All posts by kielkopf1

About kielkopf1

I am Professor philosophy (emeritus) of the Ohio State University. I am blogging to promote a book on sexual moral philosophy and to develop further themes not fully developed in the book. I live in Columbus, Ohio with my wife Marge. My three sons: Charles P., Mark S. and Andrew J. live in Columbus. My daughter Judy lives in Rhode Island while my daughter Susan lives in Fresno, CA. My wife and I are daily Mass goers at our Catholic parish: Immaculate Conception. Marge is an active Lay Cistercian and I am very active in the works of the Society of St. Vincent dePaul.

A Catholic Man Confronts a Rainbow Flag

A Catholic Stand Against a Rainbow Flag

Our enemy is advancing. Our enemies are not the poor souls he has pressed into his service. In Ephesians 6, Paul warned that our battle is against demonic powers. Our enemy’s bright cheery banners are flying from more and more houses in our neighborhoods. His rainbow flags demand surrender of all our Catholic notions of sexual purity. His dominance of the media persuades so many of us silently to surrender without resistance. He has broken through our defensive wall built from bricks of traditions. He has not yet won. Bishop Olmsted challenges Catholic men to rush into the breach *. How can we resist? Pray always. Think clearly and speak directly when occasions present themselves. But save your strength. Use prudence about when to fight.
Imagine an occasion presented by one of those ubiquitous rainbow flags. A man and a boy are cleaning up a yard on a March day.
———————————————————————————————————————————-
“Dad what do those dudes do?” Thirty seven year old Richard is raking leaves with his eleven year old son Frank. Frank points to the house across the street flying a rainbow flag. Frank adds: “The mail carrier told me that Ron and Jay just got married.” “Isn’t that weird?” he mutters.

Richard thinks “Frankie’s got me. I’m stuck, I can’t tell him to go ask his mother. I need the guts to speak straight and tell Frankie that homosexual acts are always immoral. Yet I have to put it in such a way that I give him no justification for ever harassing gay guys. How? I haven’t really talked with him about sex yet!”

Richard answers: “Yeh, I think that it is weird too. No matter what judges decide real marriage is for a man and a woman to form a family. You know how babies get started, don’t you?”

“Sure, sure we learned all that stuff in life sciences,” replies his son.

With relief Richard continues: “Good, that’s the place to learn about the basics of sex. A lot of it is natural science. Still there is much more to learn about loving and controlling ourselves to have kids the way God wants us to. And we have to start talking about all the horrible rapes and murders we hear about on the news every night. I’m sorry, though, I didn’t talk with you about sex basics before.”

“No, no”Frank quickly replies. ” I don’t want to think of mom and you when I think about the science stuff. I’d rather learn it in class or just talking with other guys.”

“So, you kids talk about sex:” Richard comments.

“Naturally” Frank answers.

Richard plunges into the serious discussion: “Well, then, you guys have talked about masturbating or jerking off. Do you guys use that word?”

“Maybe: “Frank mumbles with embarrassment.

Richard chuckles: “Frankie, you lied. You got an idea of what those dudes do.”

Frank responds: “Why does everybody think that the stuff they do and just jerking off is bad? It doesn’t hurt anybody.”

“Now I have to teach. Can I keep his attention?” Richard worries.

He begins: “Masturbation is really bad. It doesn’t seem like a big deal. But it is. It’s the phantasy world where all the horrible sinful things men do with sex can flash through your head. You’ve heard the gospel where Jesus said that a man who commits adultery in his heart has already committed it. Well, all those dirty thoughts guys have in their heads; they, in a way, are actually doing. While masturbating a guy is just a few thoughts away from doing the worst sex crimes in the world. And thoughts travel faster than light. ”

“Oh, oh, I’ve gotten too heavy” Richard senses.

“Any of the guys you hang out with talk about porn? I’ve worked it out so that you can’t get much, if any, on our phones or computers.”

“Some, maybe, get some pretty hot stuff” Frank volunteers. “But I don’t and some of the stuff they show me makes me feel, I don’t know, dirty or sexy, I guess.”

“Does it make you feel like playing with yourself?”

“ Yeh. Is that wrong?”

“Yes. Well, it is not wrong to feel like that. But it is wrong to do a man’s part of baby making just for that crazy feeling. A man is supposed to control wanting that feeling so that he gets it only when making babies with his wife. It’s hard being a man.”

“Is jerking off wrong?”

“It sure is. That’s what I have been saying. Masturbating is wrong for every man and a sin for Catholics because we believe that God wants us to use sex as we ought. The church gives us a lot of help to do that. You’ll stop looking at porn and thinking of sex to avoid confessing each week that you’ve been playing with yourself.”

To get the conversation away from himself, Frank asks about their gay neighbors. “Do you think that Ron and Jay are sinful?”

“Of course, what they do to get that special sexual feeling is a sin. But it is not just against a rule of our religion. It’s against a rule for all men. It’s immoral. Doing those thing with another guy would be wrong for me even if I weren’t married. Those kind of things would be wrong for you. Men are not supposed to play with each other that way.”

“Are Ron and Jay are bad people?”

“I didn’t say that. Their house is well kept up. They pick up after their dog better than some people on our street. They’re good neighbors.
Jay’s a fast runner. I met him running on the bike path a couple of weeks ago. I found out that he is an IT guy figuring out how to handle huge masses of data. But his pace was too much for me. I dropped back after about two miles.”

“Dad, you’re not answering my question.”

“Frankie, you’re old enough to know that doing some bad things doesn’t make you a bad person. Bad people regularly mess up other people’s lives in serious ways. However, doing some bad things stops you from being a good man: the kind of man you ought to be. Jay is not the kind of man he ought to be.”

“Did you tell him that?”

“No. It’s none of my business to talk to him about that. I’m not related to Jay in any way which might give me a right to even ask about his sexual acts. I wish that he had not told us by putting up that stupid rainbow flag and advertising that weird gay marriage.”

“Are you afraid to tell people what you think is right?” Frank taunts his father.

“No” his father comes back. “I would tell Jay if he asked. I’d tell anybody who asked. I’m telling you now that what those guys do is something no man ought to do and it is something to be ashamed of. Anyway, Ron and Jay already know anything that I would tell them.”

“Shouldn’t you try to make them better?” Frank continues his challenge.

Richard gets an insight on a way to move the conversation to bullying.

“Making other people better can be an excuse for doing mean and cruel things to other people. You have to know a lot about how to help people. You have to know what you have a right to do to other people before doing things you think are making other people better. The one sure thing you can do to help other people be better is to be a good example and never saying what you do not think is true if you are asked. Having the attitude that you can make others better can make you a bad person.”

“What? Wanting to make things better is making things bad.” Frank almost shouts.

“Yes, it can. I ‘m serious. It works like this. Usually bad people do something different from what is normally done. So it is their difference you want to change or punish to make them better. Even though I don’t think that it is OK, let’s say that it might be OK to be angry at the difference from normal that makes a person bad and try to do something about it. Well, one thing you will learn is that it is easy to think stupidly.”

“I already know lots of people are stupid.”

“An easy way to be stupid is to think that because what makes a person bad is being different simply being different makes a person bad. Being different from normal is confused with being bad. Still, people think, or at least feel that stupid way. That stupid way of thinking is what leads to bullying.”

“I’m not a bully” Frank protests.

“I believe you, of course. But you or your friends could become bullies; especially about being gay. Lots of guys feel that a kid acting in those different ways they think are girlish means he is gay. Those guys pick on that kid and maybe feel justified because they feel he is somehow wrong. They certainly could be wrong about his being gay. But they are absolutely wrong about picking on him. If he is gay, the poor kid is going to suffer a lot through his life. It’s terrible to have those temptations to have sex with other guys. It’s wrong to make their lives more miserable by picking on them.”
“If it is so terrible couldn’t we help him stop being gay” Frank interrupts.

“No, you can’t. Besides men are not gay or straight. We are all simply men who have all sorts of temptations to do what is wrong with our bodies. But we know what is right and have to work hard to do only that. The work is easier if you try not to think too much about sex.
Here, hold this yard bag open while I shove in this insert. We’ve talked enough about sex today. It’s good we started, though. We’ve got much to talk about as you go through school. Meanwhile, pray for them. And don’t even think of what those dudes do.”

———————————————————————————————————————–

A skirmish has been fought. One rainbow flag waves less victoriously. A father has taken a Catholic stand. A father and son have begun to fight back.

* Into the Breach: An Apostolic Exhortation to Catholic Men, Most Rev. Thomas J. Olmsted, Bishop of Phoenix, Phoenix, AZ 2015

Readers my be interested in my book on sexual morality.

My book Confronting Sexual Nihilism: Traditional Sexual Morality as an Antidote to Nihilism was released by Tate Publishing on March 11, 2014. See Book Web Page for information about the book. The publisher’s listed price is $26.99. Printed copies can be purchased here by credit card for $3.99, plus $3.71 for shipping and handling.





To purchase the printed book by check, send check of $3.99 plus $3.71 for shipping and handling per copy. Send to:
Charles F. Kielkopf
45 W. Kenworth Rd.
Columbus, Ohio 43214
Include your shipping address.

There is a Satan In Opposition To God!

This post continues the series of reflections on the core Christian teaching that God had to become a human being who suffered died and rose from his grave to a new way of life. God had to do this in order to restore human beings to the regain the capacity to be as they ought to be. The series began Moral Harm and Non-being. It must be emphasized that no originality is claimed for what I propose and no claim that I am proposing teachings of the Catholic Church.

One crucial notion,previously introduced is that moral evil is non-being in so far as it is a condition of an agent differing from what it ought to be. The notion proposed in this posting is that God is in a struggle- a warfare against intelligent forces in opposition to there being what ought to be. The intelligence of these forces is Satan!

Who is Satan?

Assume for this posting, God created an intelligence with a will free to choose as God wills it to act and to be or choose not to act and to be as God wills. Suppose this being is almost equal to God in intelligence and creative power. Suppose further that this being chooses not to act and be as God wills. Such a being could plausibly be described as Satan.

I argued in an earlier posting God cannot destroy Satan when Satan is described as in the previous paragraph.

Subsequent posting will develop the notion of Satan to make it plausible that this Satan opposes God and tries to corrupt the human race. Here I want to close by citing two reasons why I am introducing the notion of Satan in opposition to God. One is that the Christian tradition portrays God as in a struggle against evil forces. C.S. Lewis emphasizes this in his Mere Christianity. Secondly, and of most importance to me is that I want to understand Jesus’ suffering and death as something God had to do is save us from the Satanic forces trying to keep humanity permanently as one of his forces. I want to avoid interpreting Jesus’ suffering and death as punishment He required for humans not acting and being as they ought to be.

I hope eventually to show how Satan exacerbates our sexual temptations. Readers my be interested in my book on sexual morality.

My book Confronting Sexual Nihilism: Traditional Sexual Morality as an Antidote to Nihilism was released by Tate Publishing on March 11, 2014. See Book Web Page for information about the book. The publisher’s listed price is $26.99. Printed copies can be purchased here by credit card for $3.99, plus $3.71 for shipping and handling.





To purchase the printed book by check, send check of $3.99 plus $3.71 for shipping and handling per copy. Send to:
Charles F. Kielkopf
45 W. Kenworth Rd.
Columbus, Ohio 43214
Include your shipping address.

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Are Masturbators Intrinsically Disordered?

The point of this post is to use an analogy that reminds us that to say homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered is not to say that men who are classed as homosexuals are intrinsically disordered.

Let’s say that a masturbator is a male who masturbates at least once a week. There is a lot of masturbators in our society. With the ready availability of internet porn, the class of masturbators is growing because almost all men have inclinations at least to masturbate when sexually aroused. There are far more masturbators than men who engage in homosexual acts on the average of once a week. Let’s call such men homosexuals. If the homosexuals are not wholly included in the masturbators, the class of homosexuals certainly overlaps the class of masturbators.

An act of masturbations is intrinsically disordered. It is wrong regardless of the circumstances and reasons why it is done.

Proving that an act is instrinsically disordered is not easy. There is a long Catholic tradition of making a case, in Thomistic philosopohy, that masturbation and homosexual acts are intrinscially disorder. I have tried to make the same case, in a Kantian way, in my book: Confronting Sexual Nihilism. Here is not the place to make that philosophical case.

Here is the place to remind ourselves that just as we would not classify almost all men as instrinsically disordered because they have strong inclinations to perform intrinsically disordered acts, we should not classify that subset of men who have strong inclinations to perform intrinsically disordered acts of the homosexual style intrinsically disordered.

My book Confronting Sexual Nihilism: Traditional Sexual Morality as an Antidote to Nihilism was released by Tate Publishing on March 11, 2014. See Book Web Page for information about the book. The publisher’s listed price is $26.99. Printed copies can be purchased here by credit card for $3.99, plus $3.71 for shipping and handling.





To purchase the printed book by check, send check of $3.99 plus $3.71 for shipping and handling per copy. Send to:
Charles F. Kielkopf
45 W. Kenworth Rd.
Columbus, Ohio 43214
Include your shipping address.

Moral Harm and Non-being

I am beginning a series of posts the goal of which is to get some understanding of the basic Christian framework called the Paschal Mystery. The Paschal Mystery is the teaching that the Incarnation of God as Jesus and Jesus’ subsequent suffering, death and resurrection radically transformed the human condition. These events restored the human condition from a fallen one in which at best human life had no greater destiny than that we typically attribute to bedbugs to an original one in which human beings rise after biological death to live eternally with God. Human beings were in the fallen condition because they had chosen some act which they ought not have chosen and so they were no longer as they ought to be.

The phrases with the moral terms are emphasized because they gave me the clue on how to clarify and modify concepts to become somewhat clearer about the Paschal mystery. Moral concepts will be those under closest analysis and modification. This post focuses on a notion of moral harm.

What is moral harm? Distinguish moral harm from natural harm which here I will treat as medical harm. I use “medical” to have a working definition of natural harm. The medical harm of an act is a physical or psychological condition brought about by an act for which the person has a high probability of being compensated by medical insurance. So if you assault a person and break his arm, that person can very likely win a suit for damages from you. Similarly, if a man seduces a boy into sexual acts medical professionals will almost certainly testify that the boy has suffered psychological harm for which he should be compensated.

Moral harm is not the medical harm which an immoral act causes. Certainly we cannot say that an act is not immoral if it causes no medical harm. Moral harm is the harm a person inflicts on himself when he chooses contrary to a moral law. For instance, there is a moral law that you ought not testify that you saw a man at the scene of a crime when you clearly realize that he was somewhere else. “Thou shalt not bear false witness against your neighbor!” The moral harm he inflicts upon himself comes from choosing to break the moral law. Moral laws specify how we ought to be. By choosing to break the moral law he chooses to not be the kind of person he ought to be. Moral harm is not being as you ought to be. Harm can be called an evil. So a notion of harm or evil as non-being is being used: non-being as a departure from what ought to be. The non-being which is evil may be an actual state of affairs. But it is a state of non-being, moral non-being, because of its difference from what ought to be.

This notion of moral harm or evil as non-being will be fundamental in posts trying to get clearer about the Paschal mystery. This will include introduction of a notion of Satan!

My book explores the notion of moral evil in conjunction with an examination of male sexual morality.

My book Confronting Sexual Nihilism: Traditional Sexual Morality as an Antidote to Nihilism was released by Tate Publishing on March 11, 2014. See Book Web Page for information about the book. The publisher’s listed price is $26.99. Printed copies can be purchased here by credit card for $3.99, plus $3.71 for shipping and handling.





To purchase the printed book by check, send check of $3.99 plus $3.71 for shipping and handling per copy. Send to:
Charles F. Kielkopf
45 W. Kenworth Rd.
Columbus, Ohio 43214
Include your shipping address.

Amoris laitita and Suspension of the Ethical

This post assumes some familiarity with the controversy about Pope Francis’ position in his recent Amoris laetita and the five Dubia of Cardinal Burke et al. See my post A Catholic Layman’s Response to the Five Dubia.The controversy focuses on reception of the Eucharist by Catholics legally divorced from a spouse in a valid Catholic marriage, civilly remarried without a Catholic annulment of the former marriage. A footnote #351 in §305 suggests that under certain conditions in consultation with a priest a person in such a marriage may find it helpful for his or her spiritual life and salvation to receive the Eucharist.

The footnote reads as follows.
In certain cases, this can include the help of the sacraments. Hence, “I want to remind priests that the confessional must not be a torture chamber, but rather an encounter with the Lord’s mercy.” (Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium [24 November 2013], 44:AAS105[2013], 1038) I would also point out that the Eucharist “is not a prize for the perfect, but a powerful medicine and nourishment for the weak”(ibid., 47:1039)

The footnote is referenced at the end of the following sentence in §305. “Because of forms of conditioning and mitigating factors, it is possible that in an objective situation of sin – which may not be subjectively culpable or fully such – a person can be living in God’s grace, can love and can also grow in the life of grace and charity while receiving the Church’s help to this end”

Pope Francis has claimed that his stance in Amoris laetita proposes no change in Catholic moral theology. The Dubia challenge Pope Francis to explain how his suggestion about reception of the Eucharist can be consistent with Catholic moral theology because such a couple are living in a habitual grave sin according to Catholic moral theology and cannot receive sacramental absolution. The Dubia confront Pope Francis with a dilemma:

THE DILEMMA

1.Your footnote requires that you teach a change in Catholic moral theology or teach that on occasion reception of the Eucharist by people in a situation of grave habitual sin may work for the salvation of their souls.

2. If you teach a change in Catholic moral theology you teach contrary to the Catholic faith in footnote #351.

3. If you teach that on occasion reception of the Eucharist by people in a situation of grave habitual sin may work for the salvation of their souls, you teach an interpretation of St. Paul’s, 1 Cor 11:27-30 condition for worthy reception of the Eucharist in conflict with the Church’s constant interpretation of St. Paul’s text and thereby teach contrary to the Catholic faith in footnote #351.

4.Therefore, you teach contrary to the Catholic faith in footnote #351.

GOING BETWEEN THE DILEMMA’S HORNS

In §304 and by his refusal to answer the Dubia Pope Francis goes between the horns of the dilemma. His silence shows that he is not teaching. Teaching requires at least giving instructions. No instructions are given for reception of the Eucharist by people in these irregular situations. Actually, Pope Francis wrote in the previous paragraph §304 that no teachable rules for these special cases should be given. “it must be said that, precisely for that reason, what is part of a practical discernment cannot be elevated to the level of a rule. That would not only lead to an intolerable casuistry…”

If he is not teaching there is nothing more than a suggestion. Of course, a suggestion from the pope is very significant. It is proposed that individuals with a confessor or spiritual advisor can suspend the moral requirements and canonical rules for reception of the Eucharist if they discern in ways that cannot be articulated that they may, or even should, receive the Eucharist

This is a very radical proposal and it cannot be properly appraised by discussions in moral theory about universal laws etc.,.
The Church needs serious discussion of the Eucharist and what God wants to bring about for us by coming to us, Body, Blood Soul and Divinity, as real food –real bread and wine.

I have written a book defending traditional sexual morality. In Chapter VIII on birth control I discuss a similar situation about reception of the Eucharist by Catholics practicing artificial birth control.

My book Confronting Sexual Nihilism: Traditional Sexual Morality as an Antidote to Nihilism was released by Tate Publishing on March 11, 2014. See Book Web Page for information about the book. The publisher’s listed price is $26.99. Printed copies can be purchased here by credit card for $3.99, plus $3.71 for shipping and handling.





To purchase the printed book by check, send check of $3.99 plus $3.71 for shipping and handling per copy. Send to:
Charles F. Kielkopf
45 W. Kenworth Rd.
Columbus, Ohio 43214
Include your shipping address.

Truth and the Parmenidean Postulate

A translation of the 5th fragment of the writings of the 6th century BC Greek philosopher Parmenides reads “For it is the same thing that can be thought as can be.” I interpret this fragment as telling us that the structure of thought is the structure of reality. It is the Parmenidean postulate. It reassures us that our thinking can lead us to the truth. The truth is what there is as it is apart from our thinking. Accurate expression of our thoughts are the true statements.

I include posts on truth as reminders amongst my blog posts on my stance towards our ability to get the truth and express it well. In the so-called Blogsphere there are posts accusing some, especially those with views which could be classified as left of center as denying truth or dismissing our ability to get it. It is uninteresting to accuse someone of denying that there is truth and then dismiss them as inconsistently asserting that it is true that nothing is true. It is interesting and helpful for understanding our own stance toward truth to figure out how there could be stances which in some consistent way hold that there is no truth. This post then develop previous posts on truth:Pope Francis’ nominalism and Truth skepticism

Here I want to connect acceptance of truth with theories of universals and the Parmenidean postulate. Theories of universals are outlined in the post on Pope Francis’ nominalism.

Realists accept the Parmenidean postulate. The structure of thought has universal terms and then so does reality apart from thought. Realists about universals are realists about truth. I conjecture that most accusations that someone is not a realist about truth are based on thinking their opponent is not a realist about universals. Their opponents refuse to be pinned down to giving exact definitions.

Conceptualist do not hold the Parmenidean postulate. We place a weaker demand –postulate-on our reason. We postulate that thought is suitable for leading humans to think of reliable ways of operating in reality. We concede that reality may have a different structure than our thinking. But we do not concede that there is no truth. True thoughts are those on reliable ways to operate in reality. Conceptualist set aside the task of trying to uncover the structure of reality apart from thought. That would be metaphysics.

Nominalist do not hold the Parmenidean postulate. Nominalists have a metaphysical theory on the structure of reality apart from thought. They hold that reality is simply many separate things. All talk of their interconnection distorts their separateness. But thinking is always about interconnections. Hence, nominalists do not accept any thoughts as true. By simply stating their metaphysical view without asserting it as true nominalists can consistently present their view. True is a necessarily empty category for noninalists.

So, if someone wants to make a philosophically strong case that someone else rejects truth, they should struggle to make a case their opponent is a nominalist. If someone wants to take the stance that there is truth which is properly expressed by our thoughts they should accept and defend the Parmenidean postulate.

I have written a book defending traditional sexual morality as a conceptualist. Thus I think daily practice will show the truth of traditional sexuality morality.
My book Confronting Sexual Nihilism: Traditional Sexual Morality as an Antidote to Nihilism was released by Tate Publishing on March 11, 2014. See Book Web Page for information about the book. The publisher’s listed price is $26.99. Printed copies can be purchased here by credit card for $3.99, plus $3.71 for shipping and handling.





To purchase the printed book by check, send check of $3.99 plus $3.71 for shipping and handling per copy. Send to:
Charles F. Kielkopf
45 W. Kenworth Rd.
Columbus, Ohio 43214
Include your shipping address.

Pope Francis’ Nominalistic Defense of Reception of the Eucharist by Catholics Not in a State of Grace

How can Pope Francis’ suggest that some divorced Catholics who have remarried outside the Church might receive the Eucharist? Interpreting Pope Francis as a nominalist explains how he can offer his suggestion. For the interested reader, a brief discussion of the problem of universals is at the end of the post

Cardinals Burke et al. have challenged Pope Francis’ position in his recent Amoris laetita. The controversy focuses on reception of the Eucharist by Catholics legally divorced from a spouse in a valid Catholic marriage, legally married to a spouse in a subsequent marriage without a Catholic annulment of the former marriage. A footnote 351 in §305 suggests that under certain conditions in consultation with a priest a person in such a marriage may find it helpful for his or her spiritual life and salvation to receive the Eucharist.
Pope Francis has claimed that his stance in Amoris laetita proposes no change in Catholic moral theology. The cardinals challenge Pope Francis to explain how his suggestion about reception of the Eucharist can be consistent with Catholic moral theology because such a couple are living in a habitual grave sin according to Catholic moral theology and cannot receive sacramental absolution. The challenge confronts Pope Francis with a dilemma: Change Catholic moral theology or teach that on occasion reception of the Eucharist by people in a situation of grave habitual may work for the salvation of their souls. Pope Francis grasps the dilemma by the horn to admit that reception of the Eucharist by people not in a state of grace can work for their salvation.
How can Pope Francis consistently make such a suggestion? If he offers guidelines for the conditions under which it would be spiritually profitable to receive the Eucharist, these guidelines would be new rules in conflict with present Church rules. Francis has claimed that no rule changes are proposed. The resolution is to give no rules or guidelines. Take a nominalistic stance Rules or guidelines use general terms and combine several individuals into a group as if they formed a class. However, general terms mislead us about reality. In reality there are only separate individuals and there are no similarities combining them into groups. The best language for talking of reality is to use only names; utter no sentence and give no rules. So, when prompted by the Spirit a person just recognizes that the Eucharist is to be received but the recognition cannot be put into words since words always distort reality. Just receive the Eucharist. Talking about it will only distort what is being done.

My book on sexual morality takes a conceptualist position to defend a traditional sexual morality.

My book Confronting Sexual Nihilism: Traditional Sexual Morality as an Antidote to Nihilism was released by Tate Publishing on March 11, 2014. See Book Web Page for information about the book. The publisher’s listed price is $26.99. Printed copies can be purchased here by credit card for $3.99, plus $3.71 for shipping and handling.





To purchase the printed book by check, send check of $3.99 plus $3.71 for shipping and handling per copy. Send to:
Charles F. Kielkopf
45 W. Kenworth Rd.
Columbus, Ohio 43214
Include your shipping address.

Here is my naïve synopsis of the problem of universals. Universals are whatever it is we are talking about when we use common terms. Common terms can be applied to different locations in space and time. They are as simple as the color term “yellow” and as complex as the sophisticated term “justice.” The problem of universals is what if anything outside the mind corresponds to these universal terms? Realists hold that our universal terms when well defined correspond to a universal feature of extramental reality.
For instance, a realist hold that a proper definition of “justice “ presents to us what justice is in and by itself. Realist hold a correspondence theory of truth for definitions of universal terms. Conceptualists hold that we use universal terms as a result of our capacity to think as if something exactly the same is located in different regions of space and time. There is no need to believe that there is anything corresponding to our best definitions of terms which makes them the true definitions. All that is needed is to assume that reality is such that it allows our use of terms to have successful science and daily life. For instance, a conceptualist holds that a “true” definition of “justice” is one which helps construct flourishing communities. Conceptualist hold a pragmatic theory of truth for definitions of universal terms. Nominalists hold that our use of universal terms is fundamentally misleading about the way reality is in itself. In reality, there are only individuals. There are no features which they share with other individuals as realists hold. There are no vague similarities which make it useful to think as if there were shared features as conceptualists hold. Mere names are all that can be said without distorting what is. For nominalists there are no true sentences about extra mental reality – not even a statement of nominalism.

What is Moral Corruption?

This post sketches out a condition of a person’s moral character in which the person needs moral help. The person does not know how to move out of a condition of being in fact in conflict with the moral law, is aware of being in conflict with the moral law, regrets being in conflict with the moral law despite having excusing conditions. He does not feel justified in what he is doing although he feels that he is doing the best under the circumstance.

I frequently wondered why a government in which bureaucrats regularly required bribes for performance of duties which they are paid to perform is called “corrupt.” I associate “corrupt” with rotten meat, wood or some material object ready to fall apart. These so-called corrupt governments or systems last for long periods of time: even centuries. So I needed to develop a concept of corruption which brings to the forefront that it is regular intentional law breaking. Such a concept is proposed in this post. I can focus on moral law. Accepting bribes is in violation of the legal laws of a society and breaking the legal laws, for the most part, is contrary to moral law.

Corruption is a negative feature of a person’s moral character. Particular acts are right or wrong: In compliance with the moral law or in conflict with the moral law. Corruption qualifies the whole of a person’s character even if there is only one kind of moral law being regularly violated. Corruption is not sufficient for making someone a morally bad person

A person has a corrupt moral character if that person knowingly, intentionally, regularly violates a moral law and has no intention to stop the practice. Thus a bureaucrat who regularly takes bribes in a system where that is the practice and who intends to keep his position is morally corrupt. This bureaucrat may be an exemplary person in all other respects; yet he is morally corrupt. A married man who is a womanizer is morally corrupt even if he has the charm and talent to be an otherwise good husband, father and citizen. If he is satisfied with his womanizing he is harden in his moral corruption. The opening paragraphy of this post calls attention to the plight of people not hardened in their corruption. A corrupt person who wishes to get out of the corrupting practice and keeps alert for ways to get out of the practice has weak moral corruption.

Much more could be written to elaborate this notion of moral corruption. But here I want to extend it to apply to Catholic moral marital law discussed in a previous post on controversy about Pope Francis’ hints that certain divorced Catholics could receive the Eucharist. A civilly married Catholic couple, at least one of whom has been divorced from a valid Catholic marriage, is living contrary to Catholic moral law unless they abstain from sexual relations. From the Catholic perspective both are morally corrupt. Pope Francis has suggested that if the corruption in such a couple is weak corruption reception of the Catholic Eucharist may be a spiritual aid for helping them overcome their corruption.

A problem is that there are sacramental laws specifying that people in such a corrupt state ought not receive the Eucharist. We need to be concerned that such married couples and their spiritual advisors not become corrupt with respect to the laws for reception of the Eucharist. This problem of not becoming corrupt by coming in conflict with other laws while trying to heal another type of corruption needs to be discussed in subsequent posts.

My book on sexual morality emphasizes the importance of character formation in sexual morality.

My book Confronting Sexual Nihilism: Traditional Sexual Morality as an Antidote to Nihilism was released by Tate Publishing on March 11, 2014. See Book Web Page for information about the book. The publisher’s listed price is $26.99. Printed copies can be purchased here by credit card for $3.99, plus $3.71 for shipping and handling.





To purchase the printed book by check, send check of $3.99 plus $3.71 for shipping and handling per copy. Send to:
Charles F. Kielkopf
45 W. Kenworth Rd.
Columbus, Ohio 43214
Include your shipping address.

One Catholic Layman’s response to Dubia of Cardinal Burke et al.

This post assumes some familiarity with the controversy about Pope Francis’ position in his recent Amoris laetita. The controversy focuses on reception of the Eucharist by Catholics legally divorced from a spouse in a valid Catholic marriage, legally married to a spouse in a subsequent marriage without a Catholic annulment of the former marriage. A footnote #351 in §305 suggests that under certain conditions in consultation with a priest a person in such a marriage may find it helpful for his or her spiritual life and salvation to receive the Eucharist. Pope Francis has claimed that his stance in Amoris laetita propose no change in Catholic moral theology. I will state the Dubia from an article in the
National Catholic Register.
Then I give a short answer which could, but do not go into much depth and length. Dubia are to be answered with a simple “yes” or “no.” My answers have no standing as Catholic teaching.

Dubia 1] It is asked whether, following the affirmations of Amoris Laetitia (§300-305), it has now become possible to grant absolution in the sacrament of penance and thus to admit to holy Communion a person who, while bound by a valid marital bond, lives together with a different person more uxorio without fulfilling the conditions provided for by Familiaris Consortio,§84, and subsequently reaffirmed by Reconciliatio et Paenitentia, §34, and Sacramentum Caritatis, §29. Can the expression “in certain cases” found in Note 351 §(305) of the exhortation Amoris Laetitia be applied to divorced persons who are in a new union and who continue to live more uxorio?

My answer to 1] Is a qualified No. First note some important qualifications. The “valid marital bond” should be read as “unannulled Catholic marriage bond”. To more uxorio add “in a legally valid either secular or of some reglious denomination.” It is still not possible to grant absolution in the sacrament of penance and thus to admit to holy Communion . However, the footnote leaves open the possibility of confessors counseling penitents still objectively and subjectively in a sinful condition to receive the Eucharist.

Dubia 2] After the publication of the post-synodal exhortation Amoris Laetitia (304), does one still need to regard as valid the teaching of St. John Paul II’s encyclical Veritatis Splendor, §79, based on sacred Scripture and on the Tradition of the Church, on the existence of absolute moral norms that prohibit intrinsically evil acts and that are binding without exceptions?

My answer to 2] The simple answer is Yes. The challenge is not precise enough. It should have focused on sexual morality. For all that was written in Amoris leatitia there was no challenge to moral absolutes for other areas, eg. Justice.
The thesis of my answers is that the ambiguity raised by Pope Francis is a call for Catholic theologians to work in sacramental theology on the role the sacraments of Reconciliation and the Eucharist can play in bringing sinners still immersed in sin into a sinless life. Hold moral theology constant in these investigations. How can sacraments be medicine in the “field hospital for sinners?”

In Chapter VIII of my book, Confronting Sexual Nihilism: Traditional Sexual Morality as an Antidote to Nihilism I investigate similar problems for Catholics practicing artificial birth control.

Dubia 3] After Amoris Laetitia (§301) is it still possible to affirm that a person who habitually lives in contradiction to a commandment of God’s law, as for instance the one that prohibits adultery (Matthew 19:3-9), finds him or herself in an objective situation of grave habitual sin (Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts, “Declaration,” June 24, 2000)?

My answer to 3] My answer is Yes even when “a person” is explicitly read as “all persons.” Nothing in Amoris Leatitia changes the conditions for being right with respect to the moral law or the more stringent laws of Catholic moral theology.

Dubia 4] After the affirmations of Amoris Laetitia (§302) on “circumstances which mitigate moral responsibility,” does one still need to regard as valid the teaching of St. John Paul II’s encyclical Veritatis Splendor, §81, based on sacred Scripture and on the Tradition of the Church, according to which “circumstances or intentions can never transform an act intrinsically evil by virtue of its object into an act ‘subjectively’ good or defensible as a choice”?

My answer to 4] My answer is Yes because the issue is not about changing what is or is not in accord with the moral law or Catholic moral law. The issue concerns conditions for reception of the Eucharist for people living in conflict with the law!

Dubia 5] After Amoris Laetitia (§303) does one still need to regard as valid the teaching of St. John Paul II’s encyclical Veritatis Splendor, §56, based on sacred Scripture and on the Tradition of the Church, that excludes a creative interpretation of the role of conscience and that emphasizes that conscience can never be authorized to legitimate exceptions to absolute moral norms that prohibit intrinsically evil acts by virtue of their object?

My answer to 5] is Yes. As noted in my answer to [4] the issue is not about making exceptions to the moral law. The issue is about the role reception of the Eucharist can make in the progress, if any, of people living in conflict with exceptionaless moral laws. Can the Eucharist help people intentionally living in sin gradually grow out of sin. The question is not about gradualism of the law but whether or not there are sacramental means for gradually growing in compliance with the law. Rules are not to be provided for these decisions. See also my post Gradualism of the Law and “Eucharistic” water stops.

I personally struggled with this topic. In my “internal forum” I decided that I should long for reception of the Eucharist but not receive the Eucharist until I was in complete compliance with the traditional teaching of the Church on reception of the Eucharist. I look back on those years of longing for the Eucharist as a period of my richest understanding of this mystery.

My book Confronting Sexual Nihilism: Traditional Sexual Morality as an Antidote to Nihilism was released by Tate Publishing on March 11, 2014. See Book Web Page for information about the book. The publisher’s listed price is $26.99. Printed copies can be purchased here by credit card for $3.99, plus $3.71 for shipping and handling.





To purchase the printed book by check, send check of $3.99 plus $3.71 for shipping and handling per copy. Send to:
Charles F. Kielkopf
45 W. Kenworth Rd.
Columbus, Ohio 43214
Include your shipping address.

Confession of a Truth Skeptic

A truth skeptic doubts whether or not there are any truths. In a Catholic Register column in the November 27, 2016 issue Francis X. Cronin confronts such a skeptic. He points out that a skeptic about truths contradicts himself if he were to claim that it is true that there are no truths. Cronin goes further to criticize the typical way this skeptic tries to avoid the contradiction by neither affirming nor denying the statement “There are truths.” The typical way is to call attention to all the ways in which intelligent people have contradicted one another. The skeptic hopes consideration of the set of contradictory statements intelligent people have made, will lead us to despair of accepting any statements as true.

In rebuttal, Cronin cites the set of contradictory statements as evidence which should set aside this despair because that set provides a proof that there are some true statements, even if we do not know which ones are the true beyond the one provable true statement “There are truths”.

In his rebuttal, Cronin introduces the term real possibility. Introduction of this term is crucial for a rebuttal of a serious skeptic about truth. A serious skeptic about truth has doubts about whether or not any of our statements can present things as they are independently of our ways of thinking and perceiving. The doubt arises because trying to prove that we can represent things apart from our thinking and perceiving them seems to require us to think and perceive them apart from thinking and perceiving them to compare with how we think and perceive them. Cronin does not successfully set aside this serious skepticism about truth if he defines “real possibility” as I do below

A statement expresses a real possibility if it represents how things can be apart from our ways of presenting them.

Cronin notes that the set of all statements expressing real possibilities contains contradictions, viz., every statement and its negation. Call this set ALL. The set ALL can be a model for that set of statements which is supposed to justify despairing skepticism about truth. However, for every statement in ALL which in fact does not represent things as they actually are, its negation does. So, the set ALL contains the subset TRUTH which is the set of the negation of all of the false statements in ALL. So, there is TRUTH even if no one can pick out each and every member from ALL.

My disappointment with Cronin’s argument is that he does not address the issue of how we can tell whether or not a statement expresses a real possibility. The serious skeptic about truth has despair about ever being able to establish that a statement represents thing as they could be apart from our ways of representing, viz., oub ability to represent real possibilities.

In my book, I argue that we cannot use theoretical reasoning to establish real possibilities, let alone truths. Ultimately we need to use practical reason to confront reality as it is apart from our thinking. Intelligent acting is needed to get the truth which we can always doubt using theoretical reasoning alone.

My book Confronting Sexual Nihilism: Traditional Sexual Morality as an Antidote to Nihilism was released by Tate Publishing on March 11, 2014. See Book Web Page for information about the book. The publisher’s listed price is $26.99. Printed copies can be purchased here by credit card for $3.99, plus $3.71 for shipping and handling.





To purchase the printed book by check, send check of $3.99 plus $3.71 for shipping and handling per copy. Send to:
Charles F. Kielkopf
45 W. Kenworth Rd.
Columbus, Ohio 43214
Include your shipping address.