Tuesday, September 25, 2012
Fr. Charles Belmonte versus "The Dissenter" (Fr. Joaquin Bernas): Round 2!
For part 1: Fr. Charles Belmonte on the dissent of Fr. Joaquin Bernas
The following is from Fr. Charles Belmonte's Facebook page. He published this yesterday, Sept. 24, 2012. The picture (Cimabue's The Treason of Judas) is part of the post.
THE DISSENTER wrote…:
“Let me illustrate this through the teaching on contraception. The teaching of the Church on contraception is found in various documents. But Church teaching is not accepted by a vast number of people.”
I SAY: Being an “eminent constitutionalist” he should know that “acceptance by the people” is not a necessary requirement for the validity or lawfulness of a law; at least in Canon Law. Moreover, “Laws are authentically interpreted by the legislator” (CIC, 16), not by any Dick, Tom or Harry.
THE DISSENTER: “Persons who adhere to Humanae Vitae, etc. and act in the sphere of the relation of man to God are expected to plan their family according to the principles of the Church teaching.
I SHOULD ADD: Right so. These “persons” are officially called “christifideles” or simply, Catholics.
THE DISSENTER: “But these same persons should not be faulted if in the sphere of constitutional law they do not oppose a state plan that is not in accordance with Humanae Vitae, etc."
I SAY: I contemplate tree possible motives for which they do not oppose a state plan that is not in accordance with their faith (using the legal resources they may have):
(a) They don’t oppose an evil law because they cannot do so, materially. Possible reasons: All the media are against them; the machinery of the State impedes them from intervening; they have no representation in the assembly, etc.
(b) They don’t oppose an evil law because they have two wills, instead of one, as all human beings have. We should not discard the possibility of aliens possessing two wills.
(c) They don’t oppose an evil law because of duplicity in their character. They are not fully determined in favor of Truth and Good; thus, they harbor in their hearts a certain love for truth and, at the same time, a personal inclination to evil not fully conquered (due to vanity, pride…, whatever).
THE DISSENTER: “Religious liberty in the constitutional plane does not simply mean freedom to choose what to believe but also freedom to act or not to act according to one’s belief.”
I SAY: I really don’t know, or care, what “liberty in the constitutional plane” implies.
But “liberty in the moral plane” –definitively and emphatically– does not mean what the Dissenter avers.
“To act according to one’s belief” is usually called “sincerity,” or “authenticity,” or “having personal responsibility and maturity,” or “being coherent with one’s faith.”
On the other hand, “Not to act according to one’s belief” is usually called “duplicity,” or “insincerity,” or “betrayal of one’s faith.”
Faith is not a “hat” that one can take off when one enters the Congress and then put on when one enters the church; that is, properly speaking, having a “double life”… nakakasuka.