Jimmy Carter, the Nature of Things, and Philosophical Revisionism
In case you spent the weekend under a rock, New Advent’s headline blares some interesting – if unsurprising – news from Former President Jimmy Carter. Apparently, the Catholic Church’s teaching on male-only priesthood is a human rights abuse. This coming from a member of the political party responsible for America’s abortion-worship.
I say it’s unsurprising because it’s nothing more than another expression of a common, modern moral error: that we can break with our nature.
The steadfast teaching of the Church has always been that grace builds upon nature. To be great in a way that is faithful to nature is always to be a saint.
The diabolical response is that to be great, we must violate or abandon our nature. This is, in fact, nothing more than the fundamental reason for the fall of the devil and every subsequent sin in history. We try to violate nature, and thus God’s plans.
In centuries past, it was usually enough to point to the nature of things and show that a particular course of action was antithetical to it. Philosophy focused on the rerum natura (the nature of things) and there was within Christendom a pretty strong agreement on that subject.
No longer. On the heels of Marx and Nietzsche, philosophy changed its focus to social engineering and the question the of how nature must be changed for the diabolical agenda to move forward. The 19th and 20th centuries saw a massive redefinition of the nature of things: human dignity, family, sex, motherhood, fatherhood, marriage, work, the very meaning of life. It’s no longer a simple task to point to nature and reveal a sin. Somewhere in the last few centuries, the folks realized that if they wanted to get cover for their sins, they needed to redefine nature rather than simply violate it.
Of course, when you go about changing the story, engineering a new reality, you need everyone to buy into it. Thus it was under the Third Reich, when anyone who opposed the Aryan revision of history was an enemy of the state. It is no different now, though our American moral cancer is not as advanced. Those who cling to the old philosophy are branded by the state or the media as idiots, bigots, and extremists. To the current leadership, there is no greater offender than the Catholic Church, so let’s take a look at their attempts to get the Catholic Church on the “new reality” bandwagon:
Homosexual orientation is a part of human nature. Anyone who denies it is a bigot.
Human embryos/fetuses are blobs of cells. Anyone who denies it is anti-science.
Women can be priests. Anyone who denies it is sexist.
In reality, the teaching of the Church on male-only priesthood is about as big a human rights violation as female-only maternity. Nature dictates that only women can be mothers. It’s not sexist, it’s the nature of things. Christ was a male and tied his priesthood to his own identity so that each priest acts in persona Christi. It’s not sexist for the Church to deny female ordination, it’s just the nature of things. President Carter’s argument is just another attempt at coercing the Church with accusations of bigotry into bowing under the pressure of the culture war and the “new reality.” It’s part of the devil’s game plan.
Like all moral errors in society, it’s best to start by reforming ourselves. If you’re a sinner – I know I am – you’ve almost certainly got some error, no matter how small, probably something learned from the culture at large, somewhere in your philosophy that makes you do things against nature and against God’s plans. Find it, root it out, and re-align your philosophy.
If we’re going to win this culture war, we need to take back philosophy. We’ve got a lot of work to do.