In this follow-up to part 1, I talk about my recent conversation with Patrick Coffin. Patrick and I get into the subject matter of part 1 and also move into the topic of part 2, (this article) which is this: How is Pope Francis promoting the heretical theology of the late twentieth century—the very theology that was responsible for the sexual abuse epidemic?
Here is the interview I did with Patrick Coffin. It’s an hour long, but it’s worth your time to see the whole thing—in my humble opinion. The reason I say this is because we come around to a very important question toward the last quarter-hour. In fact, I will say with complete sincerity that it is the most consequential question of the twentieth century. Here it is:
Might the scientific study of human nature ever pose a problem for theology?
The question gets asked around minute 47 (47: 30). But it is the answer to that question that is our concern. Historically, some of the hasty affirmative answers to that question managed to talk two or three Christian continents out of their faith and ushered in the sexual revolution. They created a theological revolution that led to the sexual abuse scandal. And they are the Rosetta stone that can decode the mystifying operations of the Pope Francis regime. I will get to the pope momentarily, but first, some historical perspective is necessary.
As my new book recounts, psychologists in the twentieth century believed they had discovered a new dimension of human nature, the psyche. What was extraordinary about this dimension was that it was highly variable in the human species. But variability in human nature posed a potentially serious problem for natural law theorists who derive the precepts of the moral law from the facts of human nature. If human nature varied from individual to individual, then the moral law derived from that variable nature might be variable as well. In other words, psychological theories suggested that there could not be a universal moral law that applied to everyone.
Psychologists were presenting a scientific defense of moral relativism. And in doing so, they called into question the universal moral code of the Bible. For the Bible teaches that absolute moral norms are exceptionless and apply to all people:
Do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived! Fornicators, idolaters, adulterers, male prostitutes, sodomites, thieves, the greedy, drunkards, revilers, robbers—none of these will inherit the kingdom of God.1Cor. 6: 9–10, NRSV
But psychologists were now claiming that it was psychologically harmful to deny one’s sexual desires and “orientations.” And so they rejected the Bible’s sexual morality and taught others to do the same. They taught people that it was important to explore and discover one’s sexual needs and that what was actually contrary to nature was not homosexuality and whatnot, but rather, the denial of those desires and orientations. A commenter on my Patrick Coffin interview offers a concise summary of this new psychological morality:
Requiring men to be celibate is the greatest sin against nature the church imposes. Just like a pressure cooker without a valve, it explodes. Now the church is reaping the fruits of its policies.GJ Cruz8 hours ago
It was a new form of natural law. Morality was still derived from the facts of human nature, but those facts no longer came from theology. They came from psychology instead. And this new psychological morality said that universal moral principles that applied to all people in all circumstances—like the Ten Commandments—were no longer valid. The new psycho-morality said that sexual morality was relative, that it varied from person to person. Thus, a person with a homosexual orientation was not immoral for following his or her desires. It was a natural and healthy thing for the homosexual to be his “authentic” and “real” self. And so psychology arrived at a single moral imperative for sexual morality:
Know Thy Sexual Self
Being “Authentic” and “Real”
Humanistic psychologists encouraged people to get in touch with their feelings and desires. To “let it all hang out,” as it were. And to shed their “phoniness.” What is phoniness? I’ll let humanistic psychologist William Coulson explain it:
COULSON: “My phoniness.” But what is his phoniness? Well, his phoniness is among other things his Catholic doctrine. Because if you look within yourself, and you find the Creed, for example, you can imagine someone saying, “Oh, you’re just being a mama’s boy, aren’t you? You’re just doing what you were taught to do; I want to hear from the <real> you.” The proof of authenticity on the humanistic psychology model is to go against what you were trained to be, to call all of that phoniness, and to say what is deepest within you. What’s deepest within you, however, are certain unrequited longings, including sexual longings.FROM: https://www.ewtn.com/library/PRIESTS/COULSON.TXT
“What Did Theologians Teach?” (Part 2)
The great tragedy in the Catholic Church was that too many agreed with the “scientists” that a theologically-informed morality was obsolete. New theology textbooks like Human Sexuality, from the Catholic Theological Society of America, were arguing for a scientific approach to sexual morality (pp.53–56). They agreed with psychologists that the absolute and universal morality of the Bible was invalid (HS p. 97), and they rejected divine revelation as an authentic source of sexual morality (HS. p. 54). The morality of homosexuality should come—they insisted— not from divine revelation, but from science. And scientists were saying that homosexuality was a “natural variant” of human sexuality (HS p. 59).
The trouble with the new moralists was that they rejected an important truth about human nature, namely, that it was sinful and disordered. They did this on purpose, for they rejected the religious source of this knowledge: the belief in humanity’s fallen nature came from theology and the Bible—not from science. As William Coulson pointed out in an interview, he and Carl Rogers rejected the idea of a sinful human nature, as did many scientists. Instead they embraced and promoted the very opposite idea. “I’m Okay, You’re Okay” was the new, psychology-approved philosophy of sexual liberation. And the key to better psychological health was the fulfillment of one’s desires.
But what about people with criminal desires? Violent desires? Humanistic psychology failed to account for the many people who really were not “okay.” And this oversight opened a Pandora’s box that unleashed a torrent of criminal activity in the last decades of the twentieth century. You can check the FBI’s crime statistics if your memory is foggy—or you were too young to remember. But the other thing that this Panglossian theory of human nature did was that it ignited the sexual abuse epidemic in the Catholic Church. Here is William Coulson confessing that the very ideas he promoted to Catholic clergy were responsible for the sexual abuse crisis.
Today, this heretical, psychology-inspired theology is still in business, and it continues to spread sexual abuse throughout the Church. An almost too perfect demonstration comes to us from the beleaguered diocese of Buffalo. A group of priests invited some seminarians to a party, and, according to witnesses, one priest called up a woman he knew and asked her if she’d like to come over and have sex with a seminarian. That event pretty much summed up the evening according to seminarian testimony. A local news station interviewed a couple of the priests in attendance who wished to defend themselves. What was their defense? Both priests resorted to explanations from humanistic psychology to rationalize the sexual misconduct:
We were just trying to be real. . . . We were just trying to be authentic. . . .See the linked video, above.
There, in the space of a brief, three-minute interview, the William Coulson theory of clergy abuse—that humanistic psychology was the culprit—is confirmed for us in spades.
And Pope Francis?
As I point out in my book, Francis has praised the theologian arguably most responsible for introducing humanistic psychology to theology departments—Bernard Häring. The pope stated that every seminary needs to be centered in Häring’s philosophy. And this has been his mission. Consider the following tenets of psychology-informed theology that Francis is promoting:
- Consistent with Häring’s philosophy and with psychology’s moral relativism, Amoris Laetitia rejects the validity of absolute moral norms in at least four different places: pars. 2, 300, 304, and 305. This barefaced heresy contradicts both Sacred Scripture and Tradition according to the teaching of Veritatis Splendor 81. In light of this contempt for a universal sexual morality, the pope’s recently expressed disdain for the Sixth Commandment is not so surprising.
- In Amoris Laetitia, the pope’s book on sexual morality, we are told that sex education must be grounded in psychology (AL 280), but the teaching of the magisterium is not essential for all matters of a doctrinal nature (AL 3).
- Faculty at the John Paul II Institute who uphold the teaching of a universal morality are being replaced by those who reject this teaching.
- At the John Paul II Institute, theologians are being replaced by social scientists.
- According to preliminary documents of the Amazon Synod, doctrinal questions about women in the priesthood should be referred to—can you guess?—social scientists.
Confronting the Pope of Suspicion
The bullet points above suggest that Francis accepts the modernist, scientific critique of religion, namely, that religion cannot teach us anything of value about human nature. More to the point, religion has nothing to teach us at all. That’s why psychology is necessary for sex education and the magisterium isn’t. That’s why theologians are being replaced by social scientists at the John Paul II Institute for Marriage and Family. That’s why a preliminary document for the Amazon Synod recommends that the question of women in the priesthood by settled by scientists.
In my new book, I declare Pope Francis to be the “pope of suspicion,” and, by that, I mean to connect him to the “masters of suspicion” identified by John Paul II in The Theology of the Body—Freud, Marx, and Nietzsche. These masters of suspicion rejected religion as an authentic source of human knowledge. And so I think it is quite clear from the case that I have laid out that the pope’s actions and writings justify my new book’s thesis: Francis subscribes to the heretical theology of the late twentieth century that sought to ground our understanding of sex and human nature in science rather than divine revelation. This new theology is Bernard Häring’s theology. It is a theology of suspicion. It is the theology of an apostate church—”One, Holy, Catholic, and Scientific.”
The Two-Faced Amazonian Synod
My book’s thesis provides a clarifying perspective that can explain the many and various mysteries of the Francis regime. And that includes the upcoming Amazon Synod. The cultural relativism that is found in the synod’s preparatory documents clearly means to declare an equality between Christianity and other religions. But this is hardly a compliment to other religions, given Francis’ low opinion of Christian theology. If Francis really is the pope of suspicion, then it is safe to say that he regards all religion with equal disdain. All religions are equally useless as a source of knowledge and truth. Only science can be trusted to teach us anything about human nature and reality. Thus religion’s proper place is not in the academy, but in the jungle of humanity’s primitive and superstitious origins. And there you have it—Francis’ vision of a “Church with an Amazonian face.”
Of course, Francis believes that religion has value, of a cultural sort. Its festivals and rituals and costumes give meaning and order to the common peasant’s life. And it can be an indispensable source of hope to these poor, downtrodden suckers. It is their opium. Let’s not take it away from them. This appears to be the pope’s religion policy—a kinder, gentler Marxism that, nevertheless, still understands the importance of putting religion in its place.