Saint Thomas Aquinas

Saturday, July 2, 2011

What Is Wrong With Modern Apologetics (Thread on YouCat)

This is what you get on Catholic forums these days, cowards. I for one am sick and tired of the same old character attacks on the blogs and forums. You rarely have any real substantial debate, which is yet another reason why I am thinking of foregoing blogging and apologetics oriented engagements. I once wondered why many of the real scholars do not get into blog or forum debates, this is the reason why.

This guy named Sirach2 on the Catholic Answers forum has slandered me telling everyone on the forum that I have rejected the Church's teachings and the validity of Vatican II, which I have never done. Rather than debate the text of the YouCat he chose to slander me instead. I entered into the discussion forum on the YouCat by posting links to my two blog articles that I have written on the subject. Immediately after I countered Sirach's initial rebuttal, the character attacks came. Here is a series of the posts back and forth. I have underlined for emphasis.

Sirach2-responds after my initial post of the two links.
Since you are the author of the links to your blog, Matthew, I think there may be some bias, yes?

You trivialized Youcat's definition, i.e., "The Church does not demonize self-abuse," and applied your lesser meaning to infer that the catechism was erroneous.
I quote your words: "Demonize is generally defined as "to mark out or describe as evil."

It seems the catechism had a truer grasp of the word's meaning in line with the dictionary, and their definition was most appropriately used. It is defined:
de·mon·ize
-verb (used with object), -ized, -iz·ing.
1. to turn into a demon or make demonlike.
2. to subject to the influence of demons.
1821, "to make into a demon" (literally or figuratively), from M.L.dæmonizare , from Gk. daimonizesthai "to be possessed by a demon;"

I disagree with your interpretation. The YouCat was correct in saying the Church does not wish to demonize those who indulge in self-abuse. Haven't we seen thread upon thread where people are besides themselves with guilt, coupled with addiction that seems impossible to break? How would you prefer the Church teaches truth to young people caught in this dilemma?

You stated that other nonCatholics were quoted and gave page numbers. While I may agree in theory, I cannot indiscriminately accept your private opinion just because you say so, particularly without referencing these quotes and showing the context.

I believe we should let this matter rest and await the rightful teaching of the Church. In my effort to review official examination of this work, there is nothing to be found in the most reputable websites at this time. I have every confidence that as time goes on and the hierarchy have examined the contents fully, we will be informed accordingly.

My First Response.

First of all the text does not say anything about demonizing individuals. Prove that it does, you cannot, because the text does not say that. It says that the Church does not demonize the act itself, which is absolutely incorrect. The act in its very nature is evil. When an act is evil, it is also known to be demonized, or defined as being evil in itself. This Catechism tell us something that is not true.

Sirach2 responds with personal unsubstantiated character attack.When you do not have an argument these days, this is what you get instead.

Matthew, I'm not going to debate you for your hard-line views expressed in your blog. As I scanned a few of your entries, it is clear that your views on the Church are radical traditionalism, some of which would be against forum rules for posting here.

As Roman Catholics, we believe there are mitigating underlying motivations to every evil, including suicide. The Church formerly denied burial to any Catholic who committed this final act. Would you have preferred the catechism to say that the Church DOES demonize masturbation? How does this provide pastoral care for those individuals caught in that particular web to tell them the act is demonic? The very next wording clearly expresses the mind of the Church, "but she warns against trivializing it." We must remember the audience is youth who should never form their conscience with a picture of demon possession in grappling with this evil. That is not pastoral care and would do a lot of harm psychologically.

Nevertheless, whenever the person is in the confessional or spiritual direction, their confessor will give all the explanation necessary to impress upon them the serious evil and grave consequnces of it. You need not fear that everyone who reads that particular Q/A is going to have their faith destroyed.

My words hold from the last post. It is not productive to pick the work apart with one's own traditional biases.

My 2nd Response showing that he is now not dealing with the actual YouCat text, and how his focus now was to paint me as a "radical traditionalist." 

Sirach, I would prefer to deal with the YouCat text rather than use ad-hominems, as you have done here. There is nothing that I have said that goes against Church teaching, so cut it with the traditionalist nonsense. Is this Mark Shea in disguise? You seem unprepared, or unwilling to discuss the issue rationally. What I would prefer to see the Catechism say, is that the act is evil, instead of saying that it is not. You cannot have it both ways. Self abuse is not like applying for a credit card. It is an act which goes against the natural law, period. Which makes it one of the most grave sins. The YouCat fails to convey that truth. I also find it appalling that you would try and twist the words of the text to say that it is talking about demonizing people, rather the act itself. It is clear that you are not comprehending the text. The text says, "The Church does not demonize masturbation, but she warns against trivializing it." Deal with the text, rather than wishing it away.

Sirach2 keeps with the personal attacks...

Again, you have your opinion, and I have mine, but what really counts is what the Church has to say, rather than private interpretations.

BTW, I used no ad hominems. Truth is truth, and the forum rules are explicit in limiting what traditionalists are permitted to say concerning the new mass, V-II and the Magisterium. If that offends you, well, so be it. 

My 3rd Response below pointing out that I have not violated any of the forum rules regarding the New Mass or Vatican II. As we can see he has clearly taken the entire thread off topic to keep from discussing the issue at hand. He has now turned it into a personal attack on my character.

Sirach writes, "Truth is truth, and the forum rules are explicit in limiting what traditionalists are permitted to say concerning the new mass, V-II and the Magisterium. If that offends you, well, so be it." Again, all unsubstantial claims. You labeling me a traditionalist and then dismissing my argument is nothing more than saying you have no argument to the contrary. I have not broken the forum rules. You on the other hand have proven that you cannot counter the text that is in the YouCat, which contradicts everything the Church has previously said on the matter. Again, lets discuss the text, and not your fallacious opinion on whether or not I am some fringe traditionalist. This is typical however for those who cannot substantiate their claims. Attack the person, not the arguement. Nice.

Sirach2's response after I have tried to bring the thread back on topic. Again we can see how he is trying to wrangle the text to make it mean something that it never says. The YouCat text never says anything about it being personal in nature. It says that the act itself is not demonized. Then immediately after that comes the real slanderous statement, which I must admit really ticked me off.

While self-abuse is intrinsically evil, RC, abortion is so heinous an actl that it cannot be compared on the same scale. I would never imply that a person is demonic if they indulged themselves and I uphold the catechism's position that the Church will not do so either, in view of the particular audience being catechized. The explanation given is suitable to said audience. Hopefully, we don't anticipate a theological treatise in a brief work such as Q&A's...
Nothing in my posts indicated you broke forum rules, but I did note that your blog articles are of a nature that would preclude your views from being posted here. To an outside reader, these articles color your opinion of the Youcat as tending to be extremist. If you cannot accept Church's teachings post-VII, then there is little point in my making an effort to counter your statements. My points were made earlier in the thread, and I have nothing more to say, given the tone of your post. It would not be productive. 
My response, clearly indicating that I have never denied a teaching of the Church. I also ask again for him to cut it with the character attacks. You can see how he has moved the entire thread off topic now.


Sirach, you are now engaging in character assassination, and for one do not appreciate it. Nothing on my blog indicates that I do not uphold the Church's teachings, and nowhere have I said anything to the effect that I do not accept the Second Vatican Council. You are at this point making assertions that you have not proven. You seem to be the type who is afraid to actually argue the subject matter and you are now delving into the sin of slander. If I were you I would watch it. Do not make these absurd accusations again. If you are not equipped to argue the topic then just admit it and move on, rather than trying to demonize me. Your tactic is not working.
Sirach 2 now tells me that I have made allegations, which we can clearly see is a lie. All I have done is asked for him to cut it with the character attack. Now my blog has become the target of attack. What about the YouCat text? Who is being uncharitable at this point?

Your allegations are completely unfounded, unwarranted, and uncharitable. Do you expect me to derail this thread to prove to you the issues I saw on your blog?
Your opinion was expressed, as was mine. Now let this drop.
I responded trying to get the topic back on the rails, or to drop it all together.
I'll let it drop, but don't you dare ever accuse me of such a thing again. You are the one derailing the thread, not me. Either debate the issue at hand or close down your keyboard.
Sirach then brings up some of the posts I have written in the past after another guy, probably his buddy, went trolling through my blog to find some shread of evidence to back his absurd claims. You guessed it, they found nothing.Just a couple of posts where I actually debate particular topics and argue for  particular positions, which are Thomistic in nature.
Melchior, thank you for posting this.
I did not notice this on his blog, but I found arrogant comments about Fr. Robert Barron and Germain Grisez. He is quick to condemn very eminent, orthodox persons if their opinion does not coincide with his views. Is it any wonder why Father Barron did not approve his post?
My Response: As we can see, all they can come up with are what they consider to be arrogant comments where I actually debate particular topics, none of which I go against any Church teaching, nor Vatican II. I had finally had it with his foolishness and called a final time to stop the slander.

Again, nothing I have said goes against Church teaching. I can certainly prove that Germain Grisez has erred in his view of the natural law. This is a proven fact, supported by Catholic theologians. It can also be proven that Fr. Barron's view on the death penalty is not that of a classical Thomist position, which was my argument in that particular post. I am also free to support which Catholic writers and apologists that I choose. If this is the best you have to substantiate your fallacious claims of being a radical enemy of Vatican II and the New Mass, then again, you have been proven to make false accusations against me.
Nothing that you have quoted here even implies that I have not accepted the second Vatican Council as being a valid council, or that the New Mass is not valid. In fact, my articles say quite the opposite. I will warn you once more, and then further legal action may be taken. If you cannot be honest and respond to my argument, and you continue to make false accusations, I will be forced to find out who are and then use legal action to stop your slander. Isn't it a wonder why so many people choose not to convert to the true faith? It is because of people like you Sirach, who come onto blogs and forums like this anonymously and make false accusations against people. This is the last time I will warn you. I will then be in contact with Catholic Answers
As you may have guessed, I had to contact the forum, but of course I doubt little will be done. I have since calmed down and I have no real interest in making it a legal issue. I did ask the forum to make the idiot remove the attacks. At this point it really doesn't matter. But as we can see, these "Catholics" are more sinister and nasty than most of the secular atheists I have met. This is what Catholic apologetics has become in recent years. It is largely a cesspool of anonymous sub-defectives who would rather attack you than debate an issue. You can read the entire thread here, and share your thoughts if you please. This is not the reason why I am thinking of quitting the blog, but it surely shows the type of individuals that you get on these types of websites and forums. It gets really old after awhile. There is little intellectual honesty in Catholic apologetics at this point.

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