"Deliberate deceit" correction
Posted by BrianC
on October 15, 2003, 1:15 am
Dear all, I used the expression deliberate deceit in the
above post. The full sentence was: "The only thing they
can do is own up to the truth and admit they were engaged
in deliberate deceit." That needs more nuancing than as
it has been written.
It was "deliberate deceit" in one sense but ignorance,
I'm pretty sure, in another. I think Cardinal Lopez-Trujillo
actually probably does believe what he is saying. In that
sense then it is not "deliberate deceit". He is simply ignorant
of the significance of what he is saying and why it is causing
such a storm around the world. Others in the Church will
undoubtedly try and excuse him, as I have explained elsewhere
by saying something like "well, it's just an opinion isn't
it. The Church (or this Cardinal) is entitled to have an
opinion isn't he!" without understanding that this material
simply is not in the domain of personal "opinion". It is
in the realm of "observable fact". That is a whole new ball
game. People who think like what I have just described are
acting in the literal meaning of the word ignorance.
What has happened though at the institutional level of
the Church though is deliberate deceit ‚ particularly the
materials that have so obviously been published and distributed
to the front-line priests and nuns working in these third
world countries. There has been a serious breakdown in the
Church in the whole business of "Imprimatur" or "Imprimi
Potest" on what the Church teaches. Someone in authority
should have picked this up a long time ago that the Church
was relying on information that is objectively and observably
wrong. Of course all the people in the Church who have invested
everything in Humanae Vitae and the Church's teachings on
artificial contraception will not understand the significance
of what is at stake here ‚ and that is going to make it
enormously harder for the leadership of the Church to clean
up the damage Lopez-Trujillo has caused without impacting
on those teachings. The irony is that it is not actually
the Church's teaching about the moral unacceptability of
barrier methods of contraception which has caused the problem.
It is certainly a matter related to condoms but it is matter
of scientific certitude not theological certitude that is
on the line here. The whole thing is going to confuse a
heck of a lot of people because they keep hearing the word
"condom" but, in a sense, that is not the issue. This is
very much like the very first big dispute in the Church
between Ss Peter and Paul over the issue of circumcision.
The word at the centre of that issue was "circumcision".
The critical issues at stake actually had little to do with
the actual business of cutting off the foreskin in males.
Most people cannot distinguish things in debates like this.
To summarise then: at the institutional level it certainly
would appear to be deliberate deceit (in the sense that
there has been a breakdown in the way these things are normally
vetted in the Church). At the level of the individuals though
who've been quoted one suspects the problem is merely enormous
ignorance and people being in way over their heads in their
professional knowledge of the matters they are supposed
to be knowledgeable about.
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