The Cost of Doing Nothing, Part 2: The Heresies of Fr. William Long

[This is the second installment of a series. For part 1, click here.]

Apostasy is spreading like a California wildfire these days. Just take a look at these advertisements for the “World Meeting of Families,” a Catholic conference happening in Ireland next year. If you click on the link below you will discover that the inclusion of gay “married” couples at this Catholic conference enjoys the blessing of the bishop of Limerick.  We are witnessing what appears to be a deliberate attempt to normalize homosexuality in the Church, and as the brochure below indicates, it’s not just Fr. James Martin.  In fact, Fr. Martin is quick to point out that he has the support of many bishops and cardinals (see below).  The utter massiveness of this mass apostasy hit my own home

parish quite hard this past summer. As I stated in part 1, my new pastor is preaching LGBT propaganda in our church.  Many people in the parish have confronted him and have written letters to the diocese. But Fr. Long now denies that he has said anything heterodox and is challenging us to produce evidence to the contrary.  So I offer the recording below.

First, some background about the recording. It is a recording of Fr. William Long, the newly appointed administrator of our parish, slated to become the new pastor.  It comes from what was advertised to be a question and answer session where parishioners would get a chance to ask Fr. Long about all the changes he was implementing and to ask about some of the ideas he was expressing in his homilies.  In the first nine minutes, however, Fr. Long delivers an opening presentation that is important.  For in that introduction, he attempts a justification of his heretical views:  Advances in science have increased our understanding of the world, of nature—and most importantly, of human nature.  This scientific progress invalidates many church teachings because those teachings are based on a faulty understanding of the world and of human nature—so argues Fr. Long.

Now, as the hour session is coming to a close, Fr. Long addresses a question on artificial contraception, which conveniently steers the conversation to human sexuality.  He never answers the question on artificial contraception, but, instead, turns to the issue of homosexuality.  But no one asked him a question on homosexuality!  Fr. Long chose, on his own, to raise the issue at the end of the meeting.  And it is in these concluding statements that we come to understand the significance of his introduction.  For it is church teaching on sexuality—and especially homosexuality—that is invalidated by science according to Fr. Long.

Fr. Long is not the only clergyman to hold this view, it turns out.  Fr. James Martin says exactly the same thing here (about 1:50–1:58):

 

Let’s be clear about the implications of their argument.  If true, then virtually everything that we understand about traditional Christianity cannot be true.  Certainly the doctrine of infallibility is lost.  And if the Church is not infallible, how, then, can she legitimately claim to have an infallible Source?  Thus the divinity of Christ is also lost. Nor can the Bible be the word of God, which, you will recall, was supposed to outlast even Heaven and Earth, as Jesus—apparently mistakenly—informed us in Mt. 24:35; Lk. 21:33; Mk. 13:31.

Let us also be clear about the power of their argument.  Bishop Barron has stated multiple times, in videos, articles, and lectures, that the Church’s response to the heresy of modernism has been anemic.  People are leaving the Church in droves—six people leave the Church for every one who enters, according to Barron—and the reason they give is the so-called incompatibility of science and religion.  Obviously, more needs to be done to effectively communicate the perennial truths of our faith and to counter the plausible heresies of modernism.

The question, of course, is how to do that effectively.  It won’t do, for example, simply to point out that the Catechism contradicts them.  They already know that, and their response is well summarized by the tweets below: “THE CATECHISM NEEDS TO CHANGE!”  And it will not do to say that the Bible contradicts them either. For they have an answer for that as well:

“The Bible was written a long time ago by people who were ignorant and superstitious. We know better now.  To follow the Bible in the 21st century is to be a fundamentalist, creationist bigot. And we will not tolerate your bigotry! RELIGION POISONS EVERYTHING!! Grow up and get more scientific, will ya?!”

Fr. James Martin & Co. are fully aware that what they are saying does not agree with Church teaching, so they say things to discredit the authority of the Bible, and they campaign to change the language of the Catechism.  They know exactly what they are doing. They are attempting to change what St. Paul told us cannot be changed.  They are attempting to change the teachings of divine revelation—especially the teachings on homosexuality:

One way to be sensitive is to consider the language we use. Some bishops have already called for the church to set aside the phrase “objectively disordered” when it comes to describing the homosexual inclination (as it is in the Catechism, No. 2358). The phrase relates to the orientation, not the person, but it is still needlessly hurtful. Saying that one of the deepest parts of a person— the part that gives and receives love— is “disordered” in itself is needlessly cruel. Setting aside such language was discussed at the Synod on the Family, according to several news outlets (p. 46, Building a Bridge).

Perhaps what is most mind-boggling about the present clerical apostasy is that priests and bishops are borrowing from the arguments of the New Atheists, of all people, to inaugurate a new and radical reformation. Thus, the new Luther is not really Fr. James Martin.  It is actually Sam Harris who is the brains behind this revolution.  He’s the one who argued that morality can and should be determined by science rather than religion.  (Shouldn’t reason, after all, be the guide of our actions rather than superstition?)

What we are facing is an unprecedented crisis of authority in the Church, made possible, in part, by the persuasiveness of the New Atheists. (Let’s face it. The priest scandal also played a huge role in discrediting the Church.) Every appeal to council or catechism, Bible, bishop, or pope is ultimately an appeal to authority.  But the authority of the Church is dead because, in the eyes of many, it is an authority built on ignorance and superstition.

What is needed most desperately, therefore, is a defense—not of the Church’s authority—but of its truth.  And there is simply no way to accomplish this if science has already proven us wrong.

Which brings me to the reason I wrote my book.   In The Immoral Landscape of the New Atheism, I argued that  science has not invalidated Church teaching one bit.  There I showed that at least one prominent Catholic, in particular, was quite confident that science posed no threat to Christianity.  You may have heard of him—Pope St. John Paul II.  In  The Theology of the Body, John Paul predicted that, ultimately, science would come to vindicate the teachings of the Church, especially with regard to sexuality.  And as I demonstrated in my book, his prediction is already coming true.  In an upcoming installment of this series, I will show how science is already confirming the Church’s moral psychology and how this validates the Church’s manifold teachings on sexuality.  But that is for later. For now, I leave you with the recording of Fr. Long’s meeting.  I have also included an abridged and annotated transcript.

But before I go, I share with you the words of St. Paul from Gal. 1:6–9:

I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and turning to a different gospel—not that there is another gospel, but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ.  But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to that which we preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again, If any one is preaching to you a gospel contrary to that which you received, let him be accursed.

 

Let the Diocese of Raleigh know what you think! http://dioceseofraleigh.org/content/contact-us-1

 

 

fr.long-8-16-17-q&a-highlights-web-2 [PDF of the transcript]

 

Fr. Long, St. Andrew’s Q&A Session, Wednesday, 8-16-17

I. Fr. Long’s Opening Presentation (9 minutes)

  1. 1:39“If you don’t understand creation correctly, you can’t understand God correctly.”
  2. 1:47 “Grace works on nature. Grace builds on nature.”
  3. 2:19 “What if our idea of creation [nature] is incorrect? Then our idea of God [and grace] changes.”

a. [Comment: By the end of the Q & A session, Fr. Long will connect this idea to homosexuality to argue that developments in science invalidate Church and Bible teaching on homosexuality. (See # 25, below.) This is a theme that he carried over into the second Q & A session of 8-23-17.]

4.     3:23 “Can anyone here explain to me quantum physics? . . . If I don’t understand [quantum physics], maybe I really don’t understand God like I thought I did—like quantum physics.”

5.  4:16 “We need to look at creation, to look at our new cosmology. And if you don’t understand our new cosmology, you can’t understand new understandings, uh, ways of looking at God, today and in the future.”

6. 5:28 “Ironically, this week’s gospel is Jesus and the Canaanite woman.” [Fr. Long proceeds to read Mt.15:21–28.]

7.  7:13 “We know from scriptures that Jesus grew in ‘wisdom, age, and grace.’ We know from our studies of scriptures that the divinity of Jesus has been so overemphasized in our tradition that sometimes we forget about the humanity of Jesus. Did he [Jesus] know everything? No. ‘He grew in wisdom, age, and grace.’”

[Comment: Actually, Jesus knew everything, CCC 267, 316, 472, 473, 474, 482. Any quality that the Father possesses, the Son and Holy Spirit also possess.]

 

8.   8:43 “Jesus is the Christ, but the Christ is not limited to Jesus.” “Having said that—that’s my presentation.”

a. Comment on Fr. Long’s opening presentation.

He started off by telling us that a change in our scientific understanding of nature would require a change in our understanding of God. Then he tells us that, with the development of quantum physics, our understanding of nature has in fact changed. Thus, he is saying that our concept of God must change too. His final statements about Jesus, therefore, must be understood logically as a change in our understanding of God. Consequently, when he says that Jesus did not know everything and that “the Christ is not limited to Jesus,” he is essentially saying that Jesus Christ is not God. This fits with other statements that he makes about the Eucharist and about the presence of God in Christians. (See points # 9, #20, and #24, below.) He seems to think that there is an equality between the divine presence in Jesus, the Eucharist, and us. He is dangerously close to asserting that the divine in Jesus is no different from the divine in other people. But we need not speculate on the implications of Fr. Long’s presentation. For his statement explicitly contradicts Church doctrine on two counts: First is the statement that “the Christ is not limited to Jesus.” This plainly contradicts Church doctrine: For his statement asserts that his concept of Christ is greater than Jesus. But since Jesus is God—the creator of heaven and earth—there can be nothing greater than Jesus (CCC 267, 316–318). Hence to assert that something is greater than Jesus is to deny that he is God. In sum, the first error of Fr. Long’s opening statement is the denial of Jesus Christ’s divinity. The second error is this: Our knowledge of God does not depend on scientific knowledge or discovery. Our understanding of the Trinity and the Incarnation, for example, comes from Divine Revelation, not science. And no future scientific discovery can threaten the truths of Divine Revelation (CCC 66– 67, 73).

II. The Q & A Session Highlights

9.  16:47 “Now I noticed everyone stands until the tabernacle is closed here [during Communion]. However, I don’t understand that because I don’t know the difference between the real presence in the tabernacle and the real presence we just received.”

a. [Comment: The difference is explained at CCC 1374: the Eucharist is “a substantial presence by which Christ, God and man, makes himself wholly and entirely present.” Thus God—the Creator of the universe—is fully present in the Eucharist. This is why we worship the Eucharist (CCC 1378). We do not worship people who progress in holiness only gradually, if at all : CCC 1394–1395. Obviously, one would never replace a monstrance with a person during Eucharistic adoration. We receive God in Holy Communion, but we do not become God—the Creator of the universe.]

10.  17:51 “Does Hell exist? How the hell do I know?”

11.  17:58 “How could anyone say that someone is in a mortal sin?  I don’t even know what a mortal sin is, to be honest with you.”

12. 18:45 “Mortal sin is a deadly sin. A mortal sin cuts somebody off from the life of God, technically. How do I know someone is cut off from the life of God?”

13. 19:37 “How can anyone, including the Church, define what a mortal sin is?”

14. 21:51 “If the Church says that missing Mass is a mortal sin, is that because we want to make people submissive and obedient? We want to make people co-dependent on us? Do we want to have a parent-figure that watches over us?”

15. 22:24 “Do I believe in the doctrine of mortal sin? A doctrine is simply a portal into the mystery of God. I believe in serious sin. I don’t believe missing Mass is a sin. I’ve done it myself . . . .”

16. 23:16 “The other sin—People think that masturbation is a mortal sin. Do you really want to put that guilt [on people]?”

17. 31:41 “What does ‘lowly’ mean? Mary is the ‘lowly’ one, right? What does ‘lowly’ mean in the teaching of the Church? It means ‘submissiveness.’ It means you’re going to be a good Catholic. . . . You’re obedient, and you’re submissive. And that’s what men would like all women to be.”

18. 41:14 “In 2,000 years, have we learned a lot? . . . Have we understood the scriptures better? Have we understood what the historical Christ is? Historical consciousness is? History? Sure. Would the gospel writers write in the same way if they were alive today? No, right? . . . Because of different ways of thinking. . . . Remember, the Old Testament, the Hebrew scriptures—it’s all mythic—mythology—because that’s how they understood life. . . .” [Fr. Long gives example of Noah’s Ark.]

19. 46:49 “Are you a child of God? Saying ‘child’ makes you dependent. Are you becoming submissive and dependent? I don’t know. It’s certainly possible. Maybe . . . the Church wants us to be a little more co-dependent, submissive.”

20. 47:09 “So how does God look at you today? Does he look at your true self, your divine self?”

21. 47:34 “How can it not be a sin to miss Mass? Well, I’d have to say that—how many Catholics are in the world? One billion. Of that, 70% miss Mass on Sunday. Am I better than them?”

22. 48:38 “So why is missing Mass a sin? Because it goes against the clerical, hierarchical Church rules. We wouldn’t want to break that, would we? But don’t ask me to answer the question. Ask yourself. Ask yourself who God is. When you’re on vacation this week, when you go on to the beach—and you miss Mass—God is probably smiling at you saying, ‘I hope you enjoyed your vacation.’”

23. 49:13 “I used to tell the college students . . . ‘Don’t believe anything your teachers say. Don’t believe anything your parents say. Don’t believe anything I say. And certainly don’t believe anything any other priest tells you. Listen. And then make it your own. Then decide. Okay, a priest up there told me missing Mass is a sin. The other priest told me missing Mass isn’t a sin. . . . Come up with your own answer. If you think it’s a sin, you better get to Mass. If you don’t think it’s a sin feel free——that, if you’re in the hospital, you can’t get to church, you don’t have to go to confession.”

24. 50:45 “I know deep down that I am the son of God. And, do I make mistakes? Absolutely.”

25. 53:12 “The Church is homophobic. That’s a sin. The teaching of the Church, the teaching of the Bible on homosexuality is not about homosexuality. It’s about heterosexuality. I mean what they called ‘deviant behavior.’ So, if I am a heterosexual, and I’m practicing something that’s against my nature, then, according to the Bible, that’s against God’s law. They didn’t know what homosexuality was. They didn’t know what sexual orientation was. Now, we have an idea. So, if [I’m] a homosexual, and you’re trying to make me a heterosexual, you’re in the wrong. . . .”

a. “Which I’ve known twenty people sending their children to these camps trying to . . . reprogram them.”

26. 54:12 [Man in audience] “You mean the way you’re trying to reprogram us tonight? Is there any Catholics here at all? And that understand what this man is preaching here? It’s emancipation. . . . We have a Catechism!!!”

END OF TRANSCRIPT FOR 8-16-17

A Well Designed Eclipse for a Well Designed Mind

Is God trying to tell us something?

Today we behold one of the most spectacular celestial events to grace our planet: for just a few brief moments, night will intrude upon daylight.  Jay Richards, from the Catholic University of America, describes just how unlikely it is that we should ever experience one these amazing eclipses:

But the story doesn’t end there. A rare alignment of events allows Earthlings to witness not just solar eclipses, but what we might call perfect solar eclipses. Our Moon just barely covers the Sun’s bright photosphere. Such an eclipse depends on just the right sizes, shapes, and relative distances of the Sun, Moon and Earth.

There’s no law of physics that dictates this layout. There are 65 major moons in our Solar System, and many smaller ones. But only we enjoy perfect solar eclipses. If there were Martians or Uranians, they wouldn’t see such eclipses.

The Moon is about 400 times smaller than the Sun. But the Moon is also about 400 times closer to the Earth than is the Sun. As a result, the size of the Moon on our sky matches the size of the Sun. And since they appear as round disks, they match in both size and shape.

. . . .

In brief, the best time and place to view total solar eclipses in our Solar System is just when and where there are observers to see them.

Let that sink in.

Source: Perfect Eclipses: Coincidence or Conspiracy? | The Stream

Richards also points out that the phenomenon made certain scientific advances possible, including the confirmation of an important prediction of Einstein’s Theory of Relativity. From this he draws an important conclusion:

This is just one example of an eerie pattern we discuss in detail in The Privileged Planet: life-friendly places like Earth are also the best places, over all, for doing science.

Evidence of intelligent design is, of course, evidence of an Intelligent Designer and so quite possibly points to the existence of God.  Maybe God designed the perfect total eclipse just for us?  And maybe God designed our minds so that we could appreciate eclipses and learn from them?

My personal opinion is that the design of the human mind is the most underappreciated and least explored frontier of intelligent design, and  much of my book is devoted to investigating the evidence for this.  If  in fact the human mind was designed, it was designed for a purpose:

To know, to love, and to serve God— the saints and spiritual masters tell us, and the Church emphatically agrees, that this is the purpose and function of man. This is our reason for existence. Based on our observations here, I suggest there is room to extend this wisdom just a bit further. To know, to love, and to serve God is indeed the end and function of man. But more than this, it is the divinely ordained purpose and function of the human mind. God made the human mind to know, to love, and to serve Him. Notice what follows from this. To the extent that the mind knows, loves, and serves God, we can say of that mind that it is performing its function. But to the extent that a mind fails to do these spiritual things, we can say that such a mind is failing to perform its function. In other words, such a mind is dysfunctional. The Grace Hypothesis of Mind and Mental Health . . . predicts that symptoms of mental dysfunction— depression, anxiety, impulse control disorders, and substance abuse— will be present to the extent that a mind fails to perform its spiritual function— to know, to love, and to serve God.

. . . .

God gave us the Bible so that we might learn best how to know, love, and serve Him. [Thus] it follows that the mind that conforms to . . . Biblical [teaching] will flourish because it is properly performing its function, while the mind that fails to follow the Bible will suffer the symptoms of dysfunction. If the Grace Hypothesis is true, the universal, immutable law that governs the human mind is this: that we learn and observe the teachings of the Bible.

[From: The Immoral Landscape of the New Atheism, chapter 3]

As I show in my book, the investigation of the mind promises much more than other design arguments.  For the standard design arguments can only point to some intelligent designer or other. They do not necessarily point to the God of the Bible. But the evidence from my book points directly to the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob—the God of the Ten Commandments, for God designed our minds to follow these Commandments, as St. Paul tells us in Hebrews:

10This is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord:   I will put my laws into their minds, and write them on their hearts, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 11And they shall not teach every one his fellow or every one his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for all shall know me, from the least of them to the greatest. * [RSV.  Heb. 8:10-11]

The Intelligent Design argument that I advance in my book makes a prediction.  It says that the rapid secularization we are now seeing in our culture will lead to an equally rapid decline in mental health.  Not everyone agrees with this prediction however.  Steven Pinker, for example, is predicting a new Enlightenment for our new secular age. And he has a new book coming out to make this case. But the empirical data is working against our optimistic atheist.  For everywhere that Pinker expects to find enlightenment, there one finds mental illness instead.  The evidence now is too overwhelming to ignore:  as America has become more secular, she has, at the same time, become more mentally ill.  And our present political and cultural climate bears witness to this uncomfortable truth.  America is not heading for a new Enlightenment.  Instead she walks in darkness.

Consider that as you experience the Great American Eclipse.  Perhaps, today, God is trying to tell us something.  Perhaps we should listen.