In olden days, a glimpse of stocking
Was looked on as something shocking.
But now, God knows,
Good authors too who once knew better words
Now only use four-letter words
These are lyrics from a song. Lady Gaga? No. They were written by Cole Porter in 1953, a mere 64 years ago. Those were the days of morally benign TV shows like “Father Knows Best” and “Leave it to Beaver” and “I Love Lucy,” so the lyrics were either reflecting a certain segment of society or Porter was a prophet.
There were some movies and novels pushing the morality envelope, no doubt about it. “Lolita” was written in 1951 and “Catcher in the Rye” in 1955, and, in 1957, the movie “Peyton Place” was on the big screen. Rotten Tomatoes calls it a “toned-down” version of the notorious best seller by the same name.
So, things were not pure as the driven snow, morality-wise, in the 50s. But look where we’ve come since then. Lady Gaga’s performance at the Super Bowl 51 on Sunday (2/5/17) was lauded by conservatives (and panned by liberals) because she made no overt Trump-slamming comments, which are becoming so commonplace today, especially in celebrity circles.
I didn’t watch the half-time show. Yet, I read that Lady Gaga did trumpet her “born this way” message, giving a shout-out to the LGBTQ culture, as one might expect. That doesn’t seem to bother our conservative friends as much as it used to. Imagine someone doing that in the first Super Bowl in 1967.
When it comes to gay this or that, that ship has sailed; most Americans see nothing wrong with same gender sexual expression, or even switching one’s gender if one so desires. Yet, Bible-honoring Christians are the exception — or should be. One cannot seriously believe the Bible is God’s word and accept the notion that same-sex “marriage,” cohabitation, or any of the host of other sexual sins is within God’s will. Nothing could be more clear that sexual immorality — defined as any kind of sexual expression outside of a lawful marriage — is sin and will bring condemnation to those who refuse to repent.
While we strenuously disagree with Catholic theology and doctrine, we have felt that they were our allies in the social fight against sexual immorality. In fact, orthodox Catholicism forbids divorce for any reason, ignoring the “exception clause” in Matthew 19:9 that most Christians accept.
However, Catholic leadership has taken what appears to be a radical turn toward accommodation with the culture. Pope Francis’ interpretation of Chapter VII of Amoris Laetitia has caused a ruckus, to say the least. Here’s the section that Francis has confirmed, that is causing all the uproar:
“When the concrete circumstances of a couple make it feasible…it is possible to propose that they make the effort of living in continence…In other, more complex circumstances, and when it is not possible to obtain a declaration of nullity, the aforementioned option may not, in fact, be feasible. Nonetheless, it is equally possible to undertake a journey of discernment. If one arrives at the recognition that, in a particular case, there are limitations that diminish responsibility and culpability, particularly when a person judges that he would fall into a subsequent fault by damaging the children of the new union, Amoris Laetitia opens up the possibility of access to the sacraments of Reconciliation and the Eucharist.”
What that means, in plain English, is that adultery and remarriage, for whatever reason, are no longer a hindrance to membership in the Catholic community. Here is one Catholic writer’s comments on Francis’s affirmation:
“Not a mistranslation, not taken out of context, not ambiguous, not possible to be reconciled with traditional Church teaching. You wanted clarity, right?
“This is a battle for the very survival of the Church. Priests will be faced with forced sacrilege in the name of false mercy. The Body of Christ will be commingled with mortal sin by command of His Bride.
“What will it be like when the Eucharist is profaned in every hour of every day, all over the world?”
The writer follows this with quotes some apocalyptic passages from Matthew and Daniel — in other words, in his opinion, “the end is near.” See www.nonvinipacem.com
Another Catholic writer, on Vox Cantoris, calling the Pope by his last name, Berogoglio, instead of referring to him as the pope, says, “This is modernism and this is heresy. It only takes a drop to poison a litre of water. If you drink it, you will still die.” He goes on:
“Catholics have been betrayed by Joseph Ratzinger [Pope Benedict, the previous pontiff], a coward who abandoned us. A father who abandoned his children. The man that has taken his place is not a spiritual father, he is the equivalent of the evil stepfather who manipulates and abuses his children.
“No more excuses from any that Amoris Laetitia must be interpreted in the light of Tradition. No! Amoris Laetitia must be denounced along with the Pope who promulgated it. Enough of the excuses.
“You bishops and cardinals are cowards. You will be held account for not confronting this Bishop of Rome to his face!”
OK, then. There is upheaval and division in the Roman Catholic Church. Some would say the circle is complete — total accommodation to the secular world, compromise with Satan.
But the Catholic Church does not speak for me or other Christians I know. It certainly doesn’t change anything the Bible says; never has, never will. Perhaps this controversy will wake Catholics up to see the fallacy of papal “infallibility.”
To use the writer’s metaphor above, the Pope doesn’t have a drop of “poison” that can possibly foul the water of truth. The Bible is the only source of truth and guidance and “let God be true though every man is a liar” (Romans 3:4).
It seems so simple. Just stick to God’s word, “speak as the very utterances of God” (I Peter 4:11) and leave it at that. Perhaps all of this discord will cause a level of discontent among our Catholic friends, relatives and neighbors that will create an opportunity for us to impress upon them this simple truth.