Regína sacratíssimi Rosárii, ora pro nobis!

Ave Maria!
Twenty-second Sunday after Pentecost—9 November AD 2014
Day of Dedication of the Lateran Basilica

Roman Denarius-Tribute Coin-Tiberius Cæsar

“Master, we know that thou art a true speaker, and teachest the way of God in truth....”[1].

Ordinary of the Mass
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    The Pharisees approached Jesus with this phrase, but it should be obvious that they were not interested in truth.  In this particular case, they were trying to trap our Lord.  They hoped that He would make a statement against the Roman government, saying that it was proper to resist the tax by foreigners--or that He would make a statement that would offend the Jewish authorities, perhaps by being too enthusiastic about Cæsar and the Romans.  In any event they were not interested in truth.

    In many ways, the Pharisees were like the Modernists of our time.  As Saint Paul prophesied:: “in the last times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to spirits of error, and doctrines of devils....”[2] For the Modernist, everything is relative.  No two people can agree on anything, for each sees from his own point of view and sees against a slightly different background.  The Modernist cannot bring himself to admit that there is such a thing as objective truth.  And, of course, if there is no objective truth, there can be no objective morality either.

    Indeed, it is quite possible that the desire to avoid the Moral Law is what makes someone adopt the Modernist philosophy.  If I want to live a licentious life, I may just convince myself that there are no objective standards of behavior.  One would think that this would be difficult for Catholics, for much of our Moral Law is explicitly stated in the Sacred Scriptures.  In fact, many of the behaviors advocated by Modernists are proscribed by the Scriptures—and for many of them the Scriptures prescribe the death penalty![3]

    The Modernist will counter that the Scriptures were written very long ago, and that the Moral Law has had all these centuries to “evolve.” God may have said something three thousand years ago, but society has had all that time to change, and the Moral Law must change along with it.  Often—without any evidence—these same people will insist that the evolution taught by Charles Darwin is a fact rather than a theory, for it gives credence to their flexible ideas about reality.

    On some level Modernism tries to place man above God.  It does so because objective truth must surely exist in the mind of God, who knows all things in their finest detail, and in “whom there is no change, nor shadow of alteration.”[4]  Modernism falsely appeals to “human dignity” as the reason why no behavior should be looked down upon.  It fails to recognize that a person falls from dignity when he violates the Moral Law.  One does not become more noble or more dignified by committing murder or adultery, by lying or stealing.

    The Modernist will also appeal, falsely, to the concept of freedom.    I say "falsely," because while man does enjoy God-given freedom, that freedom is the right to do the things that he ought to do.  Man is free to earn a living, to protect himself and his wife and children, and free to do all of the things that age good for him under the Natural Moral Law.  He is not to be coerced to do things that are evil.  Nor is he free to work evil by his own free will.  Saint James even refers to the Commandments as “the law of liberty.”[5]

    The Modernist may condemn objection to evil behavior as being “judgmental,” and may even suggest that being “judgmental” was condemned by our Lord: “judge not, and you shall not be judged. Condemn not, and you shall not be condemned.”[6]  But this “judging” which our Lord forbade went beyond condemning the sin to condemning the sinner—as though one of us could sentence a soul to Hell!

    Our Lord clearly distinguishes judgment from fraternal correction:

    Even so it is not the will of your Father, who is in heaven, that one of these little ones should perish.  But if thy brother shall offend against thee, go, and rebuke him between thee and him alone. If he shall hear thee, thou shalt gain thy brother.   And if he will not hear thee, take with thee one or two more: that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may stand.   And if he will not hear them: tell the church. And if he will not hear the church, let him be to thee as the heathen and publican.[7]

    We should correct those who do wrong—privately at first, publically if necessary.  And ultimately, it is the Church and Churchmen who must be the final arbiters of the Moral Law—and the not people who make excuses for its violation. 

    But he that shall scandalize one of these little ones that believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone should be hanged about his neck, and that he should be drowned in the depth of the sea.[8]

    There is objective truth and objective morality.  And it is not locked away in the mind of God—but, rather, He has revealed it to us through Sacred Scripture.  Indeed, the thinking person can know it in the Natural Moral Law—for human society simply does not work well if people feel free to beat and kill, to cheat, steal, and lie.  Those Catholics who go about finding excuses for immoral behavior are at least as hypocritical as those Pharisees who approached our Lord, saying: “Master, we know that thou art a true speaker, and teachest the way of God in truth....”

    Like the Modernists, the Pharisees knew that there was such a thing as truth—they just did not want to know what it was—for fear that it might be too inconvenient.


[3]       Leviticus 20:13

    Levitcus 20:11

    Leviticus 20:10,  Deuteronomy 22:22

    Leviticus 19:20

    Deuteronomy 22: 25

    Leviticus 20:12

    Leviticus 20:20

    Genesis 38:9-10 and


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