Sunday, February 23, 2014

Why Is Michael Coren So Scornful Towards Traditional Minded Christians?

A recent exchange on Twitter (pictured above) between @MichaelCoren and another man illustrates in stellar fashion what I said in a recent posting about Coren. Perhaps it just never caught my attention before but I'm wondering if this indicates a developing trend with Coren's perspective on "fair" and "loving" treatment of homosexual persons, a perspective outside the range of healthy Catholic thought on the subject.

In the exchange above, a faithful Catholic is disparaged by Coren for simply echoing Catholic teaching in a matter of fact kind of way. I don't think that calls for rebuke or sarcasm from a fellow Catholic. Apparently it places a Catholic, or really any Christian, in Coren's category of "fanatic."

According to this exchange, a Catholic who now believes that the use of contraceptives is contrary to the natural law is fair game for jokes and sarcasm from Coren. He also implies that his Twitter follower is being disingenuous in his comments but then goes on to mock that fellow Catholic's efforts at evangelizing, then requests that his follower stop commenting on his feed! Then comes the coup de grace. He makes a highly offensive accusation that is certainly worthy, in my opinion, of an apology and retraction:
You're making Jesus look bad. I'm sure (more sarcasm?) you mean well but your ignorance and hatred are shameful.
Coren's follower appropriately responds:
QUOTING the Catechism and professing Church doctrine is hateful and hurtful now, is it? Laughable.
I find Coren's words and underlying attitude to be clearly uncharitable and I think it really undermines his witness as a Catholic.

Michael Coren And The Proper Care Of Homosexual Souls Part 2

Image source:

If... you do not speak out to dissuade the wicked man from his way, he (the wicked man) shall die for his guilt, but I will hold you responsible for his death. (Ezekiel 33:8)


In my posting of Thursday past, entitled Michael Coren Complicit In Destruction Of Souls Who Practice Homosexuality Part 1, I lodged a serious complaint against Michael Coren, saying he

is contributing to the corruption of our culture by his subtle advocacy on behalf of the "gay" lifestyle (which is based, almost exclusively, on homosexual acts).

I [used to] follow Michael Coren on Twitter and, generally speaking, try to read all his columns, even some of his books that catch my fancy. I used to watch his Sun News program, The Arena, without fail, for the longest time but over the last couple of years I have backed off television in general big time. Coren’s style and intensity is engaging—even irresistible—for some but for others quite rude and unbearable. Let’s face it, Coren has strong opinions and he’s not afraid to speak them (I never held that against him). But because of that, some love him and some hate him. In fact, his most severe critics seem to be quite uniform in characterizing him as a “hater.” I would aver that they very much misunderstand him.

As perhaps Canada’s foremost media culture warrior, he has strong Christian beliefs and emphases. For many traditional minded Christians he’s a welcome relief from the mainstream, liberal leaning media, as is much of the Sun News programming in general. He’s particularly impressive in the area of pro-life opinion and advocacy and that alone puts him light years ahead of any other Canadian broadcaster with a significant reach to the public.

In my previous posting I summed up my concern:

To put it plainly, I have never heard him say, unambiguously, in his books or on air, that he personally believes that the practice of homosexual acts is intrinsically wrong, a moral evil precisely, and that the continued practice of such acts of grave depravity could well constitute grave sin and threaten the eternal soul of the individual involved. My opinion, at this point, is that he really doesn't believe such an "offensive" notion.

My recent exchange on Twitter with Michael Coren precipitated last week’s blog posting and I believe that exchange put a fine point to my concerns. As a result of my posting, Coren blocked me from following him on Twitter. OK, no biggie.

Furthermore some other conversations which appear in his Twitterfeed greatly reinforce my concerns, raising even more questions. Of course it’s difficult to draw too many conclusions from a Twitterfeed outburst but nevertheless patterns of thinking clearly emerge from such interactions. I’ve since found it interesting to follow Coren’s conversations on Twitter. Give it a go and see what you think. Is he being loving and compassionate?

But am I saying that Michael Coren must always preach fire and brimstone to his audience on the subject of homosexual acts? Not exactly, because, as Coren himself often reminds us, nuance is vital. However, I aim to answer that question more precisely in my comments which follow.


1.       First, a definition, because some readers did not like my choice of the word “complicit.” I used the word in the more common and general everyday sense of contributing to a certain outcome. The outcome under discussion is the loss of souls, a dire and dreadful fate with which nobody should ever wish to be associated. I have levelled the same charge against certain Bishops and Priests as well as other higher profile Catholics.

com·plic·it  (kəm-plĭs′ĭt)
Associated with or participating in a questionable act or a crime; having complicity: newspapers complicit with the propaganda arm of a dictatorship.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition copyright ©2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Updated in 2009. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.

“The recent attacks on the banks, in which politicians on both sides are complicit, hardly seem warranted by the bare facts.”

Perhaps these protesting individuals were thinking more in terms of the legal definition used by courts where “the law requires that in order to be found guilty [of complicity] one must have the intent to commit the crime itself, not simply to assist another person.”

Since Coren himself is no stranger to controversy and controversial statements, I beg from readers their similar patience. Furthermore, I would hazard that objections raised to such words as “complicit” may simply be a deflection from the larger subject of how, and if, any of us can contribute to the destruction of the souls of others. Closely related is the even more basic issue of the reluctance of very many, including clergy, to discuss at all the subject of losing one’s soul, i.e. damnation, Hell, etc., and the associated traditional teaching of Christianity.

2.       Secondly, my charge against Michael Coren has to do strictly with the role—minor or major—he plays in sustaining the practice of depraved acts by homosexuals and the resultant judgment of God upon those souls. The immediate context here, I remind readers, is his recent TV show, The Arena, and his recent column for The Sun newspaper chain. By failing to sound a clear warning of the spiritual dangers of this behaviour in the high profile public platform granted to him by God, he contributes to their ultimate destruction, as reinforced in commonly accepted quotes regarding complicity in evil, such as:

“He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it. He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it.”

“Silence in the face of evil is itself evil: God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.”

“The Christian community bears the greatest responsibility for the deaths of these children…Silence is complicity. And children are paying for our silence with their lives.”
Jonathon Van Maren, Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform

"As for German complicity, it had this to say: We declare that, through omission and silence we have, before the God of mercy, become co-responsible for the outrage committed against the Jews by people of our nation.” 

3.       Thirdly, I do not claim that Michael Coren sets out purposely to hurt anyone, least of all homosexuals. Since, in the general sense, complicity requires only that one’s actions [or lack thereof] contributed to a certain outcome, he might very well be convinced of the rightness of his approach and actions while at the same time being completely wrong due to human limitation or weakness. However, failings stemming from stubbornness, pride, etc. are actual sins and these might be involved in his actions but I make no judgement whatsoever in that regard.

4.       Nor does Coren deserve to be singled out like this on the basis of the uniqueness of his views as expressed in recent days. Except for the fact that he is an extremely influential media personality impacting the thinking and judgment of tens of thousands of Canadians and Americans on a daily basis, there would hardly be any point in taking aim at him. As I stated previously, he has a quite considerable base of followers who see his broadcasting and journalism as a powerful antidote to much of the progressivist, liberal thought of the day and who count him as one of Canada’s top “culture warriors.” However, many in this group of “conservatives” are also troubled by what they perceive as Coren’s all-too-apparent bias (in the name of nuance) on the subject at hand.

But Mr. Coren is a Catholic

It is because of that very special qualification that I made the serious charge against him that I did. Since the salvation of souls has always been the supreme law of the Church, it means that the highest goal of the Catholic, in his or her duty to glorify God, is to win souls to Christ from a life of sin.

Upon all the laity, therefore, rests the noble duty of working to extend the divine plan of salvation to all men of each epoch and in every land. Consequently, may every opportunity be given them so that, according to their abilities and the needs of the times, they may zealously participate in the saving work of the Church.
Lumen Gentium  no. 33d

My understanding is that this high calling of the Catholic is independent of circumstances, time, rank or employment position. In short, it always applies. The eternal welfare of our neighbour is of preeminence, more especially if we are addressing in our conversation dangerous or immoral behaviours. So why not introduce the subject, even if only in subtle terms? Coren appreciates nuance. But why must his nuance include the language of the homosexual lobby? As long as Coren downplays the welfare of souls he is actually doing these hurting souls a great disservice.

On any moral issue especially, Catholics have recourse to the supreme wisdom of Church teaching and are not forced to hammer out an understanding of the teaching themselves, unlike their non-Catholic Christian friends who have a coarser understanding of homosexuality, although on the basics some of them are spot on. Catholics, then, must inform themselves accordingly and, when in conversation about a particular issue, they must be careful to present the truth in its fullness, not adjusting it or re-molding it to their liking. Of course one must carefully make judgments about how and when to present a truth, or part of a truth, but the Catholic must take special care to never misrepresent the truth, even (maybe especially) by omission.  I believe, in the context of homosexuality and specifically in this particular episode of The Arena and his related column, Coren almost constantly makes his own adjustments by purposely avoiding the full Catholic truth on the subject, to the detriment of souls caught in the grip of this evil behaviour.

His ambiguous remarks in relation to homosexuals border on scandalous from a Catholic point of view, in my opinion. They may be compared somewhat, in terms of influence, to public comments made by other very public and well known Christian leaders, including clerics and pastors, and thus they deserve extra scrutiny. Coren’s popularity and reputation for Catholic orthodoxy in his writings as well as in frequent speaking tours also make him a justifiable target of criticism. Could he not have noted just once in his TV show remarks and in his column his personal opposition to homosexual acts and the danger they pose to the souls involved? As a superb communicator I’m sure he could have crafted an altogether compassionate, yet truthful, summary in probably 50 words or so, for essential eternal context. Why did he not? Could it possibly be that he is conflicted on the subject or somehow believes compassion and the truth are at odds with one another?

Having said all this I find it more than a little strange to report that in two of his latest books Coren provides a wonderful defense of Catholic teaching on the subject of marriage, homosexuality and same sex marriage. I have seen no evidence whatsoever of compromise or of ambiguity. In fact his treatment of these subjects is so orthodox that when reading his excellent treatises I wonder if there might not be two Michael Corens in media insofar as homosexuality is concerned. His free use—although often quoting others—of terms such as “sodomite”, “enemies of nature”, “vices”, “vile”, while quoting the Catechism at length in unapologetic terms, seems quite out of character with The Arena’s Michael Coren or the Michael Coren who tweets.  Nowhere in his books does he ever touch on his latest arguments against “gay insults” by the fundamentalist haters and the pejorative and clinical language of fanatics and zealots. Playing both sides of the fence maybe? Or is there a ghostwriter lurking in the shadows somewhere? I’ll leave that story—if there is one—to somebody else.

How then are we to explain his one-sided rants on TV and in the newspaper which amount to, practically, an apologetic for warming up to homosexual behaviour?  I find the disconnect to be inexplicable. Is it because he judges the readers of his books as such a fundamentally different audience than his TV talk show audience that he can afford a complete paradigm shift on the exact same subject?  Or is he simply trying to cultivate (through controversy) yet protect his TV persona in order to secure his future as a broadcaster, while at the same time maintaining his orthodox Catholic bona fides?

Again, considering the condition and needs of the souls tuning in to his broadcasts and reading his recent column, it is an insufferable contrast.

Relevant passages from the Catechism

2357 Homosexuality refers to relations between men or between women who experience an exclusive or predominant sexual attraction toward persons of the same sex. It has taken a great variety of forms through the centuries and in different cultures. Its psychological genesis remains largely unexplained. Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity,141 tradition has always declared that "homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered."142 They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved.

2358 The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. This inclination, which is objectively disordered, constitutes for most of them a trial. They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill God's will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord's Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition.

2359 Homosexual persons are called to chastity. By the virtues of self-mastery that teach them inner freedom, at times by the support of disinterested friendship, by prayer and sacramental grace, they can and should gradually and resolutely approach Christian perfection.

b.      1868 Sin is a personal act. Moreover, we have a responsibility for the sins committed by others when we cooperate in them:

- by participating directly and voluntarily in them;

- by ordering, advising, praising, or approving them;

- by not disclosing or not hindering them when we have an obligation to do so;

- by protecting evil-doers.

c.       Relevant also is Section V. The Proliferation Of Evil from which #1868 above is drawn.

Further posting

A separate posting will follow on the actual transcript of remarks made during the segment of The Arena and in the related Sun newspaper column. I hope to further show in that posting that Coren’s careless one-sided treatment of homosexual behaviour was detrimental to the salvation of souls caught up in that sinful practice. In the meanwhile, be sure to click through on the links and review your homework.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Nobody is Above Correction in The Catholic Church

Correcting fellow Catholics, priests and even Bishops, is "a work of obedience to the Faith."

It is "a false kind of charity that refuses to expose the evil within."

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Is Contraception The Hill We Want To Die On? No, Says Austin Ruse

In my posting yesterday, entitled Pro-Life Champion Austin Ruse Betrays The Catholic Faith, Fuels Loss Of Souls Through Contraception, I exposed what I considered to be some serious flaws in Mr. Ruse’s piece over at Crisis Magazine. This morning I received a couple of comments from Austin Ruse (see comment box at end of yesterday’s article) claiming that I had misunderstood—and misrepresented—his position and that I ought to correct the matter for my readers.

He said:

You misunderstand my piece. I oppose Barbara Comstock's position on over the counter contraceptives. I say that clearly in my piece. Please correct the misimpression you have created.

I responded to his comment:

Mr. Ruse, thank you for commenting. I would like nothing better than to discover that I have misunderstood you. However, my first reaction to your response is that I don't possibly see how I could have. Your article certainly covered a lot of ground. And you really haven't addressed any of my chief criticisms. However, in the interests of fairness I will read and re-read your piece once again before making further comment.

And then he further claimed that he wasn’t giving up ground on the issue of contraception:

If you could, I would appreciate it is [sic] you would google "Austin Ruse Contraception" and you can see i have been fighting this batter [sic] for more than a decade, quite publicly. I do not advocate in the least that Catholics give ground on this topic.

I have reviewed Mr. Ruse’s article again and again and it truly baffles me how he can continue to make such claims. I do not question his intentions because I respect him greatly as a pro-life crusader and I have supported his organization financially on a number of occasions. I have also tried in the past to get the word out to help him by means of my blog.

Nevertheless I stand by my original posting of yesterday with a few further comments.

Based solely on the information provided in Mr. Ruse’s article, if he had been trying to make a case for supporting Barbara Comstock because electing her would limit the greater evil that her opponent would do, he might be forgiven somewhat. After all, there is allowance for such scenarios:

However, to vote for someone in order to limit a greater evil, that is, to restrict in so far as possible the evil that another candidate might do if elected, is to have a good purpose in voting. The voter's will has as its object this limitation of evil and not the evil which the imperfect politician might do in his less than perfect adherence to Catholic moral principles. Such cooperation is called material, and is permitted for a serious reason, such as preventing the election of a worse candidate. [cf. Gospel of Life 74]

So if it came down to two choices and two choices only, either Barbara Comstock, who supports contraception, or some rabidly pro-abortion politician from the pro-death Democratic party, it might make some sense. But remember, that was not his case at all. He did seem to indicate that there was only one other Republican candidate and that individual, he believed, had little or no chance of being elected. So perhaps, just perhaps he is:

…suggesting the strong obligation (even until the pain of mortal sin) to vote so as to exclude the electing of the candidate who would injure religion, liberty and morals the most. For such a purpose one may vote even for someone who is an enemy of religion and liberty, as long as he is less of any enemy than the candidate one is voting to preclude being elected.

But now it turns out that Mr. Ruse left out some extremely pertinent information which altogether destroys such a possible rationale for supporting the dissenting Catholic Ms. Comstock:

Bob Marshall, a Virginia state delegate, has filed to run against Comstock in the Republican primary. Rather than celebrating this solid pro-life candidate, Ruse, who supports Comstock, raised a straw man to attack Bob's candidacy. Contraception.

And, from the comments section of the very same posting, Mr. Ruse even admits that Bob Marshall is a very good man.

Bob Marshall is a very good man. My column was not about him....

So, having trashed that one and only possible defense for Austin Ruse’s advocacy of Ms. Comstock, we are left with only one conclusion, based strictly on the information he supplied. Austin Ruse wants us to vote for an enemy of the Church, a dissenting, betraying Catholic who openly supports—even flaunts—her efforts to increase the availability of a drug designed to facilitate an intrinsically evil act which is contrary to the natural law and which, at times, results in the death of an innocent human being. Why? His only argument, as I see it expressed in his missive, is because all other factors considered, she qualifies for the label “pro-life” and will work to fight abortion when elected.

Laughable. Ridiculous. Outrageous. Soul-Destroying.

Perhaps he didn’t mean to say that, I don’t know. Perhaps he just didn’t express himself well. Perhaps he was tired and dopey when he wrote the piece. But that is surely a summary, with varying subtleties, shared by not only me. Take a look here and here.

I certainly hope and pray that something hasn’t seriously compromised Austin Ruse's good record and character. 

Sunday, February 16, 2014

UPDATED! Pro-Life Champion Austin Ruse Betrays The Catholic Faith, Fuels Loss Of Souls Through Contraception

UPDATE: Mr. Ruse has responded to this posting in the comments section at the end. As indicated in my responses, I will do a follow up post as soon as I can.

Catch up on the article written by Austin Ruse here. More background on his comments here and here.

Austin Ruse has been for me a pro-life hero with his Friday Fax publication and work at the UN. I do my best to financially support his work but this latest rant raises doubts about the future credibility of his work, sad to say.

Ruse asks:

But her challenger’s chances aside, the more interesting question is what is the duty of the Catholic politician when it comes to contraceptives?

But he’s asking the wrong question, isn’t he? The correct question is:

What is the duty of ANY Catholic when it comes to contraceptives?

And the answer clears the waters immediately: Any and every Catholic must adhere to the Church teaching on the intrinsic evil of contraception and avoid use of all artificial contraception—on pain of mortal sin—and, in addition, oppose every effort to damage the common good of society by unjust laws that advocate for such evils.

There, that wasn’t so hard at all, was it? And the amazing thing is that everyone who has the slightest clue about being a Catholic knows precisely this. Yet most Catholics personally dissent from Catholic teaching and most see no danger to the common good through laws that liberalize use of contraception.

How can this be? …thanks to dissenting Priests and Bishops and their cowardly cousin Priests and Bishops who don’t dissent but who prefer to remain silent and non-confrontational. And these are the clergy that Austin Ruse partly uses to justify his position. Will they all end up in the fires together? I really don’t know but I’d be extremely fearful for any soul who sought to identify with these enemies of the Faith.

Ruse’s argument, taken to what I see as its logical conclusion, is that we can cross the moral line in order to engage the culture politically and then work to bring society back to that moral standard. What’s the proof for my conclusion? Ruse politically supports a Catholic woman who is advocating for greater availability of contraceptives!

This is wrong-headed and evil. Is it ever right to do wrong in order that good comes of it? You get the idea.

Yes, the practice of contraception is fatal to the faith. Doesn’t Mr. Ruse personally believe that the practice of contraception is intrinsically wrong, a moral evil precisely, and that the continued practice of such acts could well constitute grave sin and threaten the eternal soul of the individual involved? To read his article you kinda get the impression he might think this. As Catholics our primary goal is the salvation of souls, or am I wrong? Where exactly does that figure in to Ruse's equation?

Furthermore, failure to emphasize Church teaching on contraception undermines very seriously our credibility on the evils of abortion and homosexual acts.

For goodness sake, laying aside Catholic dogma, even an 18 year old can make a very strong argument for a ban on contraception strictly from the natural law point of view.

I really was shocked by Ruse’s closing paragraphs:

As for her critics, do they really want us to charge up Contraceptive Hill, flying our flags high and singing Te Deums? Must we now launch campaigns to ban contraceptives? And condoms, too? Must we make overturning Griswold and Eisenstadt a litmus test for candidates and judges?

Certain defeat awaits us up Contraceptive Hill. We should not fight there.

If we cannot fight for the eternal truth of Christ there, where exactly will we end up fighting for it? Oh yeah, I forgot: we used to do that in the Catacombs.

I’ll try to make it simple again Mr. Ruse. Every Catholic needs to live the life of a faithful Catholic, in good times, in bad times, in corrupt times, whenever, wherever. That’s enough to do it. That’s all it takes because God will take care of everything else, even the politics. Once upon a time most every real Catholic believed that, from Popes all the way down to parishioner.

I hope and pray you'll quickly come to your senses Mr. Ruse. We need you to continue your good work.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Bishops Right About The Wrong Things In Vatican Surveys

I've covered the Vatican surveys in more than one posting and with many tweets.

These present some shockingly sad realities about the collapse of the practice of the Catholic faith.

Michael Voris pulls the pieces of the puzzle together.

The Economics Of Sex And How Sex Functions In Our Society

After all, it's Valentine's Day.

Aleteia featured the video below.

This challenging video from the Austin Institute for the Study of Family and Culture is deeply flawed in its understanding of human sexuality, reducing the nature of sex to a mechanical relationship of supply and demand. Still, it uncovers a lot of important truths about how sex functions in our society--in particular what the Pill has done to destroy the institution of marriage.

And still the connections between contraception and the institution of marriage are practically ignored by all of society, including Catholic Bishops, who have the teaching of natural law and the Magisterium at their fingertips.