In the great Cathedral debate in Reno Nevada of 7 November of this year, affirmative stated:
“Those opposed to Catholic Action, as a nation, support a culture of death. Voting for someone opposed to Catholic Action is a grave matter, willingly agreed to and with full knowledge. Pope Pious X censors those who argue Mother Church should change her teaching to conform to the spirit of the age.’ He wrote this in 18…99, in address to Modernist Conservatives of his time.”
The negative argued, “Modernism refers to liberal doctrine.” The liberal doctrines to which he refers did not exist when Pope Pious X wrote in 18…99. The affirmative continued, “New opinions are new opinions, coming from Modernist Conservatives or Liberals of today.” He also noted, George Gallup reports on his website:
“The percentage of Americans identifying as Roman Catholic stayed within 20% and 30% over the last 60 years. Catholics were 22% of the U.S. adult population in 1948. That percentage rose reaching its high point in the 1970s, when the U.S. population was nearly 30% Catholic. In the last several years, Gallup’s estimate has been Catholic 22% to 23%.”
He also may have noted, CNN ran an article on the church’s decline, and four of their top seven reasons for Catholics leaving the church tie to conservative politics. A person in the audience asked the affirmative speaker, “What do you refer to when you accuse conservatives of being modernists?” The affirmative responded, “The five non-negotiables.”
The conservatives in the room howled, “This is official doctrine!”
“The five non-negotiables,” as five rules set apart from the rest are not official doctrine. This Sunday is The Solemnity of Christ the King and it highlights what is wrong with The Five non-negotiables as doctrine. God is not in it.
Before stating his position on modernist conservatism, affirmative stated, “Our understanding of right and wrong is what re-orients us in a time of crisis, when the world is surreal and the rules do not seem to apply. It must be simple, allowing no exceptions. It must focus upon God first, and his property second, in particular what he made in his image, each other. It must focus upon life as lived in the image of God.”
The readings for the Sunday before the debate relate Jesus’ words when asked to define basic right and wrong. “Hear you who struggle with God, God is Almighty, God is One; Love God with all your hearts, with all your animate being, and with all of your measure.” “How do we love someone who already has everything?” “By respecting what is his, in particular what he made in his image. This is the true non-negotiable.” This, and not some conservative five- non-negotiables is the solid base upon which to build Catholic morality.
This Sunday is The Solemnity of Christ the King. Pope Pius XI established the feast in 1925 to address secularism, which leaves God out of man’s thinking and living and organizes his life as if God did not exist. This is the modernism, which affirmative attacked in the debate. The feast proclaims Christ’s rule over individuals, families, nations, and governments.
If we follow this Shema, Mark 12: 29, Deuteronomy 6:4-9, and the Ten Commandments, as Jesus understood them, with Deuteronomy 5:1-7 as the First Commandment, we have that foundation of right and wrong we are looking for.
“The Personal Name, our Mighty Judge, cut a Social Contract with us at Mt. Sword; not with our ancestors did the Personal Name cut this Social Contract, but with us, all of us, alive, here, this day…” Remember, “I am the Personal Name your Almighty Judge, who brought you out of the land of Oppression, out of the house of menial labor.” Remember your oppression, and remember your rescue. When you see others suffering, do something.
This understanding re-orients those in a time of crisis, when the world is surreal and the rules do not seem to apply. Escapees from oppression in Europe originally stood at Mt. Sword the first time. The focus is upon the mountain and God who speaks from that mountain. From that remembrance of escape from oppression comes all that follows.
As affirmative related, our understanding of the Physical Presence in the Eucharist comes from this understanding of Deuteronomy 5. There is no room for secluding five rules from the others, and apart from Mt. Sinai and setting them as more important from all the others. The issue is not about whether these five rules still apply. They do! It is one of focus. If we correct the focus, we will follow these rules the conservatives want as source and summit, but God, and his rescue of us will be source and summit, and this necessitated the debate in the first place.