra ecclesiam nulla salus and Ad Gentes7 and CCC 836.
    Also there is no de facto baptism of desire that we can know of.Only God can judge cases of implicit faith.
    The popes and Councils knew about implciit faith (baptisms of desire,invincible ignorance etc) and did not interpret it as de facto but de jure salvation. Something we accept in principle, de jure, as a concept, ‘in certain circumstances'(Letter of the Holy Office 1949) and known only to God.


  • Tim,
    It is true that we worship the One Creator but the Church teaches that Islam is not a path to salvation and there is no theology which can say that Islam is a path for its members to go to Heaven(CDF, Notification on Fr.Jacques Dupuis s.j 2001).

    There are good things in Islam but there is also the Arian heresy and they are not free from Original Sin.

    Here is a video of a Rosiminian priest in Rome, who celebrates the Novus Ordo Mass in Italian, saying that every Muslim needs to be a visible member of the Catholic Church to go to Heaven.


  • Joseph,
    It is true we Catholics do not force our religion upon others but we do not have the obligation in dialogue, in mutual sharing, to say that Muslims are oriented to Hell according to Vatican Council II, the Catechism of the Catholic Church and the ex cathedra dogma extra ecclesiam nulla salus.
    God wants every Muslim to worship Him in the Catholic Church(CCC) and the Church know of no way to eternal beatitude other than the baptism of water (CCC 1257) given to Catholics with adult faith.
    Here is a video of Catholic priests, who celebrate Mass in Italian and affirm Vatican Council II, also endorsing the dogmatic teachings of the Church.


  • ” During the class visits the question of terrorism and jihad always comes up and that isn’t the big problem for the Islamic representative as one might think. They distance themselves from an interpretation of the Qu’ran that allows for the killing of innocents- and jihad is usually described as an internal struggle inside each man’s heart for moral purity. ”

    Anjem Choudary ONLY Muslim are Innocent rest can be Killed

  • I would like to point out that those whom submit to God’s will are called Muslims and their religion is called Islam. Not moslems, moslemism or Mohammedism written in the comments. Muslims do not worship Mohammed (Peace be upon him) nor do Muslims believe he is the founder of Islam. The name Islam and Muslims is what God calls in the Quran, it is not a religion named after a man.

    Muslims believe in Jesus (peace be upon him). They also worship the same God. And regarding why muslims believe Jesus (peace be upon him) is a prophet, and not Son of God or God, is answered in the following links.

    Prophet Jesus and Muhammad (Peace be upon them) in the Holy Quran and Previous Scriptures


    Prophet Mohammed (peace be upon him)

    Quran Tafseer/Explanation meaning

    By a German diplomat

    Ihope this comment clear all the wrong misconceptions and stereotypes associated with Islam and its association with terrorism. I encourage you to research the islamic websites provided when obtaining information, and not anti-islamic websites and productions which feed your mind and others with incorrect information and hatred. Those whom produce Anti-Islamic/offensive productions inevitably intend to incite and provoke unrest and intolerance among people of different religious beliefs, and to jeopardize world peace and stability. Hidden under the cover of freedom of expression.

    It says in your scripture “blessed are the peacemakers” I hope there will be better understanding between Jews, Christians and Muslims for peaceful co-existance. We should all be increasing peaceful dialouge, not fueling hatred and extremism.


    Islam is Peace
    Was Islam Spread by the Sword?

    The Tolerance of the Prophet (peace be upon him) towards Other Religions

    Let There Be No Compulsion in Religion

    The Rights of Non-Muslims in Islam

    What Does Islam say About Terorrism /

  • Were one to compare Vatican city to Mecca and/or Medina, then one is comparing apples-to-apples, except that non-Muslims may not visit those two cities, while anyone can visit the Vatican City.

    I have very few kind things to say or think about Islam, or the Prophet Muhammed. I would not think a thing, however, about a ban on Christian worship, mission or construction in Mecca or Medina. It is rank sophistry, however, for the Iman to compare all of the K.S.A. to Vatican City.

    But then puerile sophistry is par for the course with Islam.

  • Adrian/tryptic


    The Catechism of the Catholic Church and Vatican Council II indicate that Mohammad was not saved and was oriented to Hell barring the exceptional. The religion he founded-the Catholic Church and the Bible indicates, is not a path to salvation. The Last Judgment by Giovanni da Modena, is a 15 th century fresco in the cathedral of San Petronio, Bologna it shows the Prophet Muhammad being cast into the flames of Hell. This is relevant for inter religious dialogue.

    Catholics do not accept Mohammad as a prophet, nor Islam as a path to salvation. Muslims in general, according to the teachings of Jesus Christ, need Catholic Faith and Baptism to go to Heaven. They need to be baptized in the only Church Jesus founded, to reap the benefits of His Great Sacrifice for all people, Muslims included.

    This is the mercy of God the Father. He provided a way for all people, even before the time of Abraham, to go to Heaven, through the Supreme Sacrifice of His Son Jesus Christ.


    Islam is not a path to salvation and Muslims need Catholic Faith and Baptism to go to Heaven said Father Felix Muchado, Former Secretary, Council for Inter Religious Dialogue (PCID), Vatican. He was speaking with me at the PCID office near St. Peter’s Square on Tuesday (26.02.2008) morning. He was asked if non-Catholic religions (Hinduism, Buddhism, and Islam etc) are not paths to salvation (i.e. to go to Heaven and avoid Hell).He said YES.

    Do non-Catholics need Catholic Faith and Baptism in general, except for the exceptions, to go to Heaven and avoid Hell, he was asked. He answered yes. This was not mentioned in a triumphal sense or with hatred. It was a matter of fact statement.

    Archbishop Angelo Amato, Secretary, Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), Vatican in an interview in the Italian daily Avvenire has emphasised the importance of Catholic Mission. He quoted the text from the Council Ad Gentes 7, Lumen Gentium 14) which says:

    ˜All must be incorporated into Him by baptism, and into the Church which is His body. For Christ Himself explicit terms affirmed the necessity of faith and baptism (cf.Mk.16:16; Jn.3:5) and thereby affirmed also the necessity of the Church, for through baptism (cf.Mk.16:16; Jn.3:5) and thereby affirmed also the necessity of the Church, for through baptism as through a door men enter the Church.

    He was interviewed at the Salesian University, Rome by Gianni Cardinale (Amato: non ce Chiesa senza missione, March 8, 2008, Saturday p. 21, Catholica, Avvenire).

    Archbishop Angelo Amato, CDF, Sec., Vatican was saying that Judaism without the Jewish Savior is not a path to salvation and all Jews in general, need the baptism of water and Catholic Faith.

    Islam is not a path to salvation and their members need Baptism and Catholic Faith to avoid Hell said Mons. Raffaello Martinelli at his residence on the Via del Corso, on the solemn feast day of the Blessed Virgin Mary the Mother of God (Jan1, 2008).

    Mons. Raffaello has since 1980 been working with the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), Vatican. For the last 23 years he has assisted Cardinal Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI. Mons. Raffaello was also a coordinator in the preparation of the Catechism of the Catholic Church.The Archpriest (Primicerio) of the exquisite Basilica dei Ambrogio e Carlo al Corso in Rome he said that the Catholic Church teaches that Islam is not a path to salvation but Muslims can be saved, who are in invincible ignorance and those who die in good faith.

    “Are they saved through their religion?” he was asked to clarify. He answered no. Their religion does not save them.

    “Do they need to enter the Catholic Church to go to Heaven and avoid Hell?”

    He answered yes.

    All Muslims, he said, are called (by God) to enter the Catholic Church.

    He was asked if they are simply just called (optional) to enter the Catholic Church, through the baptism of water, or, are they called to enter the Catholic Church to avoid Hell. He answered that they are called to enter the Catholic Church to avoid Hell.

    The Catholic Church is the Body of Christ he said. The Church is the general, normal way to be saved.

    He made the distinction between the ordinary and extraordinary means of salvation.

    The Church, the Body of Christ is the ordinary means of salvation. So the Baptism of water is needed for all people in general. However through the extraordinary means of salvation Muslims can be saved within Islam. They too are saved by Jesus Christ.

    “Who are these exceptions, saved implicitly through the extraordinary means of salvation?” he said, we do not know. We cannot judge. Only Jesus knows. We cannot say that a particular person is in invincible ignorance, has good faith etc. We humans cannot judge.


    Yet Lumen Gentium N.14 is clear that those non-Catholics who know they should be in the Catholic Church and who have had the Gospel preached to them, and yet do not do so, will go to Hell.

    The Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church and Vatican Council II refer to these non-Catholics going to Hell, definitely.

    We do not know who is in partial communion or full communion, we do not know who is in invincible ignorance or has perfect contrition or has a good conscience-only Jesus does.

    When we meet a Hindu, Buddhist or Muslim we assume that he or she is not saved, not because we know personally but because the Church inspired by the Holy Spirit tells us so.

    So would Mohammad come under the category of exceptions? No. Since he knew. He knew about the Catholic Faith.This is seen in the Koran. He chose not to enter the Catholic Church and formed a new religion. Interestingly, Muslims still pray that he may have peace.

    Jesus however is saying that those Muslims who believe will be saved, those who do not will be condemned (Mk.16: 15-16, Jn.3:5)

    The condemnation is to Hell. It was Dante who described the Inferno he saw.

    Mohammad was among the many people whom the Italian poet Dante Alighieri saw in Hell.


    Dante saw Hell with caves and special tortures for different people. There was fire and water, demons and the presence of Satan. He saw suffering which would never ever end in time. The Catholic saints Teresa of Avila and Maria Faustina Kowalski also describe Hell similarly. Dante’s experience of Hell can also be compared with Sr. Josepha Menendez. It is similar to Hell shown by Our Lady to Sr. Lucia at Fatima.

    The Catholic saints were permitted by God to see Hell while they were alive and were allowed to tell the world about it.

    Dante’s vision was contemplation, said Mons.Marco Frisina, during a series of talks on the Divine Comedy of Dante, given at the Basilica dei Ambrogio e Carlo al Corso, Rome.

    After one of the talks, I spoke to him about the visions of the Catholic saints and how they were similar to that of Dante.

    I asked him, “Was it just contemplation or did Dante really go to Hell?”

    He replied, “Non lo so” (I don’t know)

    Unlike Dante the Catholic saints do not name names. St. Maria Faustina Kowalski recognized in Hell, people whom she knew. So did Sr.Josepha Menendez.

    Most of them in Hell said St. Faustina were really surprised to be there. Surprised! They expected to be in Heaven, once past the Particular Judgment. Were there were those who thought it was enough to be a Jew or Muslim?

    St. Faustina Kowalski and Dante saw demons in Hell and Satan being present to torment the people sent there. St. Teresa of Avila noted the dirty water with reptiles, so did Dante. They both observed there were special places and caves for the demons to torture people forever. Josepha Menendez saw people tortured in a special way in the parts of the body, which they used to sin. So did the Polish saint Maria Kowalska. This was what Dante saw and described.

    Sr. Lucia saw people amidst fire. Dante described many realms with fire. The Bible and the sacred books of other religions also list fire in Hell. However Dante is more explicit and covers a large range of the specific suffering in Hell. Sr. Lucia seemed to be shown, by Our Lady, just one area.

    The Catholic Church tells us that a category of non Christians will go to Hell. That non Christians can go to Hell is clearly said in Vatican Council II and the Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

    Jesus cautions us about Hell in the New Testament. The road to Hell is wide and many take it He said. This warning was His love for us. The Old Testament and the Psalms have many references to Hell. Isaiah (33) asks who can withstand a devouring fire for eternity. The Quran refers often to Hell.

    The message of Vatican Council II and the Catechism of the Catholic Church is that those non Catholics who have had the Gospel preached to them and who know that the Catholic Church is the one, true Church of God, founded by His Son Jesus Christ, and who yet do not enter through baptism and Catholic Faith will go to Hell (they cannot be saved).

    Whosoever, therefore, knowing that the Catholic Church was made necessary by God through Jesus Christ would refuse to enter her or to remain in her could not be saved. – Decree on the Missionary activity of the Church, Ad Gentes # 7, Vatican Council II

    Mohammad knew about Jesus Christ and the Church Jesus founded. This is clear in the Quran. Yet he refused to enter it. He had the Gospel preached to him. His soul, Catholic teaching indicates is oriented towards Hell.

    Many Muslims who have had the Gospel preached to them, who know that God the Father founded his only Church through his Son Jesus Christ. They know that they need to join this saving-Church because this is what God wants of them. Yet they do not do so. They are oriented towards the Inferno at the time of their death.

    The Bible and the Catechism say that just one mortal sin at the time of death, is enough for a soul to go to eternal death. Muslims, do not have the help of the Catholic Sacraments.

    And whosoever shall keep the whole law but offend in one point is become guilty of all. For he that said: Thou shalt not commit adultery, said also: Thou shalt not kill. Now if thou do not commit adultery, but shalt kill, thou art become a transgressor of the law. (James 2:10-11). (Douay-Rheims Bible)

    So there are not only Mortal sins of Faith, which is relevant to Mohammad, but there are also Mortal Sins of morals. The Church specifies which are the mortal sins e.g. committing or encouraging murder-abortion, euthanasia, fornication, homosexuality, fornication.

    There are many Muslims who believe that they are doing good and have a good conscience. With mortal sins of faith and morals they are oriented to Hell, while living as Muslims. This is not what God wants of them.

    The Catholic Church teaches us that the religion Muhammad founded has good things but it is not a path to heaven. It also has errors and deficiencies (Dominus Iesus). It carries the fourth century Arian heresy which denies Jesus is God. It denies the Trinity and the Crucifixion of Jesus.


    The Catholic Church, however, does not officially name any particular person in Hell. It does not even say that Judas is in Hell (or Heaven) even though Scripture indicates that Judas’ soul is cursefreesite in Hell.

    One can appreciate many good and holy things in the religion Muhammad founded.

    This report here hence is not a condemnation of Muhammad and Islam. Neither does the Catholic Church condemn either.

    The sin of heresy however is a Mortal Sin.

    ‘…those who do not believe will be condemned’ says Jesus (Mk.16:15-16).

    They have chosen their condemnation. They have chosen eternal death. Muhammad, like Gandhi knew about the Catholic Faith. They chose otherwise.

    Muhammad, like Gandhi, was born with Original Sin. Muhammad carried the image of Adam (1 Cor.15:45-49).Through Baptism ‘we bear the image of the heavenly one’- Jesus. Muhammad died with the stain of Original Sin. He could not say that Jesus is Lord. He who cannot say that Jesus is Lord is the Antichrist the Bible says.

    Muhammad’s concept of Heaven is not that of Christians. St. Faustina Marie Kowalski describes her vision of Heaven which is Trinitarian. (N.777Diary). She described Paradise where Catholics are in happiness, amidst great beauty and give praise and glory to the One Triune God. It is a place of pure love for God without the presence of evil. (Whatever ones religion or lack of it, if one is saved it is through Jesus and the Catholic Church, one is a Catholic in Heaven).


    Vatican Council II actually says that Judaism, Islam and the other religions are not paths to salvation. (Ad Gentes 7) Their followers need Catholic Faith and Baptism in general, to avoid Hell (Lumen Gentium 14).

    The Council asks us to have “a high regard” for the precepts and doctrines of these religions “which often reflect a ray of that truth which enlightens all men” (Nostra Aetate, N.2), but does not anywhere say that these elements are sufficient for salvation.’-Extra Ecclesiam nulla salus, Christ to the World (1981)

    Not to believe in the one God as in Catholic Revelation is idol worship. It is contrary to the First Commandment. Idol worship is to make ones ego a god. It is to make ones badly-formed conscience god (CCC 2104, 2105, 2113, and 2114).It is choosing to worship as one wants to, personally, and not as God wants to be worshipped. We can choose to make television, or the editorial in a particular newspaper are idol, our god. Muslims can choose to stay within their religion, and circle the stone Kaaba, in a religious pilgrimage, in Saudi Arabia.


    Muslims who know the truth about the Catholic Church and yet choose to remain in the religion Mohammad founded are in heresy. Heresy is a grave sin (CCC#2088).Persistent grave sin; with full knowledge is a Mortal Sin.

    A Catholic in persistent Mortal sin, known to many people, can be refused the Eucharist. It means the loss of Sanctifying Grace. Heresy on this issue, means giving up the right to receive the Eucharist. For a Catholic religious it is giving up the right to celebrate Holy Mass or to canonically hold an office as a Catholic.

    Muslims cannot receive the Holy Eucharist.

    We appreciate all the good and holy things inIslam which are a preparation for the Gospel and entry into the Catholic Church.(Notification,CDF,Dupuis 2001).God loves Muslims.

  • Adrian,
    The Youtube video of Choudry shows that Islam says the same as the Catholic Church, only we said it some 500 plus years before them.We do not advocate violence and war and do not force are Catholic beliefs on any one.
    However the Church does teach that everyone needs to be a member of the Mystical Body of Jesus to go to Heaven and avoid Hell.It is the will of God that everyone be united in the Catholic Church(CCC). The Church is the only Ark of Noah that saves in the flood(CCC),the Church can be compared to a Door in which all must enter for salvation(CCC/Church Fathers).

  • Tim/T.Shaw
    We do not personally say that anyone is going to Hell because we personally know- we don’t. However the Magisterium says that the Imam is on the way to Hell.Since he is educated and knows about the Church and yet does not enter.(Vatican Council II).He also has Original Sin and is oriented to Hell (Ex Cathedra, extra ecclesiam nulla salus).
    So in dialogue would you tell the Imam that the Church teaches that he is oriented to Hell fires?



  • ” The Youtube video of Choudry shows that Islam says the same as the Catholic Church, only we said it some 500 plus years before them.We do not advocate violence and war and do not force are Catholic beliefs on any one. ”

    Dear Lionel Andrades I am well aware that the thinking of the Catholic Church, ( or at least a good part of it ), during the era of the 15th Century had much similarity to the opinions of Mr Choudary but the way you have written your posting makes it ambigious as to whether the Catholic Church has abandoned the position that it is okay to kill people simply because they do not accept elements of Christian theology, for example the divinity of Jesus, when the reality is that the Catholic Church has abandoned enforcing Catholic orthodoxy on others through the sword.

  • Adrian

    We affirm the same orthodoxy as the 15th century(extra ecclesiam nulla salus) but we do not force people to accept our views, neither do we advocate violence.

  • If an adherent of a particular religion, wishes to claim that this or that individual or this or that group will burn in hell fire for all eternity, that is often in of itself of little concern to me. Where it starts to get problematic is in faiths, that do not leave it go to God dispense justice in such matters. This is a particular problem in Islam.

  • Adrian

    Islam believes in Hell with fire just like Catholics. They also believe all of us non Muslims are going there. So they conduct Mission(dawah) to convert us.
    Some do it peacefully others through violence.
    We also believe that Muslims are oriented to Hell unless they convert.So we proclaim are faith peacefully and can even expect to be killed.
    God will dispense justice of course, Hell or Heaven however we still proclaim the hard truths of the Catholic Faith.

  • But not all of us Catholics have the same view on Islam.
    Joan Lewis is the Bureau Chief of EWTN in Rome and over the last few years I have been asking her three questions about Catholic Mission and Salvation and she will not answer them. She can also be heard on Radio Vatican which continues the slander on Fr. Leonard Feeney implying all of us Catholics who agree with him are also heretics.

    To reject the ex cathedra dogma extra ecclesiam nulla salus is a mortal sin. So how can Joan Lewis receive the Eucharist at the Church of Santa Susanna Rome and worse still also be a Eucharistic Minister?

    It is possible becaue of the Rector of Santa Susanna Fr.Gregory Apparel, a Paulist Father. In a homily he openly rejected the dogma extra ecclesiam nulla salus and cited Vatican Council II.After I corresponded with him via e-mail he asked me to stop coming to that Church.

    Joan Lewis would also give the Eucharist to John Allen, a former member of the Church praish council. Allen, at the National Catholic Reporter has rejected the dogma and supported homosexuality,syncretism and other evils.It is all there in public.

    EWTN has a similar policy as the Vatican Radio English Service. Even the Vatican Radio Press Service has been issuing press releases as if they have received a special dispensation from the Church to reject the extra cathdra dogma extra ecclesiam nulla salus. The rejection of Church teachings and the criticism of the Catholic Church is familiar on Radio Vatican (English).
    They could politey tell you that the Imam does not have to convert.

  • To “World Peace”-

    I’m inclined to give you the space to defend Islam- in fact I think it fair to allow all religions to speak their piece- even go door-to-door to hand out literature or attempt to start a conversation with anybody on the questions that are the most important in life- Is there a God? Has He revealed Himself? What truths have been conveyed from Above? This freedom to speak and share- as long as there is no pressure or harassment conveyed- is what I call religious liberty- along with the right to worship and display articles of one’s faith on their property and selves- this is the whole point of my posting.

    Catholicism promotes religious liberty even as She preaches that the Church has the fullness of the Truth- the fact that Jesus Christ will come again and judge the living and the dead- and so forth- there is no contradiction in holding these two concepts- one that everyone should have religious liberty and two that God has revealed Himself and we have the obligation to preach the Good News in good weather and bad. The United States and most of Europe seems to allow for these two actions to occur simultaneously. Respecting individual consciences and respecting religious adherents to practice and preach their beliefs in public and private- with only minimal interference ideally.

    The problem I would address to “World Peace” is the seeming difficulty in the lack of reciprocity in some key Islamic dominate nations such as Saudi Arabia- if Christians are not free to do what I detail above in Saudi Arabia- why should we allow Islamic adherents to increase in numbers here in the U.S. or receive student visas, and profit mightily from an economic relationship- when the preaching and teachings of Jesus Christ are banned from the lands of Islamic dominance? If Islamic adherents were to be working toward ushering in an era of true religious freedom in their homelands- that would seem to merit a healthy presence in our country- but without that one must be concerned that if or when the numbers change and Islamic adherents become a majority here in the U.S.- would we see a push toward turning the U.S. into a replica Saudi legal state? I prefer not to have to worry about all this- and the situation would be easily rectified if Saudi Arabia and other such states would move in the direction of respecting religious freedom- there are plenty of foreign workers in Saudi Arabia, and I imagine that there are Saudi citizens who are Christians but who fear criminal charges for coming out as Christian. Here in the U.S. Christians converts to Islam are in no way targeted by the laws of our land- why not put your respect for our Christian faith into real terms by proclaiming the need for religious freedom in Saudi Arabia et al? This would be a necessary first step in ensuring that any kind of positive dialogue could take place- otherwise you can speak all you want of the wonderful qualities of Islam but if in fact Islamic nations have zero tolerance for Christian expression, there is no reason for Christians to pursue good faith dialogue with those who apparently do not have the good sense to actually respect our lives and consciences.

  • One question I would posit based upon (CCC 846-848)

    846 How are we to understand this affirmation, often repeated by the Church Fathers? Re-formulated positively, it means that all salvation comes from Christ the Head through the Church which is his Body:

    Basing itself on Scripture and Tradition, the Council teaches that the Church, a pilgrim now on earth, is necessary for salvation: the one Christ is the mediator and the way of salvation; he is present to us in his body which is the Church. He himself explicitly asserted the necessity of faith and Baptism, and thereby affirmed at the same time the necessity of the Church which men enter through Baptism as through a door. Hence they could not be saved who, knowing that the Catholic Church was founded as necessary by God through Christ, would refuse either to enter it or to remain in it.

    This affirmation is not aimed at those who, through no fault of their own, do not know Christ and his Church:

    Those who, through no fault of their own, do not know the Gospel of Christ or his Church, but who nevertheless seek God with a sincere heart, and, moved by grace, try in their actions to do his will as they know it through the dictates of their conscience—those too may achieve eternal salvation.

    “Although in ways known to himself God can lead those who, through no fault of their own, are ignorant of the Gospel, to that faith without which it is impossible to please him, the Church still has the obligation and also the sacred right to evangelize all men.

    I would argue that the question of salvation turns on the question of the knowledge or lack thereof and possessed by Muslims concerning the Gospel of Christ or his Church, and the extent to which, their ignorance is vincible or invincible in nature As Pius IX pointed out in paragraph seven (7) of

    7. Here, too, our beloved sons and venerable brothers, it is again necessary to mention and censure a very grave error entrapping some Catholics who believe that it is possible to arrive at eternal salvation although living in error and alienated from the true faith and Catholic unity. Such belief is certainly opposed to Catholic teaching. There are, of course, those who are struggling with invincible ignorance about our most holy religion. Sincerely observing the natural law and its precepts inscribed by God on all hearts and ready to obey God, they live honest lives and are able to attain eternal life by the efficacious virtue of divine light and grace. Because God knows, searches and clearly understands the minds, hearts, thoughts, and nature of all, his supreme kindness and clemency do not permit anyone at all who is not guilty of deliberate sin to suffer eternal punishments. Quanto Conficiamur Moerore 10 August 1863 which was reaffirmed in paragraph twenty-three of Mystici Corporis Christi dated 29 June 1943

    23. Nor must one imagine that the Body of the Church, just because it bears the name of Christ, is made up during the days of its earthly pilgrimage only of members conspicuous for their holiness, or that it consists only of those whom God has predestined to eternal happiness. It is owing to the Savior’s infinite mercy that place is allowed in His Mystical Body here below for those whom, of old, He did not exclude from the banquet.[20] For not every sin, however grave it may be, is such as of its own nature to sever a man from the Body of the Church, as does schism or heresy or apostasy. Men may lose charity and divine grace through sin, thus becoming incapable of supernatural merit, and yet not be deprived of all life if they hold fast to faith and Christian hope, and if, illumined from above, they are spurred on by the interior promptings of the Holy Spirit to salutary fear and are moved to prayer and penance for their sins.Mystici Corporis Christi dated 29 June 1943

    We as Catholics must tread carefully when speaking of extra ecclesiam nulla salus. because Pope Pius XII excommunicated Rev. Leonard Feeney 13 February 1953 for adopting a position that was to rigid on the subject. Even though the excommunication was lifted some twenty years later it instructive in the sense that it demonstrates the danger that exists in adopting absolutist positions.

  • Nathan:

    There is no Church document which says that Pope Pius XI excommunicated Fr. Leonard Feeney for heresy. The Letter of the Holy Office (1949) during the pontificate of Pope Pius XI refers to disobedience to Church authorities. The Letter mentions extra ecclesiam nulla salus as ‘the dogma’ and the ‘infallible teaching’.
    Here is the dogma, the infallible teaching.

    1. “There is but one universal Church of the faithful, outside which no one at all is saved.” (Pope Innocent III, Fourth Lateran Council, 1215.).
    2. “We declare, say, define, and pronounce that it is absolutely necessary for the salvation of every human creature to be subject to the Roman Pontiff.” (Pope Boniface VIII, the Bull Unam Sanctam, 302.).
    3.“The most Holy Roman Church firmly believes, professes and preaches that none of those existing outside the Catholic Church, not only pagans, but also Jews and heretics and schismatics, can have a share in life eternal; but that they will go into the eternal fire which was prepared for the devil and his angels, unless before death they are joined with Her; and that so important is the unity of this ecclesiastical body that only those remaining within this unity can profit by the sacraments of the Church unto salvation, and they alone can receive an eternal recompense for their fasts, their almsgivings, their other works of Christian piety and the duties of a Christian soldier. No one, let his almsgiving be as great as it may, no one, even if he pour out his blood for the Name of Christ, can be saved, unless he remain within the bosom and the unity of the Catholic Church.” (Pope Eugene IV, the Bull Cantate Domino, 1441.)
    There cannot be two positions about the dogma, there is no rigid and non rigid position, there is no absolute and non absolute position, a dogma is a dogma.
    As can be seen from the dogma above Pope Pius XI was saying that every Jew (and Muslim) in Boston needs to convert to avoid Hell.
    The Jewish Left media refer to the rigorist interpretation of the dogma (as if there can be two interpretations) but that is their political position. The stuff of Wikipedia and the New York Times.
    The Catechism and Vatican Council II are in accord with the dogma.
    CCC 847 says all people are saved by Jesus and the Catholic Church. It includes those saved explicitly and those implicitly. It does not rule out everyone de facto having to enter the Church for salvation.
    CCC 847 like Lumen Gentium 16 mentions those who can be saved with implicit faith and who are known only to God. There are no de facto cases of invincible ignorance or the baptism of desire that we can judge or really know of. So 847 does not refer to de facto salvation and is not in contradiction to the dogma. It is a reference to de jure salvation, something we accept in principle and is possible ‘in certain circumstances’ (Letter of the Holy Office 1949).
    CCC 848 refers to those saved in invincible ignorance and who are known only to God.
    If salvation depends in particular cases on one’s knowledge or lack of it, in a Muslim, then this is acceptable in principle, de jure and will be judged only by God. The dogma and Ad Gentes 7 says all Muslims, everyone, need to enter the Church to avoid Hell.
    We do not know for example how many Muslims in Rome have the baptism of desire or are in invincible ignorance. However Ad Gentes 7 indicates that they are all on the way to Hell since they know about the Catholic Church and yet do not enter.
    Neither can we say that invincible ignorance and the baptism of desire is the general means of salvation for all Muslims and Jews.The church corrected ‘the theology of religions’ being proposed by the late Fr. Jacques Dupuis S.J (Notification, CDF, 2001)
    After every thing is said and done, debated and argued we have the dogma clear before us.

  • Tim,
    There are blasphemy laws in Pakistan and other Muslim countries.Does the Imam condemn it in public ?

  • Lionel,

    I respectfully disagree Rev. Feeny was excommunicated on 13 February 1953 as proof of his excommunication I submit the declaration of excommunication

    100 Acta Apostolicae Sedis – Commentarium Officiale


    Cum sacerdos Leonardus Feeney, Bostonii (Saint Benedict Center) residens, qui propter graviter denegatam oboedientiam Auctoritati Ecclesiasticae
    a divinis iamdudum suspensus fuerat, non obstantibus iteratis monitionibus et excommunicationis ipso facto incurrendae comminatione, non resipuerit, Emi ac Revmi Patres rebus fidei ac morum tutandis praepositi, in Plenario Conventu Feriae IV, habito die 4 Februarii 1953, eundem excommunicatum cum omnibus iuris effectibus declaraverunt.
    Feria autem V, die 12 Februarii 1953, Ssmus D. N. D. Pius Divina Providentia Papa XII Emorum Patrum decretum adprobavit, confirmavit atque publici iuris fieri iussit.
    Datum Romae, ex Aedibus S. Officii, die xin Februarii a. MCMLIII.
    Marius Crovini, Notarius

  • Lionel, I never said Father Feeny was excommuicated for heresy. I know that he was excommunicated not for heresy but for grave, continuing disobiedence and refusal to submit to Ecclesiastical Authority as demonstrated above. His disobiedience originated with his refusal to conform to the position taken by the Ecclesiastical Authority on the subject of extra ecclesiam nulla salus.

  • We have to avoid the Fundamentalist Christian trap of claiming to full well know God’s will in deciding any particular individual’s ultimate destiny. Church teachings indicate that only Christ can Judge such things- and we believe that Christ is the one who judges all individuals- He is not our personal jesus, He belongs to everyone – or more accurately everyone belongs to Him. We also know that salvation is mysteriously worked out through the Church of Christ which subsists in the Catholic Church, which is the Mystical Body of Christ. We know that there are explicit members of good standing who are knowingly and wittingly Catholic, and we know that there are individuals below the age of reason who are nevertheless baptised Christians, and we know through reason and Church teachings that there are those who are separated from God by mortal sin- who are inside and outside of the visible structures of the Catholic Church.

    We also know that there must be an element of “knowing” of one’s sin, and “knowing” that the Catholic Church is really and truly the One, True Church- these elements are where the mystery of each man’s heart and mind kicks in. We should not presuppose that someone is a good sort and is definitely going to or is in heaven, and we should make the automatic opposite assumption that someone is definitely heading to hell- with no qualifiers- just a plain certainty that this or that fellow is going or is in hell. The Pope doesn’t even allow that Judas is for certain in hell- we know that hell exists, we know that Jesus warns of it and many parables suggest that there are many who end up there- but again the bottom line on ultimate status is one that is best left to Jesus Christ Himself. It is hard enough to sort out an official Saint of the Church.

    Now we are obliged to share the Good News with everyone, never assuming that a non-Catholic is necessarily such a good sort that they are heaven-bound no matter their beliefs concerning the Catholic faith. We have a duty to preach the Gospel in season and out. We can allow that children raised in non-Catholic or “bad” Catholic homes will have a more difficult journey when you take in the truth that we are all to honor our mothers and fathers, and when we are led astray by those who are put here to give us the best possible helps- well that makes for a confusing situation- add to that growing up in a society where nearly or very definitely everyone is a non-believer, or an adherent of a different religion, then you can start to appreciate some of the complexities in determining one’s freely chosen beliefs concerning explicit understandings of Jesus Christ and the Catholic Church. Pope John Paul II even wrote in his book- Threshold of Hope- of how it was understandable how someone like Gandhi would have troubles in accepting Christianity from the hands of the same forces that oppressed him and his homeland.

    So- I hope to conclude my post with something approaching the true guidance of our Mother Church- we are called to witness for Christ and Church- there is no way to suppress that demand of all disciples of Christ. We must also be gentle as doves, and shrewd as serpents in doing so. We must evangelize with our lives, our words, our works and so forth. But we are called to stop short of making ultimate Judgements on the outcomes of any one man’s soul. We know the prescriptions for holiness as orthodox Catholics- we need to keep pulling the planks out or our own eyes first, but not neglecting to admonish all sin and sinners we encounter- with charity and without coming across as “clanging gongs” full of truth but too little love.

    I am not down with just outright bashing of folks who are Muslim, Jews, Buddhists, or even non-believers in anything Holy. We don’t know that these people who belong to some degree to these other faiths are necessarily going to hell- anymore than we can say with complete certainty- I’m saved, I’m going to heaven- Jesus has no say in the matter- well hold onto your horses. One can use the “Judge Not” Scripture to bad effect, but I think it is to be applied to making these Ultimate Judgments on particular human souls. We can apply good theology and sound reason, and we need to keep abreast of what language and what approaches our Church Hierarchs are activating, so that we can be better witnesses for the Faith. If someone sounds just way too harsh, or way too gentle and wishy-washy, I try to find some speech or talk from the Pope on the subject or watch to see how he conducts himself in the company of non-Catholics. In trying to become little christs, we should draw upon the guidance from our Holy Father- Santo Papa. As such I am pursuing the important issue of reciprocity of religious freedom, without making blanket assertions about all Muslims heading to hell- assuming that they fully understand the implications of not viewing the Catholic Church as Church founded by Jesus Christ to be the provider of the normative means of salvation for universal humanity. I try to step back and appreciate the Mystery of Salvation, and humbly submit my will to God for moral improvement and clearer insight into the human condition. God bless all those of goodwill- I would like to offer non-Catholics a welcome to consider what being Catholic means by reading our Catholic Catechism in it’s entirety, along with reading Holy Scripture, and the Papal Encyclicals on all manner of topics. Welcome!

  • Nathan,
    Here is the English version of the same DECREE:
    I am glad that you agree that he was not excommunicated for heresy.
    He refused to be obedient to the Archbishop of Boston, the ecclesiastical authority, who finally time showed, never affirmed the dogma extra ecclesiam nulla salus.Neither did he issue a clarification when the secular media in Boston repeated that the Catholic Church has changed its teaching on outside the Church there is no salvation.
    Fr.Feeney also refused to go to Rome to defend himself.He was disobedient.

    Pius XII – Decree Excommunicating Leonard Feeney, 13 February 1953

    Prior to the excommunication, Feeney received the following summons to appear before the Holy Office from Cardinal Pizzardo on November 22, 1952.

    The Holy Office has been obliged repeatedly to make your teaching and conduct in the Church the object of its special care and attention, and recently, after having again carefully examined and calmly weighed all the evidence collected in your cause, it has found it necessary to bring this question to a conclusion.



    Since the priest Leonard Feeney, a resident of Boston (Saint Benedict Center), who for a long time has been suspended a divinis for grave disobedience toward church authority, has not, despite repeated warnings and threats of incurring excommunication ipso facto, come to his senses, the Most Eminent and Reverend Fathers, charged with safeguarding matters of faith and morals, have, in a Plenary Session held on Wednesday 4 February 1953, declared him excommunicated with all the effects of the law.

    On Thursday, 12 February 1953, our Most Holy Lord Pius XII, by Divine Providence Pope, approved and confirmed the decree of the Most Eminent Fathers, and ordered that it be made a matter of public law.

    Given at Rome, at the headquarters of the Holy Office, 13 February 1953.

    Marius Crovini, Notary
    AAS (February 16, 1953) Vol. XXXXV, Page 100

    Since he was not excommunicated for heresy, the ‘absolutist’, ‘rigorist’ position of the dogma stands. It is the official teaching of the Catholic Church.

  • Tim,
    ‘Making blankt assertions that all Muslims are going to Hell….’
    All Muslims are de facto going to Hell according to the ex cathedra dogma extra ecclesiam nulla salus which you still have difficulty in affirming.
    Here is the ex cathedra dogma,once again.

    1. “There is but one universal Church of the faithful, outside which no one at all is saved.” (Pope Innocent III, Fourth Lateran Council, 1215).

    2. “We declare, say, define, and pronounce that it is absolutely necessary for the salvation of every human creature to be subject to the Roman Pontiff.” (Pope Boniface VIII, the Bull Unam Sanctam, 302.).

    3.“The most Holy Roman Church firmly believes, professes and preaches that none of those existing outside the Catholic Church, not only pagans, but also Jews and heretics and schismatics, can have a share in life eternal; but that they will go into the eternal fire which was prepared for the devil and his angels, unless before death they are joined with Her; and that so important is the unity of this ecclesiastical body that only those remaining within this unity can profit by the sacraments of the Church unto salvation, and they alone can receive an eternal recompense for their fasts, their almsgivings, their other works of Christian piety and the duties of a Christian soldier. No one, let his almsgiving be as great as it may, no one, even if he pour out his blood for the Name of Christ, can be saved, unless he remain within the bosom and the unity of the Catholic Church.” (Pope Eugene IV, the Bull Cantate Domino, 1441.) – from the website and “No Salvation outside the Church”: Link List, the Three Dogmatic Statements Regarding EENS

    The Church does not say that Judas is in Hell and neither does the Church say that he is in Heaven.However the dogma does say that all Muslims are on the way to Hell.
    So when I meet a Muslim I know that he needs to convert since I cannot judge if he has the baptism of desire etc.The Church says that he is oriented to Hell with Original Sin and mortal sins committed in that state.He lacks the Sacraments including that of the baptism of water.

  • What would Scott Hahn say if he mt th Imam ?



  • What would Scott Hahn say if he met the Imam ?






  • Lionel-

    It is agreed that if there is any saving to be done- it is Jesus Christ who is going to do it- He is God- not a mere prophet or holy man. I don’t know that we have a dispute on formal theology because I also agree that the normative means of grace and salvation are found inside the Catholic Church- this is why we must as Catholics witness to the Good News of Jesus Christ and to the truth of the Catholic faith- I think we both agree here. Where we are getting tied up in knots is how do we go about evangelizing Muslims, Jews, Hindus, non-believers and so forth. Your way is to hit them over the proverbial head warning them that they are on the path to hell- that is one means of evangelizing the truth- another way is the way I see witnessed by our modern popes and current Pope- when I read their speeches regarding Muslims I don’t get this over-the-top approach in the way they evangelize- it seems that they are speaking the truth with nuance- recognizing that while the normative means of salvation are the surest path- we cannot exclude the extraordinary Mercy of our Lord.

    If you desire to help someone who has inherited a faith from parents they love and adore- you would do well to enter into an oftentimes slow and difficult dialogue if you hope to convince and convert someone. If you show up on their doorstep and announce to them that their parents are leading them straight to hell and come with us to be saved in the Catholic Church- well I imagine the means of communication will be such that most people will order you off their property and then regard Catholics as rude, insensitive blow-hards who couldn’t possibly have anything in common with a God of Love. You see Love and Truth go together- it is like in courtship- the first thing that may draw you to a woman may be her physical beauty- now you could approach her and say- “hey you’re hot, let’s get married and make babies!”- that may be a dominant thought in your mind, but love brings in the mystery- you show gentleness, patience, kindness, you chase after her- you don’t try to overpower her with logical reasons why she should simply choose you over the other men.

    Evangelization is a loving process as well as a truthful one- if you truly wish to convert someone over to Christ and Church you cannot just overpower them with threats of hell- you may feel good about yourself in telling others the raw truth- but if you approach people with clanging gongs in your voice, your words, your personal bearing- you will not be serving the Good News you are ostensibly trying to convey- at least not very well.

    As a convert to Catholicism myself- I was won over by a friend who was Catholic, who offered a personal life witness and who slowly put me in touch with such things as the papal social encyclicals, and then with Byzantine Catholic Divine Liturgies. He could have rushed the process, cut to the chase, and told me- “if you want to be my friend, become a faithful Catholic now and avoid the pits of hell” Well- maybe that approach would have been something common in Jehovah witness circles, but how has that approach been going for them? As Father Corapi says in his conversion tape- “I discovered that the name of God is Mercy”. Many sins are covered by love, how many? We cannot know- Jesus the Just and Merciful will judge all of us- we should all do our best, and learn how best to convey His Name to those in ignorance. We can choose to court the non-Catholics, or we can just try to overpower them with our clubs of Truth. I think that we resort to the clubs only as a last resort, when a society tries to shut down our freedom to be and put into practice our Catholicism- or maybe when a society is engaged in a genocide of the innocents..

  • As far I am aware World Peace and please correct me if I am wrong, internet websites did not exist at the time of the revelation of the Noble Koran to the Prophet Mohammad PBUH by the Archangel Gabriel, what you have provided in your links to the web site
    is links to a website, not to Islam as you apparently claim to be the case. You may sincerely believe the pages on that website represent the most accurate and correct interpretation of Islam but there would be very many Muslims who would disagree with various things on those pages. This is not some esoteric technical argument about how many angels could dance on the point of a needle but can be literally a life and death issue for Muslims and non-Muslims alike. For example, some Wahhabi clerics will declare Shi’ite Muslim clergy to be apostates and within the Wahhabi frame of reference, apostasy from Islam carries the death penalty. One thing I am particularly interested in respect of that website, is I could not see who the people are, who are operating it nor could I find what interpretation of Islam they subscribe to, maybe those things are clearly posted, if so could you provide a link or links to a places or places on that website where such matters are detailed.

  • Tim,
    We both agree that the normative means for salvation is Jesus and the Catholic Church.
    My focus has been on doctrine and dogma.
    There can be different approaches to evanglisation.The Holy Spirit can guide us.
    For the sake of peace we cannot change the teachings of the Church.
    There is confusion when you say ‘while the normative means of salvation are the surest path we cannot exclude the extraordinary Mercy of Our Lord’. This seems a rejection of Catholic doctrine, it is also ‘playing God’.
    We can choose different ways and times for presenting Catholic doctrine but the doctrine must be clear to us.In this case ALL Muslims are on the way to Hell.

    Tim,I am glad that you responded to the Holy Spirit and became a Catholic in a way that was appealing to you.Love and Truth go together and with gentleness,kindness and patience we can keep affirming the difficult truths of our faith.
    Usually in answer to a question, or in a polite matter of fact way we can say that the Church teaches that all Muslims ( and Jews etc) are presently on the way to Hell.You can smile kindly and speak it gently.And if your met with anger still be gracious but get the message across like St.Paul.



    An apologetic book in Italian published by the Vatican press ( Libreria Editrice Vaticana 2008) and approved by Bishop Luigi Morelli, Bishop at the Rome Vicariate (Vicariato) indicates all Muslims in Rome need to convert to avoid Hell.

    50 Argomenti di Attualita by Raffaello Martinelli ( p.98 Cristo SI, Chiesa, No?) states those persons cannot be saved who know the Church has been founded by Christ and is necessary for salvation and yet do not enter. This passage is from Vatican Council II, Ad Gentes 7.

    Muslims in Rome know about Jesus Christ and the Catholic Church. They are all oriented to Hell.

    The book also explains outside the Church there is no salvation(p.98,99) as, all people saved explicitly and implicitly by Jesus and the Church (Compendium of the Catechism,171).So it does not negate the centuries of teaching that de facto everyone with no caption needs to enter the Catholic Church to avoid Hell and go to Heaven.

    Here is the ex cathedra dogma extra ecclesiam nulla salus.
    1. “There is but one universal Church of the faithful, outside which no one at all is saved.” (Pope Innocent III, Fourth Lateran Council, 1215).

    2. “We declare, say, define, and pronounce that it is absolutely necessary for the salvation of every human creature to be subject to the Roman Pontiff.” (Pope Boniface VIII, the Bull Unam Sanctam, 302.).

    3.“The most Holy Roman Church firmly believes, professes and preaches that none of those existing outside the Catholic Church, not only pagans, but also Jews and heretics and schismatics, can have a share in life eternal; but that they will go into the eternal fire which was prepared for the devil and his angels, unless before death they are joined with Her; and that so important is the unity of this ecclesiastical body that only those remaining within this unity can profit by the sacraments of the Church unto salvation, and they alone can receive an eternal recompense for their fasts, their almsgivings, their other works of Christian piety and the duties of a Christian soldier. No one, let his almsgiving be as great as it may, no one, even if he pour out his blood for the Name of Christ, can be saved, unless he remain within the bosom and the unity of the Catholic Church.” (Pope Eugene IV, the Bull Cantate Domino, 1441.) – from the website and “No Salvation outside the Church”: Link List, the Three Dogmatic Statements Regarding EENS: )
    The dogma is saying that all Muslims in Rome and elsewhere in the world need to convert to avoid Hell. This is also the message of Vatican Council II (Ad Gentes 7).

    Ad Gentes 7 says ALL need to enter the Church for salvation. The Catechism of the Catholic Church 836 also says ALL need to enter the Church. Muslims have Original Sin and need the Sacraments for salvation.
    The dogma is saying that all Muslims in Rome and elsewhere in the world need to convert to avoid Hell. This is also the message of Vatican Council II (Ad Gentes 7).

    Ad Gentes 7 says ALL need to enter the Church for salvation. The Catechism 836 also says ALL need to enter the Church.

    The ex cathedra dogma is not contradicted by Vatican Council II, Lumen Gentium 16 said Fr. George Puthoor on a YouTube video. Fr. George Puthoor is a Rosiminian priest at the Basilica of San Ambrogio and Carlo, via del Corso, Rome. The book is available at the entrance of the basilica.

    Since Lumen Gentium 16 (invincible ignorance) refers to a concept only and not to de facto salvation it is not opposed to the Catholic infallible teaching that all non Catholics are oriented to Hell.

    Those who are in invincible ignorance or who have the baptism of desire are known to God only.There is no de facto baptism of desire that we can know of.

    Fr. Gorge Puthoor removed ambiguity in the book which could suggest Muslims all over the world are not oriented to Hell because some could be in invincible ignorance or have the baptism of desire that we can de facto know of.

    We do not know de jure (in principle) the number of cases presently with the baptism of desire in Rome. Neither do we know de facto the number of baptism of cases which exists presently in Rome. Nor do we know if there really are any cases of the baptism of desire presently.

    Mons. Raffaello Martinelli was recently appointed a bishop of Frascati, Italy. The Rosiminian priests and sisters continue to manage the basilica of San Carlo and Ambrogio via del Corso. The book is available free of cost along with apologetical pamphlets in different languages.


    Mons. Raffaello Martinelli has been appointed Bishop of Frascati, Italy. In an interview he had mentioned that Islam is not a path to salvation and that Muslims needed to enter the Catholic Church to avoid Hell.( )

    In his book on apologetics, Argomenti d?Attualità in forma dialogica,Frammenti di Verità Cattolica. Come la Chiesa considera le religioni non –cristiane? P.54 (2006) he indicates that Muslims need to enter the Catholic Church for salvation according to the teachings of the Church.

    Raffaello Martinelli (born June 21, 1948) is an Italian prelate of the Roman Catholic Church.

    He was born in Villa d’Almè, and was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Bergamo on April 8, 1972. He served as bureau chief at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

    On July 2, 2009, he was appointed Bishop of Frascati by Pope Benedict XVI.He received his episcopal consecration on the following September 12 from Benedict XVI, with Cardinals Tarcisio Bertone and William Levada serving as co-consecrators, at St. Peter’s Basilica- Wikipidia

  • i am from pakistan i love america to help pk and afghanistan

  • i love usa to helping pk by us aid

  • Pingback: How about protesting for a church in Saudi Arabia? « Daily Page
  • There is a more workable analogy with Saudia Arabia, taken from history: the Papal States.

    I don’t know nearly enough of the details of the laws and how that sovereign state was run before it was dismantled in the 19th century, but it would make a more realistic comparison with contemporary Saudia Arabia as an actual theocratic country. While obviously not approving of religious intolerance in the latter country, personally I would be wary of condemning everything about it with too broad a stroke, lest I shoot myself in the Catholic foot.

Set Me Free (From Ideologies) Part 3

Thursday, May 6, AD 2010

The Catholic Church is the biggest defender and promoter of the large traditional family. This endorsement of large families is something that tests the loyalties of ideologues because the Church doesn’t conform to liberal or conservative political pressures.  The more-or-less typical liberal ideologue seems to take on the ideal of saving the global environment by way of discouraging the Church’s teachings on Life and Family issues.  The more-or-less conservative ideologue often takes on the approach to economic theory that goes something like- “you breed em’ you feed em'”. I don’t find much support for either of these hard positions in the actual teachings and guidance given us via Christ’s Church.

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12 Responses to Set Me Free (From Ideologies) Part 3

  • “The right to property is closely connected with the existence of families, which protect themselves from need thanks to savings and to the building up of property.”

    Perhaps also an argument against the Estate Tax.

  • Phillip- I think the estate tax is an interesting one in that it is – at the fed level- directed only at multimillionaire holdings, with exemptions for operational family farm estates and small businesses- and it is a tax that has strange bedfellows- I read a good book on preserving the estate tax by Bill Gates Sr. and Chuck Collins- Wealth and our Commonwealth: Why America Should Tax Accumulated Fortunes- there are many who feel that extreme inheritances tend to create an aristocratic presence that undermines the meritocracy element in American society which was in part a reaction against the old Euro-aristocracies.

  • Actually I will defer as you may be correct. But you also may be wrong on how much businesses and small farms are protected. For example:

    It might not be the Gates’ children only that are affected. But I will let others who have more expertise in this address.

  • Perhaps the ammendments to the law discussed in the bill above were passed.

  • Regarding the estate tax, I like Greg Mankiw’s thought experiment on it:

    Consider the story of twin brothers – Spendthrift Sam and Frugal Frank. Each starts a dot-com after college and sells the business a few years later, accumulating a $10 million nest egg. Sam then lives the high life, enjoying expensive vacations and throwing lavish parties. Frank, meanwhile, lives more modestly. He keeps his fortune invested in the economy, where it finances capital accumulation, new technologies, and economic growth. He wants to leave most of his money to his children, grandchildren, nephews, and nieces.

    Now ask yourself: Which millionaire should pay higher taxes?… What principle of social justice says that Frank should be penalized for his frugality? None that I know of.

  • I don’t want this entry to become all about the estate tax debate- I will just end it here with the recommendation to anyone wanting to go deeper with that one to find the Gate’s book I mentioned above and offer a critique of the many arguments and proofs he lays out there for that particular tax. So, if you want to debate the tax please someone write up their own entry and/or do a short critique of the book’s main points if you have time for the research.

  • Fair enough, but the estate tax is an instructive example of why it’s difficult to make blanket policy prescriptions based on CST. Clearly, the argument against plutocracy works in favor of the tax, but Mankiw’s horizontal equity illustration goes against it. CST does not cut neatly across party/ideological lines as some would have you believe.

  • Without getting into exactly what form(s) of taxation are best- what about the proposals from the Church on having subsidies for families to reach a true family wage, and having remuneration for domestic work- I’m thinking mostly of stay at home moms working hard taking proper care of the kids and abode- what about these specific ideas?

  • About the only safe thing that one can say about tax policy derived from CST is that taxes should not unnecessarily burden the poor. After that it is pretty much all prudential.

    The example of family farms regarding the EGT is a good one. Such farms are subject to the same exemption as any other estate assets. Until this year 3.5MM and back down to 1MM I think next year. Is that exemption too low? Why? Are farms different from other businesses, aside from all too common romantic attractions? Wouldn’t most Americans love to own a $1MM farm?

    The risk of plutocratic cross-generational wealth accumulation is belied by the real facts, which are that family wealth becomes less concentrated and generally diminishes over generations. Ask the Rockefellers, Vanderbilts, Kennedys, Dukes, etc.

    This is not to say that the EGT cannot be justified, but the arguments are less stark. It is true that there is something a bit unappealing about children and grandchildren living off the hard work of their ancestors, but those ancestors may well have under taken the initiatives they did precisely because of a desire to take care of their progeny. After all they choose their heirs.

    Similar problems abound with income taxes. While ability to pay is certainly a valid factor in the calculus of tax fairness, one cannot dismiss that disparities in that factor have a substantial choice component. While most everyone wants to be rich, few people are willing to undertake the combination of risk, hard work, and discipline required. It is easier to let the other guy do it and just slice off a piece.

  • I for one, as a hardworking mother at home, would most definitely like to see some sort of recognition that what we do is real work.

    Socializing and nurturing children; providing their earliest (and some would say most crucial) formation as human beings and citizens; guiding and directing their habits, hygiene, and studies; teaching them the fundamental skills to cope with danger, challenge, and the unexpected; watching over their nutrition, environment, and exercise … The list of what I do goes on and on. A day-care worker doesn’t do everything I do, and what she/he does isn’t done as efficiently because the time to do it comes only in pieces.

    These are important tasks. Stay-at-home parents should be able to do them without having to pay for the privilege.

    Finally, families create stability in a culture, and tax laws, just like all other laws, ought to recognize that fact and adjust accordingly.

  • Sibyl,

    I agree completely. In the abstract, the state should promote the traditional family structure. The larger the family, the greater should be the benefits. Special loans or grants should be given by banks for family businesses or any sort of family financial endeavor.

    Ultimately, though, Christian families must come to rely on each other. So the state should not enshrine the nuclear family, which in my view can become a restrictive fifedom for domineering parents.

    I hate to use that stupid line, but it is true that “it takes a village” – its just that it takes a Christian village, a Catholic village, a community and a parish rooted in traditional Christianity. It doesn’t take the socialist welfare state that Hillary Clinton was talking about.

    I’m not an old man but I’ve seen enough to know that many couples struggle financially in vain. If they would loosen their grip on “their property”, their territory, “their” children (which even good people in today’s society treat more and more like possessions or pets), then many of their problems could be resolved.

    This is how the Mexican community often operates; many families sharing resources. Of course the families are usually related. Its why they can be relatively poor and still out-breed blacks and Caucasians in the United States. They don’t have “more kids than they can afford” – they share burdens among themselves.

    We don’t need to rely on blood relations the way a lot of ethnic communities do. We have a spiritual community; the Body of Christ. But we don’t use it. We are all afraid of one another, afraid to “impose”, afraid to “overstep”, afraid to “offend”, afraid to offer ourselves. If you aren’t completely self-sufficient, you’re a “loser.” You can turn to the anonymous state for help without being judged.

    This is a problem in attitude we need to address. One day, if I have the resources, I will start my own Christian community. Nothing fancy – just encourage Christian families with the same values to live on the same street, send their kids to the same school (or possibly establish a private homeschool), maybe even jointly own a local business together, and see where it goes. It will have to be a community where people trust one another, where parents trust other parents to watch and teach their children for a day (and how much better would that be than some atheist from the teacher’s union pushing homosexual propaganda?).

    Sorry to ramble on. I just believe Christians should voluntarily renounce individualism and materialism.

  • Joe- I’m pretty much with you- I have been dreaming of starting or joining some kind of family monastic movement such as you described- I also wrote up a Catholic Education vision document which hasn’t made it very high in the food chain as of yet- where part of it is to create businesses in Catholic schools along the lines of, I envision different types of consumer products being made and sold in Catholic communities and schools- bringing much needed monetary resources into Catholic schools which are reeling from steep tuition charges and an over-reliance on a few wealthy benefactors.

    As for the whole State welfare dilemma- I think it is made more complex by our embrace of the global economy whereupon the corporate culture has moved into highly mobile mode, picking up and moving around the country and world- the worker bees must keep up- and so we move about the country, pulling up stakes and putting more and more distance between immediate and extended family members- and one result has been that families and even neighbors are less likely to have formed the deeper bonds of friendship, trust and so forth, so we don’t feel comfortable asking for help from even our parish families because of that body-soul thing- grace builds upon nature- and though we share a spiritual communion we are simultaneously caught up in our cultural milieu that has us moving around, and busily attending to all the other time-takers in life- commuting time, kids activities, face time with our own spouses and children, and down time after stressful work days- what is lacking is the time to spend just hanging out in community at our parishes developing the purely human relationships where we actually know each other;s life circumstances and then feel the call to help or seek help in immediate things like financial crisis and so forth- as it is, if I get laid off chances are the house is put up for sale and the job search becomes a national one because you have to move with the tide of job opps- for good or ill this puts more of us into situations where government funded safety nets are very important- when you have more kids, you need more assurances- not everyone is going to have the call/vocation to start a business from scratch or have some unique talent that translates readily into a fabulous market position in the economy of the moment.

Pope Speaks About Economics Again, "It's the Natural Law, Stupid"

Monday, May 3, AD 2010

After calling for Catholics to be liberated from their pet ideologies, Pope Benedict is helping flesh out a moral economic vision that puts the standard Left- socialism/Right- Free Markets debate into the dust bin for faithful Catholics.  The bottom-line seems obvious to me- you can’t demonize government and you can’t demonize business- both bring difficulties into play- over-regulation can harm economic development, but lack of regulation can lead to corporate dominance which is a problem when one considers that corporations typically are upfront about being in existence to pad their investor’s bank accounts, not being much concerned with the universal common good. Our Pope clarifies the inherent morality(read Natural Law) in the economy in this article from one of my favorite web sites

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8 Responses to Pope Speaks About Economics Again, "It's the Natural Law, Stupid"

  • I love the Holy Father.

  • The Austrian and Chicago school economists heads will explode.

  • I’m glad you posted this, Eric! Er… Tim. 🙂

    Sorry, this morning I saw Eric’s comment, and mistakenly typed his name, Tim. 🙂

  • I don’t think so, Jim. Both Austrian and Chicago school economists understand the limits of markets self-regulating. In particular they admit that the capacity for perfect self-regulation is inevitably inhibited by (i) imperfect information and (ii) imperfect rational behavior. As such the risk of errors and even so-called “bubbles” caused by deceit and simple mistakes is very real and in requires some government regulation. How much is a prudential question given that government regulation is also inherently very imperfect and one must recognize the reality that such regulation often makes things worse either by exacerbating a problem or creating new ones.
    The heads that would explode would be the Ayn Randians who view market theory as a dogma for how to live one’s life rather than simply a useful explanation of how resources are efficiently allocated. To be sure Randians are often greatly influenced by classical economic theories, but overall they represent a small subset of economists and thinkers who generally regard themselves as so-called Chicagoans or Austrians.

  • Here is Shaw’s ‘theology’ of the money: “You can’t take it with you. It will burn.”

    As St. Augistine wrote in The City of God: ” . . . the possession of those temporal goods which virtuous and blameless men may lawfully enjoy; still, there is more self-seeking here than becomes men who are mere sojourners in this world and who profess hope of a home in heaven.”

  • Tim posted this Chris. I’d be wrong to take credit.

  • I’m not sure why someone edited the title from It’s the Natural Law, – Stupid- to -Gomer- I was playing off the famous expression It’s the Economy, Stupid- I wasn’t calling folks out as being stupid if they didn’t agree with the Pope’s commentary- anyone know about this editing?

  • Should there be negative consequences for stupid decisions? Or should the market be regulated to make sure no one can make a stupid decision?

    I can’t tell from this teaching. What is the governments legitimate power, specifically? Isn’t that detail kind of important?

Set Me Free (From Ideologies) Part 2

Wednesday, April 28, AD 2010


To follow up on my first installment of “Set Me Free (From Ideologies), I am going to draw again from the rich well of Pope Benedict’s powerful encyclical Caritas In Veritate.  In this case it would seem that in paragraph #25 the Pope is sounding kinda liberal if we would attempt to fit the views expressed into one or another of our American political ideologies.

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7 Responses to Set Me Free (From Ideologies) Part 2

  • It seems a greater threat to social security are underfunded public pensions including Social Security itself which all seem at risk of collapsing. Perhaps someone can comment on this.

  • We’d all do well to remember that we’re Catholic first & American second. We’re in the mess we’re in because we’ve reversed the order for the last 50 yrs.

  • “The repeated calls issued within the Church’s social doctrine, beginning with Rerum Novarum[60], for the promotion of workers’ associations that can defend their rights must therefore be honoured today even more than in the past, as a prompt and far-sighted response to the urgent need for new forms of cooperation at the international level, as well as the local level.”

    For me the key phrase is NEW forms.

    I believe the old social welfare state is a failure.

    I believe the old union model is a corrupt failure.

    And I think John Paul II made this point pretty clearly in Centesimus Annus.

    The new forms are worker ownership, or possibly even community/worker ownership of businesses. Most of them are jointly owned by workers and investors.

    The way forward, I believe, is localism and distributism. And in some places it is taking place already with good material results – but it is being guided by secular liberals who have no use for the moral teachings of the Church, by radical campus intellectuals and hippies who believe in the materialist community but reject the spiritual community in favor of atheism or spiritual anarchy.

    It is simply an empirical fact that welfare-statism doesn’t bring an end to poverty. Instead it creates the conditions and the precedents for a secular bureaucracy to further meddle in Christian families, in the education of children, even growing food on one’s own property.

    The dichotomy in politics and morality is not individualism vs. collectivism. Or rather, that is A dichotomy but not the decisive one. It is materialism vs. spirituality. The materialist community has an idea of “justice” that is based on economics and cares nothing for the corruption and pollution of souls. The spiritual community sometimes neglects the details of the material – but with the guidance of the Papal encyclicals there is no excuse for that negligence.

    The vital question is whether or not we ought to accept a full implementation of “material” or economic justice, brought to us by secular liberal hedonists who let the soul rot, who poison it with filth and perversion, or,

    whether we ought to reject it and continue to show those who understand a spiritual reality, who believe in God and especially Christ, that they also have to focus their attention on the material community.

    I opt for the latter. I want nothing from the secular liberal hedonists, from the communist revolutionaries, from the sexual perverts who staff Western governments and the United Nations. They’ve rejected God and they’ll never accept him.

    It’s easier to get good Christians to see the areas they’ve been neglecting than it is to get materialists to see the truth and reality of God and all that follows from him.

    And if you think I’ve gone off topic, you’re wrong, because its secular, atheistic, materialists who manage and administer the welfare bureaucracies of the West, whether they call themselves Democrats, Socialists, or Christian Democrats, or Labour, or whatever.


  • to gb- what I would say is what my favorite professor once said- “the best gift we can give America is our Catholic faith”- I don’t see my citizenship in the U.S. to be a detriment to my faith- America is my homeland, and America needs Catholicism to fulfill her potential as a truly great and lasting nation. We have religious liberty here in our country- that’s all we need- that means the onus is literally “on us”- I have seen first-hand as a candidate that the Catholic community is for the most part so divided up and rendered passive in the political arena- when I see how effective the pro-Israel Jewish community has been in getting organized and mobilizing and lobbying all sectors of our American society in getting their vision and agenda into play- all of this with such a small percentage of the population! And Catholics act as if there is no unifying social doctrine, and fall headlong into the same ideological traps that catch everyone else- and it makes me sick.

    It doesn’t have to be this way- we are our own worst enemy I’m convinced of that- my primary targets are politically-active Catholics who publicly identify themselves as die-hard liberals or conservatives- these folks are the ones who do the most damage- they make it impossible for the whole body of believers to unite under the direction of the entire social doctrine- they want to make every Catholic a narrow liberal or conservative- a Kennedy or a Hannity- and that is something I disagree with vehemently. I will continue to post my complaints- soon I will detail my fallout experience from my participation in an elite Catholic Democrats listserve- that is quite a story to be told another day- I am bent on taking on all loud and proud liberal and conservative Catholic political animals- for I am convinced that the way forward is one that must release the hold that ideologies have over our collective Catholic and American heads.

  • Joe H.- as always so intense and direct in your views- I don’t find your passion for disconnecting from States and Government in the Church’s actual documents such as the above Encyclical. I do think that we should go in every good direction all at once- translation- create more fair trade producer-consumer networks- drawing upon the Catholic Relief Services model, and also the worker-owned business models, and such as you describe above. But I don’t think that abandoning the Government, Trade Unions, and Multinational Corporations to the current corrupt slate of big-wigs is the best solution. I really don’t think our system is rotten, I do think we have really rotten apples floating to the top- which is why I can’t relate to anyone who celebrates a Reagan or an Obama presidency.

    I do believe that Catholics have not yet begun to fight- from my own little campaign experience I saw how wide-open the door is for solid Catholic candidates if only the Catholic community was even a little bit organized to be of some service to her own. As it is we have two types of Catholic activists- the typical political liberal and the typical political conservative- they both seem to have one overriding passion- they hate like satan the Republican or Democratic party- and all that party stands for- pretty much across the board. This reality is something that is causing me to seriously consider dropping my formal affiliation as a Democrat to become an Indy with “Common Good” as my tag- there is just too much baggage associated with the two major parties- it is like a pavlov dog response for most political animals- Catholic or otherwise. What I know is that I am going to stay close to the Church’s actual teaching documents, and Hierarchical speeches/letters and commentary- I have found that the prudential judgments on socio-economic matters coming from the Catholic Hierarchy is truly awesome- it would figure that those who are charged with coming up with the principles that underpin the social doctrine would do well in helping to apply those principles to real life circumstances. I don’t think this is clericalism because I am open to other prudential points-of-view- I just don’t find many ideologically-transcendent points-of-view around town- so I’m sticking close to Mama Church- in my family when mama talks and gives counsel to the kids they better listen up because my wife and I are on the same page- I imagine that it works that way with Christ and His Church as well.

  • “I don’t think that abandoning the Government, Trade Unions, and Multinational Corporations to the current corrupt slate of big-wigs is the best solution”

    They aren’t ours to abandon. But they are ours to reject. We need to get our resources together, make our own proposals to banks and private investors, and build our own local economies. Some have tried, many have failed, few have succeeded – more will succeed if more people rally to the cause.

    Like you, I’m an independent. I don’t care about the Republicans. I don’t care about the Democrats. I’ll vote for the pro-life candidate. Otherwise change comes from us, not from Obama, not from a bureaucracy, not from a social worker.

    “I really don’t think our system is rotten”

    I suppose we’ll have to disagree on that.

35 Responses to Catholic Worker View of NAFTA/Immigration

  • Thank you for posting this. God help us.

  • EXCELLENT post! When NAFTA was passed, there were Americans who warned against this very possibility–but they were denounced as alarmists. Supposedly industry migrating to Mexico would provide jobs for all the displaced agricultural laborers. As it turned out, the only opportunities available in adequate numbers were across the border, and Americans at the time were definitely hiring. (Quite a different picture from the one the nativists paint: the one that features hordes of swarthy drug-dealer types bent on satisfying their greed by infiltrating our cities.)

  • NAFTA and Bush destroyed the rural economy in Mexico and points south.

    We daily read and see horrific reports of famine, mass starvation, and pestilence. It’s the Irish Potato Famine being re-played (in HD) in front of our eyes!

    Their cultures, economies and nations are ruined. Let’s wreck the US and our way of life in expiation of our sins!

    Peace and justice! The common good!!!

  • If you want to see how agribusiness has driven them off their land with GM corn, see the last 10 minutes of “The World According to Monsanto”:

    Move the player slider to 1:25:00

  • The proportion of the labor force engaged in agriculture declines as a matter of course in the process of economic development

  • This certainly does a good job of putting human faces on the process of modernization.

    A couple point, though, at the risk of seeming heartlessly capitalist:

    – Although the constitutional reform which allowed ejido privatization was put through around the same time as NAFTA, it wasn’t actually a part of NAFTA, so much at it was part of a broader effort at economic development on the part of Mexico of which NAFTA was also a part.

    – Perverse as it may seem, one of the points of the ejido reform was precisely what is described here: reducing the number of workers employed in agriculture in Mexico. (see this brief piece from 1992 about ejido reform, written by the San Francisco Federal Reserve) Prior to the reform, as the Catholic Worker article also states, 26% of Mexican workers were agricultural workers. However, as the SF Fed article points out, agriculture was responsible for less than 10% of the Mexican GDP. In other words, farmers were among Mexico’s poorer and less productive workers. The belief was that this was that the small plots on communal land of the ejidos caused low productivity and lack of capital investment in improving the land. Mexican authorities believed that allowing privatization and selling or leasing of ejido land would allow larger farms to be established, productivity to increase, and large numbers of former farm workers to go into more productive industries. Usually, having a small percentage of your population engaged in agriculture (while having a large agricultural output) is actually a good thing for your country. For instance, the US has seen steadily increasing agricultural output from 1945 to the present, but has seen the percentage of the population working an agriculture drop from 16% to 2%.

    – Although, as the Catholic Worker article points out, the percentage of Mexican workers employed in agriculture has dropped from 26% to 16% in 20 years, the total agricultural output of Mexico has actually increased steadily throughout that period. That actually means more food, less hunger, and overall improved conditions for Mexicans overall.

    – This kind of drastic societal change always comes at a significant personal cost for those affected. The US went through this same period of increasing agricultural output, but rapidly dropping rural population. We did the 26% to 16% change between 1925 and 1945 — a period which isn’t really remembered fondly. My dad’s mother and her family were directly effected by the US version of this dislocation. They lost their farm in Ryan, Iowa, piled everyone into the Ford, and drove out to California in search of work in the early 30s. Given that Ryan now has a population of only 400, and an average income well under the national average, that may have worked out well in the end. But it was far from fun for the first decade.

  • We did the 26% to 16% change between 1925 and 1945 — a period which isn’t really remembered fondly.

    The banking crises and associated contraction in output during the period running from the fall of 1929 through the spring of 1933 and the aftereffects thereof are why the period is not remembered fondly. These were not a necessary component of the shift from agricultural to non-agricultural employment. (One of the previous generation in my household quit farming in 1949; I cannot recall he ever said it was a wrenching experience).

  • Certainly, the rapid shift from agricultural to city labor wasn’t the only thing going on during the depression, but for a lot of families that “lost the farm” that dislocation was a major part of the story. We even got Grapes of Wrath out of it, for all that’s worth.

    It was also the motive behind some of FDR’s more idiotic policies — like destroying large quantities of food in order to keep prices up.

    After all, for rural banks, one of the main sources of bank failures was when heavily leveraged farmers got hit with falling prices and the dust bowl at the same time, and so starting defaulting on their mortgages and heading out for the coasts. (What made it a lot easier on them than Mexican peasants, however, is that they mostly had at least an 8th grade education, which amounts to rather more than a high school education these days. And they spoke the language.)

  • Darwin,

    You make excellent points. Part of the limits of human understanding is the consequences our actions will produce. Often the consequences are not what we expected and can frequently be for the worse (I think Health Care Reform will be an excellent example.) But one also has to look at what NAFTA has accomplished. There has been a human cost but also a human gain. The whole truth needs to be looked at so that it can be objectively assessed and good maintained and the bad corrected.
    I think such an approach is consistent with Catholic Social teaching. As Benedict XVI noted in Caritas in Veritate, charity must be in accord with the truth. Otherwise it becomes mere sentimentalism. So a detailed, economic analysis of NAFTA along with the personal stories is required by CST so that the truth can lead charity.

  • Yes, and if it wasn’t clear from what I wrote above: I am in favor of NAFTA (and the changes to the Mexican constitution allowing for the privitization of the ejidos) because I think that it will, in the end, be to the common good of Mexicans.

    A demand that people be allowed to remain subsistance farmers has a certain romance for moral tourists, but it’s notable that none of us choose to go be subsistance farmers. The intermediate stages may be misable, and the suffering of people who find themselves displaced against their will is real, but that doesn’t mean that it’s not in fact a road to a better situation. My grandmother’s family, for instance, was much better off as a result of losing the family farm and having to move to California. It took a good ten years or more for them to be better off, but in the end they were — and certainly their descendants are.

  • Three of my four grandparents came here from Mexico. It was very rough in the beginning. My maternal grandparents raised 13 children through the depression. All my aunts and uncles are doing exceptionally well in America. Much better than relatives who stayed in Mexico. Disruptions is sometimes painful, but in the long-term helpful.

  • “Usually, having a small percentage of your population engaged in agriculture (while having a large agricultural output) is actually a good thing for your country.”

    As Peter Maurin put so well, a child is an asset on the land, but a liability in the city. It would be far better if most of us lived on the land, farming and making crafts, engaged in a distributist economy that put people before profits.

  • A child is a gift anywhere.

  • Like most people I’m perfectly willing to go along with Nate’s vision as long as I’m not one of the “most” engaged in farming and craft-making.

  • Not so much into basket weaving, eh? 🙂

  • Well, yeah. I don’t mean to sound like a jerk by putting this so bluntly, but if Maurin was right, why is it that even the vast majority of those involved in the Catholic Worker movement do not in fact live on the land farming and making crafts? I would assume that if this was clearly preferable at a human level, more people would be doing it.

  • Darwin,
    It is, of course, because “other people” should be doing it. It always is. People with advanced degrees in social work, philosophy, etc have more refined vocations, such as organizing and leading a society that successfully requires “most people” to engage in land farming and craft-making, for their own good of course.

  • As Peter Maurin put so well, a child is an asset on the land, but a liability in the city. It would be far better if most of us lived on the land, farming and making crafts, engaged in a distributist economy that put people before profits.

    A child is an asset when there are no child labor laws or Social Security, and a liability when there is (which is not to say that we should do away with Social Security or laws against child labor; it’s just to note that it is those laws, rather than the geographical location in which a child grows up, that are responsible for children being an economic liability vs. an economic asset).

  • I reject what my fiancee and I affectionately call “Shire” Distributism – this reactionary view that we’re all going to go back to the land and till the soil for the good of our souls.

    I support anyone who wants to do that but realistically it is never going to become the dominant economy ever again.

    There’s a reason why the Papacy never advocated such a return to the land either. The Papal view of Distributism is much more realistic, it talks about how the idea can be applied in modern society, in modern businesses and modern economies.

  • @Mike,

    lol, yeah – I think Pol Pot was one of those people.

  • I reject what my fiancee and I affectionately call “Shire” Distributism – this reactionary view that we’re all going to go back to the land and till the soil for the good of our souls.

    Shire Distributism. I may have to steal that.

  • To be fair, Maurin did in fact live on the agricultural Catholic Worker communes, so at least he followed his own advice. But though I’m not deeply read in Catholic Worker history, it doesn’t seem to have been an overall good for many families. I recall reading an interview a while back where Dorothy Day’s daughter talked about how intense trying to live up to that rural ideal was, and said that it was one of the reasons why she’s no longer practicing her faith.

  • Well, friends, there are many Catholic Worker farms, and the Catholic Worker movement is still in its infancy – barely 75 years since its founding. Most Catholic Workers that I know do not have advanced degrees, and try to ‘be the change you want to see in the world’. Of course, there are elements of every movement that do not adhere to its founding vision, but those elements will not last.

    Shire Distributism! I will have to use that phrase. But Joe, have you considered that the dominant economy, that of capitalistic industrialism, will collapse one day? I am convinced that it will. And what then?

  • Peter Maurin used a great phrase too – Agronomic Universities – a place where scholars could be workers, and workers could be scholars. Like living in the Shire, but with a great many books and a great many vocations! Love it! Someone want to donate me some land in Missouri?

  • Actually, I think the brilliant thing about “Shire Distributism” is that both proponents and opponents would like the term.

    To me, I think the thing it points out is that Tolkien’s shire was knowingly an idealized place — one which Tolkien wasn’t trying to write about as a realistic society. Tolkien was evoking an image of the English countryside which even to him was just a distant childhood memory. And so he’s not worrying about topics like: If a farmer has four sons, and just the right amount of land to support the family well, which of his sons gets to marry and have a family and inherit the farm, and which three need to work as unmarried laborer or else go find non-family land somewhere else?

    And indeed, I think the disagreement over Shire Distributism is very much one between idealism and practicality.

  • “I reject what my fiancee and I affectionately call “Shire” Distributism – this reactionary view that we’re all going to go back to the land and till the soil for the good of our souls.”

    Having done a fair amount of agricultural labor in my pre-lawyer incarnation I can guarantee that most people would truly hate earning their living by “working the land”. Additionally there simply wouldn’t be enough land for “city-folk” to make a living doing it, even if they adopted an Amish life style.

    I am pretty familiar with the Amish here in Illinois.

    I admire their way of life, but it is definitely only a way of life for a highly disciplined, extremely hardworking and tightly knit group.

  • “Someone what to donate me some land in Missouri?”

    Work hard for many years. Then buy it yourself. 😉

  • Peter Maurin used a great phrase too – Agronomic Universities – a place where scholars could be workers, and workers could be scholars. Like living in the Shire, but with a great many books and a great many vocations!

    Whenever I hear ideas like this I can’t help but be reminded of Mao’s line about how “knowledgable youth should go to the country, to be educated from living in rural poverty.” Of course Maurin was a fundamentally decent man, and never would have used the methods Mao used to bring his vision about (which may partly explain why Maurin’s views were never put into practice on a large scale).

  • I like the article linked below on shire economics:

    “Take the idea of the Shire as an ideal community. When I first read the book, I thought the Shire was the most realistic part, and that Minas Tirith, a sort of cross between Camelot and Rome on its seven hills, was artificial. But the Shire is a complete fantasy; no subsistence farming community (and as the hobbits don’t manufacture or trade much, they have to be classed as subsistence) have among their ranks people like Frodo or Bilbo. The Shire is a farming community without farmers. Frodo, Bilbo, Pippin, Merry and even the Sackville-Bagginses are all middle class, and middle classes don’t occur in close-knit farming communities. The middle class is a result of trade, surplus, commerce and an administration that needs well-educated people to run it. Middle classes are an urban phenomena.

    Even Sam is not a farmer, he is a gardener; there is a big difference, farmers grow crops, gardeners grow flowers.

    To cite the Shire, therefore, as a model community to counter the ills of modernism is very unwise. Even in the book, Frodo is regarded by the hobbits are eccentric. In a real Shire, he might be driven out as a witch for knowing Elvish. And without Frodo, would we really want to be like the Daddy Two-foots and Ted Sandymans? A community that is close-knit and anti-authoritarian can also be claustrophic and backward.

    The greatest casualty of modernity is the environment, and Tolkien and his writing appeal strongly to people who wish desperately to preserve the natural world. As Tony Shell says, Tolkien can ‘provide an extraordinarily sublime feeling of immanence and essential vitality to the natural world..’

    But would we all want to do without the trappings of modernity, even to save the natural world? I would do without a car, gladly. Even the washing machine, although beating out clothes on the river bank while exchanging gossip with the other village maidens is not really my thing.

    But doing without medicine, basic healthcare, street lighting, accessible education, juries, pcs, cinemas, freedom of speech, that is another. But these, as well as the destruction of the enviroment, are trappings of modernity. My own grandfather was a ploughman in one of the most beautiful parts of Ireland. But he died within 24 hours of pneumonia from sleeping in a damp, if picturesque, cottage. People who advocate such a return to traditional communities and ways of life are often city folk who forget that such an existence was described as ‘nasty, brutish and short’. because it was.”

  • The Shire isn’t exactly a rural society — it’s more an idealized English country village. Think the Highbury of Jane Austen’s Emma. But even more so than in Emma, we only see the members of the essentially idle class. Bilbo (and Frodo later) never had a Baggins estate so far as we can tell, where actual tennant farmers raise crops to produce income. Nor does one get the impression that one can make all one’s money off investments in the Shire (as the Mr. Woodhouse in Emma apparently does) — it’s a country village, with a country village’s upper class, but not London to provide more complex investment for those not actively running an estate or business.

    I’d say that’s probably because Tolkien isn’t attempting to be realistic in his portrayal of the Shire. Minas Tirith and Rohan are portrayed (in the book — unlike in the movie where these cities sit in the middle of totally empty plains) as fairly realistic pre-industrial cities with outlying farmlands and villages. But the Shire (perhaps in part because it very much dates back to The Hobbit, which is more a children’s book in its atmospher; partly because it is an intentional evocation of Tolkien’s childhood memories) isn’t thought out in traditional social structures so much as it draws on traditional characters and institutions without giving much thought to how they’d fit together.

  • Wow look what I started!

    “I’d say that’s probably because Tolkien isn’t attempting to be realistic in his portrayal of the Shire.”

    And neither are some Distributists in their view of politics and economics.


    “But Joe, have you considered that the dominant economy, that of capitalistic industrialism, will collapse one day? I am convinced that it will. And what then?”

    Well, I’m not so sure industry itself will collapse.

    The civilization we have now may very well collapse, though.

    And so I fully support people who want to learn basic survival skills, basic farming skills. I think we should all have some knowledge of these things because we may need them in the future.

    But we should also try to preserve the civilization we have and not give in totally to fatalism. Of course everyone has to make calculations based on what they think the future will hold.

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Earth Day- Catholic-Style!

Thursday, April 22, AD 2010

I love children- I love nature- there isn’t any true contradiction according to my reading of Catholic social teaching. If you love kids you will hate abortion- and if you love kids you will want a clean and beautiful natural environment. Of course, there will be some room for debate on how to achieve the three-fold societal goals of increasing our human populations, and simultaneously, increasing the living standards for everyone (universal common good), and also maintaining or improving the health of the natural environment- all of this must happen together or else pressures will come into play and threaten all three- like the fact of cruel and unusual living standards for many causes some to look at human population growth as the enemy and so they set about attacking the unborn as undesirables. Same for environmental degradation- it tempts the non-believer into pursuing unholy solutions. So, I propose we Catholics get out front on all three fronts- we don’t have to make up a social doctrine- we have one already- all that is needed is serious study, contemplation, and implementation of reasonable plans of action- and let the Holy Spirit take care of the rest!

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2 Responses to Earth Day- Catholic-Style!

  • This is beautiful. It is exactly what Catholic environmentalism is about, in fact any kind of enviornmentalism. Nearly all environmentalists I’ve known have been moms with children, wanting the best for them. Where is the logic in killing children in order to save the earth for children? Mr. Spock would say it doesn’t compute.

    We weren’t able to have children, and it was a sorrow for many decades, but since becoming an environmentalist — we’ve lowered our GHG emissions by 60% over the past 20 years, along with lowering many other pollutants, while saving money and improving our living standard — I feel I’m giving life to children, or at least not harming them, as I was before.

    Sort of makes me feel like a mom 🙂

  • Excellent ad!

    Now that is the way we are supposed to engage the “worldly” culture.

5 Responses to Hakuna Matata Heresy- So Tempting

  • “ the Heavenly Feast is worth the sacrifices, worth the wait- just persevere, seek righteousness, be compassionate, and desire personal holiness which comes from God and God alone.”

    It’s so appropriate you should post this today. It speaks to my heart. As I read through Joe’s posting of movies below, I thought back to a movie I saw a long time ago entitled “King Rat”, based on James Clavell’s novel about a Japanese POW camp in 1945. I don’t have the time to do this posting justice, but woven into the fabric of the movie were moral questions about honor, duty, love, compassion, greed, envy, etc., each virtue or non-virtue integrated in varying degrees in each individual man from different cultures – American, British, Australian, and Japanese, and the degree to which each would compromise his particular moral code, or lack thereof, in order to survive. One poignant line that I will never forget was spoken by a dying 22-year-old, from starvation or fever, probably a combination of both — this is not verbatim — “I came from dust and will return to dust with just 22 years in between.” If that was spoken by a Christian, there is much hope and meaning, for our Lord is merciful and forgiving and is the resurrection and the life. If spoken by one without any particular belief in Our Lord Jesus, it causes me to be almost to the point of despair for his soul.

    “In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.”

  • This was incredibly insightful and made some striking points (and analogies) synthesizing a cultural problem very well as well as putting it into proper Christian perspective. Thanks Tim.

  • Hakuna Matata speaks to an autonomy of the moral order

    Scar is heteronomous.

    The circle of life is participatory theonomy.

    From Veritatis Splendor.

    40. The teaching of the Council emphasizes, on the one hand, the role of human reason in discovering and applying the moral law: the moral life calls for that creativity and originality typical of the person, the source and cause of his own deliberate acts. On the other hand, reason draws its own truth and authority from the eternal law, which is none other than divine wisdom itself.69 At the heart of the moral life we thus find the principle of a “rightful autonomy”70 of man, the personal subject of his actions. The moral law has its origin in God and always finds its source in him: at the same time, by virtue of natural reason, which derives from divine wisdom, it is a properly human law. Indeed, as we have seen, the natural law “is nothing other than the light of understanding infused in us by God, whereby we understand what must be done and what must be avoided. God gave this light and this law to man at creation”.71 The rightful autonomy of the practical reason means that man possesses in himself his own law, received from the Creator. Nevertheless, the autonomy of reason cannot mean that reason itself creates values and moral norms.72 Were this autonomy to imply a denial of the participation of the practical reason in the wisdom of the divine Creator and Lawgiver, or were it to suggest a freedom which creates moral norms, on the basis of historical contingencies or the diversity of societies and cultures, this sort of alleged autonomy would contradict the Church’s teaching on the truth about man.73 It would be the death of true freedom: “But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall die” (Gen 2:17).

    41. Man’s genuine moral autonomy in no way means the rejection but rather the acceptance of the moral law, of God’s command: “The Lord God gave this command to the man…” (Gen 2:16). Human freedom and God’s law meet and are called to intersect, in the sense of man’s free obedience to God and of God’s completely gratuitous benevolence towards man. Hence obedience to God is not, as some would believe, a heteronomy, as if the moral life were subject to the will of something all-powerful, absolute, ex- traneous to man and intolerant of his freedom. If in fact a heteronomy of morality were to mean a denial of man’s self-determination or the imposition of norms unrelated to his good, this would be in contradiction to the Revelation of the Covenant and of the redemptive Incarnation. Such a heteronomy would be nothing but a form of alienation, contrary to divine wisdom and to the dignity of the human person.

    Others speak, and rightly so, of theonomy, or participated theonomy, since man’s free obedience to God’s law effectively implies that human reason and human will participate in God’s wisdom and providence. By forbidding man to “eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil”, God makes it clear that man does not originally possess such “knowledge” as something properly his own, but only participates in it by the light of natural reason and of Divine Revelation, which manifest to him the requirements and the promptings of eternal wisdom. Law must therefore be considered an expression of divine wisdom: by submitting to the law, freedom submits to the truth of creation. Consequently one must acknowledge in the freedom of the human person the image and the nearness of God, who is present in all (cf. Eph 4:6). But one must likewise acknowledge the majesty of the God of the universe and revere the holiness of the law of God, who is infinitely transcendent: Deus semper maior.

  • I have always thought that Hakuna Matata was an excuse for kicking back, taking it easy and doing nothing. As such, I suspect it is the most widely followed philosophy ever devised by fallen Man!

  • In philosophical terms, I’d label it hedonism, a type of materialism that sees the experience of pleasure and the avoidance of pain as the only true goods. It always reminds me of the tv character Frasier. All of his grand intellect and learning were solely focused on his personal enjoyment.

I'm So Tired of Hearing Jesus' Name in Vain (Tiger Woods Should Apologize Again)

Wednesday, April 14, AD 2010

Be warned- the video above re-plays Tiger Woods unleashing his fury over his golf game with abusive, offensive language.

I’m not interested in getting into the whole sordid Tiger Woods’ womanizing issue- I am, however, ready to start challenging the whole phenomena of using the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, as some kind of throw-away profanity. It doesn’t really matter what the religious make-up of the blasphemer is, but it seems to me that when a Buddhist like Tiger Woods decides it is fair-game to throw out the use of Jesus’ name in a derogatory way on National TV- well this should be a teachable moment.

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16 Responses to I'm So Tired of Hearing Jesus' Name in Vain (Tiger Woods Should Apologize Again)

  • I agree completely. Think back on an otherwise very good movie like the Aviator. It really was ruined by the heavy use of “G.d.” Unbelievable – it’s almost like the cast and crew was just eager to poke their finger in the face of vast portions of their audience.

  • Honestly, I think people say crap like that because it makes them feel ‘more adult’ at first and then they just get into the habit of expressing their exasperation that way.

    I used to drop the G.D. a lot and went through a brief J.C. period. I do notice that on rare occasions when I’ve really just had it I drop that bomb. It’s terrible and inexcusable, really. J.C. was always the worse to me because it was so SPECIFIC.

    It is interesting that I’ve never heard Moses or Buddha or Mohammed ever converted into popular swear words. I suppose it could happen if you put some effort into it.

    I guess that now everyone knows what ‘kind of guy’ Tiger is, he’s not going to bother with the pretense of being a role model or feel obligated to act in a dignified manner when the world is watching?

  • Holy Moses!

    And I mean that in only the best way….

  • Tiger is a vulgar whore chaser. That’s all he ever was. The best advice he ever received came from Brit Hume. Tiger obviously ignored it.

  • It’s the responsibility of Christians to keep Christ’s name holy. Until we show some restraint ourselves — as a group — it seems a bit ridiculous to complain of it being offensive when non-Christians use the name.

  • I honestly think most people don’t even know they’re doing it it. It’s a holdover from when religious language was a natural part of our culture’s everyday language. Say you just heard that so-and-so died, you’d exclaim “Oh my God!” and really mean it as a pious ejaculation or say you’re making an impassioned plea with someone you might say “For Christ’s sake, do the right thing!” and really mean you want the person to do it for God’s glory even though they don’t want to.

    I think over time people began using phrases like these more casually which caused them to lose their meaning through over-use. A similar thing can be seen with saying “Bless you” when someone sneezes – how many people actually intend to pray for God to bless that person and how many people just say it as an almost Pavlovian reaction? Eventually we’ve come to today where these words are just meaningless exclamations – they don’t really mean anything to most people but something’s gonna come out of your mouth when you stub your toe or smash your thumb with a hammer and these are the words many people heard growing up.

    If anything, I think it’s a reflection of the “stickiness” of Christianity rather than of people’s hatred toward it. People don’t use other gods as expletives because they’re not a part of their cultural past. I’d be shocked if there are, for example, non-Christian cultures who use Christian terms as expletives.

  • Brian,
    Thank you for a very thoughtful post.

  • I’ve noticed that using God’s name in vain is acceptable, even on the networks. But it’s odd what they think is unacceptable.

    For example, one of my favorite movies of all time is “Blazing Saddles.” It just completely makes fun of racists, but it’s filled with racial epithets. When AMC or CMT plays the movie, though, they bleep out the racial slurs and leave in the G.D. or J.C. It absolutely and completely defeats the purpose of the movie, and it’s ridiculous that they find nothing wrong with using the Lord’s name in vain (or even risking offending those who see this as sinful or offensive), but they can’t leave in the racial slurs that are central to the movie’s “punch.”

    So, as a review:

    Racial Slurs are bad.

    Offending stupid Christians is good. Or at least okay. They’re probably not fun enough to want to watch Mel Brooks anyway.

  • Once upon a time, must of the worth profanity involved blaspheming God — now the “worst” profanity involves blaspheming sex. Interesting that…

    Personally, I would feel more guilty using one of God’s names in vain than dropping the “f-bomb” — which is probably why my co-workers have heard one but not the other. I don’t know if that’s virtue at all on my part, profanity is something for which I am aware I have a moral weakness, but I think one must at least have such basic standards.

  • Good feedback- thanks to all- I’m relieved to see that my thinking is shared by many out there- I wonder now if the sleeping giant of genuinely disgusted Christians can somehow get more mass media circulation on this issue to start getting the unconscious abusers of Jesus’ name to see that they are being hypocrites when they get all excited over a racial slur, but totally indulge in disrespecting the name of Jesus Christ. Anyone with contacts to a national columnist please pass on the idea of bringing this topic up and encouraging some discussion on the news/talk show front. God Bless- and I mean it!

  • Great post. A priest at our parish told us about how he has made it a habit to always bow his head when he hears the Lord’s name. When spoken reverently, it reminds everyone of the holiness of the name. When it comes up as a profanity, he doesn’t say anything or scold anyone. But that simple, silent act often makes the profanity speaker feel guilty enough to stop, at least for that conversation. I think if Catholics and other Christians would return to that traditional gesture, then other people would at least feel it was impolite to use the Lord’s name so casually. I’ve tried to pick up the habit myself. Haven’t noticed anyone noticing me yet.

  • I’ll add that I had gotten into a really bad habit of saying dammit or G-ddammit all the time. Ironically, I was mimicking my grandfather who was a very holy man. I admired him and wanted to be like him and I thought it sounded cool and grown-up. Picked it up as a teenager (once I was old enough to get away with the occasional bad word with no serious consequences from mom…) I eventually realized how inappropriate that phrase is, and have tried to break the habit. I try not to make any sort of angry outburst, but if I am going to let one fly, I’ve settled on sh*t as my bad word of choice. Because, really, is sh*t such a bad word? It’s not nice, but it has no spiritual connotation. It’s not as vulgar as the f-bomb. It’s just, well, sh*t.

  • I need help because I have a serious question.

    I grew up in a “Christian” household, in which my parents (as did many), would fight constantly. Throughout these arguments my parents (mostly my father) used extremely profane language. And my mother would use acronyms to retaliate against him.
    Outside of that, I was sheltered from profanity until I was removed from my private Christian school and placed in a public schooling system (after moving). I was exposed to extreme amounts of profanity, as well as secular music, secular film, secular everything.

    I indulged in so much garbage, that by the time I was 14, I was using God’s name in vain in combination with dozens of swear words. I along with my newly made secular friends, used horribly profane language throughout our teen years (which were also plagued with my overall Spiritual downfall, leading to experimentation with various other sinful activities).

    My biggest question is, can using God/Jesus Christ’s name in vain lead to eternal guilt? I am questioning, because Exodus 20:7 makes it very clear that God will hold them guiltless. But when Jesus died, all of our sins were forgiven, no? So does that not mean that all sins (including using God’s name in vain), may be forgiven?

    I am now 20, and for the last half year I’ve realized my wrongs (after rebuilding my faith), and have ceased from using the Lord’s name in vain. Obviously I’ve slipped up a couple times, but I immediately pray afterward, and apologize for doing so.

  • Good Morning Moses,

    If taking God’s name in vain were a damning sin that could not be forgiven, then there would have to be limits on God’s being. This cannot be so and, therefore, there is no way that any sin you can do or think of cannot be forgiven. Despair is, perhaps an “unforgivable” sin, but only because the conclusion that one cannot be forgiven because God is not great enough creates a gulf between God’s unlimited offer of salvation and our willingness to accept it. (Think, perhaps, of Judas as he hanged himself.)

    One last thought… sin is serious but we are deeply flawed creatures. Don’t expect perfection or let the defects command your every thought. There is too much beauty in the world for a 20 year old to be so consumed.

One Response to The Last Enemy to be Destroyed is Death

  • I think you’re right on the sorts of things that are needed to keep a perspective on things in the midst of conflict.

    One thing I would point out, though, is that while I’d agree that the faceless nature of the internet adds to the effect, my experience has been that small religious and political communities often have pretty fractious internal politics. Back when I was at Steubenville, it really struck me at times how strongly feelings could run over seemingly small disagreements within the student small faith groups. You see the same thing, I know, within some pro-life and other social conservative groups. I think maybe it’s because everyone feels so strongly about The Cause (whatever that is in this case) that disagreement over what to do about is interpreted as lack of faith to the ideals at stake.

I Have Known Lightness and Darkness

Sunday, April 11, AD 2010

The God of Scripture- the Blessed Trinity- is such a compelling Mystery- a total All or Nothing Proposition- I can’t believe that we try to put this God on trial all the time- we try to use Him when all else fails or we make light of Him when all is well. I have come into the “All” phase of the spiritual life- like being husband and father- it is now cemented in my soul- it cannot be otherwise unless I somehow lose my mind, lose my heart, and thus lose my humanity and soul- God forbid I ever stray from Jesus’ Way for even a minute- I have known Lightness and Darkness- why I ever chose blindness I cannot say- some combination of youth’s folly and demonic persuasion coupled with a weak will and underdeveloped intellect- perhaps that explains much of it.
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3 Responses to Set Me Free (From Ideologies) Part 1

  • Just a word of caution on the authority of the Compendium. Even the Compendium itself recognizes that some of what is in it does not partake of infallibility:

    “In studying this Compendium, it is good to keep in mind that the citations of Magisterial texts are taken from documents of differing authority. Alongside council documents and encyclicals there are also papal addresses and documents drafted by offices of the Holy See. As one knows, but it seems to bear repeating, the reader should be aware that different levels of teaching authority are involved.”

    Also Catholic Social teaching as you point out, does not fit any particular political position. Fortunately, CST also notes that it does not propose any particular political solutions. That is in fact left to the prudential judgment of the laity (yes it is up to the use of prudence – the practical application of moral norm to a specific problems.) Thus CST also notes that Catholics in good faith can disagree on particular solutions. To say otherwise is in fact to act contrary to Catholic Social Teaching itself.
    Now it seems you are not doing so but you do head near the shoals of Ultramontanism (as some other Catholic blogs do) by thinking that by reading the Compendium you will come up with a specific solutions. You won’t. Specific moral principles to apply – yes. Particular solutions that all are called to adhere to as good Catholics – no.
    I agree that one has to avoid ideologies that reduce the truth to sound bites. But there is a distinction between ideologies and ideas. Long, hard, cold thought out ideas that have internal coherence and which can provide specific political solutions. These ideas which form from the understanding of history, politics etc. have internal validity as expressions of human reason and if solidly based are a valid means of approaching problems of the world today. Even you admit to some with your FDR approach. This is okay.
    Its okay to have internally consistent ideas that propose solutions to political problems as long as one is open to new understanding as the study of history, politics, etc. develop. Even the Church (in one of JPII’s social encyclicals which is lost on me now) admits this much. That some of what is in CST is based on current understanding of history, economics etc. and can develop as these disciplines and as human understanding itself develops (see my first admonition above about differing degrees of authority.)
    So the bottom line is, I don’t have a problems with Conservative/Liberal etc. But let all come forth with solid, reasoned arguments and not the raw emotionalism that Charity in Truty decries. Let the best current understanding of social problems be presented with solid economic, historical etc. understanding. Then let Catholic laypersons with solid ideas (and not ideologies) make solid, prudential decisions.

  • Appreciate the insights Phillip- I suppose my goal is not to replace a brother/sister’s ideology with another one- but to get every serious Catholic who makes a big show of being a out and proud “conservative” or “liberal” and so forth- to think again- not to convert to another ideology, but to just leave off the self-labeling when saying you are Catholic- a Christian disciple- should suffice. I recall cringing at Sen. Brownback after receiving Father Pavone’s personal endorsement for President, going around saying that he was the “true Conservative”. Is that a good public witness for Christ, given that Christ is giving us a social doctrine that doesn’t lend itself easily to ideological adherences? Personally, I don’t see how an honest reading of all the social doctrine materials can lead me to voluntarily accept the imprisonment of any merely political ideology. I have tendencies toward the FDR Democratic party mold, but I recognize the fallibility of such to address all issues for all time- I won’t suggest that it wasn’t surprising that so much of the Catholic Church faithful were inclined to the FDR-Dem party – even in the Hierarchy- given the connections people were seeing between the social teachings and the political visions offered at the time. Of course times change, and appeals to FDR are not what I am much concerned with.

    I believe we are living in a bit of a new Barbarian Age- more subtle than before, very high-tech, but also very deadly to bodies and souls- I see the Barbarian movement in the establishment Left and Right- with abortion killing millions and a serious lack of global solidarity leading to unnecessary military conflicts and unjust economic situations. America is part of the problem and part of the solution- I’m focused on getting my nation to get out of the business of being part of the problem.

    As for the Compendium- I realize that differing levels of teaching authority are in play- but the fact that they are now given new circulation in the Compendium which is a concise rendering of the entire corpus of our social doctrine should be cause for new appreciation for all of it’s contents. At minimum what is in there must be taken deeply into our developing consciences- to say that only the most explicit detail of a particular principle of social teaching is worth reading would be a major error in prudential judgment. I figure if the Magisterium or Church leader puts something down on paper for our consumption, we should attempt to take time to consume it, let it work through our minds and imaginations, so that when we set about proposing specifics on major issues, or vision statements- we will have the benefit of all of the Church’s vast wisdom. I think that too many Catholics abuse the notion of prudential judgment to simply short-circuit the papal words that don’t mix well with their chosen ideological adherences- I’m not making a personal accusation to you Phillip or anyone in particular- but I am suspicious of everyone who clings too closely to something like what Brownback said “I am the true Conservative” I’m very suspicious of true believers in political ideologies.

  • Thanks for your reply. Will respond more fully after Easter. Quick reply is that I appreciate and look forward to your insights also.

Dads Need To Make a Comeback

Thursday, March 18, AD 2010

As my daughters get closer and closer to the age of temptation and exploitation- I am ready now to stand up to the dominant culture of casual sex- I don’t know when it was that Dads abandoned their daughters to the so-called sexual revolution- but I’m the Dad now and the girls-as-sex-objects mainstream culture is the Enemy- I’m not abandoning my girls -not now, not ever.

I will be posting more such helpful videos which I am using in my high school religion classes- we must get the word out through the teen ranks. Our young people are being tossed to the wolves into a mass media culture that celebrates porn/womanizers/pimps as comic figures/cougars and other soul-numbing influences. In my own lifetime, I’ve seen the damage done from the Playboy to Penthouse to Hustler to Anything Goes Internet Porn downward spiral.  I am looking to start a movement of Dads to begin protesting outside the ubiquitous strip clubs- to claim some public space where real men educate the public about the real dignity of women. If we don’t want our daughters to grow up to be  perceived as mere sex objects, then we need to evangelize the Culture.

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2 Responses to Dads Need To Make a Comeback

Crossing Over

Saturday, February 27, AD 2010

There is only One World, but there is a big dividing line between those who are comfortable, happy, healthy, and safe, and those who are in pain, miserable, sick, and in danger. We cross the lines involuntarily at times- but we can also choose to cross over for periods of time from the happy place to the places of sorrow. This is being poor in spirit, this is compassion, this is prayer, this is where we love our neighbor as ourselves, where we love our enemies, where we develop our Christ-likeness. We cross over not because we have to, but because we choose to love.

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One Response to Crossing Over

2 Responses to Faith Without Works Is Dead

  • I, for one, will not hesitate to show my anticipation for this coming series on Catholic Social Teaching. When can we expect the first post?

  • Thanks Andy- this was a sick week for my little growing tribe- priorities always go with the family- I should get caught up with my class preps and get something posted sometime next week- it is something that has been in my mind and heart for a while now- I want to really deeply engage the whole liberal v. conservative thing and basing my subjective critique on actual paragraph quotes from Pope B, The Compendium, Holy Scripure, Catechism, and even some speeches from Pope B. since we should always take the Pope’s words seriously and into our consciences- even when he is not making a solemn declaration or speaking ‘from the chair’. This should be fun and enlightening, and I’m not trying to make the silly case that liberals or conservatives are always right(or wrong)- and besides that there are many shades of liberal and conservative- I really wish we would just define ourselves as “Catholic” and leave go of the ideological labels – just as I am seriously considering leaving the ranks of the Democratic Party and trying to found something I would like to call a “Common Good Party”- a long term project that addresses the fact that both major parties have so severely compromised themselves in the mainstream that working to reform them from the inside as I have been attempting as a pro-life, pro-traditional family Democrat, has left me thinking that the prospects for success are too minimal to continue fighting- and my own role-model status is hurt by association by those who do not know or have time to consider my politics fully, and conclude that I must be “liberal” on issues where I am decidedly not.

Sweatshop Economics Must Not Continue

Thursday, February 4, AD 2010

I don’t believe any good Catholic would say they are happy with the situation of so many sweatshops operating in China et al.  The problem is what to do (or not do) about it.  I am giving my students a research project premised on a single sentence- “How can I avoid buying sweatshop products?”.  We are simultaneously studying the good Pope Benedict XVI’s “Caritas In Veritate”- specifically paragraphs #21, 22, 25, 27, 35, 36, 37, 38, 40, 41, 44, 48, 49, 51, 60, 63, 64, 65, 75, and 76. You can follow along at home!

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49 Responses to Sweatshop Economics Must Not Continue

  • No doubt the conditions in so-called sweatshops are often horrible. You won’t improve the lot of anyone in the developing world, however, buy declining to buy products produced in sweatshops, or by trying to get them shut down. Jobs with low pay and poor conditions exist because the people who work there don’t have any better options, and you generally don’t help a person by taking away his best option, however awful in an absolute sense.

    In my post yesterday, I noted that global poverty and inequality has declined significantly over recent decades. It’s not clear that that would have happened absent sweatshops, a fact that should be borne in mind.

  • Assuming free choice is involved, Blackladder is correct. In other words, there is an important difference between sweatshop labor resulting from laborers selecting the best of unattractive options versus laborers who have no other legal option because they are slaves, and slave labor does exist in some parts of the world. Historical economists who have studied the sweatshops of newly industrialized Great Britain now pretty much all agree that as bad as those environments were they actually provided the workers with a superior standard of living than their other options, which were often simple starvation. Widespread starvation has been a normal condition throughout world history until very recently. Hobbes was wrong in many things, but his description of life as nasty, brutish, and short was spot on correct for most people throughout the world well into the 20th century. Many things have contributed to economic progress, but probably the most important are free markets protected by the rule of law. I certainly agree that there can be necessary and appropriate regulation of markets, but many well-intended regulations advanced by social reformers have produced adverse unintended consequences that dwarf the social affliction they were designed to remedy.
    The botton line is that not buying goods from companies that employ workers in sweatshop conditions may help wealthier workers in developed nations and may even make one feel good, but it probably hurts those who are already the most vulnerable.

  • Your overall aim here is clearly good, and I think people are certainly right to want to see conditions in third world factories get better. Two things that might be worth keeping in mind:

    1) Often in an effort to “keep from buying from sweatshops” people simply avoid all products made in third world countries. They assume that if a shirt was made in Indonesia, it must have been made under inhuman conditions. In most cases, however, they have no way of knowing, so what they end of doing is simply punishing Indonesians in general, rather punishing bad factories and buying from good ones. (On the flip side, such movements are seldom wide-spread enough to have any real effect, so I suppose one could argue that their attempt to boycott the third world isn’t hurting anyone that much.)

    2) The video if factually incorrect that globalization has lowered wages in poor countries overall. It may be correct that wages have fallen in Mexico since NAFTA, but Mexico was manufacturing products for the US long before then. Since the early ’90s, Mexico has in turn seen low end manufacturing jobs move farther south to Nicaragua, Hunduras, Colombia, etc. and across the Pacific to China, Indonesia and Vietnam. (Further, Mexico is actually a market for goods made in Asia and elsewhere; it’s not just in the US that cheap shirts made in China are being sold, but in Mexico too.) Overall wages have increased, not decreased in globalization. The problem is just that they are often increasing from very, very low levels.

  • I can only accept the “sweatshop” concept if there was a clear line of progress leading from a peoples acceptance of harsh, low paying work into middle-class opportunities for themselves and most definitely their children. This seems to be the way it worked here in the U.S. as workers used their political and other freedoms to advance collectively- drawing upon unions and other political tools including muckraking journalism. Of course, success brings a new set of challenges/temptations, and we didn’t find the right calibration of corporate and labor powers in our own system.

    But without these type of freedoms in repressive nations, and with corporations using their power advantage to say – hey if you unionize, if you start collective bargaining power plays- we just leave you an empty factory and move to where the workers can just suck on it coutesy of the police state apparatus. If this is the current situation- and the proof of this for me is how everyone ended up in China- the land of one-child limits and no religious freedom- not so easy for muckraking journalists to just poke around either to provide a true narrative of the average Chinese life. I have many reasons to be suspicious of an American economy so warmly connected to the biggest and meanest psuedo-Communist dictatorship around. Can’t be good

  • I can only accept the “sweatshop” concept if there was a clear line of progress leading from a peoples acceptance of harsh, low paying work into middle-class opportunities for themselves and most definitely their children.

    I think this is precisely what we have been seeing over the last few decades. Here, for example, is a description of the effect of a Nike factory in Vietnam:

    Ten years ago, when Nike was established in Vietnam, the workers had to walk to the factories, often for many miles. After three years on Nike wages, they could afford bicycles. Another three years later, they could afford scooters, so they all take the scooters to work (and if you go there, beware; they haven´t really decided on which side of the road to drive). Today, the first workers can afford to buy a car.

    Since 1990, when the Vietnamese communists began to liberalise the economy, exports of coffee, rice, clothes and footwear have surged, the economy has doubled, and poverty has been halved. Nike and Coca-Cola triumphed where American bombs failed. They have made Vietnam capitalist.

    I asked the young Nike worker Tsi-Chi what her hopes were for her son´s future. A generation ago, she would have had to put him to work on the farm from an early age. But Tsi-Chi told me she wants to give him a good education, so that he can become a doctor. That´s one of the most impressive developments since Vietnam´s economy was opened up. In ten years 2.2 million children have gone from child labour to education. It would be extremely interesting to hear an antiglobalist explain to Tsi-Chi why it is important for Westerners to boycott Nike, so that she loses her job, and has to go back into farming, and has to send her son to work.

  • Without some big regulatory change- which seems to be the Magisterium’s intent behind calling repeatedly for a global economy that has a just juridical framework- I still think we can make strides by doing business through the global Catholic Church via CRS and diocesan/parish contacts operating fair trade cooperative relationships bypassing the big box network on as many individual products as possible. Just like I would prefer a Catholic non-profit health insurance option to a completely Government-only one. There is a Catholic difference to every field- from education, to medicine and pharmaceuticals (think birth control, embryonic stem cell research, euthanasia), to economics/business – this Pope is very clear about warning us away from any single ideological view or overeliance on technical solutions that ignore the humanity involved at every turn of every economic transaction. Check out the Pope’s call for a new synthesis of Christian humanism applied to the development of economies that include holistic considerations that interrelate- he would also include ecological and promotion of healthy families at the core. Working in sweatshops for 12 hour shifts over 6 or 7 days certainly isn’t suitable for someone in a Catholic family- we can’t leave people with this option or nothing at all- it ain’t right folks- gotta come up with something better than apologetics for shopping Walmart- reminds me of the old argument against ending slavery- the slaves would be worse off and the economy would be destroyed- well no one says we can create a perfect world, but we are charged with creating civilizations of love- I don’t see a sweatshop standing in that kind of civilization so I’m not going to accept rationalizations- doesn’t fit into my understanding of our Catholic social doctrine

  • Working in sweatshops for 12 hour shifts over 6 or 7 days certainly isn’t suitable for someone in a Catholic family- we can’t leave people with this option or nothing at al

    I’m all for giving people better options (and if people did have better options than working at sweatshops there would be no sweatshops – you wouldn’t need a law for that). Trying to shut down sweatshops, though, isn’t giving people a better option. It’s taking an option away, and in particular it’s taking away an option that people judge to be better than the available alternatives.

    reminds me of the old argument against ending slavery- the slaves would be worse off and the economy would be destroyed

    It seems to me that the main problem with this argument was that it was false. Abolishing slavery didn’t destroy the economy and ex-slaves were better off than they were before. That’s not the case for sweatshops.

  • I would recommend a book titled “The Vocation of Business: Social Justice in the Marketplace” by John Medialle, a professor at Univ of Dallas.

    I have read it four times and I’m still unpacking it.

    He writes that until you have equity, you will never have equilibrium. Labor must come before capital and that is one of the main tenets of Catholic Social Teaching. The bottom line to ending sweatshops is worker ownership of the means of production, which is the main tenant of Distributism as advanced by GK Chesterton and Hellaire Belloc.

  • I’m interested in the NIke factory in Vietnam example- I wonder how it worked that the workers went from destitution to being able to afford cars- did that happen while no positive changes took place at work- like a healthy increase in wages, better working conditions and so forth which would actually take the factory out of the sweatshop category? Is this typical? Does the Vietnamese government do a better job of protecting their people who work for foreign companies than the Chinese? I had thought that the whole reason for going to these kind of countries was the fact that the government would be on the side of the companies to help keep the workers in line so they wouldn’t press for higher wages and more investment in safe working environments? I wouldn’t submit that every factory in every poor country is necessarily a sweatshop, but it would seem that the purpose of locating half a world away from a pure business profit motive is the cheap labor- and the promise that that cheap labor would remain so- otherwise why not stay in the U.S. and save on a lot headaches and travel expenses?

    The trick for me would be to follow the American way and see a shift to domestic markets in every nation so that you don’t have a system where most production in the world is geared for sale in relatively few countries- like American consumers should not be the main source of income for the third world workers to fight over for perpetuity. Has the open trade system had enough time to bring about a better system- fitting in with the CAtholic social teaching theme of the universal destination of goods/resources?

    I think that having international bodies like the WTO representing the interests of multinational corporations needs a strong element of human rights protectors- so that workers are competing with their basic rights as humans and workers respected by all participating trading partners- this would seem fair and necessary given our fallen nature and the fact that the love of money is the root of many evils- or so says the Bible.

  • I had thought that the whole reason for going to these kind of countries was the fact that the government would be on the side of the companies to help keep the workers in line so they wouldn’t press for higher wages and more investment in safe working environments?

    The point of going to developing countries is that labor is cheaper. Labor is cheaper, however, not because the government will come in and bust heads if people demand higher wages, but because the average wages in the countries are so low. Wages in multinational owned factories may be low by American standards, but they can be several times the prevailing wage for other sources of employment.

  • The modern term is “developing country,” not “third world.”

    reminds me of the old argument against ending slavery- the slaves would be worse off and the economy would be destroyed

    If the slaves would be worse off, there would’ve been no problem with giving them the choice to be free. If they thought they’d be worse off, they’d volunteer to be enslaved. I’m all for ensuring that factory workers overseas have choices. Closing sweatshops restrict the freedom to choice though.

    American consumers should not be the main source of income for the third world workers to fight over for perpetuity.

    Why not? If Latin American farmers were limited to domestic markets and not of the millions of Starbucks customers in the US, those farmers would not be able to afford to send their kids to school.

  • I had thought that the whole reason for going to these kind of countries was the fact that the government would be on the side of the companies to help keep the workers in line so they wouldn’t press for higher wages and more investment in safe working environments? I wouldn’t submit that every factory in every poor country is necessarily a sweatshop, but it would seem that the purpose of locating half a world away from a pure business profit motive is the cheap labor- and the promise that that cheap labor would remain so- otherwise why not stay in the U.S. and save on a lot headaches and travel expenses?

    I work fairly directly with the operations group which deals with our Chinese manufacturers are work, so I can explain some of the details here. (This is dealing with consumer electronics, so we’re talking pretty advanced factories, not sweatshops, but the logistics are similar.)

    One thing many people don’t realize is how incredibly cheap it is to ship things to the US from China, so long as you have the six weeks to send it across in bulk via cargo ship. For instance, when we bring in a container load (about 2,500) of laptop computers by sea, all packed up in their retail packaging ready to go onto a store shelf, the shipping cost from Shanghai to the distribution center in the US is about $5/laptop.

    With shipping so cheap, even a very small difference in the cost of manufacturing becomes worth while — especially because the profits made by each company along the supply chain are often very small.

    Most of the factories that make product for US companies in China are not actually owned by the US company — they’re owned by a local company which makes products to order, which the US company then buys. The US companies do this because it saves them start-up costs, and the difficulties of dealing with local government. (In many developing nations, local government basically runs of bribes and shakedown schemes — such as claiming the deed to your factory is forged and threatening to confiscate if you don’t buy a new one — and US companies typically don’t want to deal with it for legal reasons.)

    These locally owned factories will compete for business with each other, and manufacture for multiple US brands. So the HP, Sony, Dell and Toshiba laptops you see in Best Buy may actually have been made in the same factory. The different factories also compete with each other for labor. Building a high quality factory takes a lot of capital, but turning the capital into a good return requires a high output with few mistakes. More experienced workers tend to make product faster and with fewer mistakes — so if a new factory wants to get up to speed quickly their best approach is to poach workers from another factory with an offer of higher wages. All of the factories end up hiring and training new workers as well, but it helps to have a certain critical mass of experienced workers to provide on-the-line training and such. So wages do tend to rise over time through competition between the manufacturers.

    Expansion out into new areas can provide a way to keep wages from rising too high, but this again runs into the problem of inexperienced workers being less productive. And once you have a lot of experienced workers, it becomes tempting for a competitor to build a factory and poach some of that expertise. If you’re the first factory into a new are, you get lower wages for a while, but then others move in and they creep up.

    The more established areas move into more high value types of factories — and there’s also a value to being near to rail lines and ports, so businesses can’t chase endlessly into the wilderness in search of lower labor costs, because they start to incur other costs that make up for it.

    Why do businesses bother sourcing in the developing world when wages are rising? Well, businesses are very willing to be temporary — and there’s not necessarily a huge investment for them when most of the factories are locally owned. Also, as those developing markets see their wages rise, they become customers as well as sources of labor. For instance: most cell phones are currently manufactured in China. But it’s not just a source of cheap labor. There are more than twice as many cell phone users in China as in the US.

  • The modern term is “developing country,” not “third world.”

    Exactly right. That term is quite Modern. It should be done away with.

  • While I can appreciate the intent of this post, Blackadder and others have done a great job explaining how among a continuum of choices sweatshops may not represent the least desirable choice given the circumstances.

    I would like to add that from our perspective, as Americans living in 2010 with possibly the most posh existence the world has ever known, this appears downright inhumane and barbaric. And on many levels it is. But poverty and prosperity are relative, in large measure.

    The sad reality is, from a perspective of solidarity, the most Catholic thing you can do is to continue to patronize goods from such third-world nations and simultaneously pray for the transformation of the culture from within.

    For further reading on wealth and poverty:

  • I laud the effort to ensure that workers, all over the world, are allowed to work in safe, clean, and humane conditions. IT will certainly not increase the cost of my XXL/X-Tall sweatshirt to reduce a shift in a factory to 8 hours, or to make the minimum work age 18 instead of 13.

    But we risk much, I think, when applying US standards of living as a measure of the humanity/inhumanity of a particular living/working condition, and the justice of any particular wage.

    Start in the US. I can live very well in Jonesboro, AR on a salary of $45,000/year; I can at least rent a house, pay my bills, and basically take care of my needs and the needs of a young family. Take that same $45,000 to New York City, and I am at or below subsistence level; I cannot drive, I cannot buy a lot, and I am much poorer than when I left home in AR.

    Same applies in Memphis, TN vs. Jonesboro; rents are lower in Jonesboro, and I can live better there than I can in Memphis.

    Now stretch it across the Pacific. In many countries, $45,000 would make me a rich man, or at least move me well into the upper middle class. This is why, I would think, remittances are so helpful to families in developing countries; the available capital moves the family into a different economic stratum.

    SO, while the work of organizations such as these is important in correcting the abuses that inevitably occur when people are involved (cuz we’re a greedy bunch when left to ourselves, sometimes), it doesn’t make sense to decry every instance of people being paid $0.47/hr as an egregious offense against humanity. How does making that $0.47/hr materially affect the living standard of that family? If that $0.47/hr were not available to that worker in Swaziland, what would their alternative be, and how would their standard of living change?

    It also doesn’t pass the smell test that standards of living would be forced *downward* by the arrival of a manufacturer supplying, say, Wal-Mart. Were people conscripted by force into the factory, and removed from better-paying positions in much nicer factories in order to slave for the Waltons? Doubtful. SO what’s the real story?

    As well-intentioned as I think folks like this start, I wonder if their agenda isn’t much more driven by a hatred of anything “corporate”. The factories they depict shuttered and empty didn’t get that way because an evil corporation decided to screw over a town and its citizens; they got that way because the manufacturer was forced, by competition, to decide between competition and extinction. Some of those companies *died*; they didn’t move to China. Once they died, though, Chinese manufacturers were able to make the case that they could offer similar quality for much less. Once China’s standard of living (and wages) started to rise, manufacturers looked for even lower-cost areas to move into; thus, Swaziland, Haiti and Bangladesh start to benefit from the rise in the standard of living in China (which, I would bet, imports a lot more Bangladeshi clothing than we do).

    I agree with P.Diddy’s closing comment, with one caveat: We *should* continue to purchase goods from developing countries, but in addition to *praying* for the transformation of the culture from within, we have to be willing to *work* for that same transformation, by holding businesses accountable for knowing the conditions under which their inventories are produced.

  • Thinking about this, I’d make two additional points:

    1) One of the major differences here, I think, is between different views of history. In a more progressive view of history, the primary reason that we no longer see the worst conditions of the Industrial Revolution in the US is the work of unions and the work of journalists exposing repressive corporate practices to public outrage. Now, I think those were in fact very minor factors, and that the primary reason we no longer see those conditions and those levels of pay is because companies simply can’t get workers to work that way any more as a result of economic development and competition for labor. These different views will lead to different conclusions as to what we should do now.

    2) The solution from a more economistic point of view is not necessarily just “do nothing”. US Companies choose which contract firms in developing countries to work with based on a number of factors, and if they do refuse to deal with firms which behave in inhuman ways (forcing female workers to take birth control; unsafe working conditions; etc.) they will drive local firms to improve conditions overall. There will probably continue to be much worse firms doing work for the local market, but if US firms use their purchasing power to drive incremental improvements (not the kind of “have US working conditions and pay or give the jobs back to US union workers” that domestic interests have in mind, but insisting on working with the better factories in the region) that will help drive conditions upwards faster. It will also tend to benefit not just the workers, but the products and the companies that make them in the long term.

  • The modern term is “developing country,” not “third world.”

    Exactly right. That term is quite Modern. It should be done away with.

    While we’re at it, let’s revive “negro,” “oriental,” and “groovy.”

  • You have forgotten “white trash” and “Honky” as long as you want to visit the old labels/terms.

    Dynamite article! Makes a person think about the choices that we make each day and the affect it has on the rest of the world and our local economy.

    I never shop at Walmart and haven’t for years. I would rather purchase meat from our local meat market and drugs from our small town Drug Store, etc. and Fresh produce from the farmer’s market or visit the growers themselves.

    “The Jungle” was largely responsible for changes in the meat industry. However, recently the changes in that industry are for the negative with most labor from Mexico or Latn America– and conditions (and pay) regressing –as well as safety for workers and eaters of said meat.

  • While we’re at it, let’s revive “negro,” “oriental,” and “groovy.”

    Far out.

  • I agree that having a global minimum wage would be a tough sell given all the factors that go into determining local living standards- but having all corporations participating in global trade being charged with legal responsibilities for basic human rights and decency which allow traditional families to take root and potentially flourish – for economic security is only one factor in determining that. That should be the goal- just like the video showed with dog and cat fur items being banned, so too, could member nations in trade pacts make certain contractual obligations legally binding without going overboard with insensible regulations and running into the reverse problem of giving too much power over to union bosses for example.

    The fact remains that Pope Benedict is directly calling for a “new humanistic synthesis” in the wake of the current global economic crisis. “The current crisis obliges us to re-plan our journey, to set ourselves new rules and to discover new forms of commitment, to build on positive experiences and to reject negative ones. The crisis thus becomes an opportunity for discernment, in which to shape a new vision for the future.” #21 Caritas..

    This is what I am trying to do- scrap what hasn’t worked and try to retain some of the positives, but recognizing that there isn’t a pure ideological solution out there- which is why I’m attracted to more solidarity/subsidiarity economic relationships spring up between Catholics who happen to live in the developed/developing sectors of the global society. There is also an ecological concern which the Pope brings up that must be brought into the discussion at some point as well- I was thinking of that when it was brought up at how cheap it is to ship goods around the world- and I have read that the cargo ships use pretty poor quality fuel and are big polluters of the oceans- one doesn’t have to embrace the all-encompassing theory of man-created Climate Change to be aware of our stewardship duties in the “Care for God’s Creation” and how that affects humanity as well.

  • Re third world: Well, admittedly third world is an imperfect descriptor in that it really refers to unaligned nations during the Cold War. Back in the day economists used to refer to undeveloped countries or UDCs, but PC precursers soon claimed that the term was too harsh and demanded that it term be abandoned in favor of lesser developed countries (or LCDs), which proved to be understood as demeaning, which is why we now have developing countries — a term that makes no sense at all since all countries are developing in different ways and at different paces. But these days “feelings” trumps truth all the time. It is kind of funny in a pathetic sort of way.

  • “Wal-Mart has such a strong command over the retail market that it alone affects the wages of many workers and the fate of many factories around the world. In a recent series the LA Times described how Wal-Mart’s demands dictate lower wages, harder work, and longer hours, while eliminating jobs in factories from Honduras to China. No longer is this humongous corporation putting only America’s factories out of business, it has now turned to pitting factories in countries around the world against each other in an impossible race to the bottom.

    Wal-Mart was removed from KLD & Co.’s Domini 400 Social Index because of what it called ‘sweatshop conditions’ at its overseas vendors’ factories. KLD, which provides social research for institutional investors, said Wal-Mart hasn’t done enough to ensure that its vendors meet ‘adequate labor and human rights standards,’ according to a statement distributed by PR Newswire. KLD also cited charges that the company hasn’t been forthright about its involvement with a Chinese handbag manufacturer alleged to have subjected workers to 90-hour weeks, exceptionally low wages, and prison-like conditions. The Domini 400 is a benchmark index for measuring the effect of social screening on financial performance. (1/03)

    Some of the abuses in foreign factories that produce goods for Wal-Mart include:

    * Forced overtime

    * Locked bathrooms

    * Starvation wages

    * Pregnancy tests

    * Denial of access to health care

    * Workers fired and blacklisted if they try to defend their rights

    The National Labor Committee reported in September 1999 that the Kathie Lee clothing label (made for Wal-Mart by Caribbean Apparel, Santa Ana, El Salvador) conducted sweatshop conditions of forced overtime. Workers hours were Monday to Friday from 6:50 a.m. to 6:10 p.m., and Saturday from 6:50 a.m. to 5:40 p.m. There are occasional shifts to 9:40 p.m. It is common for the cutting and packing departments to work 20-hour shifts from 6:50 a.m. to 3:00 a.m. Anyone unable or refusing to work the overtime hours will be suspended and fined, and upon repeat “offenses” they will be fired. This factory is in an American Free Trade Zone. (”

    From Voice of American Workers trade article.

  • The modern term is “developing country,” not “third world.”

    Exactly right. That term is quite Modern. It should be done away with.

    While we’re at it, let’s revive “negro,” “oriental,” and “groovy.”

    The term “third world” has been used over the years by peoples from these countries, sometimes prefaced by the word “so-called.” Other terms used today among global social movements are “Two-Thirds World” and “Global South.”

    But the term “developing world” was rejected long, long ago.

  • Other terms used today among global social movements are “Two-Thirds World” and “Global South.”

    But the term “developing world” was rejected long, long ago.

    Rejected by whom, exactly?

    There is a certain silliness to trying to use a single term to cover countries as distant from each other and diverse as India, Honduras, Vietnam and Kenya. I’ve heard some writers differentiate between the “developing world” and the countries in the “bottom billion” where development seems to have “stuck”.

    But I’m not clear that there’s some sort of clearing house of “approved terminology for people who care” in charge of sorting out whether “developing world” is an acceptable term or not.

  • Well, admittedly third world is an imperfect descriptor in that it really refers to unaligned nations during the Cold War. Back in the day economists used to refer to undeveloped countries or UDCs, but PC precursers soon claimed that the term was too harsh and demanded that it term be abandoned in favor of lesser developed countries (or LCDs), which proved to be understood as demeaning, which is why we now have developing countries — a term that makes no sense at all since all countries are developing in different ways and at different paces. But these days “feelings” trumps truth all the time.

    Hard to call China “undeveloped.” “Lesser developed” sounds awkward. Pre-Tsvangirai Zimbabwe wasn’t “developing.” At any rate, I’ll use whatever the most commonly accepted term at the moment happens to be. I use “pro-life” and “pro-choice” instead of “anti-abortion” and “pro-abortion.” I use “illegal immigrants” instead of “undocumented immigrants.” “African-American” or “black” instead of “negro.” And “developing” instead of “third world.”

    I’ve noticed that “OECD” and “non-OECD” is getting popular. They don’t roll off the tongue well but they are more precise terms so that’s good.

  • Rejected by whom, exactly?

    By global social justice movements, as I said.

    “Developing world,” “bottom billion,” etc. are terms that assume the values and commitments of capitalist modernity. Continue to use them if those are your values and commitments.

  • There is a certain silliness to trying to use a single term to cover countries as distant from each other and diverse as India, Honduras, Vietnam and Kenya.

    Use of terms like “Global South” and “Two-Thirds World” are precisely NOT meant to “cover” the diversities of these countries, but as an expression of solidarity of the oppressed peoples of these countries. The terms do not unite the countries, but unite particular classes among the countries.


    VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Conversion to Christ gives people the strength to break the bonds of selfishness and work for justice in the world, Pope Benedict XVI said in his message for Lent 2010.

    “The Christian is moved to contribute to creating just societies where all receive what is necessary to live according to the dignity proper to the human person and where justice is enlivened by love,” the pope said in the message released Feb. 4 at the Vatican.”

  • I believe the discussion of terminology is a rabbit trail. I’m just sayin’.

    To return, I hope, to the main point of the article and prior discussion, though, it seems to me that there exists a basic divide in ways of looking at corporations vs. small businesses. And not-coincidentally, there seems to exist a certain almost snobbery about not doing business with the Wal-marts of the world. Having, as I do, four children (and now regretting that I don’t have more, as I stand on the threshold of my 50’s) gives me a slightly different perspective on the place of Wal-Mart in my local economy.

    I would *love* to be able to buy meat at my local butcher shop, and to patronize local farmers all the time. I would love to be able to buy only clothes manufactured in the United States. Unfortunately, I cannot raise a family of six and do that; it costs too much! And since my diet is varied, and I like lettuce in January, I have to buy it from somewhere warm enough to *produce* lettuce in January. And since I don’t want a slaughterhouse in my neighborhood, I have to have meat trucked in from Arkansas and Mississippi, where the animal farms are. As much as I would like to be able to feed and clothe my family from the local economy, I cannot!

    Simplistically, I blame the union movement for these developments; the reason I can’t buy a pair of shoes made in the US is that I cannot afford to pay the added costs loaded onto the shoes by the provision of generous union benefits, and shortened shifts. I have had to wait an extra month for a suit I ordered (at 6’9″, I have to have them made (in the US)), because the factory was negotiating a contract dispute with their **union**.

    See, long ago, unions stopped being about making working conditions humane and pay dignified, and started to be about how much they could negotiate being paid for how little work. Unions, IMHO, have become the proletariat mirror of the “evil corporations”, in that they jockey to see how *little* work can be done for the dollars spent. And so the manufacturers of my clothes and other goods move overseas in order to escape the burden, and millions of jobs disappear.

    So as nice as it would be to localize everything, it isn’t practical. And as nice as it would be to impose US wages and working conditions on every country around the world, it wouldn’t be fair to guys like me, who are trying to feed and clothe the next generation, to impose those costs in a feel-good attempt at one man’s view of “social justice”. We should, as Catholics, be about *improving everyone’s lot*, not about making everyone equally miserable. And we should be about raising everyone’s standard of living by providing opportunities for people, not by redistributing wealth and just handing it over to folks. We create far more problems in that way than we solve (see the welfare system in the US from the mid-sixties till the mid nineties for an example; nothing did more to destroy the Black community than that!)

    We *can* help our brtothers and sisters in need! But it would be wrong to take from others by force of law in order to do it!

  • The complete story is found at the link below:

  • There are many Catholics who have not intellectually reconciled themselves with the fact that we live in a fallen world. This manifests itself in a worldview which effectively seeks to make everyone equally miserable, ala, socialism.

    Among a number of excellent points Chip discusses is the fact that the Wal-marts of the world actually do more to help the poor of the world than the snobs who won’t shop there.

  • Chip,

    In this small town of 4000, our merchants do very well at competing with Walmart. We intentionally support them and the quality and care they provide. I do not think that makes us snobs, do you really?

    We are lucky to still have small town meat markets in the upper Midwest. The owner is more selective and responsible for the meats he chooses. Ground meats especially!

    It is far superior to the products processed through the meat-packing facilities. Also, the workers do not join unions as much in the meat-packing facilities for obvious reason. (Being many illegals, etc.) The wages are half of the wage paid for the same job in 1970. The conditions much worse. Speed-ups and injuries with knives, etc., See the Postville, Iowa story recently in the news. (And that was a Kosher plant.)

    The book, THE JUNGLE, helped change working conditions for the (largely immigrants) meat-packing workers NOT because Americans gave a whit about the conditions of the workers but because Americans did not want to eat sausage that might have a worker or rat ground up in it. (As brought out by the book.)

    I basically feel the same is true with products today; dog food kills my beloved Fluffy and I don’t want those Chinese products….most people don’t care about those workers but let Fluffy get sick and I care. That is my sense of Americans and myself included. I am trying to change. It isn’t easy!!!

    I do not live in California and need to purchase veggies too, but go to other grocery stores. (Just not Walmart.)

  • Snobbery might be a bit harsh, but it is a choice you consciously exercise. And you and others in town obviously hav ethe means to exercise that choice; if you did not, all the good intentions in the world would not keep you out of Wal-mart if you had to feed your family.

    It’s akin to neighborhood choice, I suppose. If I can afford a $450,000 house in Collierville, TN, why would I choose to move to my neighborhood in Bartlett, with average home prices in the low $200’s? And if I can afford to live *there*, why would I move to Raleigh, where the same house costs only $130,000? I make any of these choices because I have the means to make them. If I could afford to drive an Escalade instead of this 10-year-old Expedition, you bet I would be driving one; can’t right now, though, since I have tuition to pay and groceries to buy for all these little girls who still live at my house.

    If your townsfolk did not have the means to buy higher-quality, higher-priced meat from your local butcher, he would have two choices: Either lower his quality, thereby enabling a lower price, or to accept less profit on the items he sells. If the margin is low enough, he then goes out of business. If it works well for y’all, great!

    But who shops at Wal-mart in your town? I would guess it’s NOT the insensitive rich folks who just don’t care about the social justice implications of enabling a behemoth bad corporate actor like Walmart; I am betting it’s the folks who can’t afford to shop at your local butcher shop and other small retailers, but who would like a consistent quality of meats, vegetable, and other staples of life. We could kill off Walmart tomorrow; where would that leave the thousands employed by Wal-mart, and where would it leave the poorer folks to shop? I don’t know, but I bet they wouldn’t be buying the same quality meats you’re able to procure from your guy. (BTW, how much does a pound of ground chuck cost from your guy?)

    So…I apologize for the snobbery accusation. But it still sounds a bit “Let-them-eat-cake”-ish…

  • Chip,
    The small retailers, meat market, lumber yard, etc…were here long before Walmart. We hope to keep them in business. The prices are competetive. The people are friendly. No snobbery here as no one here is rich. Our Van is 1998 and just had a new engine in it. We do have some nice bike trails and not much traffic so that is an alternative in good weather. (Not now…we live 2 states north of you in Jonesboro.)
    The rich folks live in new sub-divisions far away from
    this old town along the Mississippi. And it costs to drive across the river to Walmart–30 minutes away. They surely do not miss our patronage as the parking lot is always full.

    We have worked for Walmart- in our family -in the past and used the 10% discount the employees are given.

    Is it snobbery to want to keep an old small town way of life and support our business’? We all struggle to find the best way to survive, small town America too.

  • “Labor is cheaper, however, not because the government will come in and bust heads if people demand higher wages”

    Well, sometimes that does happen. It’s not the least of the reasons why places like China are popular to do business.

  • And todays price for quality ground beef is 2.69. I am sure box stores have 80% ground much cheaper. Some of us need low-fat…me in particular. Not enough bike riding lately. Have a good day!

  • Well, sometimes that does happen. It’s not the least of the reasons why places like China are popular to do business.

    I have heard nasty stories about such things. I’m not sure it done by or the behest of the government though. Sounds to me like that at some foreign companies there is a general lack of regard for the workers’ dignity that is aggravated by the fact that they are managed by petty tyrants.

    That said, I’m not so sure that sort of a work environment is something Western corporations are looking for or appreciating. The draw to China for example is, as stated above, being able to reduce labor costs to stay competitive PLUS by providing jobs there that will produce expendable income for the workers, there will be a huge market of new consumers that can afford to buy the products they are making. Maybe that thinking it reeks of “anything for a buck”, but the reality is the existence of a great many lives are benefited or at least have the opportunity to be benefited.

  • If the quality is up to par, I’d rather buy from poorer foreigners than relatively richer locals. I think Catholic Social Teaching demands it.

  • We “poorer folks” shop at our local $ollar Store-8 blocks away. I did not know The Waltons needed our money so badly. I guess we should take pity on them? Who doesn’t sell imported products these days? And jobs are supported at by shopping at other stores too.

    Seriously, how do you resolve the conflict of a government like China (still Communist last I checked) that has a one-child policy and supports abortion? Did they change that?

    I understand that people need jobs everywhere and buying from China supports people there and supports an emerging middle class. That would be true in other developing countries that are not so repressive wouldn’t it?

  • I guess I would ask, first, Duke…how will NOT buying from companies that manufacture in China help to change China’s one-child policy? What will change oppressive regimes like that faster than anything is giving more people in those countries the economic means to decide that the government should not be making those kinds of decisions for them!

    The people working in factories in China making…well, some of everything are not the Chinese government. And they don’t *make* policy, they *live under* it. China’s changes over the last 30 years have come, not because people decried the status quo from outside China, but because exposure to Western democracy and economic prosperity stirred a desire in the hearts of Chinese folks to have something *different*.

    And to address your earlier question, Duke, of *course* it’s OK to preserve your town;s way of life, and to support the merchants who enable it. I wouldn’t drive 30 minutes through the country to Wal-mart either, if I had the option of using the gas money instead to pay just a little more, and shopping 5 minutes away. Again, though, your town’s economy allows for that (and is actually a strong counter-argument to the “evil Wal-mart kills small businesses” mantra). $2.69 ain’t bad for a pound of chuck; I think we are paying just a little less than that, but then, Memphis is the transportation hub of the known universe or something.

    And again, apologies for the “snobbery” comment; that was too strong. Parochialism might describe it better; it’s just that the conditions under which you live (rare, by percentage of population, I bet) are not the conditions under which most people live. And if I wanted to patronize meat boutiques in Memphis similar to your small-town merchants, I would get hammered. Those types of stores here cater to the hormone-free, organic, grass-fed crowd who feel they must buy products like that, and who make the economic decision to do so. I can’t afford to eat like that, unfortunately, at least, not until the 9-year-old is out of college…

  • Have any of you read the book “A Year Without Made in China” by Sara Bongiorni? I have been meaning to because the premise sounds interesting. Bongiorni, her husband and their two young kids attempted to go an entire year without buying ANYTHING made in China… and it proved to be a lot more difficult than they thought. From what I gather, they were pretty solidly middle-class financially, definitely not poor, yet even they found it next to impossible to avoid ‘made in China.’ For lower income people, I imagine it is impossible.

    Again, it’s another reflection of the fact that we live in a fallen world, and though we do the best we can to promote good and avoid evil, we will never achieve absolute, total non-cooperation with evil in this life.

  • Boycott American products! The US slaughters innocent Iraqis and Afghans, aids Israel in the slaughter of Palestinians, tortures and kills prisoners, isn’t democratic (see 2000 presidential election), pollutes like it owns the world, doesn’t provide its people with basic health care, and gives handouts to its wealthy bankers while its ethnic minorities are placed in slums where they don’t even receive a proper education. And remember, when you buy American, you’re paying for some American women’s abortion or a float at one of America’s many gay pride parades.

  • Chip,
    I understand the conditions in China. It makes me feel very conflicted, frankly.

    I’ll have to tell my family I’m going down to the meat “boutique” ..classier than what we call it. Meat markets -as we call them here- cater to deer hunters and farmers. No one cares about the organic, hormone free etc stuff around here too much. Organic chickens here are called free range and only means raised the way grandma used to. (Free to peck and scratch the way God intended.)

    Who knows what it will be like in another decade? Maybe the $ollar Store will again be a 5 & 10 cent Store like in the 1960’s. Cheaper products and competition going the way it is.

    It would be a challenge to buy products from everywhere but China. I would rather WATCH someone else do that on a Reality Show and learn from them. Sounds like an interesting book to read. Maybe the library will have it. Thanks for the suggestion.

  • I think your students (and anyone else interested in the sweatshop issue) might enjoy checking out Team Sweat is an international coalition that I founded to fight against Nike’s sweatshop abuses.

    I am a Catholic activist and former professional athlete and I have been fighting for 12 years on the front lines in solidarity (a key theme in Catholic Social Teaching) with the factory workers that produce for Nike.

    How did I get involved in this work? It all started as a research paper for a grad class I was taking while pursuing my masters degree in theology. The paper was titled:

    “Nike and Catholic Social Teaching: A Challenge to the Christian Mission at St. John’s University.”

    If you’re interested in reading it, drop me a line at [email protected].

    Peace, Jim Keady

  • Wow. The famous Jim Keady chimes in, albeit with a sales pitch.

  • I just checked out Jim Keady’s stuff- he’s the real deal folks- he has walked the walk, made real-life sacrifices, put in the time and mileage to find out the truth- and he’s Catholic- I’m going to pick this guy’s brain and heart to find out more- to take more responsibility for this issue of sweatshop labor- I want to take this thing far and beyond the normative ideological pissing contest- that means finding sources that have ground level information that is trustworthy. People who give up lucrative careers because something smells rotten in Greece- these type of guys grab my attention. I would recommend that the defenders of sweatshop economics take a look at Jim Keady’s stuff as well because this debate ain’t goin’ away just yet!

  • Blackladder claimed that “global poverty and inequality has declined significantly over recent decades,” a misleading statement based on using GDP to measure standard of living.

    More money flowing into an economy does not always translate to better living— in many “developping” countries, there are growing gaps between the rich and poor, and an unhealthy dependency on bigger economies (and corporations) for jobs and products (such as the US.) Self-sustainability, more options and consumer choice ease away poverty— not more money. The increase in money is often artificial, as any sweatshop laborer in LA will tell you (most of the money goes on increasing rent and product-prices, which remain high in developping areas due to lack of competition.)

    In short, boycotting sweatshops directly might not work, but reducing our reliance on them does. Otherwise, we are feeding into a global dependency.

The President Should Consider Adopting a Haitian Orphan

Friday, January 29, AD 2010

Watching the wrenching news from Haita has been tough but necessary viewing.  I couldn’t help but notice a lot of stories of Christian missions rescuing Haitian orphans to bring them to adoptive parents here in the U.S. I also noticed that the Christian adoptive parents crossed over any racial dividing lines and were intensely bonded to these suffering children. In the Christian universe there truly is no more black or white, male or female, in the arena of human dignity.

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12 Responses to The President Should Consider Adopting a Haitian Orphan

  • It’s an interesting idea, but I question whether the president has the time necessary for such an endeavor. As you say, young boys need fathers, and presidents don’t necessarily have the time in today’s world that Teddy Roosevelt had 100 years ago to drop everything for pillowfights with their sons. It’s one thing clearly if you get pregnant-then you find ways to make it work; it’s another to seek out the challenge.

    Biden, on the other hand (if he weren’t so old).

  • Why would you wish being a political prop onto a poor orphaned babe?

  • You say, “I know that embracing true fatherhood can change and deepen a person”. Well, President Obama is a father and he has always testified to the fact that it “changed” and “deepened” him as a person, so I’m not sure exactly what your point is. Maybe it would be better for some of those who talk about adoption rather than abortion, many with no children of their own, to start walking the walk – become foster parents, become adoptive parents – in other words, do what they tell others to do.

    As for your final thought – that the President and his wife need conversion. YOU THINK that the President and his wife need conversion, but because YOU THINK THAT doesn’t make it true.

  • This is kind of a weird suggestion, Tim. It’s normally considered rude or inappropriate to tell someone else that they should adopt a child. I don’t see why that general rule should be modified because of a person’s job title.

  • Haiti already lost many of her children. She does not need to lose more to adoption in foreign countries.
    It might be more useful to help the orphanages and schools.

  • Presidents get all kinds of advice because they hold an office that should be dear to all citizens- we want leaders who embody ideals, not mere public policy wonks- it is part of our incarnational reality- we want to see our leaders as heroic individuals doing good and decent things. Of course, it is all too much for anyone to fully embody, and so we compromise our ideals here and there. I don’t why suggesting something ideal out of our national leader should be out-of-line, or even out-of-the-ordinary. If I was in his sandals, I would be dynamically pro-life, and I would use my station in life to offer such a home to such an orphan in need at this particular time. The fact that Obama embodies a racial identity that offered up an attractive symbolism for many Americans plays into this provocative suggestion as well.

  • Haiti already lost many of her children. She does not need to lose more to adoption in foreign countries.

    Haiti isn’t a person, and talking as if it was is only going to lead to confusion.

  • Tim Shipe,

    Nothing in your response really addresses why it is ok to make a suggestion to the president *specifically to do something so intensely personal and familial*. Just because you think you would do something as president doesn’t mean it is appropriate for you to suggest that someone else should do that as president. As president, his family is still his family, not ours.

    Further, if the president did choose to adopt a child, it should absolutely not be because of any of the reasons of sociopolitical symbolism you suggest. It should be because he is a father, not because he is the president, and thus should come out of his sense that this is right for him and his family. That is something which we cannot possibly know, and on which I do not think it is appropriate for us to speculate.

  • As for the post itself, I agree with John Henry. It’s not really appropriate to tell someone they should adopt a child, and frankly I find the idea of adopting as a political act repugnant.

  • I didn’t suggest doing this as a mere political act, but if one is a political leader then pretty much everything you do in the open becomes part political act- just as in the case of Christian discipleship you can’t separate your actions from your public witness- your life witness speaks volumes regarding your life in the Spirit.

    As for Obama not having time to raise up a proper little man- well he has a home office, his wife is a stay at-home mom, he may be out of office 3 years and have a lot more time to spend at home with a lot of income to provide for many children- I suppose that his wife is out of bounds for any more biological children- so why not adoption, and why not Haiti? I’m not getting why this suggestion is drawing negative reactions- it isn’t typical of the kind of ordinary political chit chat and I know people love to just hate on Obama or worship his every step- so I suppose my thinking outside the box isn’t going to appeal to the normative political animal of the left or right-

  • I’m not getting why this suggestion is drawing negative reactions-

    Because it’s a deeply personal and frankly rude suggestion that is also impractical. Frankly I’m not getting how you could possibly think anyone would back you.

    so I suppose my thinking outside the box isn’t going to appeal to the normative political animal of the left or right-

    It’s not outside the box. It is just silly.

  • I don’t mean to take this off topic, but I have to respond to Linda b/c I am absolutely SICK of the argument that those who argue against abortion should adopt. Most people would take an infant or toddler instantly – no questions asked. Observe the frenzy that ensued when people heard that Haitian orphans would be put up for adoption in the US. The waiting list to adopt young children(of any race and even with physical handicaps) is unbelievable. It’s a myth that you only wait for long periods of time if you’re picky about race or health. So I guarantee that any child saved from abortion would be adopted instantly and indeed would have multiple loving homes competing for the privilege of welcoming that child. It’s very true that many older children are waiting in foster care and those children often have unique challenges that require a very special family. That is a separate problem. But the myth of all these young children put up for adoption, languishing in limbo b/c pro-life people don’t “walk the walk” is false and ludicrous.

Mel Gibson Needs Our Prayers

Wednesday, January 27, AD 2010

Last night I was exercising and flipping through the channels and saw Mel Gibson on the Jay Leno Show- very disturbing stuff.  He joked about having a lot of off-color jokes, he offered up some profanity to quote some girls he ran into while filming in Boston. To top it off he promised Leno that if and when he decides to get married again he would announce it first on Leno’s show.

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200 Responses to Mel Gibson Needs Our Prayers

  • Very sad. But for the grace of God….

  • Mel Gibson needs prayers and a good kick in the tail. A lot of people looked up to him and he threw it all away for the bottle and a babe. The staging of a ceremony where his crazy father ruled that his first marriage was invalid, was the coup de grace.

  • I feel the same way. Mel Gibson has let many people down, himself, his wife and children most of all. I won’t be buying any more movie tickets or watching him act like a dirty old man for the amusement of his waning audience.What’s next–showing up at the Playboy mansion to party with Bill Maher etc? So very sad to see how far he has gone off the deep end. He, his children and his wife very much need our prayers as does the little new life he has brought into the world so carelessly.

  • What’s happened to Mel Gibson is the last year or so is really confusing and disappointing. Maybe some day we’ll get the full story. That said, I can’t imagine a guy like him without spiritual advisors and such that would have tried to talk some sense in to him… or is it all just for show?

    The worst part is that people think he’s Catholic… but how can that be with someone who basically set up his own parish and clearly lives contrary to the Church’s teachings? He might worship in a ‘Catholic fashion’ but I doubt this counts and communion with Rome. All very sad…

    That said I still think he’s one of the most interesting directors working today and I do want to see Edge of Darkness. Go figure.

  • We all know that the Church is supernatural, but this is a reminder of how badly we need the institution on a natural level. If in-laws had the power to annul marriages, how many marriages would be held valid? We need guidance from an objective source. Henry VIII thought he could be perfectly Catholic on his own, and that didn’t work out well either.

  • I concur with everyone’s sentiment about Gibson – I thank him from the bottom of my heart for The Passion, which I think is one of the greatest films ever made. I am also deeply dismayed by his downward spiral, not only as a Catholic, but a traditional Catholic.

    I mean, the odds that we would ever have a man in Hollywood making films from our perspective had to be a million to one. And now this.

    That said, I’m going to see his new movie 🙂

  • These days, I find HOPE to be the most important thing to pray for. These are depressing days.

  • I also concur with all the comments here. Though I caution lumping him with traditional Catholics. I would say he was a sedevacantist or an independent chapel Catholic, but not traditional Catholics.

    With that said I too will be watching his movie!


  • It is a real shame about the divorce. He, like all of humanity, is a major disappointment.

    And, even so, The Passion remains an outstanding achievement.

  • Tito, you’ve hit on a pet peeve of mine. There is no such thing as an independent chapel. Either you’re under the authority of the Church (usually a bishop), or you’re in schism. I know that some breakaway groups have called themselves “independent” to distinguish themselves from the SSPX, but schism is schism.

  • Pinky,

    No skin off my back.

    They can call themselves the Purple People Eaters for all I care, they’re still not Catholics with a capitol “C”.

  • I think that the Devil drew a bead on him after the Passion and set out to tear him down in the most dramatic fashion. Sadly, he didn’t (for whatever reason) have (or avail himself of) the resources that could have helped him resist. Thanks for the reminder to pray for him.

  • There are some great comments above. I would just like to say that we have to be careful not to fall into the same trap in which Mel fell. This is in no way to diminish what he did, but Mel must have known his weak areas, the areas the evil one could exploit. We all have them. I heard about some of Mel’s failings a couple of years ago while in Hollywood giving a talk about my book. I didn’t want to believe it and hoped it was some sort of misunderstanding. Sadly, the critics of the Passion are feelings their oats and thus have become more emboldened to tear down the Faith. While we pray for Mel and his family, let us also pray for each other that we too don’t end looking as cartoonishly sinful as Mel has become. It could happen to us all, if we don’t pray, lose our humility and stay faithful.

  • Mad Max is Mel’s best film, hands down.
    I wonder if there is more to this whole Mel Gibson thing for Catholics than meets the eye. Consider: And this may be a bit of a reach… The heresy of Modernism. Pius X called it the culmination of all heresy. Relativism and Sentimentalism are two wide spread belief ‘systems’, ‘orientations’ or ‘perspectives’ that clearly fall under Modernism as verifiable heresy yet they are nearly unknown or unrecognized in western Catholic circles. The Sedavacantists have fallen prey to relativism as if the experience of Jesus is a subjective experience, versus meeting TRUTH. And the Sentimentalism of Jim Cavezel and his Mejougorja connection – ‘i feel the presence’ versus ‘I am present in front of the Tabernacle. I think Mel is simply an actor and his life has always been a bit of a tragic comedy. Is it just me? I think an honest man would have to admit that we all are the son that never left the farm and that Mel will always be the Prodigal son, wondering his way home.
    They say if you really want to see Mel as himself, watch the movie ‘conspiracy theory’

  • I was always puzzled by conservative Catholics who held this sedevacantist up as a model Catholic.

  • Seeing his failings, I have been tempted to mock but I wonder how easy it is to trip and fall away from the catholic ideal. Once the fall begin and the darkness surround us we become incapable to discern what is going on. So, pray for him, humbly, and pray for all the brothers and sisters who fall each day, maybe one day they will be the one praying for you.

  • To restraindradical
    Regarding sedevacantists. I have found them all a fascinating bunch overall. Coming from hard corp ultra-lefty katholic boston – The novelty of talking to them I find brings me great joy.
    Incidentally, i never refer to my self as a conservative catholic, rather I am orthodox in my belief and follow the magisterium to the letter. Honestly I find it much more reasonable to believe that the seat of Peter is currently vacant, than to believe that a woman’s choice trumps a babies life or that relationships based on dirty habits should be elevated to ‘marriage’. Both these social dysfunctions have been elevated to quite near dogmatic teaching in katholic Boston. Mel Gibson deserves legend status – His alcoholic escapades have landed less lucky men in jails and homeless shelters. God has given him herculean grace. Consider; Direct and produce “The Passion” and bring the term “sedacavantist” into the vernacular are accomplishments fitting of a Bishop. For sure he is an Alcoholic goofball but he is also an odd poster child for the plight of Catholic manhood…at least mine anyway…

  • RR – I’ve often heard celebrities talk about the Faith and get parts wrong because they’re not well-catechized. Heck, never mind celebrities, you hear that stuff from people from all walks of life.

    I didn’t know much about Mel Gibson, but I figured that he had a large family, and talked about his faith, and didn’t cheat on his wife, and even made a movie about Jesus. Good for him. If he said a few things that didn’t reflect a proper understanding of Catholicism, I’ve probably heard just as bad from priests. I didn’t realize that he’d really bought into the whole sedevacantist thing, and didn’t know about his other failures.

  • I was disapproving of Gibson’s turn to the violent in the film that was about the Mayan’s (Apocalypto). It was definitely a lurid fascination with evil violence.
    Gibson also EXAGGERATED the whipping scene in the Passion, contrary to known facts, and was superficial in the Gethsemani scene (where spiritual suffering was greater than the physical torture). It was almost as if the demons wished to snare Gibson for making the Passion by detecting a weakness they could exploit. Another weakness which one can note is personal vanity. Henry VIII was ruined by that kind of pride gradually taking over his life, and one can see similar symptoms in Gibson. Now he’s trapped and seems to know it and doesn’t seem to know how to solve it!
    The separatist spirit of schismatics may be the error that brought him to decide his Catholic marriage was conveniently invalid. Again, hints of Henry VIII!

  • I think Apocalypto was far too mild. The culture depicted celebrated human sacrifice. In Abortion-nation we have made believe since roe v wade that abortion is something that it isn’t. At least the Mayan’s were honest pagans.

  • I totally agree with restrainedradical. I followed the development and production of “The Passion” even when it was considered an underdog that might never see the big screen and I was definitely pulling for Gibson, Caviezel, et al. It was a pretty good movie for illustrating the suffering endured by Christ. It was not sufficient for communicating the Gospel, in my opinion.

    Back to the point: Mel Gibson’s well-known rejection of the Papacy ensured that I would not trust him wholly. I tried to tell people that we should pray for his conversion or he could disappoint us. The spiritual warfare he endured must have been horrific.

    If he repents, I think he needs to retire to a private life, as it is obvious that celebrity kills souls.

    First Bud MacFarlane, Jr. and now this. It’s unfortunate. We need to pray hard for Jim Caviezel just in case.

  • Anyone who saw Gibson’s interview with Raymond Arroyo during filming of the “Passion” should have seen the man was headed for a big crash. But, apparently, he had so isolated himself within his own version of Catholicism that he had no mentor, no father-confessor who could pull him back from the brink. You don’t pour that kind of energy into that serious of a work and not have personal blow-back *unless* you are prepared and surrounded by those who will keep you from crashing.

    You can see the same sort of scenario with someone who has nursed a spouse or close family member through a serious disease such as cancer. Once you get through it and the pressure lets off . . .


  • I concur. The devil is having a field day with him. Take down Mel and you take a lot of people with him via confusion, dissapointment, disgust, etc. Excellent that you should remind us to pray for him. The wife should have never divorced him. (such an easy off the hook for guys) Poor thing, she played right into that. Don’t misunderstand;I would be furious,too. But see, the devil is smarter than we are. If you LIVE THE GOSPEL, which is, if you TAKE CHRIST’S advice…you will not lose. Go it on your own ie divorcing him, that was NOT what Christ wanted her to do; she played right into the devil’s hand and then of course, Mel is in no condition to be running the show right now and a man isn’t going to want to be alone..hence, the foreign chick. Let us pray for him and hit the devil where it hurts !

  • I agree with leanne———–he needs our prayers!

  • Yes, Mel needs our prayers (this devil an be cast out only by prayer and fasting). John Edwards (pro-abortion creep) also needs prayers. After cheating on his dying wife, he too has gone out of control sexually. I think Tiger Woods might be trying to save his marriage but I don’t know. I agree the devil wants to “get back at Gibson for his film. But for the grace of God, there go I.

  • After seeing Mel’s answers to Diane Sawyer about The Passion, I never expected this. It is truly shocking.

    However, Mel has long been conflicted–as if anything goes in art. Braveheart is a masterpiece, but there was no need for him to get naked with an actress in this film or any other flick. And his Icon Productions distributes a lot of crap.

    I like Jim’s attitude. All these men are gifted, I just hope they come around to Christ and use their talents to lead others to heaven. God help them and all of us.

  • You see his latest interview? Looks like he’s drinking again.

  • I couldn’t finish watching it.

    He certainly needs God grace now more than ever.

  • Mel Gibson is the only one who could play Severian. Mel Gibson for Severian.

  • That would make for an interesting movie.

    You are referring to Chrysostom’s antagonist right?

  • Being a recovering alcoholic and Christian I can identify so much with my Catholic brother Mel.
    The person I was when I drank was often rude and disgusting.
    The sober person I was before I had my wonderful encounter with a Loving & Forgiving Savior could also be harsh & judgmental.
    The kindness and gentleness that define me these days can only be maintained by continual relation with Christ. If I slip up and begin to drink again, or forsake the relationship I have with our Lord,will probably take me back into the people I was before.
    Brother Mel needs our prayers so that he may be able to to return to the Lord in fellowship and sobriety.
    I look forward to the day when he will again be a wonderful witness for Christianity.

  • Recently I read that Mel suffered from Bipolar Disorder in addition to being an alcoholic.

    After just having read Bud Macfarlane’s three novels, I read about his divorce situation. It really astounded me. His wife’s side of the story has been told, but there is no word of/from him at all. Maybe he, too, suffers from Bipolar.

    Both men are so gifted and I am sure that spiritual warfare has been fierce – maybe they were just not prepared for the onslaught. It is so very sad that they’ve inspired so many and now have disappointed so many. Lots of prayers and fasting are needed.

  • Rich Joyner has said that those on the front lines confronting the enemy are those who are attacked. Yes, some become prisoners of war, and we must never abandon our troops. I believe this is Mel Gibson. Let us not condemn him but we must pray until his release. He is still one of us.

  • To be honest, I think any kind of reparation and self-reform Mel makes should be mostly private, lest there be a temptation to profit from it in his career. He has not handled fame well in the past. For his soul I can think of no safer way than to retire to obscurity.

  • Mel is old enough to know better. Money is a very corrupting infuence. Never pray for money; pray for wisdom.

  • It is more than likely because of his movie, The Passion, that he has been targeted by HAARP. Before you jump me on this, please do your research on this low frequency radiowave generator that has the capability of changing a persons mental state – ELF vibrations are the same frequency as human brain waves. It’s part of the military – many countries use this technology that some call the Tesla tech..
    It appears to have begun after the Passion movie. Traditional Catholic or not, anyone or group of people can be zapped.
    Do the homework…ask for the Mercy of God for our Nation and the world.

  • My sister is friends with a group of women in L.A., who are the girlfriends of Mel’s wife. Mel’s wife is a saint, especially after all she has endured. Mel is not humble enough to submit to Rome, never has been accountable to anyone, from most reports. Medjugorge is not, as of yet, approved by Rome. Most of authentic Catholic family life is “doing your duty and following in the footsteps of Christ.” One can not continue drinking and also have a relationship with Christ. This was said by St. John Vianney. One or the other will become your master. Pray for Mel’s wife…and all wives and children who have endured their alcoholic spouses/relatives, it is a chaotic spiral that tries to pull everyone involved into HELL…

  • Enough judging … more praying.

  • In regards to Mel Gibson it saddens my heart with exsream passion for this man. Remember he is being attacked by Satan though all of his mental illnesses, alcohol abuse and relationship with his previous wife. I believe God himself touched Mel Gibson and inspired him to direct the “PASSION OF THE CHRIST MOVE” with actor Jim Cavisel playing Jesus. Both men have incountered God in their own way. Now Satan has attaced our brother and we must pray for Mel Gibson and Jim Cavisel. Forgiveness is the answer. I thank you Mel and Jim for making such an inspiring movie of our Lord. I am also a Catholic and prolife person and believe that Mel will come back to his faith one day. Mel Gibson is my brother and I love him as Jesus loves him.. God bless you Mel Gibson and my prayers are with you. When I saw you on the show I feel your pain. God bless, Sarah “Remember people we all have fallen, so don’t throw stones and don’t ask questions that hurt”. Love the sinner and not the sin..

  • Mel had been making up his own theology about “Church” and ecclesiology for some time as witnessed by the subjective adherance to the Pius X group. He is making up his own spirituality and theology surrounding marriage and dating, now it seems at this point. One heresy leads to another.

  • In regards to Mel Gibsons wifes friends. Have you read or watched the movie about St. Rita? Watch it and you will get truth and compassion regarding Mel Gibson. Sometimes a person when they are in that danger zone of sin, they feel they can’t turn back. They loose faith, so remember to pray for his healing. Watch the inspiring movei of St. Rita Of Caleta/Italy.. As Mel Gibsons wife, she must be hurt and must forgive Mel Gibson the man, so she can heal. God knows all things and will never leave Mrs. Gibson and their children. I will pray for her for devine strength and healing of the pain she is induring from the sin.. God bless you all

  • I agree with the article’s writer that Mel should be prayed for. However,can someone,outhere, also say the Rosary for his first wife and their children, who must really be hurting?

  • Amen Brother!!I have been feeling the exact way about Mel Gibson.I have to comment on Thereas Maris comment. Mel Gibson was not and is not involved with the ‘Pius X group’.The Pius X group as you refer to them,are not Sedevacantists and Mr. Gibson is a Sedevacantist.I read that his father annulled his marriage to his first wife.Because he does not recognize the authority of the Holy Father or the Bishops.I will agree that one heresy leads to another.He sure does need our prayers!!!

  • Don’t chalk something up to brainwave zapping that can be easily explained in one word. Sin. It’s pretty easy for many of us to go from feeling (or desiring to be) profoundly zealous and pious to the other direction. For those of us who have embraced sin at one time, it’s a never ending battle to resist those temptations. Sometimes we win and are strengthened, sometimes we give in and are weakened. Just pray for the guy and sinners in general.

  • Did you say “Mel, please come back to the Church”?
    Mel Gibson was never in the Roman Catholic Faith, he and his father are sedevacanist. They have their own beliefs.

  • I think the unnamed writer of this blog genuinely did Mr. Gibson a disservice by his condescending comments on what s/he admits was a “flip through” of an interview he wasn’t paying attention to. That lack of attention shows. The interview was about being a father late in life, and how Mr. Gibson was quitting smoking after having that habit for forty-five years for the sake of his daughter. I don’t recall him being foul in any way. He was his usual good natured self. Even in his recent movie, he plays the role of a decent father.

    Pray for whomever you wish, but stop incesantly criticizing the people who use their talents in wonderful ways and yet have human flaws. Criticism is cheap, and usually comes from the people who buried their own talents. And gossip and distorting the truth is a sin in every religion.

  • It seems the closer one gets to our Lord the more diligently the devil works to trip you up. Prayers, prayers and more prayers!

  • I agree totally with Mon. My dear Brothers and Sisters, Mel, through the Grace of God, gained sooo much territory for the Body of Christ and ANGERED the enemy! The Devil PREYS on our weaknesses and brokenness. He REVELS in our misery. I will not judge my brother Mel, because there before the Grace of God go I! I completely abhor everything he’s doing, but PLEASE instead of chastising him, PRAY, PRAY, PRAY! Beg the Lord for healing graces for this man and his wife and children. Mel can’t do it alone! He desperately needs the intercession of his Catholic family!

  • Mel, GOD loves you and so do we.As a sober Alcoholic for 34 years I know that if I can stay sober, you’ve got more where-with-all than I do, a retired aviation employee. I’ve seen part of your “chrst” movie and was very inspired. Be for GOD in the media. One Day At A Time, Easy Does IT, Live and Let Live, Let Go and Let God. GOD BLESS YOU AND RECOVER FROM YOU ILLNESS, I DID.

  • What happened to Mel Gibson, can happen to each and every one of us. He does need our prayers and we need prayers ourselves. May we pray for the gift of perseverance. Mel is being attacked by the evil one for producing the Passion of Christ. He snatched alot of souls from perdition. So let’s pray and sacrifice for him, for he is undergoing a severe test now. Let’s not judge him but pray instead.

  • Many prayers are needed. The Passion of Christ is truly a great movie and it did so much good. Why would it seem strange that Satan is working hard to discredit the movie and the one who made it?

  • Sometimes, ending up in the gutter is the best thing that can happen to an alcoholic, living in impurity.
    When you’ve bottomed out, then you can only look up to God, because that is really all we have.
    Mel has too much…
    Robyn and his children are the ones that are really suffering. I hope there are good people around them, to support them and protect them from what their father is doing to them.
    At the end of the day, Robyn will always be looked up to for enduring such a public humiliation.

  • If anyone can look at Mel Gibson now and not understand how Satan works to draw those who do good for the kingdom down into his sewer, they are either blind or in denial. The enormous good that came from Gibson making the Passion of the Christ, and the personal attacks he withstood at the time surely puts him in the bullseye of the evil one. I can say as deeply committed “orthodox” Roman Catholic, any time someone is on the narrow path, and drawing ever nearer to Our Lord, seeking to give Him honor and glory, and do all for Him, Satan HATES them all the more and sends his minions to attack, infest, and even in some rare cases possess that person. When you do good, you can be sure you will be attacked by the devil, and the more profound your spiritual growth, and the higher degree of good one does for the Kingdom, the more those attacks increase, and the severity of them as well. Mel Gibson is clearly under attack….pray for him…Satan wants to take him down. We are given an opportunity now to see how the evil one operates, and we are called to respond with our prayers and supplication on Gibson’s behalf. May God help him, as well as all who are under particular attack at present.

  • Dear God PLEASE Help MEL Gibson repent! Go back to his real wife but take care of the child he fathered. I am so sad, the way I see it, Mel gave into to Satan! He did the great movie about Christ and the Devil attacked him and looks like he won. Dear God open Mels eyes and bring him back to the fold. To Mrs. Gibson, I am so sorry for your suffering and pain and may God hold you in his arms and Heart.

  • Been praying for him for a long time— In the years since he made the Passion I have wondered at his “fall” and found myself asking could it be the evil one hates what Mel did with that movie so much that he has been relentless in his attacks ever since. Not that Mel is an innocent by any means but I believe he has always been somewhat of a tortured soul. I do not doubt Mel Gibson’s love for our Lord— The movie he made was too intense, too real for it to have been just a story to him— I think his love for our Blessed Mother and the Lord were obvious and that movie had a profound effect on many people and I know for sure Satan hates Mel Gibson for that reason— as so many have said already— pray for him and remember there but for the grace of God go I…

  • Mr. Mel Gibson’s best work was “The Passion of the Christ”. I will still watch it every year during lent, usually on Good Friday, while crying my eyes out and thanking God for the beautiful gift of such a ‘sorrowful reminder’ that (actually) God created for us thru Mel Gibson and all those people that worked on or supported the movie. It helps me to get back in touch in a deeper way with what matters. Pity and pray for Mel Gibson and his x-family. He has obviously fallen into the ‘pit’ for whatever reasons. (There but for God’s grace goes I.)
    A caution to anyone planning to see Mel Gibson’s new movie, be careful of what you support. Supporting evil is usually subtle for most of us. What seems insignificant is still a choice. Hey….it’s a daily battle between good and evil. Don’t give up any ground if you can help it. But think about it. If you make choices that support an evil/bad example, such as –someone’s openly sinful life style, aren’t you inadvertently supporting the bad example too?

  • I believe you are right to ask for prayers for Mel Gibson. As a representative of Catholics in Hollywood, since making “The Passion”, he is a VERY BIG TARGET, of Evil, just as our Priests are. IF you damage a big one, you can weaken the faith of countless weak Catholics, and potential Christians.

    Having said that, I also believe, after reading his biography, that he is Bi Polar. His wife was always an anchor to him even during his earlier career, when temptation would have made him more vulnerable. He knew enough to run, not walk to his wife to anchor him after each film, and dreaded being away on location.

    His outbursts, and off the wall behavior is very consistent with someone in a manic episode (cycle). That does not excuse him. He needs the help of a good grounded Catholic Psychiatrist who can help him with that. Think both Rosies, and Brittany Spears as well. typical manics. Robin Williams, Jim Carrey as well. The ranks of creative geniuses are full of Bi Polar people. Bi Polar disorder is also the most treatable with medication. You can live a perfectly balanced life.

    The Bi Polar aspect does not rule out the demonic either. Certainly not all people dealing with Mental Illness are dealing with the demonic, but you often find those under assault by evil showing accompanying mental illness.

    But, yes, we need to pray for him. And for all those in that wacky world. We’re supposed to pray for all the unbelievers. And to go easy on judging them. That’s not our job.

    I predict that one day soon, he will come crashing down, and may have a really tough bottom to wake him up. Hopefully real soon.

    Jim Kearney

  • I think there’s a desire to believe that great people aren’t capable of grave sins or that grave sinners aren’t capable of great things.

    As Mel himself says, he hasn’t changed. He’s always been a foul-mouthed sedevacanist who loves women and booze. At the same time, he’s always been very strong in his faith. He still attends Mass, though he no longer receives Communion. He’s really not that different from millions of Catholics struggling with sin. He’s just rich, famous, and talented enough to both make a movie about Christ and have an affair with a model. I can’t say that had I been blessed with his gifts that I’d use them more wisely.

  • I have thought for a long time that Gibson needs medication and prayer.I wouldn’t be surprised if it turns out that he’s bi-polar.He’s a brillian actor and director but very strange in many ways.Hope he gets the help he needs.

  • Gibson is a terrific actor.

    Anyone who watched the Leno interview knows that the blogger has (to put it kindly) fabricated and misrepresented the character, the nature, and the facts.

    How could Mel have announced his girlfriend’s pregnancy on the interview when his daughter had been born months before? Do facts not matter to Catholics? Is truth optional?

    This was a cowardly hit piece on a fine actor and director. Stirring up the calamity pot with selfrighteous nonsense.

  • John, if the author misrepresented any of the peripheral information I won’t defend him on that, but to say that the date of the pregnancy is of central importance is false.

    Gibson cheated on his wife and that is a terrible, unmanly thing to do. If you can’t agree with that basic truth, nobody here cares about anything you have to say. Gibson is STILL cheating on his wife because marriage is an indissoluble union no matter what the law has to say about it.

    As mere mortals we don’t judge the state of another’s soul, but these actions are horrific, especially given the actor’s upbringing in a religious confession heavily inspired by Catholicism. We must pray for him without believing that we couldn’t fall into the same trap.

  • i am really saddened with the turn of events and i do believe its the work of evil since passion. we have to keep praying for him to St michael archangel especially to sorround him with his protection. we all need St michael’s protection everyday. Blessed Virgin mOther, please sorround Mel Gibson with your mantle.

  • Well, if it’s Satan working on Mel, he’s been at it since long before The Passion. Mel has been a reputed womanizer for decades (if he’s prowling around as a wizened 50-something, what do you think he was up to as a pretty boy 30-something star? Yeah.)

    I’ve always thought the sadism in his films (including the Passion) is related to self-hatred for his long infidelity. But then maybe he’s just a sadist.

  • Having followed this director and actor since his Braveheart days, it seems that there’s a reasonable possibility that he’s mentally ill. He inarguably can use prayers in any case.

  • Sad yes. Secular humanist,yes; disobedient to the Magisterium of the church, yes; humble, no; fear of God, no. A good example, unfortuantely, no. Not the light of God. Darkness instead. Why watch anything made by him at this point?

  • My heart goes out the Mel Gibson — what talented, gifted soul…

    As indicated by others’ comments already, I, too, strongly believe that he is influenced and is under the attack of the Evil One for gifting us with “The Passion.” The Passion brought many people back to God. Can you imagine how many souls Mel Gibson can save with other such GREAT movies? He has the potential to do SO much (I mean HUGE things!!!) for the greater glory of God and salvation of souls with his talent, which is why I believe the Evil One is fiercely attacking him.

    Our Lord, as well as Our Lady of Medjugorje, mentioned about the power of prayer from the heart and fasting, so let’s do that for our brother, Mel Gibson — for himself and for our God’s glory.


  • If i am not mistaken, i believe that Mel was studying
    to be a Catholic Priest.

  • The Passion of the Christ has been a powerful
    witness to Jesus Christ. Mel is under attack, we
    shouldn’t critize or judge but fast and pray for him, like the article says. He is our brother and he has fallen.
    There is always HOPE.

  • Now of course I mean , studying to be a Priest, in
    the early days before he got married.

  • What a conflicted person Mel is!! This may be a case of the attack of Satan on someone who had the audacity to try to educate people about the sacrifice of Jesus, which I think we can all agree has not been foremost in this country for decades. I don’t believe evil will win because Jesus promised it would not, but it looks like we are being sorely tested as individuals. When we put in place a leader who is for the culture of death and immorality, we have grave consequences to deal with. We must pray for all who are in danger of blindness and ignorance of the terrible responsibility they incur because of the platforms they currently have access to.

  • Alcohol has a way to numb a persons resolve and open the door to sin…Mel will be prayed for ..He did the passion and I feel and think that our Lord will take it the Movie the Passion into account for it was a labor of love for Mel..He doesn’t need us to JUDGE him but for us to love him and to really pray and fast for him!!

  • Ever since “The News” about Mel’s infidelity broke a year or so ago, I have thought of him sporadically and offered a prayer out of the blue. I thank the author of this blog for sharing his thoughts and prayers and wonder how many of us have done the same. It seems like the Holy Spirit has moved many of us to pray for the Gibson’s and Mel in particular. Lets do it!

  • You seem to have all the answers. It’s nice to know you are so good while condemning someone else without knowing the circumstances. Your sins remain hidden, if you have any. Catholics shouldn’t throw stones. Didn’t you ever learn in your religion that judgement of others without knowing all the facts is a sin? “judge not, lest ye be judged”.

    Fortunately Mr. Gibson has to answer to God and not you.

  • Against all odds – Mel directed, produced and released the Movie the Passion. We are in great debt to Mel for this. we should pray for his soul and regard him as a beloved brother. what is going on in his personal life, only God is the Judge. let us remember Mel during Holy Mass and let God take care of the rest.

  • Let’s remember Mel Gibson, whenever we view the Passion during Lent or other times and pray for him. Christ died for him and for all of our sins combined. Mel has given us an opportunity of a lifetime – to meditate on the Passion of Christ, which hitherto was nearly impossible in our modern times. So he is paying a price for our souls, with his. He lacks the sacraments but eventually God’s mercy will win out as Mel did answer God’s call to produce the movie against all odds. For all we know, he is but a sacrificial victim himself, which is why God does not want us to judge anyone. We should each examine our conscience daily and I can guarantee it will be an eye opener. We owe Mel a lot for the Passion Movie… let our prayers ascend heaven for him for what he did for us.

  • Mel has turned out to be a big disgrace, a huge disappointment!It is shocking that this is the same man who produced The Passion of the Christ!

  • He may well be mentally ill; at the very least, he is suffering from middle-age syndrome. . .

  • There is no point in going to Mass if you are not going to receive the Eucharist!

  • Mel Gibson has definately gone off the deep end and certainly needs our prayers, but people tend to be judgemental when some whom they greatly admire have fallen prey to the wiles of the evil one who did everything to prevent the production of “The Passion of the Christ.”

    So let us be very objective in passing judgement on him, for what the Devil was unable to accomplish in preventing this classic of a movie depicting the Passion of Our Lord in stark terms, employing the original language in the making of the movie, has had serious repercussion on a mere mortal being who finally has succombed to his wiles.

    Indeed it is a very sad story, not to mention the injustice of his father for annuling his lifelong marriage to his dear wife who has given him seven children who must be experiencing deep pain for Mel’s unfaithfulness in the abandonment of his sacred trust .

    Let us not forget that Mel Gibson regarded his wife as his best friend, and offer up much sacrifice and prayers on their behalf for renunciation of his ineptitude to his beloved family, remembering that what God has joined together no one shall put asunder.

    This is what Jesus taught, by going further in asserting that husband and wife when joined in holy matrimony, they become one flesh.

    Let us therefore intercede on his behalf, and implore St. Agustine who gave up the ways of the flesh for a much higher calling, and became one of the greatest doctors of the Catholic Church.

    Mel is is still young and will eventually feel extremely quilty in the eyes of the Lord just as we read in todays Gospel about David who had Uriah the husband of Batsheba killed after he impregnated her.

    Overwhelmed with great distress for his deception, he repented for his grevious sin and implored the Lord to forgive him his transgressions which became a heavy weight to carry.

    But the Lord who was made to carry the heavy Cross for our sins, even after He was scourged – until His Flesh was torn from His sacred body, was made to carry the heavy Cross to Calvary in order to redeem us of our sins.

    Now it’s up to Mel Gibson to carry his own cross in anticipation of God’s forgiveness, or he will never be happy and contented with himself for the wrong he committed against his wife and his beloved children.

    Mother Mary we as Catholics know the benefits of repentance and forgiveness, through the great prayer your beloved Son taught us in that great prayer of the Pater Noster. (The Our Father)

    You whom your beloved Son never refuse anything you ask Him for your children as He responded at the wedding feast at Cana in Galilee when He responded to your request in coming to the assistance of the youngmarried couple.

    Please hear and answer our prayers on behald of Mel Gibson and his wife and their seven children.

    This indeed is a very worthy petition that will help to defeat the Devil’s intention to ruin this man whom he hates for bringing to light the great suffering your Son and you yourself were made to bear for your children.

    Ave Maria.

    Roy and Carol Tenn.

  • Granted, Mel is not in a good place spiritually… and that he has serious flaws, like many others. I am not condoning what he has been doing, but at the same time, I am totally puzzled at the image of Protestant Saint Robyn.
    SHE was the one who filed for divorce! Did she need to do that (ie severe financial hardship, physical abuse, etc?) NO. And what she has done is drag her children into a much worse situation than if she was silently and prayerfully putting up with a less than faithful husband. God knows how many Catholic or Christian women have done that to keep the family together!
    Infidelity is grounds for separation, not divorce.
    So please stop holding her up like she is a saint.
    Mel would not be able to parade his mistress around publicly, causing such scandal, if Robyn had not divorced him.
    Indeed, there were credible reports in December of 2008 that he pleaded with her for a reconciliation, and she refused. It was after this, that he threw himself away and the baby was conceived. I am not excusing him, but Robyn had a share in this. God alone knows how much.

  • John Masick,

    If you do not agree with the writer of this article, refrain from personal attacks and focus on the substance.

    Thank you.

    Your comment has been deleted for lack of charity.

  • “There is no point in going to Mass if you are not going to receive the Eucharist!”

    There are many reasons. One, worship of God. Two, spiritual communion. Three, the liturgy of the Word. Four, fulfilling obligation. Shall we go on?

  • isn’t this exactly what the devil does- discredits someone who has done something good- attacks him and makes him look like a fool and hypocrite -so you won’t take him or his work seriously and damage whay good he has done?
    and men-weak fall right into it.

  • “L.” says: “There is no point in going to Mass if you are not going to receive the Eucharist!”

    That is totally wrong. The Church teaches that if you have committed a mortal sin and have not yet repented it in Confession, you are still under the serious obligation to attend Mass every Sunday. If you don’t then that is ANOTHER mortal sin!

  • Thanks all for the article and comments. I admire him & thank God for the Passion of the Christ. I will begin to offer prayers for Mel Gibson. We’re planning to see his new movie this weekend in celebration of our 25th anniv! I’m so sad and sorry about his falls from Grace. I am Very Catholic and such a sinner too – I always hope & pray our marriage lasts the rest of our lives.

  • Lord Jesus,
    Help all of us sinners to find the way home to you.We ask for the graces of love,joy,peace,contrition,conversion,self-control,forgiveness of sins,love for our Lord Jesus,perseverence,final perseverence,salvation,the grace of a happy death,prudence,long suffering,wisdom,faith and hope,for us all.

  • His “drunken rants” occurred the very week Israel began bombing the little babies in Lebanon. He was being followed and was entrapped. A particular cop got the job done. He was never forgiven for The Passion.

  • Complete rubbish. Mel Gibson was “set up” by his love of the bottle and his inner demons. A tip from an attorney Mel. If you are pulled over again for drunk driving keep your stupid mouth shut. The Passion was a great movie, but it has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that Gibson, and him alone, has made an absolute car wreck out of his life.

  • 43. But when the unclean spirit hath gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest, and findeth it not. 44. Then he saith, I will return to my house, whence I came out; and coming, he findeth it empty, and swept, and embellished. 45. Then he goeth away, and taketh with him seven other spirits more wicked than himself; and entering, he dwelleth there: and the last state of that man is worse than the first.
    Matthew 12:43-45

  • To be honest, I don’t see the point in censoring John Masick’s comments. It IS sloppy to write an article after merely glancing at a news story. IF (and only if) he is right about the timeline of events, he has a valid point.

    See, John, I DO care about truth. If you care.

    But while we’re talking about the truth on a Catholic blog, Catholics know that marriage is indissoluble. Marriages are PRESUMED valid unless proven otherwise and here’s where Gibson’s sede vacantism again gouges him: any declaration of nullity his sect produces for him isn’t worth the paper it is written on.

    It is hard to believe that Gibson could have failed to contract a valid marriage with Robyn. Fine, maybe this whole bigamist situation doesn’t even hurt Robyn’s feelings. The point is that it is still a spiritual wrong and a poor witness.


    Gibson is an artist, NOT a saint.
    He’s a master of illusion, NOT a doctor of the Church.
    Gibson is destroying his life, NOT the devil.
    Opposing Catholic orthopraxy is NOT Catholic!
    Mentally ill? No.
    Mid-life crisis? No.
    Satan hates Mel? Satan hates us all.
    Pray for all Jesus to save all sinners, not just Mel.

  • I believe it is the devil at his best… he found a weak spot in Mel and Mel let him in. We do need to pray for Mel, and I will.

  • I remember his interview with Raymond Arroryo at EWTN as if it were yesterday

    He kind of reminds me of Henry the Eighth who was once a strong Catholic and defender of the faith who then goes completely AWOL. Or like King Saul in the bible. It’s a spiritual warning. he left a crack open for the enemy, and since he had been delivered of evil demons before, when he left himself open to spiritual attack, seven more worse then the last entered into him.

    I also heard that alcoholics are often warned that when they have many years of sobriety, if they do fall ‘off the wagon’, they don’t just pick up where they left off as say a 5 drink a day drunk but they go right to where they would have been and worse if as if they never stopped to a exponentially worse sodden ten gallon a day lush complete with blackouts that could last for days.

    I have no doubt that Gibson attracted many practitioners of the dark arts who put curses and hexes on him so that when he did crack, he didn’t stand a chance.

    Someone had to have warned him. He obviously didn’t listen.

  • “To much that is given, much is required”. Anyone in the public eye has an additional burden/responsability (since they obviously have received much of “something” to be IN the public eye)to be an example of moral goodness to all those observing them. In the case of a world-renown actor, he is observed and under the scrutiny of millions upon millons of pairs of eyes. Scandal circles over the head of actors such as Mr. Gibson like vultures over an abandoned fawn. That fawn would be safer out of the open field, and would fair better if it sought out and stuck with “the correct herd” and headed for the seclusion of the forest, instead of staying out in the open where the wolfes gather and vultures pic the bones. Satan delights in the ruin of all of us, but particularly those who have influence with many and are in the public eye. All we need to do is look at the many politicians who claim to be Catholic, but vote and promote every anti-life bill and live the most anti-Catholic life style in public view to see how easy it is to buckle under the burden of having much. That God would give us all the humility of His Most Holy Mother. May we look to her example, and not that of movie stars and politicans as how we should conduct ourselves.

  • Mel is yet another casualty in the war against evil. His movie, “The Passion” was a powerful blow against satan, which undoubtedly saved thousands of souls from the clutches of hell. Now, it is obvious that satan is angered to the point of personally seeking Mel’s destruction through his simple human weaknesses. For anyone to sit in judgement of Mel Gibson, is to miss the point. We are all sinners, and we need to pray for each other in this spiritual battle. I pray that Mel will accept God’s graces and use his gifts once again to overcome evil.

  • I feel very strongly that the down fall of Mel started when he was filming the movie Apocalypto. He went to Mayan new age ceremonies and I believe there he opened himself to evil spirits cause his life from then on went down hill. It was after that he had the drinking charges etc . You Can’t be involved in that kind of stuff and expect to not be affected.

  • WOW! You said it all about Mel. I always loved him and I think the evil one has crushed him because of his making of the Passion. We need to pray for him!

  • I, too, think Satan has taken control of Mel because he made The Passion of Christ movie that inspired so many to come to know Jesus. I am wondering if Mel’s mental disorder (bi-polar or schizoid) is really a demonic possession. Could it be that Mel needs an exorcist?

  • For if my enemy had slandered me,
    I think I could have borne it.
    And if the one who hated me had trampled me,
    perhaps I could have hidden.
    But you – a man just like me,
    my companion and my friend!
    We had happy times together,
    we walked together in the house of God.~psalm 54

    It kind of gives you new insight into the character of Judas.
    Mel Gibson is to be pitied more then anything else.
    I already do pray for him btw.

  • when I watched the Passion movie it seemed a bit unreal to me and I felt somehow uncomfortable over it.
    What did Mel Gibson know exactly about the suffering Christ endured? Were all the scenes approved by knowledgable, representives of the Catholic church before the final?
    Surely, Mel did not need any approval, and we did not demand it either, we were delighted that anyone would make such a film. But don’t forget, a movie star was telling us in details about the life of Christ so that it griped millions without a question, believing it was the total truth.
    We know Jesus underwent unsurpassed, horrible sufferings, but were they also not in a spiritual form instead through such a violence shown; were we saved strickly by violence?
    Although Jesus was made human he stll was the son of God who is but s Spirit.
    Mel Gibson’s mind, like some of our priests, {basicly good people} but whom were induced for their weekness by the evil one who is out to destroy God and his church and St. Michael; it most likele began already with Gibson before the movie was made.
    I worry that the violence shown in the Passion might now backfire; even Gibson does now believe in it anymore.
    Hopefully, and I trust, he will see the light again and return to the God he claimed to love at one time.

  • I’ve been thinking alot about Mel Gibson these days. It’s rather coincidental that this article should come out now. There is so much TRASH in Hollywood these days, Mr. Gibson deserves so much more than to be linked with those that flaunt their adultress relationships and think nothing about God and doing the right thing. I don’t know what happened, but it’s obvious something did.I pray for his wife and children. May Mr. Gibson see the error of his ways before it is too late.

  • Like Jesus himself said, “Ye without sin, throw the first stone.” My God is so merciful and will forgive him. The original sin we’re are all tarnished with can take anyone down at any time. God is allowing all this to happen. With our prayers, our Lord will bring him back to Himself. I also think he has undiagnosed minor bi- polar mental health issues ,has manic tendencies, and a little ADD. Think of all his hyperness, creativity, inabiltiy to stop smoking and his drinking (to calm down). Be merciful as I am merciful…another Jesus quote. I’m so glad this article is about praying for Mel. Prayer changes things..Mel is a very special person. I would never change places with him. It looks too confusing, lonely and sad…I’ll keep my simple little life anytime…Peace be with you Mel…xoxox

  • The Passion of Christ made the devil snarl. Satan looked for an opportunity to make his move. Hollywood hated Mel for his religious beliefs. He probably was snubbed and snickered at. He succumbed to his alcohol drinking again and the devil loosened his tongue. Hollywood continued to hate him for his words. Everyone wants to feel like they belong and they are loved. Like Christ’s temptation in the desert, the devil made Mel an offer…but different from Jesus, Mel could not refuse….a beautiful woman, sex with a beautiful woman….divorce….and a chance to buddy up with his Hollywood pals again. He is now once again loved by Hollywood. He is one of them, part of the group, partying, adultery, alcohol, admiration, etc. He is loved again by those who could not stand his religious morals. He fell, and Hollywood is happy. But is Mel happy? Mel looks miserable and is in a spiral going down, down, down. If he only would break down and come to his senses. Mel, hold on to Jesus. Let Him pull you out of the pit. Only then will you know true happiness. Come back.

  • I could not get out of seat at the end of the “Passion of Christ”. I am sure it had the same effect on many. Satan hates anyone doing anything to bring others to Christ, and so, Mel, like each and every one of us, is vulnerable to his wiles. May the Blood of Christ that won for us true freedom in Him, bring His healing upon our brother. May Mary, our Beloved Mother envelop him in her loving mantle and draw him back to the fold. God bless. Marianne from Sri Lanka

  • It’s too bad Mel won’t be seeing these comments. He needs to see that despite his failings that we are praying for him to change his ways.
    I too admired him as someone who could buck the Hollywood trend and become a symbol of a man with a deep faith and love of the Lord. Instead he has listened to the lies of the devil and been caught up in the trappings of the lifestyle of the rich and famous. I don’t admire him anymore, I pity him. I also pray for his ex and the children. He has turned into a very selfish man who puts his own needs above his faith and family. Reminds me of the movie Dorian Grey, beauty hiding the ugliness.
    Dear Lord, please change Mel’s heart and humble himself in returning to your forgiving arms,


  • Dear Jesus, in your Holy Name, and through Your Precious Blood, we pray on behalf of our brother, your adopted son, Mel Gibson. Lord, we ask that you continue to shower your graces and blessings upon Mel. We ask you to deliver him from any and all unclean spirits that are attacking him…so, satan, in the Name of Jesus and through his precious blood, we command you and all of your unclean spirits to leave Mel Gibson and all situations in his life. You are a liars and thieves and we command you all to flee and begone from Mel Gibson. All of you unclean spirits of pride, lust, rage, greed, witchcraft, sorcery, mammon, division, rebellion, rejection, deception…and any other unnamed spirits that are attached to those named I command you to leave Mel Gibson also…go directly to Jesus touching no one on your way. Lord, open Mel’s heart and help him turn to you once again and to ask his family’s forgiveness. Unite them once again, Lord. Help Mel to remember the sacrament of marriage that he is promised to. Bless his family. Let Your Will be done in Mel Gibson’s life. We ask for all of this in Jesus’ Holy Name. Amen.

  • Mr. Gibson and his family should have been surrounded by prayer warriors while he was making “The Passion of Christ”, and afterwards. I believe that Satan is attacking him to make sure that he doesn’t ever again make a movie that would have such an impact on the children of God. I think that most people were praising him for his movie and forgot to pray for him.

  • Tom, I have said your prayer for Mr. Gibson, I hope all will do so also as h was once a good man may he return to this.

  • We must remember the strength and personal commitment it took to make the “Passion of the Christ”. IT seems he had to go to Italy for part of the financing…making this film was a real struggle, and satan would have done anything to bring Mel down….for the moment he has lost his way, however we must not judge…satan is much closer than most of us realize…We must pray for Mel and his family.

  • If hundreds or thousands could recite Tom’s prayer for Mel, the devils’ hooks could start being detached. Prayer said. Thank you, Tom.

  • the bigger (or in this case, the closer they appear to be to the Lord) the harder they fall, probably becasue Satan tries so hard to make them fall. I saw this with my own daughter who was SO devout as a young adult, then went off to college and now professes atheism……Satan is laughing his way through the bowels of hell

  • Yes keep Mel Gibson in prayer. When his faith was tested he crumbled and fell, the evil one works in such a deceitful way that when Gibson made the Passion the attacks were non-stop and he fell. It’s sad because I believe that God has another movie for him to make. It’s title is The Fall from Grace

  • Yes, we all need to pray for Mel Gibson and his family. We also need to include the woman he is living with. Mel was not obedient to ALL the teachings of the Church and publicly stated – on TV and other places – while making the great move THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST that he didn’t accept Vatican II and the teachings regarding the revised Liturgy.
    Satan can get a foothold and take over when we separate ourselves from the teachings of the Church.
    Let us pray and meditate on the Our Father for ourselves and for the Gibson family.

  • why is everyone equating the movie Passion with mel’s fall? mel was pretty much and has been pretty much a ‘ladies man’ whether he’s married or not. His former wife has a very good settlement from the divorce and mel continues to visit his children and have contact with them. Robin and children are comfortable.
    If mel has plans for remarriage then he and robin should have their marriage annuled.
    May God Bless the entire Gibson family.

  • God isn’t finished with Mel, nor any of us, yet.

  • The enemey of our souls knows are weaknesses and when we do good he is there to bring us down. The only thing that keeps one from falling is the frequent reception of the sacraments, the Eucharist and regular confession.(monthly or bimonthly confession) By discreting Mel he knows he can turn away from the faith those that are weak. We are in a spiritual combat.

  • The enemy of our souls knows are weakness and is ever ready to strike us down especially after we do good. Mel is a prime example. Many turned to Christ after his movie. The enemy knows that if he can bring him down many will lose heart. The only thing that keeps our spiritual armour on is the frequent reception of the sacraments, the Eucharist and monthly or bimonthly confession. We are in the midst of a great spiritual battle and need to arm ourselves with Divine Grace that comes through the sacraments

  • I wonder if we really get the story of Jesus and the woman caught in adultery. The jest that I get is, “We all live in glass houses, so we shouldn’t throw stones.” “We’ve all come short of the glory of God” and “Judge not lest you be judged.” Leave Mel alone, if he’s God’s, He’ll bring him around.

  • Hi! I agree with Sue, if he’s GOD’s HE will bring him around, it’s tough to be a star and a devout Traditional Catholic, we slip, we fall, we call on GOD to help and HE comes to help us so let we commoners leave him alone and PRAY for him.

  • Oh, and by the way, “The Passion of the Christ” was about the sufferings and sacrifices that our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ did for us, not the Mel Gibson life story. Why equate the two?

  • In regard to the woman caught in adultery I believe that the admonition of Our Lord was “Go and sin no more.” Something for us all to take to heart, particularly drunken adulterous Mel.

  • Our children are our greatest highway to heaven, sorry eagles, and marriage is a bond. I am separated for 15 years, and my wife lives with someone else.
    I still live the faith, a sinner no question, but no aduldtry here!

    My son and I are going skiing Wednesday. Mel wake up and smell the Rose.

  • Lot of people here throwing the first stone.

  • Sue,

    You totally misunderstand “Judge not lest ye be judged.” It does not mean that one cannot judge an ACTION as sinful. It means that we may not judge the state of a person’s SOUL, or say that they will go to hell, etc.

    See Marcel LeJeune’s explanation of the passage here:

    Donald is totally right, you cannot isolate just that one sentence from the passage. Jesus said “Go, and SIN NO MORE,” not “meh, there’s no such thing as sin.”

  • there have been other great epic movies, The Ten Commandments, The Greatest Story Ever told and the list goes on made by great Directors. mel happens to also be a good director of movies “with” a pretty face with a ‘passion’ for pretty young women and drink like many other actors, producers and directors.
    They all need our prayers, all of them. Of course the ex-spouses and the children involved need our prayers as well.

  • It’s not like gibson was a totally religious man who happened to fall out of Grace and left his poor grieving wife and children. He had always been ‘runnin-around.’ Who knows, maybe this time around he’ll make his girlfriend an honest-woman.

  • Name and fame will destroy you. Seek God only. May God bless Mr. Gibson and his family.

  • I can,t believe that none of you can see what is really happening to him. He by his movie
    The Passion,is being attacked by the enemy for saving so many souls via conversions. Just like our Priests who save souls he is being destroyed by the enemy so that we catholics will look at him as a nut job instead of trying to help save his soul by praying for him. Please lets just pray for him and our priests who are attacked the most because they save souls, which the enemy will do anything to stop from happening.

  • No man can create a movie as powerful as The Passion, coming so close to God, without experiencing the war that is raging in and around us. Mr. Gibson and his families need the strength of our combined prayers to help rescue him from the evil one.

    I’ve been in a similar situation and know first-hand just how powerful the evil one is and how wonderfully merciful our Lord is. Everything is done in God’s time. We can not fully understand nor should we judge, simply pray, for Mr. Gibson, his families, and ourselves.

  • Moral Judgement: A judgement of the morality of an action, whether our own or our neighbor’s.

    Too often men arrogated to themselves the right to judge their neighbor’s conduct and motives, and THAT is the sin here.

    “Judgement is only lawful according as it is an act proceeding from justice, and for this three things are required: 1. It must flow from an inclination for justice (I see nothing here but many people voicing rash judgements of a man, based on press reports?). 2. Judgement must come from a superior authority (I see many people here who think they are superior and think they have the right to judge others. It will be interesting to see on judgement day when all our sins will be made public, even our most secret ones, how clean all of your slates are). 3. Judgement is to be pronounced according to the rules of PRUDENCE. Meaning: The right reason for doing something. (I seriously doubt that anyone here could possibly have the right motives, by presuming (another serious sin), that they know this man or details of his life through press reports?).

    If defective on any of these points, the judgement will be faulty and “unlawful” according to(St. Thomas II-II, lv, 2).

    Our Lord warned against rash judgements in Matt. vii, 1, 2. Judge not, that you may not be judged. 2. For with what judgement you judge, you shall be judged: and with what measur you mete, it shall be measured to you again. 3. And why seedy thou the mote that is in thy brothers eye: and sweat not the beam that is in thy own eye? 4. Etc. 5. Thou hypocrite, cast out first the beam out of thy own eye, then shalt thy see to cast the mote out of thy brothers eye.

    So here we have it from the Lord Himself.

    Even those of you who profess to be praying for Mel Gibson are praying for the things that YOU have judged him for. If a member of your family or a friend does something wrong, do you talk publicly about them exposing their faults? Or do you pray for that person privately. The harm that you do by speaking publicly about a person and pointing out their sins will turn back on you, for no good comes from this.

  • “If a member of your family or a friend does something wrong, do you talk publicly about them exposing their faults?”

    Irene, the whole point here is that Mel Gibson has exposed HIS OWN faults for the world to see. He is an A-list celebrity and knows that every move he makes will be covered by the media. He went out of his way to present himself to the world as an exemplary Catholic, then announces on national teevee that he is having a child out of wedlock with a woman other than his wife. This isn’t just rumors being spread by gossip columnists — the man himself is talking about it in front of millions of viewers. So this isn’t a case of rash judgment.

  • King David did even more horrible things ,even arranging to have the husband of his mistress Bethsheba killed in battle, but he always acknowledged his sins and repented.
    On his deathbed of all his MANY talents what he wanted most for his son Solomon was his faithfulness to God. That is my prayer for Mel, to repent just as we all have to do with our list of offenses against God in thoughts, words and deeds. J.M.J.

  • In life, some need to travel ‘full circle’ emptying themselves completely to experience the “void of emptiness”, then, return to the Father seeking the Reconcillation that can come only within the healing of the Church. As having been there myself, I can understand the journey and rejoice in reaching the destination, of returning in the Sacrament of Reconcillation. Now fortified even stronger with the armor of faith, belief and conviction, I will fast and pray for not only Mel but for all those who are still on the journey of the “full circle”.

  • I have one question ?

    If mel was your real brother or if you were a son or daughter of mel would you write and have published the article about ” MEL NEEDS OUR PRAYERS ” ?


    Instead you would want as little press / media coverage as possible about your loved one .


    All that results is that you help the enemy by creating a defeatist persona of christianity through mel’s humanity .

  • I agree with Mon and Pamela Mundling. In general, people are quick to judge. We don’t know Mel’s childhood and like it or not he’s been battling with the devil since then. The fact that he is constantly attacked by an inner devil is actually a good sign that he’s struggling to find the truth! Perhaps there might be some unforgiveness he’s dealing with. Although we see alcoholism, adultery etc. the battle is a spiritual battle. Let’s help him out with our prayers!Life is short! With the help of God, we’ll celebrate our victory in the next.

  • After the “Passion” I had hoped that Mel Gibson would have followed up with the story of the early Christian martyrs or just following up on the fascinating time right after the Resurrection- These are times that need good modern visual aids in a culture that is so dependent on such things. Alas the success of “Passion” was not used to springboard more of the Christian history into the mainstream. Gibson has made a daring film and it paid-off, he was the one man positioned in Hollywood to do something that no one else would dare or care to do- but the opportunity was lost- and that decision to not proceed and then to go into the Mayan tale- probably was a the big mistake for Mr.Gibson. These kind of opportunities don’t come up often, and so I am left bemoaning the new public persona of Mel Gibson, without knowing how all of this if playing inside of Mel Gibson. Even though I am not a public personality, if I somehow ended up being a media subject or personality, I would want my friends and my brother and sister Catholics to follow my public witness and offer constructive criticisms should I deviate from Catholic teachings in letter or spirit. We are supposed to help one another, not just praise each other especially when there is serious cause for worry over what is going out in Christ’s name from one of his very public believers. We all need some tough love from time to time, and yet there must always be love in the midst of critiques of one another. I would hope that Mel Gibson would read my blog entry and be moved by it and not see it as some kind of self-righteous attack piece. But even if he doesn’t see it, the fact that I and others will continue to pray for him and his family can only be of some help. If anyone takes this blog entry as a pharisaic act of unholy judgment, then please pray for me and my family- I’m not feeling bad about writing this blog in my conscience- but of course, our consciences can be errant so pray that if I did wrong in posting this that God will get through to me in the quiet of my own conscience-taking.

  • I like this article. Like so many, I am disappointed about the turn of events with Mel Gibson. I struggled with it, because I like him and I love the Passion of the Christ, so I asked God about it, and He reminded me of St.Augustine, who was very weak and had many failings himself, yet became a Saint with God’s help. I don’t think this is the end of the road for Mel. I believe that he is in trouble and needs our prayers. The scene from the “Passion” which stands out for so many and affected so many moms is the moment Jesus falls and His Mother runs to his side and lets Him know She is there. He tells her “Behold, I a make all things new.” He can make Mel new yet, so that is my prayer.

  • Irene,

    Gibson’s agents are putting Gibson himself and his misdeeds out in public to get him maximum attention so that he can get the maximum ticket sales for his upcoming movie. Mel is telling the public himself and asking us to be happy for him.

    No! These actions are a poor witness for Catholics and a stumbling block for the whole world. The Lord told us not to judge the state of a man’s soul or stone him to drive him to his final judgment but He did NOT say that we can not judge actions, that is blatantly false, you should be ashamed.

  • Hello Tour;

    Sorry that what I said provoked you. If it makes you feel better, I will be ashamed of myself for trying to point out the hypocrisy of all of those who pass judgement on others publicly. Christ really said that we are not to judge. I will not put a personal interpretation on the words of Christ as you have done. You tell me I must be ashamed of myself in order to justify you having a right to make your judgements. I get it. It’s all about you not being judged, for making judgements.

  • “the whole point here is that Mel Gibson has exposed HIS OWN faults of the world to see. He is an A-list celebrity and knows that every move he makes will be covered by the media. He went out of his way to present himself to the world as an exemplary Catholic, then announces on national teevee that he is having a child out of wedlock with a woman other than his wife.”

    What was he supposed to do as a Catholic man and father? Deny paternity of his illegitimate child like John Edwards? John Edwards tried to cover up his deeds by pushing the woman to abort their child, and when that failed, he tried to fake a DNA test. Should Gibson neglect in his duty to support his youngest child and raise her in the faith? As you say, he is an A-list celebrity and everything he does is covered by the media. The tabloids were reporting about the pregnancy before he announced it. What else could he have done besides recognize her to the world?

    This extreme stigmatization of out of wedlock children does nothing but support the culture of abortion.

  • “What else could he have done besides recognize her to the world?”

    Certainly acknowledge the child and say that he will support the child and try to be a good father. Then follow this by a heartfelt public apology to his wife and his children for his adultery and a promise that he will amend his life and sin no more. While he is doing that he could also pledge to stop drinking. Not on the list would be having his crazy father determine that his first marriage was invalid, and marrying his partner in adultery.

  • Mr McClarey, this is a rumor. Where is your proof that this happened? How irresponsible of you to try to make rumor into fact by writing your last sentence. Down boy!

  • Yeah Irene, I’m sure Mel had crazy Hutton declare his first marriage invalid because he is not planning to marry his shack up. Sheesh!

  • Personally, I cannot see how people could have thought Mel was a Catholic icon. He starred in movies where he was having sex with women. There was nudity and I always felt so sorry for his wife due to his participation in this. He would not let his kids go to some of his movies — so I heard — How could he? No one should be shocked. Yes, he needs our prayers, but then we all do. Especially those who think it is okay to watch pornography in movies and receive communion on Sunday without confession and without true sorrow. It is the Catholic faith. I did not make it up. Pornography is a mortal sin — read the Catechism of the Catholic Church. The Church put it out for all of us, and we are responsible to live according to Christ’s teachings. You can find a copy for ten dollars probably at your local doicese.

  • Michael (Sunday 7th), are you suggesting that we not pray for people and their weaknesses because it is arrogant? Do fall prey to the evil one my friend. Praying is exactly the thing we should do. Your point about not wanting our family members exposed is moot, as are your points about defeatism and Christianity. One’s sins are not entertaining (except for the Jerry Springers of the world), the guy needs prayer, so I prayed. It’s called Christian charity – not defeatism.

  • ooppps…I meant (obviously) to say “Do not fall prey…”

  • Yeah McClarey, you know it all I see. There is no reasoning with prejudice born out of rumors. The only crazy declarations here are your unfounded accusations. Sheesh!

  • Donald McClarey, you are a great example of someone who thinks they have the right to tell others how they must publicly repent. Who are you, sir, to specify how and in what manner ANYBODY, let alone Mel Gibson, must engage in public confession?
    Your hubris is amazing.
    You start first. We are all waiting for YOUR public confession.

  • This might be shocking to a lot of people but let me remind everyone that even the holiest person will commit sins.

    Mel Gibson wasn’t even close to holy except for making a movie about our Lord. Let us pray for his conversion as we ourselves fall and rise up again many times in our lifetime.

    That is why we pray everyday for the gift of final perseverance….

  • First of all, his marriage was unevenally yoked. His wife is a non-Catholic to begin with, and she never converted from what I read during the time the Passion Movie came out! So why was there a need for annulment?

    His human actions have spoken louder than words! When one is vunerable and weak in their faith it’s make it easier for Satan to take over one’s soul. So this means we as humans should be on guard because Satan is just a step behind us to hook us into the obbess.

  • AMEN! Tom

    That Excortcism Prayer was best said for this cause. I hope that our Prayers reach Heaven and God’s ears in Jesus Name Amen. Not only for Mel Gibson but for all of us not to fall into Temptation, and Deliver us all from evil. Amen

  • “Donald McClarey, you are a great example of someone who thinks they have the right to tell others how they must publicly repent. Who are you, sir, to specify how and in what manner ANYBODY, let alone Mel Gibson, must engage in public confession?
    Your hubris is amazing.”

    Actually your willingness to overlook abominable behavior by a celebrity is what is amazing. Gibson is the one who chose to live his live his life in the public spotlight. Gibson is the one who chose to engage in adultery and destroy his marriage, humiliating his wife and kids. Gibson is the one who thinks that his crazy father can annul his marriage. Gibson was looked up to by quite a few Christians and he threw it into the gutter. His bad behavior has been in full view of the public and so should his contrition, although there seems to be precious little evidence thus far that he has any. If pointing out this forcefully to people who wish to overlook this is hubris, so be it.

  • No one has suggested or check to see if this man is suffering from male menopause. It is a real problem and doctors are now studying it to determine if men have a change of hormones as they age. This is why they get a younger woman, usually go buy a sportscar when they usually are conservative in their living beforehand. Like living a second teenage period.

  • Of course prayers for Mel and anyone else who stirs up the devil. I knew as soon as he went through with making and finally releasing “The Passion of Christ”..he’d have hell to pay..It’s so sad to see this happen for now, but again we all know who is in charge. It’s just that simple. So cover him in prayer and BELIEVE. We all need to be on guard.

  • “So why was there a need for annulment?”

    A marriage recognized by the Catholic Church is ALWAYS presumed to be valid until proven otherwise via a legitimate annulment process. This includes marriages between Catholics and non-Catholics. The same goes for marriages between two non-Catholics, should one or both later decide to convert — they do not have to marry again in the Church unless there is reason to believe their marriage was invalid.

    One of the earlier posters may have had a point about how seeking prayers for someone experiencing a personal crisis CAN become an excuse for airing their dirty laundry or spreading gossip about them. For an ordinary person who is not a public figure, and whose troubles are not common knowledge, that may be the case. However, in Mel Gibson’s case, his “bad behavior” has indeed been in full view of the public, and he has paraded his relationship with his girlfriend in front of millions of TV viewers.

    A “public repentance” wouldn’t have to be anything dramatic — none of us are suggesting (as far as I know) that he make his next Tonight Show appearance wearing sackcloth and ashes. All he’d have to do is release a statement through his publicist saying that he acknowledged paternity of his youngest child, that he would do whatever he could to support her and the child’s mother, that he regretted the breakup of his marriage and the scandal that he had given to his fans. Then just shut up and stay out of the spotlight for a while.

  • Precisely Elaine!

  • Who are You to expect these things from him Elaine?

    And it’s easy for you McClaren to sit here like a sniper and shoot your crazy accusations about him without showing us proof. You have a lynch mob mentality. You can’t hide your hatred for the man, no matter how you try to disguise it in your outrage and concern over how he lives his life. There are many people on here who at least seem to be concerned for his soul. Your annulment accusations are preposterous. You repeatedly assert this annulment thing as if it were true, without supplying proof. Your pride and self righteousness in spreading scandal provokes the indignation of Our Lord. “thou shalt not bear False witness”. You are not free to talk publicly about the sins of another. It’s called spreading scandal (you have talked about his sins plus added a few unproven whoppers). Spreading scandal and drawing attention to it, is a sin against charity. Spreading falsehoods about someone is a sin against justice. You seem driven to do both.

  • Thanks for the prayer Tom. Said it this morning and will be saying it everyday. Mel needs our prayers & sacrifices. Prayer is so necessary here.

  • dandello, I would like to ask what you have against Catholics? Obeying the Ten Commandments is what it is all about, it doesn’t matter what religion you belong to or if you even have one. RIGHT IS RIGHT AND WRONG IS WRONG. J.M.J.

  • Dandello,

    Anti-catholic attacks will not be tolerated on this of all websites.

  • Donald McClarey, I am not overlooking Mel Gibson’s behaviour, not at all. If I were to overlook it, then I wouldn’t be praying for him, which I do everyday.
    It is a fine line between realizing someone needs prayer (and as apostolic Catholics we are all obliged to try and help others get to heaven) and getting up on a verbal soapbox and spelling it out to someone else what their obligations are… what they should say, how they should say it, etc. That is not yours or anyone else’s concern.
    We as Catholics should pray for those in trouble, but we have no right telling others how and in what manner they are to repent.
    Good grief, if this is what should be done, plenty of good priests would be speaking up and lecturing him on what he should do.

  • “Good grief, if this is what should be done, plenty of good priests would be speaking up and lecturing him on what he should do.”

    You are joking right? The attitude of most of the clergy towards celebrities is typified by the sendoff that Ted Kennedy got at a funeral mass which verged on a canonization ceremony. Priests used to routinely condemn celebrity Catholics who broke the laws of God. Those days are far behind us. Now the only sin for which anyone risks a public rebuke is being “judgmental”.

  • Not so! There are many good priests. Are we to believe that ALL the priests in the world are one monolithic group???

    It is true that most won’t stick their heads up for fear of being ostracized; but there are still plenty of good priests who would indeed speak their mind about it if it were the right thing to do.

    You know, when attempting to help somebody who has fallen, you have to bear in mind the particular circumstances, plus the personality and background of the transgressor. If it is obvious that a person is proud and obstinate, then it is the WRONG thing to do, to heap scorn and attacks on his head. It is well known that for many people, this can drive them deeper into more profound trouble.

    It might make you feel better to get all your frustration off your chest, but the first priority must be careful consideraton of the most efficacious way to help a person come back to God.

    Think of Mel’s personality, as clearly evinced by the roles he has chosen and played. Do you really thinking screaming verbal insults at THIS man is going to work?

    No, no. Give him space, PRAY. It is in God’s hands.

  • Satan attacks us all. I feel very bad for the man because he is a very talented person who has, through hubris and alcoholism, nearly destroyed his life. The last interview he gave I saw him call a reporter an a**h*le after he drank out of a paper cup. I am sure it was full of alcohol. The look in his eyes during the interview was absolutely evil! It went beyond the reaction a person has when he is angry at someone else for insulting them. The look was pure, unmitigated rage. It scared me. When he drinks, it seems his evil comes out and his hubris runs amok.

    Please Lord, help this poor pathetic man, who looks like he just may die soon if you do not help him.

  • Christine you are assuming a lot. You have no way of knowing what he was drinking (more than likely coffee) and how can you say his look was absolutely evil??? This is dreadful.

    I saw the same interview and to me he looked irritated and provoked, not “evil” as you state. Please be charitable.

  • Take a look at the clip again. The look in his eyes was disturbing.

    I did not say he was evil, I don’t make those judgments. I doubt that he is. Alcoholism is an all-consuming disease, however, and he has been quite rageful while under the influence.

    During the interview, with the way his eyes were full of rage and the way he kept leaning forward – it was frightning.

    Trained actors can usually disguise their feelings, especially one as accomplished as Mr. Gibson. I would say that he is one of the better actors of his generation who never received the credit due him. How could he not disguise this emotion? I would think that would be because of alcohol…

    If he wasn’t drinking alcohol from the paper cup, his problems are much worse than I thought.

    I still will pray for him.

  • Again you are making very subjective judgments… because you don’t care for the expression in his eyes. You DID state that “the look in his eyes was absolutely evil”. I repeat, this is a dreadful thing to say about someone.

    I am quite familiar with the disease of alcoholism; it runs in my family and so I am knowledgable about it and the effect it has on the person who is addicted to it; also what it does to families. (By the grace of God I do not personally have trouble with alcoholism.) Even with this background, I would not presume to leap to the conclusion that an actor who was irritated by the questions of a pushy journalist was consuming it, and had an evil look in his eyes!!

    It is wrong to make an assumption like that. It isn’t OK for you to castigate and insult on one hand, and then follow it up with a pious proclamation you will pray for him!

  • Christine, you’re going off the deep end in your presumptions about Gibson. It’s called a cognitive distortion to imagine you can read minds and it would be a delusion of omniscience to believe you know what someone is drinking!

  • McClarey, if your interactions here lead you to hubris, you need a break. You cannot support the kingdom by being submissive to pride.

  • Fallon,

    I’m not supporting anybody’s comments about demonic possession in fact I’m not supporting anyone else’s posting but my own. I don’t know what your concept of sin or ecclesiology are, but insofar as Gibson is baptised, even though he has lapsed from union with the Pope, we see him as some kind of Catholic, someone who is part of the Mystical Body of Christ.

    As part of the mystical body, his actions cause disruption, rupture, and pain to us. His scandal hurts us. It reaches across the world and hurts our hearts. It is an attack. We need to pray for him for his sake but also to protect ourselves and others.

    From the CCC:


    Respect for the souls of others: scandal

    2284 Scandal is an attitude or behavior which leads another to do evil. The person who gives scandal becomes his neighbor’s tempter. He damages virtue and integrity; he may even draw his brother into spiritual death. Scandal is a grave offense if by deed or omission another is deliberately led into a grave offense.

    2285 Scandal takes on a particular gravity by reason of the authority of those who cause it or the weakness of those who are scandalized. It prompted our Lord to utter this curse: “Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened round his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.”86 Scandal is grave when given by those who by nature or office are obliged to teach and educate others. Jesus reproaches the scribes and Pharisees on this account: he likens them to wolves in sheep’s clothing.87

    2286 Scandal can be provoked by laws or institutions, by fashion or opinion.

    Therefore, they are guilty of scandal who establish laws or social structures leading to the decline of morals and the corruption of religious practice, or to “social conditions that, intentionally or not, make Christian conduct and obedience to the Commandments difficult and practically impossible.”88 This is also true of business leaders who make rules encouraging fraud, teachers who provoke their children to anger,89 or manipulators of public opinion who turn it away from moral values.

    2287 Anyone who uses the power at his disposal in such a way that it leads others to do wrong becomes guilty of scandal and responsible for the evil that he has directly or indirectly encouraged. “Temptations to sin are sure to come; but woe to him by whom they come!”90

    This whole passage is Gibson in spades. His power is his celebrity and the good will he had built up while courting Catholics and other Christians to support, advertise, and attend his movie, “The Passion.” He made himself an example and those who claim he’s always been a bad example perhaps weren’t paying as much attention as those who followed the development of The Passion.

  • Perhaps Gibson has portrayed so many roles in his life that he has truly forgotten what he is really like and who he is. He has lost the power to know himself and, along with that, the power to repent. He is like a chameleon taking on the characteristics and conduct of the rogues he has portrayed. Sadly, he has become deranged. Only through the grace of God can he be restored. There are no human efforts that can save him except our prayers. I think right now, Satan is applauding Gibson’s stellar performance as a Roman soldier, yelling, jeering, and scourging Jesus. And that is not hyperbole.

  • Oh my. How is it that you can determine that Mel Gibson:

    1. has lost the power to know himself
    2. has lost the power to repent
    3. that he is deranged
    4. and that he is like one of the Roman soldiers, torturing Our Lord.

    I am truly dumbfounded that you can take it upon yourself to decide such things.

    What is this, open season on Mel Gibson?

    I am guessing it must make those of the Pharisaical persuasion feel really good to make such determinations.

    Please folks, just pray for Mel and leave the self righteous thoughts left unsaid. They can do a world of harm…

  • BooHoo mr. Tour!

    If you and the whole Mystical Body of Christ have been hurt by the actions of Mr. Gibson, then why do continue to draw all of Its members attention to it?

    You are demonstrating an exaggerated rigorism or scrupulosity, manifesting itself in a kind of Jansenistic Puritanism. The results of this are that you have accused Mr. Gibson of so many things that I believe that you are actually inciting others to hate him.

    You are obsessed with him and by him far too much. God will take care of Mr Gibson.

    The prescription for your ailment is to ask God to forgive YOUR sins, especially the unnecessary hatred you have spewed out here.

  • Irene, I think something in your post really hit the nail on the head.

    Many of the posters here are actually cloaking hatred with pious mutterings directing Mel what to do.

    What was it Our Lord said?

    “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone”.

    Who here is without sin?

  • Irene,

    The more you talk, the more you show how out of place you are in a Catholic forum, you’re just here for conflict, the very definition of an internet troll. I wouldn’t be surprised if you were a member of the Gibson house church.

    Puritanism is like the extreme opposite pole of sexual licentiousness. To accuse me of Puritanism makes one wonder if you espouse the exact opposite extreme of ideology. If you read more of Aquinas, I’m sure he has plenty to say about that.

    Catholicism isn’t Puritanical or sexually licentious. It teaches that the marital union is GOOD, so good that its misuse outside of marriage is a sin. Gibson has ADVERTISED THIS MISUSE. Believe me, I don’t want to know other people’s business and it was not this blog that made me aware of it, it was Gibson’s own television appearances, seeking public approval. I am merely giving him the attention he so desperately seeks.

    I more commonly hear Puritanism called “Manichean,” in that it seems to say that the body is bad, which would make procreation and union bad.

    Just where exactly are you coming from, ideologically, anyway? You quoted Aquinas, but you don’t even respond to the substance of the Catechism. You either don’t believe adultery is even sinful, or you just don’t believe in the indissolubility of marriage. You are responding to me as if you have conflated all of the posts you don’t like and imagine that I wrote them all, which is unfair.

  • “Take heed to yourselves; if your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him” (Luke 17:3).

    “As for those who persist in sin, rebuke them in the presence of all, so that the rest may stand in fear” (1 Timothy 5:20).

    “This testimony is true. Therefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith” (Titus 1:13).

  • Tour, your second to last post directed at Irene is filled with so many assumptions (for which you have no basis of actual knowledge) accusations (which are unfounded and groundless) and exaggerations that I won’t bother to address them individually. It would take too much time.

    Seems to me you are for some reason consumed with an obssessive hatred of Mel Gibson. You write as though it is the end of the world that this man has fallen from grace. Do you ever pray for those in trouble without first spelling it out repeatedly, ad nauseam, what your *personal opinion* is, of their difficulties??

    Look to the heavens and contemplate God, and stop your public accusations about the troubles of a human being who you don’t know; he doesn’t know you; and I am guessing he wouldn’t want to either.

  • So Mr Tour, you’ve made clear that Mr G is a sinner. Is that news? Who is perfect? Where does this leave you? Are you so desolate that you can’t get over your disappointment that he isn’t the idol you imagined he was? Put not your faith in men. Are you a saint and have never sinned? Where is your public confession you seem to require?

    And, what about the Christian virtue of charity, and things like kindness, and gentleness? Has Mr G promoted himself as a saint? Never once that I know of. He admits to being a struggling Catholic soul like the rest of us (except for you and the other perfect people on the board). Have you ever once considered that maybe there is more (or less!) to the stories that the National Enquirer tells? Seems to me that’s not the best source for a Catholic to get accurate information for which to judge others.

    From the CCC:
    “The fruits of the Spirit are perfections that the Holy Spirit forms in us as the first fruits of eternal glory. The tradition of the Church lists twelve of them: “charity, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, generosity, gentleness, faithfulness, modesty, self-control, chastity.”

    Above all – Charity

    25 To conclude this Prologue, it is fitting to recall this pastoral principle stated by the Roman Catechism:

    The whole concern of doctrine and its teaching must be directed to the love that never ends. Whether something is proposed for belief, for hope or for action, the love of our Lord must always be made accessible, so that anyone can see that all the works of perfect Christian virtue spring from love and have no other objective than to arrive at love.[19]

  • Bravo Elfriede! Charity does indeed transcend all.

    “the love of Our Lord must always be made accessible”.

    How will Mel Gibson come back to God’s love? By accusations and scorn and endless pointing of fingers? No… by prayers, tenacious prayers.

    In spite of all his difficulties, I am so sure Jesus loves him very much, as He loves us all, everyone one of us sinners.

  • Now now Tour, I see you have sunk to name calling. I find it amusing that now you are frothing at the mouth at me. Are you calling me a sexual pervert with all of that gobbilty gook that you wrote?

    I really pity that you are obviously suffering from something that you are choosing to wallow in and can find no charitable way to express yourself.

    My idealology is simply catholic. I have never confined myself to just condemnation of sinners though. My idealology says “hate the sin, love the sinner”.

    There are many quotes from the bible but you only choose the ones that crazy hell fire and brimstone preachers scream out to make people
    put more money in the collection.

    Get over this stuff before you become any more disturbed.

    It’s either that or “Grab your torch and pitch fork”!

    Plus you sure can dish it out, but can you take it? I welcome criticism. I will take yours under consideration if I can ever figure out what you were trying to say.

  • Well, I am on board with tour86rocker.

    I think someone here is a mole….to cause trouble.

    I am signing out of this site’s postings because now it is getting mean.

    All this article was meant to do was to show us this man needs his Christian family–the Church. We all do.

    Maybe, if we care at the time, we can all continue this conversation in heaven. It surely will be interesting to see how things pan out for all of us.

    Heaven bound, God-willing, Rosanna

  • Rosanna
    That’s presumption. Only the humble get to go there.
    Continue the conversation in Heaven? If Mel Gibson were there with you would you continue with Tour86 to berate him? I doubt it. Who is mean? All this covert aggression using God’s name to beat someone up is pretty stinky. Repent, Hell awaits…

  • You’re absolutely right Rosanna, this was very mean on some peoples part by repeated aggressive attacks against someone, by disguising it in false piety.

    Isn’t it strange how the perpetraters of all of this meaness are the most sensitive to much less than they inflict on others behind their backs.

  • Rosanna, I am wondering at the double standard here. You say the board is mean?? What about all the holier-than-thou stuff which it is apparently “OK” to post endlessly, then when some here stand up for the cause of charity and gentle Christian treatment of a man who needs prayers we are told that we are “moles” causing trouble. How absurd.

    All I know is that if I were Mel and in trouble, and all these strangers were shrieking at me to REPENT REPENT GET HUMBLE REPENT I would run the opposite direction with wild abandon.

    If you REALLY care about his soul, then shut up and get on your knees rather than posting piously about his transgressions.

  • it is sad.
    I feel for his true wife and his children.
    But Mr Gibson was a schismatic Catholic,disobedient to the Holy Father….and it led to his complete abandonment of Christianity.
    He has caused great scandal.
    May Jesus have mercy on his soul

  • Hellooo! His wife divorced him, not the other way around. What part she “served papers on him” is failing to register?

    Complete abandonment of Christianity? So are you saying he is pagan? This is not true. Are you saying that anyone who commits public sins is no longer a Catholic??? That is patently false. Mel Gibson certainly considers himself a Catholic. He thinks the Chair of Peter is vacant (sede-vacantist); he has not turned in his heart against the Roman Catholic Church. By your “logic” anyone who falls from the state of grace is no longer a Catholic, and THAT belief is heretical.

    Please get your facts straight.

  • Perplexed, I totally agree with pretty much all you say. However, aren’t sede-vacanist excomunicated, mainly by their own beliefs and not being in communion with the Holy See?

  • Seems to me this has to be judged on an individual basis, as only God knows a person’s beliefs or intentions.
    For instance, it was covered quite a bit in the news media, when Mel Gibson made the Passion, that he held sede vacantist beliefs (not known exactly what they are though, and as he hasn’t said, we have no right to assume) and I can’t recall any Bishops saying he was excommunicated. Therefore we have to assume he is in the Church. Personally I think he is.

  • perplexed, do you think mel’s father is a sede?

  • yes, I think so. But there are all kinds of sedes. They don’t all hold the same beliefs. So we can say someone is a sede, but we can’t really know their attitudes and beliefs, unless they say what they are.
    He has published stuff, but I have not read it.

  • I’m not Catholic (I’m a born-again Christian), but the truth is, Mel needs to be born-again spiritually like Jesus talked about to Nicodemus in John 3:3 where He said, “Unless a person is born-again of water & of The Spirit, they shall never enter the Kingdom of God.” I’m not his Judge, but I’m with Kirk Cameron when he says, “If someone doesn’t ACT like they’re a Christian, then it basically means they’re not! Period! End of story!” Furthermore, the problem I have with Catholicism is that I don’t need a priest to forgive me of my sins, when I already have one: Jesus Christ Himself(Pretty much cuts out the middleman, now doesn’t it?!)! Also, the Bible specifically tells us in Mathew 23:9 not to call ANYBODY “Father” except for our own earthly fathers & God Himself, period! Basically, the verse reads, “And do not call anyone on earth ‘father,’ for you have one Father, and he is in heaven.” So basically, when you refer to a Catholic priest as “Father so-and-so”, you’re basically disobeying God!
    Lastly, while I DO KNOW that THERE ARE some born-again Catholics inside the Catholic church, there’s also too much Mary worship going on inside there. I can tell you this, that Mary herself is no doubt looking down & is very disturbed by this! I have no doubt in my mind, that if she were here, she’d tell all these people who worship her so much inside the Catholic church to, “CUT IT OUT!” & worship her Son, Jesus, directly instead. And at the risk of offending some people, I’m here to tell you that The Pope can’t save you, Catholicism can’t save you, & only by being born again spiritually by asking Jesus into your heart, TURNING FROM & REPENTING of your sins, & putting your faith & trust in Him can you be saved! I’m sorry, but the Catholic church has gotten WAAAAAY too far off track from it’s founder, Paul’s, original vision. And I know one thing, when it comes to the three things that I described that the Catholic church is doing that NO CHRISTIAN–Catholic or not–should be doing, Paul would be, well(To make a bad pun!), appalled! ‘Nuff said!


    Van Miller

    Birmingham, Alabama

  • Cyberman, I guess you have a problem with the Church that Christ instituted. We were all one faith until the Reformation in the 1500’s. Christ said to his Apostles, “who sins you forgive, they are forgiven, who sins you retain they are retained.” There were no denominations when Christ started His Church. Those denominations were made by man. I see many going to therapists at 125.00 per hour. I go to the priest who Christ said I should go to and I come away with peace and sanctifying grace. It doesn’t cost me a dime. That is the way Christ wanted it. Do you argue with Him, who is all Divine and knowing? He knows that if we don’t have the humiility to tell someone our sins, we will not do anything about them. The passage, “go tell your sins to one another”, then why not a priest who Christ gave the power to forgive sins.

  • I agree that he needs our concern and our prayers, not all of the nasty comments and bashing that I’m seeing, especially the way that the media is running away with this. Oh, the blessed media who thrives on judgemental, “bad” news! Has any of you ever heard of someone being under demonic attack/oppression, even possession? Do you not think that just the fact that he gave us The Passion of The Christ, that he would be a prime target of the evil one? Or doesn’t anyone believe in the devil anymore!? I have worked very closely over the past year, hands on, with victims of demonic attack/oppression. In one severe case a monsignor under direction of an Exorcist had to perform more than one exorcism on a home that was experiencing things that you would only think to see in the movies! I personally feel that he is suffering from demonic oppression and is under attack. He shows all of the signs of this. He needs prayers of deliverance, as well as taking steps to seek out help from within the Catholic church. I wish that I myself could contact him with this information, and would be surprised if no one has yet offered this suggestion to him. I propose that an initiative be started to petition prayers for him, and to also offer up masses for him. It’s the least that we can do to show our gratitude for giving us The Passion of The Christ, a movie that was truly blessed by God.

  • I hate to see a gifted artist and someone that was an upstanding Catholic as evidented by the trials he went through for the Passion of the Christ to fall. Rather than judge, its probably better to pray for him. We need role models and we need for Mel to receive the good graces of God to help him through this time period in his personal life. He is lost and I pray that he finds his way back for the sake of himself and his children.

  • I think that Mel is a victim of Satan ever since he made the Passion movie. He was a fairly decent person up until then. As far as I know the alcoholism, verbal racial abuse and current stuff going on, has come about ever since the release of that movie. We do need to pray for him without a doubt, that he turns back to God, and turns his life around.

  • I don’t care what Mel Gibson has said or done, that is his personal business. He has to answer to God not to us for what he has said and done. He speaks his mind like most of us do, and Lord knows I’m not perfect. Just like the Jews, the Catholics, the Christians, the Pagans, and all races and sexes. He is scrutinized more because he is a public figure and that he made a movie that was controversial to some who don’t believe and that makes others to judge him and his Catholic faith. Our Catholic faith is strong and he is human like the rest of us are. It is easier for others to throw stones, he needs help. A true follower of Christ knows of my words and that is to forgive and pray for those who have lost their way from him. I pray for Mel to guide him back to our Father God and for him to get the help that he needs. He needs our prayers; I will never turn my back against him. I will be forever grateful to Mel Gibson for making the greatest movie ever The Passion Of The Christ.

  • Heavenly Father, Your word says that You will never leave us or forsake us. Send Your Holy Spirit to minister to Mel in quiet hours when he searches for peace. Let Your still, small voice whisper to him that he is significant in Your kingdom. Lord, I pray that you reveal your unchanging, unyielding love to him in a way that he will receive. Set him on the right path and use him for Your glory. Amen.