"I expect to die in bed, my successor will die in prison and his successor will die a martyr in the public square. His successor will pick up the shards of a ruined society and slowly help rebuild civilization, as the church has done so often in human history." -Cardinal Francis George

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Did Dale Ahlquist coin a phrase?

In a great article titled Another Sin We Don't Want to Hear About, Dale Ahlquist laid down what I think is a very quoteable quote. Dale is one of my heros. I actually have been watching his Sunday night show on EWTN for years before even considering Catholicism an option. Chesterton makes so much sense, I was just drawn to Dale's weekly dose of him in a moth-to-flame sort of way. Although my wife will tell you that when the show was over, I would quickly turn the channel so as not to see the nuns praying the rosary. Scandalous! Ah, silly old me.

In true Chestertonian fashion, he has a one liner in here that made me: pause, chuckle, re-read, think, grin.
I actually googled the phrase and came up empty. Is it possible Dale coined it? Seems strange that he could be the first to coin it, because it is quite a simple statement, but perhaps. Anyhoo, i'll let you read the entire passage and see if you can pick it out for yourself.

I love what he has to say here. So what I though was a really good one liner was "It is hypocritical to criticize hypocrites". Perhaps Chesterton said it and Dale is repeating it here? Or is it not as profound as I think it is?
The Catholic Church is always condemned for condemning sins. Since we are all sinners, sin is the last thing we want to hear about. But of course, if we don’t confess our sins and flee from our sins, sin is the last thing we will hear about. That’s why the Church has a certain obligation to keep bringing these things up.

The Church has to do the hard and thankless work of condemning sins. There are few folks—well, more than a few—who do not consider the Church a trustworthy authority on the subject of sin. They are quick to point out that priests and bishops and even popes have turned out to be guilty of the same sins they have condemned. But this excuse for questioning the authority of the Church doesn’t wear well. It is hypocritical to criticize hypocrites. The more interesting challenge is this: do sins change? Or rather, does the Catholic Church condemn something as being a sin in one age, but excuse it as not being a sin in another age? This is an argument that is often used against the Church’s moral teaching.

In the 1960s many people in the Catholic Church were anticipating that Pope Paul VI would issue an encyclical that would permit contraception. Some argued that there was precedent for such a change in the Church’s teaching. After all, the Church once condemned usury as a sin, but no longer did.

But the encyclical Humane Vitae surprised and infuriated a lot of people: the Pope upheld the Church’s teachings instead of altering them. He also warned about what would happen if the world embraced a contraceptive mentality: it would lead to abortion, divorce, and sexual perversion. Turned out he was right.

Keep up the Chestertonizing Dale.