We live in a low, dishonest age where blatant evil is protected with euphemisms. I take heart whenever anyone stands up against this meretricious trend. I therefore applaud Dr. Peter Kreeft, Boston College Philosophy Professor and a Catholic convert, for his remarks at a speech sponsored by the Diocese of Madison, Wisconsin on the subject of whether a Catholic can be a liberal. He minced no words when the subject of abortion and the Kennedy clan came up:
During the Q&A, an audience member brought up the Kennedy political dynasty and how a group of leading theologians and Catholic college professors had met with Kennedy family members in the mid-1960s and came up with a way for Catholic politicians to support a pro-abortion rights platform with clear consciences.
Kreeft said these Catholic advisers “told the Kennedys how they could get away with murder.” Kreeft then made one of his boldest comments of the evening, suggesting the theologians who first convinced Democratic politicians they could support abortion rights and remain Catholic did more damage to the Catholic Church than pedophile priests.
“These were wicked people. These were dishonest people. These were people who, frankly, loved power more than they loved God,” Kreeft said. “Sorry, that’s just the way it is. In fact, I’d say these were even worse than the child molesters — though the immediate damage they did was not as obvious — because they did it deliberately, it wasn’t a sin of weakness. Sins of power are worse than sins of weakness. Cold, calculating sins — that’s straight from the devil.”
A few minutes later, the talk over, the crowd gave him a standing ovation.
“I think everyone has a secret resentment against God, against our very creation, against the fact of our being what we are. Freud called this the death wish, resentment against being born into this pain-full world.”
Peter Kreeft says something surprising in Back to Virtue: that we need to learn to forgive God. He is quite clear that this is not for any evil or debt he owes us, but for His goodness. As Kreeft says in his book, God loves us more than we would like, and we need to forgive him for interfering with our foolish will again and again”. We need to “forgive him for his blessed but painful surgery on our spirits.”
At first, I thought Kreeft was wrong. Forgive God? Why would we lowly creatures need to forgive God, who is infinite goodness? How absurd! Then, giving the great Peter Kreeft the benefit of the doubt, I thought it over and had a realization of sorts. We need to forgive God lest we hold a grudge against Him. God calls us out of ourselves. He asks us to give up ourselves and our particular desires, and this can be very difficult, even aggravating. Our broken nature rebels against God’s will. We must say with Jesus, “not my will Father, but yours be done,” but we do not want to. We often say, leave me alone to what I want! Christians say this even when they know this is foolishness. We are broken and part of our brokenness is a wrong-relationship with God: we blame him when he is not at fault. Our hearts must be at peace with God. And our hearts, misshapen as they are, cannot be at peace with God unless we forgive him. How ridiculous we are!
Here is a useful bit of information I find very helpful to many people thinking about religion:
Faith is not some state of feeling we get ourselves into. It is much simpler than that. It is simply believing in God and therefore believing everything he has revealed – no matter how we feel. “God said it, so I believe it, and that settles it.”
Feelings are influenced by external things, like fashions and fads, wind and weather, diet and digestion. But when God gives us the gift of faith, he gives it from within, from within our own free will.
The devil can influence our feelings, but he has no control over our faith.
We are not responsible for our (unfree) feelings, but we are responsible for our (free) faith.
Yet, though faith is not a feeling, it often produces feelings: of trust, peace, gratitude, and confidence, for instance. And faith can also be aided by feelings: for instance, when we feel trustful or grateful to someone, God or man, it is much easier for us to believe him than when we feel mistrustful or ungrateful.;
But even when we do not feel trustful or peaceful, we can still believe. Faith is not dependent on feelings. It is dependent on facts: divinely revealed facts.
- Peter Kreeft, Catholic Christianity
It is easy to reject something because we do not feel it to be true. Personally I can say there are many times when I do not feel something to be true; nevertheless, I know it is true because of faith, or conscience, or experience.
So what is one to do when faced with something that is supposedly divinely revealed but contradicts one’s feelings, perhaps strong feelings? My suggestion is to try out what God says – take a leap, trust in God for a moment. Humbly submit yourself to God’s will. See what happens.