Saturday, November 5, 2011

On Speaking Out & Consequentialism

I want to be a "nice" guy.  I really do.  Sincerely.

I don't like controversy.  I'm not a fan of always rockin' the boat.

But every now and then my conscience gives me the ol electric shock or two to speak.

I try to speak as pastoral and gentle and with great love for my neighbor as possible.

I really do.

Sometimes it can come out strong.

But I guess as a classroom teacher and catechist my task is to present the Church's teaching, and then it is up to the soul to make the choice.

At least I've done my job.

Bl. John Paul the Great, Veritatis Splendor (1993)

One error pointed out in Vertitatis Splendor -- I don't know the exact quotation -- is the error of "consequentialism".  This is the ideology that one makes moral choices based on the outcome of the act.  Politically, it can be viewed as "utilitarianism," the ideology of the greatest good for the greatest number of people.

The truth is in the object, not the effect.  In other words, something should be done because it's right, not b/c some good will come of it.  Choices should be made looking at the moral act itself, not the consequences of the act.

I don't wanna pick on them, but people think politicians do this all the time.  Politicians can be consequentialists when then want to win and election instead of speak the truth of the moral law.

But I cannot be a consequentialist.  I cannot worry about the effects of my speaking out.

Yes, I realize that I am a sinner.  But I am impelled to speak.

St. Paul talks about this -- I don't remember the exact quotation -- when he says something about woe to me if I do not preach the Gospel.

In one of the First Readings a couple of months ago, one of the Prophets said -- again, I cannot remember the exact quotation -- that his tongue cannot remain silent.

Elsewhere, the Scriptures talk about -- and I paraphrase -- If you do not speak out and the sinner dies, I will hold you accountable for his sin.  But if you speak out and the sinner dies, I will not hold you accountable.

Thus, I feel impelled to speak.

I do penance for the times when I was silent.  Or when my teaching could have been better.

Yes, the Scriptures say that there is a time to talk and a time to be silent.  (I think this is in Ecclesiastes.)

But God has blessed me with gifts of knowledge and understanding -- I'm trying to grow in wisdom now more -- and I've been told it is a gift to share those.

Two issues, well three actually, are marriage and abortion.  The third was the desecration of Our Lady in Rome.  This third one outraged me more than the previous two.

I don't wanna worry about the consequences of my teaching.  My task is to be faithful.  "My teaching is not my own."

Yes, I pray that it may be done in the Spirit of Christ with pastoral love for the flock of God.  This is true charity.

To teach in charity and truth.  And of course to live in first and foremost as Papa Benny recently said in a papal address on the need for teachers to live the Faith they profess.

So there.

That's been on my mind.

I accept the consequences.

I cannot be a consequentialist.

I want to be a "nice" guy.

I really do.

Who wants to not be liked?

Who wants to always live their life always in exile?

Humanly speaking, of course.

But the thought of eternal life.

That puts things in perspective.

Holy Spirit, forgive me  for not speaking when You want me to speak.

Veni Sancte Spiritus! 

Class dismissed.

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