by Fr Richard Heilman | February 13, 2020 7:56 PM
I have asked permission to repost the words of wisdom by Brother Boltoph OSB. Those who read him on social media have been treated to deep and, oftentimes, humorous profundity. This is the first article. I hope to continue these in a series. Enjoy!
There Is No Such Thing as Your Truth
By Brother Boltoph OSB
Pointing out that sins can be forgiven is not the same as excusing sin. Arguing that past behavior does not necessarily predict future behavior is not flawed logic. And the seeming lack of ability to read for comprehension does nothing more than reveal the confirmation bias of those who make those claims in the face of demonstrable truth. As Mitt Romney famously said in his debate with Barrack Obama, “You’re entitled, Mr. President, as the president to your own airplane and your own house, but not to your own facts.” Now I really hate to quote Romney, but even a blind squirrel finds a nut once in a while.
The broader implication of this statement is that while every person is entitled to their opinion, they are not entitled to their own set of facts. Opinion is not fact. Opinion does not define truth; facts do. Perception is relative but truth is not. Opinions vary; facts do not. There cannot be facts that govern opposing “truths”. Period. There are things that are demonstrably true or demonstrably false and nowhere does this seem to be more evident than in the current climate of confirmation bias. The ability to concede that we might be wrong in the face of fact has been lost and has been avoided by the “your truth my truth” nonsense. There are no opposing truths. There are opposing opinions.
For those who claim to be Christians, these points are not arguable and for Catholics, even less so. The Church has spoken as the guardian and teacher of the Deposit of the Faith. She has not been ambiguous, albeit some of her bishops have been, in her statements regarding faith and morals. For Catholics these are FACTS that are not subject to opinion or interpretation. The Catechism of the Church, drawing from scripture, has made clear, imperative moral statements that must be applied to every situation of life. It’s not a smorgasbord that allows us to pick and choose when and where we will submit to the moral and ethical absolutes of the Church. Those moral and ethical absolutes must guide us in every choice we make. To deny them is to deny the teaching authority of the Church and the sufficiency of the scriptures from whence those absolutes are drawn.
Opinion and confirmation bias have no room in the life of the Catholic Christian when confronted with moral and ethical situations. Christ and his Church were very clear about the decisions these situations demand.
We pray the Pater Noster every Sunday but seem to forget that part about forgiving our trespasses as WE FORGIVE THOSE who trespass against us. We recite the Apostles Creed: I believe in the forgiveness of sins. The Apostle’s Creed associates faith in the forgiveness of sins not only with faith in the Holy Spirit, but also with faith in the Church and in the communion of saints. And you know upon whom the Church confers the right to forgive or retain sins? Priests and Bishops. Notice the absence of laity in that sentence. To Priests and Bishops alone belong the power to forgive or retain.
The Catechism and scripture have much to say about sin, forgiveness, and the consequences for refusing to acknowledge the power of God to forgive sins and change lives. And Catholics who refuse to submit to those moral and ethical imperatives because they contradict their confirmation bias and personal feelings and opinions are in grave moral error.
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