Transgender Bathrooms and the Catholic Stand



The transgender bathroom issue is a red herring obscuring the agenda propagated by the media, educators, and political agitators. We have been led by the nose for so long by a deeply corrupted mass media that we are apt to sit fixated on soundbites for weeks at a time. It is our perpetual habit now to miss the forest of truth for the single tree of a red herring.  By educational conditioning to self-reference, self-delusion and the drive for high self-esteem, we pronounce judgements on the issues either in favor of truth or in favor of ideology. The world has been taken in hook, line and sinker, but as Catholics, we are beholden, not to the rhetoric of social commentators, but to the revealed Word of God that assures us eternal life.

The Transgender Agenda

It is possible that the minds and hearts promoting the LGBT and Transgender agenda do so with good intent. It is clearly an attempt to make this world a better place. Unfortunately, the “better” is not an objectively ordered “better,” it is an ideologically defined “better.” The real better society would be one conforming at its roots to objectively ordered justice; that is, justice grounded in the divine and natural law. The fruit that springs from these roots of true justice is equality. The real agenda mistakenly goes after equality as its root cause and falsely believes that justice will be its fruit. When a society tries to impose equality onto unequal things, it inevitably leads to injustice.

The real agenda strives to erase all distinctions between a man and a woman, thus institutionalizing equality. The false line of reasoning being propagated by the schools and the media to justify such madness is that all differences between men and women are social constructs and therefore arbitrary. If we could just ignore these “man-made” differences, then finally everyone would be equal and then everyone would be happier.

It is a grand irony that this movement claims that sex (male and female) is a social construct, and that the new gender theory is the real thing. The truth is that the new gender theory is the artificiality, and that sex is a self-evident real thing corroborated by the Holy Scriptures in Genesis 1:27 with “male and female He created them.”  Still, to counteract reality as the agenda wishes to do has far reaching implications that must extend to the family.

If the self-evident differences and complementarity between male and female are social constructs, then so too must be the definition of a family, or so the illogic goes. Catholic Teaching explains that the beautiful complementarity between the male and female are required for the single configuration of the domestic church: one eligible male and one eligible female sacramentally bound in matrimony open to new life. The agenda denies the differences between male and female, denies the nature of the family, and decrees that all social arrangements have the potential to be a “family”. This is done at the expense of the real family modeled on the Trinitarian community. The agenda tries to force a false equality on men and women and thereby destroy the nuclear family, the single most important building block of society and the greatest stumbling block to the LGBT agenda.

The School’s Support

The public schools from kindergarten through graduate programs condition our children to see the world through subjective eyes. Our schools have become moral relativist training programs. They are no longer guided by reason or any external objective standard. The substitute for the objective standard is the man-made agenda that drives nearly all of our institutions of learning, public and private alike. The agenda requires feelings to drive judgment and decision making.

Self-reference is a key ideological tool in the process. Equality is the driving principle. Tolerance is the prevailing virtue and self-esteem is the final cause of our current educational programs. The public schools are the training camps for the relativists to populate their armies and the mass media serve as the propaganda mills broadcasting the successes of our schools around the globe.

If you are not worried about the effects of modern education on our youth, perhaps this video will alert you to a shocking new conclusion that we have indeed lost our way. This particular look at student opinion on gender is a deeply problematic sign of degradation and disorder on a catastrophic scale. What is demonstrated here is literally self-imposed insanity concerning of the most basic and self-evident aspects of reality. Our real worry is that if these otherwise intelligent humans can’t get this most basic and obvious reality right, what can they get right?

Our schools have prepared students to take this agenda in on sentimental grounds. We may come to notice that even an appeal to reason and common sense has little to no sway over the multitudes of children who have been taken in by this agenda on pathological grounds. Our youth can no longer believe their eyes or their ears. They do however seem to put much belief into their bellies and their iPhones. The detrimental effects of our modern educational system are impossible to measure, but at least this video gives us a slight glimpse. The Catholic response is to stand against this kind of insanity.

The Real Issue

Anthropology is at the root of this problem. Anthropology answers the question of what it means to be a human person. There are really only two considerations. Either we believe and embrace the Christian anthropology grounded in physical reality or we do not. The alternative is to embrace an arbitrary and self-referential determination to a category of reality. The difference between the two can be described as the difference between discovering our true natures and creating our own natures for ourselves.

The Christian idea of man is grounded in Aristotelian Metaphysics which understands that man is a composite of body and soul. As Catholics we embrace the revealed truth about the human person. Just as faith seeks understanding by the right use of our intellects, we attempt to discover the philosophical distinctions that explain us to ourselves. It has been long known and understood that the human body is the physical manifestation of our spirited animating principle we know as our souls. Body and soul are a single entity indivisible except by death, a defect foisted onto mankind by the Fall.

The alternative can trace its philosophical roots back over four centuries ago to Rene Descartes’ mind/body problem. We are left today with the false conclusion that there are different types of substances, material and immaterial and there need not be any real relationship between the two. So in essence, by this conception a male mind could accidentally find itself paired up with a female body. If this were to be the case then the transgender movement would have been raging from the beginning of mankind; even today, it is the rarest of circumstances that one actually make the claim of being a man trapped in a woman’s body or vice versa.

The Catholic Stand

The Catholic is not at liberty to invent his own reality — he is duty bound by proper use of intellect and will to discover the truth revealed to us all, corroborated by the self-evident truths discoverable by common sense and the right use of the intellect. The secular humanist is perfectly allowed by fiat of free will to invent his own reality, but in doing so he is bound to his errors. We are only granted true freedom if we bind ourselves to the world of Christ, He who made us, He who knows us fully, He who knows our ends. Our real free will choice is to choose ourselves as the arbiters of truth or to choose the revealed Word of God.

The Catholic Stand is that male and female God created us in His image and likeness. We are male and female by design; sex is not a social construct but an ontological reality. Male and female are complementary, and both are required for the family formed in the likeness of the Trinitarian community. Our schools and the mass media revolt against truth and reality in order to “perfect” society. They efforts have only increased the speed with which we decline. As Catholics, we must reject the LGBT and Transgender agenda and preach Christ Crucified.

As Catholics we are not allowed to say that we are not affected by this crisis, because that is a denial of our duty of justice to God and neighbor. We cannot stand idly by while the forces of evil further obscure the moral landscape. Our duty is to stand up for Truth in the name of Christ and to hold firm against the tide darkness threatening to inundate our shores.

It is not an act of charity to allow our neighbors to persist in delusion because we believe it might make them feel good. As an act of charity we must tell our neighbors the truth about the Christian anthropology and defend our children from the falsehoods propagated in the name of equality and tolerance. For there is one thing certain, those who propagate equality and tolerance give no equality or tolerance to Truth.

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49 thoughts on “Transgender Bathrooms and the Catholic Stand”

  1. Author Steven Rummelsburg assumes — incorrectly — that there are only two kinds of anthropology in the whole world: “Christian” and “non-Christian” (his words).

    He is wrong.

    There is a zoo’s worth of anthropologies. The ethnocentric view that one’s own anthropology is Good and Right and all others are Bad and Wrong is juvenile thinking appropriate to the Stone Age.

    Rummselsburg also treats early Christian folklore — “sexual complementarity,” “natural law,” “forces of evil” (his words) — as if they are scientific facts.

    He is wrong.

    They are not facts. They are common religious superstitions, but there’s no real-world science backing up his application of these ideas.

    Rummelsburg writes — incorrectly — that LGB people (lesbian, gay, bisexual) and transgender people (male mind in a female body or female mind in a male body) never existed, and do not exist today.

    He is wrong.

    Throughout human history, across cultures and centuries, LGBT people have existed, as minorities, but with startling regularity. The denial of their existence is another religious superstition promulgated from the Vatican. See Galileo.

    Rummelsburg repeats the favorite falsehood from the Vatican doctrine: LGBT people do not even exist; they are nothing but heterosexuals who are disobedient, dishonest, destabilized, defective, disordered, deviant, disabled, diseased, depraved, demonic, and doomed.

    Rummelsburg calls his ideas “Truth” (with an upper case “T”) and other ideas “delusion” (lower case “d”).

    He is wrong.

    No one authorized or empowered him to make such decrees about all humanity who ever did live or who ever will live. It is arrogant an un-scientific to do so, and it is abject disregard for his fellow human beings.

    1. Steven Jonathan

      Most of the things you say I say Ned, I do not say- this is intellectually dishonest- but one of your wrong points is to say that I am incorrect about the two categories of anthropology, there are only two major categories the Christian anthropology which is consistent with the philosophical anthropology and all the others that are not Christian or philosophical. It is certain that there is a zoo of anthropologies , but they all fall into the non-Christian category- this is not my opinion Ned, this is Aristotle’s first principle of all reality, the principle of non-contradiction- you don’t disagree with me, you disagree with Aristotle, the perennial philosophy and all of Christendom that is in accord with Christ the Logos- You aim is not to have a conversation with me, but to pervert my words and claim I am saying things I am not saying, it may be an effective strategy but it is not civil and it is not honest. I will leave you to it.

    2. Author Steven Rummelsburg claims there are only two types of anthropology: Christian and non-Christian.

      He is wrong.

      Professional anthropologists worldwide are more knowledgeable about anthropologies than Rummelsburg, and they reject his Roman Catholic binary view in favor of what their science and research have proved.

      As his authority, Rummelsburg cites only “Aristotle, the perennial philosophy, and all of Christendom that follows a three-part supernatural deity” but that’s just a dog’s breakfast of authors, opinions, religious sect, and sect-specific vocabulary; it’s no authority for any anthropologists.

      This is the classical problem with Roman Catholic doctrine and vocabulary. Both insist that they are always correct, and that no other ideas can ever be correct, no matter what. It is attitudes such as these by which clergy burned mathematicians to death for knowing more science than the clergy could tolerate. See Giordano Bruno.

    3. “…one of (Ned’s) wrong points is to say that I am incorrect about the two categories of anthropology, there are only two major categories the Christian anthropology which is consistent with the philosophical anthropology and all the others that are not Christian or philosophical.”
      In fact, there are only two major categories the Hindu anthropology which is consistent with the philosophical anthropology and all the others that are not Hindu or philosophical. If course,if Hindu doesn’t suit, just choose another one – Muslim, maybe.
      It is certain that there is a zoo of anthropologies , but they all fall into the non-Hindu category.
      In other words, there’s more than one way to skin a cat.

      Poor old Aristotle. Even getting the blame for Christianity, now. Which might have amused him, I suspect.

    4. Steven Jonathan

      Toad, yes exactly right- except that bit about poor Aristotle, poor us bereft of common sense- it is either Hindu anthropology that is correct or it is not- and though there is more than one way to skin a cat, there is only one correct anthroplogy and every other notion is wrong- Aristotle’s principle of non-contradiction holds- either the Christian anthropology is correct, or the Hindu is correct or one of the zoo of anthropologies is correct or none of them are- at best only one can be correct and at worst none of them are- it is impossible for more than one of them to be correct, that is a denial of reality.

    5. “… it is impossible for more than one of them to be correct, that is a denial of reality.”
      Quite right, Steven. But it is very far indeed from impossible for all of them to be wrong. On which point (among a great many) Aristotle and I would agree.
      If you asked Aristotle – he’d confirm that. (as long as you asked him nicely.) He thought the aim of existence was, was pleasure. Much like you, and I do, I suspect – certainly like me.

    6. Steven Jonathan

      Finally something we may agree on Toad- yes it is possible that one of them is correct, but only one- Aristotle would agree no matter how you asked him- Catholics believe the Christian/philosophical anthropology- that is the whole point-

      Aristotle did not believe the aim of existence was pleasure the way we use the term today- eudaimonia would be the idea and we don’t espouse that any more.

    7. “Aristotle did not believe the aim of existence was pleasure the way we use the term today- eudaimonia would be the idea and we don’t espouse that any more.”
      You might not, Steven. Others do. Of ccourse Aristotle, a pagan, didn’t use the term “pleasure” as yo do . Why should he?

    8. Don’t even bother answering that,Steven. There’s no [point in kicking this idiot ball about. None. You believe in believing six impossible things before breakfast – I don’t. End of game. ‘Til next time.

  2. It should be apparent to all that the originators and promulgators of this policy are quite disturbed individuals suffering from obsessive psycho-sexual disorders. They obtain a perverse pleasure from their actions. This is clear, not just to those in the profession, but to any observant lay persons also. These people need immediate, serious, professional intervention.

  3. Catholic institutions have continually watered down their doctrinal stance and moral discipline after Vatican II. Now the chicken come home to roost and the situation is hopeless. Even the episcopacy is infected with moral relativism. Archbishops like Wuerl and Cupich are completely unable to lead the American Church in these culture wars. But the biggest catastrophe is that the Pope is no longer a defender of traditional morality. With his two Synods on the Family, and the Exhortation Amoris Laetitia he has effectively broken the last remainning fences against the flood of immorality that is corrupting the Church. By indicating that the proper interpretation of AL is that given by Card. Schoenborn, he has made clear that he wants the Church to adapt to the new social reality of the modern West. We are facing nothing less but a breakdown of the Church. The whole edifice of traditional doctrine is made irrelevant by the modernist monsters who have ascended during the past decennia and now are in the chairs of authority.

    1. If a teacher of any subject fails to educate pupils and they in turn go out ignorant of what was
      taught, then either one of two things occurred – either the student was incapable of learning
      or the teacher was inadequate in teaching. If the curriculum is geared to a medieval mindset –
      hell and brimstone – you lost your audience, and rightly so. At a Torah study on Leviticus 13 :
      29-37, I was floored by a lesson left unspoken but obvious in its profound implications. Here
      is the way it was taught. This parshah, on leprosy, was given by a Rabbi, also an MD who
      explained that it had more to do with gossip and slander than any disease per se. He went
      on to relate that the symptoms described are not referenced in any medical tome. I asked
      why it was written so since no reference to gossip or slander was anywhere evident. He then
      asked me what I would tell a patient who came in with the symptoms of second stage syphilis
      on their body. I said I wasn’t a doctor and would not know what to say. He turned to a friend
      and colleague sitting nearby, also an MD, and asked what he would say. ” I’d tell the person
      that they have second stage syphilis and that it was contagious.” he said. The rabbi then
      finished up with other contextual matters and after a few minutes it hit me. Syphilis is caused
      by illicit sex but the MD need not expound on that to his patient. The CC needs to learn how
      to teach again, with facts in the guise of corporeal consequences not mortal mortal threats
      against a soul. Maybe then “traditional doctrine” will seep into their psyches – unaware.

    2. Steven Jonathan

      Things are dire Aliquantillus, but not hopeless- it would be foolish to place any hope in the bankrupt Catholic schools, but our hope is in Christ who by the power of the Holy Spirit works directly with our domestic churches- this is where our focus must be- these are dark times indeed, but so have been all times since the advent of Christ- our duty is first to Christ and second to those around us that we might evangelize, especially our own families and then our communities- Parents are our children’s first and real teachers after the Logos, let us not turn them over to charlatans in schools or in our parishes.

  4. An excellent article; so well written, concise, and direct. Thank you for cutting through the clouds and letting the rays of truth shine through.

  5. This, and I am sure you are waiting for a response from Catholic me, is a monolithic testament of scientific, historical, psychiatric and medical revisionism. Let’s start with your one citation to validate your assumption: “male and female, God created them both.” Can’t disagree with that which was written in the 5th or 6 century BCE. God is the SOURCE. Now homo sapiens began as a full bipedal and evolved a larger brain about 200,000 years ago on the plains of Ethopia. So human primates (us) have evolved for about a quarter of a million years. Who ever wrote Genesis and some falsely attribute it to Moses had no knowledge of man and woman and evolution of human DNA which is not a static entity and sex determination is a function of DNA plus other factors. Genesis is as relevant as a warrant for bride price, treatment of slaves, stoning of non-virgins who married, prohibition of pork and shellfish, treatment of slaves, genocide which are part and parcel of Leviticus. This material was written in a context and those who use use the OT out of context use it as a pretext to have it say what you want. Just like you did, again!
    Now sex and gender identity and not binary, except for the uneducated and simple-minded extremists who see conspiricy around every corner. That sex is not binary is not a new concept. The scientific scepticism of ‘binary’ sex – that is the idea that there are men and women and they can be clearly distinguished – started even earlier. In 1968 the Journal of the American Medical Association carried an article by biologist Keith L Moore, listing nine different components of someone’s sexual identity: external genital appearance, internal reproductive organs, structure of the gonads, endocrinologic sex, genetic sex, nuclear sex, chromosomal sex, psychological sex and social sex. Repeated sscientific studies have validated this fact,
    Sex is defined by our genitals: men have a penis and testicles and women a vagina and ovaries…so that DNA lines can continue. Some humans lack the proper “parts”; others have both sets of parts “hermaphrodites”. Gender identity is a real concept, it’s who would feel and believe you are… there are numerous children and adults who are certain that they are in the wrong body compared to their physical anatomy. It’s called “body dysmorphia” in the latest version of the updated DSM. Not a disease, but a condition to be treated.
    Do you realize that the rates of consideration of suicide for transgendered people are about 40% and even higher for adolescents. The reason for that suicide rate is because of attitudes demonstrated in your bloviating screed. Sexual identity can be determined by anatomy, DNA changes, hormonal imbalance, endocrinology, and on….9 factors have been identified. To deny gender identity to avoid the problem and blame the victim.
    Perhaps you assume that transgendered people can be cured….I have not found one documented case of cure; I have found many documented cases of a relief of the symptoms through sex reassignment surgery. Can you find documentation of effective psychotheraputic cures? No, but a denial of the reality of the transgendered and acceptance of them as not binary people could reduce the suicide rate substantially. The science is not on your side, neither is psychology, psychiatry, medicine and even anthropology (excepting so called Christian anthropology which is a contradiction into itself since it introduces a bias into a study of humans).
    What does the catholic church say about transgendered people, not much! There is a statement in the CCC 2297 which says:” Except when performed for strictly therapeutic medical reasons, directly intended amputations, mutilations, and sterilizations performed on innocent persons are against the moral law. ” Given the fact that body dysmorphia is defined in the DSM. gender reassignment and hormonal treatment would qualify under the “strictly therapeutic medical reasons” clause.
    So, my friends, love and embrace`gays, bi’s, transgendered, intersexed, cis gendered, etc people.. They are our brothers and sisters who need out love and support, not our poignant questioning of who they really are. I really Jesus would not have cared except that they all be good and loving people. Transgendered people are not perverted and not known for sexual crimes. I would rather have my son share a bathroom with a transgendered person than some Catholic priest or pedophile boy scout leader or teacher. Finis!

    1. Steven Jonathan

      Your theories are breathtaking! Adam you are actually your own source- and as you claim as if you are the arbiter of all truth, the book of Genesis is “monolithic testament of scientific, historical, psychiatric and medical revisionism.” It is classic “you” but it is not Catholic, it is not historical, it is not medical, it is not philosophical, it is simply ideological and weak ideology at that. You are led by the nose by terrible ideas Aquinas, but don’t try to use the Bible or the Catechism to corroborate your positions, you are the only one who would buy such nonsense.

    2. As I understand it, suicide rates are also very high–much higher than the public rate–for people who have undergone successful sex reassignment surgery. I also understand the rate of dissatisfaction–that is, people who later regret their sex change surgery–is pretty high, too–something like 20%. Johns Hopkins, which used to do sex-change surgery, has long ceased on the grounds that the surgery merely represented catering to a delusion, rather than treating a problem.

  6. …The illustration is a bit confusing. Whose body does the head on the right belong to? What can it all mean? Are they transgender men? Or just women with beards? What are they doing? Are they wrestling with a red herring? Is it polite to even ask?

  7. “It is our perpetual habit now to miss the forest of truth for the single tree of a red herring.”
    Splendid, world-class, mixed metaphor – Stephen. One of the finest I’ve ever read. Made me laugh ’til the tears ran down my legs.
    Still, boys will be girls, won’t they?

    “Anthropology answers the question of what it means to be a human person. There are really only two considerations. Either we believe and embrace the Christian anthropology grounded in physical reality or we do not.” Can you be suggesting that non-Christians are non-human, Stephen? Well, I suppose that’s a possibility. Unlikely, though.

    1. Steven Jonathan

      That’s good Toad! Although I thought the “tears running down my leg” was exclusively a girl thing- and no, boys will not be girls, that is impossible-

      I am not suggesting, nor would I ever suggest that non-Christians are not human, that is absurd. Either you believe that the body and soul are composite and that sex is binary or you don’t- All cultures for all time have agreed with the Christian, Biblical, philosophical anthropology- nearly all humans in human history have easily apprehended this truth, it is only now that a sizable number of ideological sophists posit the new gender theories. The Catholic Church cannot and will not abide in such theories. They contradict reality and common sense.

    2. Good answer, Steve. …I’m getting to enjoy this website.
      Either you believe that the body and soul are composite and that sex is binary or you don’t.
      Well, I’d have to start by asking what you mean by “composite” here. Do you think the electricity that runs a computer – and the computer itself – are composite? In which case, I’d agree. But, cut off the electricity and the computer is dead. The electricity doesn’t “go” anywhere. Same with humans, is my suspicion. The “soul” is the electrical energy that runs the body. Same as with a toad, a cockroach, or a dog. Are their bodies and souls “composite”? What happens to their energy when they die? In any case, what “use” is energy with no outlet, such as a brain, or the senses?… I don’t know. But I’d be interested in what you think.

    3. And, I’d happily agree that – in my case, at least – sex is binary.. By which I assume we mean only men and women ought to be permitted to do rude stuff to each other.
      That’s plenty good enough for me – always has been.
      But then, maybe I lack imagination.
      I have to admit that not everyone agrees. And that God seems to have created a vast assortment of people who prefer their own sex for sex.
      God needn’t have done so – if He thought it was a bad idea surely?
      Unless He thought there was some useful point to it?
      …But we must suppose He knew what He was doing.
      It leaves the rest of us “straight” people, including you and I, (or so I assume) wondering why He bothered, or if, indeed, anyone can be bothered in the slightest with such trivia…. It surely don’t bother me.
      I don’t mind homosexuality being made legal, as long as they don’t make it compulsory. You will agree with that at least, I’m sure.

    4. Steven Jonathan

      By Catholic Standards Toad, men and woman are not permitted to do rude stuff to one another- it is a lack of imagination to imagine that one doesn’t have an imagination because one understands the universal norms of human sexuality- so surely you lack imagination but not for the reasons you imagine.

      God did not “make” people who “prefer sex with their own sex” this is a grave misunderstanding. We did suffer a privation of grace which makes us prone to concupiscence- we are drawn to illicit sex acts and it is part of the human drama to either resist temptation or to give into it- it is called the spiritual combat. There is a useful point to sin and temptation, but not a useful point to giving in to vicious behavior- we all are drawn to sin and we all sin, this is the universal condition of the fall- as Catholics we do not condone our own sins or the sins of others- sex acts outside of natural or sacramental marriage are sinful- so no I don’t agree with you on legal homosexuality and I know it is wrong for unmarried men and women to commit sex acts as well, this is the Catholic position.

    5. By “rude stuff,” Steve, I meant sexual intercourse. (amongst other things, to be sure) Even by married couples. But you knew that. I was being a bit flippant, no doubt. It is a fault of mine.
      So, we must make homosexuality illegal again. OK. We are going down the old totalitarian road here, I fear – where everything not compulsory is forbidden. Personally, I don’t care for that.

      “…and I know it is wrong for unmarried men and women to commit sex acts.”
      Do you think everybody knows that? You know because someone told you, didn’t they?

      “Death is the unnatural separation of body and soul.”
      So, the question here is – are souls immortal, and do dogs have them? Is it unnatural separation of body and soul when one of my dogs dies? It strikes me that one species among several millions can claim to be the only one with an immortal component is colossal arrogance. But It might be the case. I don’t know.You will doubtless tell me, “No, it’s great humility,” I suppose. That’s what usually happens.

      “We did suffer a privation of grace which makes us prone to concupiscence…”
      We’re just concupiscent red herrings in the Great Sea of Life, really, aren’t we?

    6. Steven Jonathan

      Toad, I never said anything about making homosexual acts illegal, but all sex acts outside of the bonds of marriage are illicit and yes someone did tell me that, his name is Jesus Christ and he says so unequivocally in the Bible- and yes in their consciences everyone knows to some degree or other that to use people for sexual acts is immoral. There is eternal, divine, natural and conventional law- as Catholics we are concerned with the first three primarily. People have free will and can choose to sin, we as Catholics can’t condone sin or promote it. This means we can’t support conventional laws that contradict God’s laws. There is nothing totalitarian about this, it is just the Catholic truth that we promote virtue and eschew vice. We are not saying you have to do the same but if you choose not to follow Christ’s commands we recognize that you are sinning. So what we really have here Toad is your opinion and the commands of Christ, I choose Christ, you choose you- we are both free to do so, but neither of us are free from the consequences of our choices.

      Really Toad, a great arrogance to recognize the ontological differences between a man and a dog? I suspect this isn’t really a question about arrogance or humility but about willful ignorance and common sense.

    7. I’m well aware that men and dogs are different, Stephen. Men can’t run as fast, or smell things as intensely, and although made in the image of God (or so I’m told) are indisputably uglier But it’s my belief that neither species is “superior” to the other. As Mark Twain said, “Heaven goes by favour. If it went by merit, you would stay out and your dog would go in.” Anyway, at what point in the evolutionary process did God decide to insert immortal souls into men? (Assuming you believe that He did, of course) Did Neanderthals have immortal souls? Then what?

    8. Steven Jonathan

      In the Bible it is clearly stated that “man is made in the image and likeness of God” and that means man has an intellect and will that dog’s don’t have. Aristotle describes the distinction and hierarchical order of a vegetative soul (animating principle) an animal soul and a human soul. The Church would describe the difference between a man and animal by explaining that we have a “spirited soul” while the dog does not. We are better than animals at math, science, philosophy, theology, language and many other things that matter more than speed and smell. It is self-evident. On the neanderthal question, I have no idea, and neither do you.

    9. “On the neanderthal question, I have no idea, and neither do you.”
      Indeed I don’t, Stephen – but I don’t even expect to have answers to the likes of that Darwinian sort of thing.
      The idea of Neanderthals having immortal souls is probably absurd, we both agree – or where would it all end? Souls for snails? But then, where does it all begin?
      I believe we “know” nothing, apart from basic mathematics (mostly geometry) and a bit of formal logic.
      The idea that we “know” what Christ (or Muhammed) said, or did, is not verifiable, by a very long chalk. Which is not to say it isn’t true – just that it would be rash to place too much value on it until we can get our hands on more reliable evidence.
      All we can do in the meantime is to believe what other people told us that Jesus said, or did – is true. Or, alternatively not. All utterly unverified.
      I think you’d cheerfully agree that whatever metaphysical madness Muslims, Mormons, Muggletonians, and Methodists believe – is absurd.
      And I would wholeheartedly agree. I will say no more, regarding the beliefs of Catholics. No need.

    10. Steven Jonathan

      Toad, we do not agree. There are many things Muslims, Mormons and Methodists say that are not absurd- Your position of skepticism is not shared by faithful Catholics and what you call “verification” is clearly based on self-reference and the five senses rationalized by a poorly formed intellect. I know where you are coming from, I am a school teacher- we are the reason so many are so confused and it is because we listened to insane university professors. We Catholics believe in the objectcive standard of Truth, that which is outside of us but corresponds to an authentic notion of conscience- you yourself have access to this conscience and common sense but choose instead to verify with the weakest form of verification, self-reference- We know what Christ said and we know what he intended because it is in perfect accord with the perennial philosophy (the right use of the intellect) and notions of free-will you migh deny. It is clear to me, though probably not to you, that you do not know what the Catholic Church teaches. It is like what Fulton Sheen said, something like ” there are very few people who actually hate the Church, but there are millions who hate what they think the Church is.”

    11. “There are many things Muslims, Mormons and Methodists say that are not absurd,”
      I didn’t suggest they were, Stephen. Read it again. I said they believed absurd things. Which is different, believe it or not.
      “Your position of skepticism is not shared by faithful Catholics “
      It certainly isn’t. But it ought to be, I think.
      “I know where you are coming from, I am a school teacher-“</i.
      Good for you. I wanted to be one, but the money was lousy. So I didn't. And I won't bother mentioning, "Those who can – do. Those who can't – teach." That would be a cheap shot.

      “We know what Christ said “
      No we don’t. What we “know,’ is what somebody said Christ is reported to have said. Might still be true, though.
      However, at present, we have no independent source of verification. So we should treat his “comments” with great care until we know better.
      Whenever that might be.

    12. (Something when haywire in the middle of all that. Oh, well. It will do for now. Can’t be bother to fix it now.)

    13. Steven Jonathan

      No worries Toad, you make engaging and civil comments and I respect you for that-

    14. Thanks, Steven. So…let’s run this bunch of red herrings up the flagpole again – and see if any of them fly.

      “I know where you are coming from, I am a school teacher-“
      …And yet you declare my intellect is “poorly formed,” in comparison to yours, presumably. Very likely. I don’t hold my intellect in very high regard. But then, I never aspired to be a school teacher – probably wisely, in my case. Not near clever enough. Not will I stoop to cracks like “Those who can, do – those who can’t, teach.” Cheap shot, that would be.

      “We Catholics believe in the objective standard of Truth, “</i.
      And yet you believe in the "objective truth" about someone of even the basic facts of his birth and death dates are highly questionable, and whose entire life and death is almost all mystery and hearsay. I'll go into details if you like. The Gospels may be just that – gospel truth, but we can't be remotely confident without independent sources. And we can never "know." And there are
      no such sources. Which is very odd in itself. You, Steven, choose to unquestioningly believe the gospels, I assume. That’s your decision. And do you teach the Gospels as gospel truth to your students?
      …And how are (or were) the university professors “insane”? Because they thought different ideas than you hold were true? Or what?

      “We know what Christ said “
      No we don’t. What we “know,’ is what somebody said Christ is reported to have said. Might still be true, though. etc. (see above.)

    15. My God, I screwed it up again. No edit function on this blog. I might get fed up with that. And quit.

    16. Steven Jonathan

      Dear Toad,

      “And yet you declare my intellect is “poorly formed,” in comparison to yours, presumably.” No sir, just the opposite- if there is a culprit in the modern misuse of the intellect it is the school teacher and professor- I am an idiot whose thoughts and words over the decades have been little more than “sound and fury” but I don’t share my pusillanimous thoughts anymore. I would presume that you have many more IQ points than me, but what I have that you don’t is that I have been open to revelation and the gifts of the Holy Spirit for the last 8 years, you are not. So Christ is my teacher I am aided further by the graces of the Holy Spirit, the Church Doctors and saints. You reject these sources and thus we have a chasm between us. Actually, I like the cheap shot you won’t stoop to, we teachers have done a great disservice to the world.

      Yes I believe the Gospels, not unquestioningly, but of course I believe the Gospels, they are inspired by the Holy Spirit- and of course I teach the Gospels to my students, it is the main part of what I teach.

      Most university professors are insane because they have abandon the truth of ideology. Since I am no standard at all, it is never a problem to disagree with me, but if one is a philosopher is not wise to abandon Plato, Aristotle, Augustine, Aquinas and countless other great minds who elucidated deep truths concerning the right use of the intellect. If one is a human person made in the image and likeness of God it is insane to eliminate Theology from a course of studies, if one assumes that teacher ought to teach the truth. So we are left in our universities with false ideologies and propaganda, not truth and this is insane for one who would call himself a teacher. Let me emphasize again, it has nothing to do with what I think, but rather with what actually is.

      On you lack of trust in Christ’s words, it is perfectly understandable, but the reason I understand what Christ said is not because of modern translations but because of the Holy Spirit corroborated by the Tradition and Teaching of Holy Mother Church. So yes we know in part exactly what Christ says and we understand to a certain degree, but not fully, what He means- but the message of Christ is bottomless because Christ is not only the messenger, but the message. I know well that this is unintelligible to the modern mind, I was a non-believer for 40 years so I know both sides of the fence. We know a lot more than just what somebody said- Christ’s words resonate with reality and permanent truth.

    17. “On your lack of trust in Christ’s words, it is perfectly understandable,”
      I’m prepared to trust quite a few of Christ’s reported words,Steven. But only if they make sense to me, on examination. Such as, “If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor..” or, “if someone strikes you, turn the other cheek.”
      It’s just that I’ve never met a Christian, outside of a monastery perhaps, who has ever done either thing. Have you?

      “If one is a human person made in the image and likeness of God it is insane to eliminate Theology from a course of studies…”
      The weasel word here of course, being, “if.” Let’s not jump to unwarranted conclusions.

      “So yes we know in part exactly what Christ says..”
      …”In part exactly”? Hmm.

    18. Steven Jonathan

      Yes, I know many who understand those two sayings and try to live them out. Of course only the saints can do so fully, but to the extent that we cooperate with grace, we too can live these out, not by our own power but by the power of Christ. And although these two sayings are perfectly in accord with the entirety of the Gospel message, it is a theological and philosophical mistake to excise them from their much larger context and strive for them untethhered from their deep roots.

      Your self-reference is your stumbling block- it doesn’t matter if they make sense to us, it matters whether or not these things are true and sometimes we need help with that because we are not all ready to “test everything and keep what is good” especially if we are not certain what constitutes the good.

      Yes it is an “if” and this is not a weasel word it is the truth- those who don’t believe in God and the same “if” to contend with. Or if one thinks the best way of knowing is “scientific” that is grounded in a big philosophical “if”. The thing about God is that there is tons more empirical, philosophical and theological evidence for Him and not so much for the materialists outside of self-reference.

      We will not fully know Christ this side of heaven. There are limits to the human intellect, there are no limits to Christ’s truth- so of course it is in part, just like everything else- we don’t fully know anything or we would be done learning and there is no such thing for a human to be done learning, is there? St. Thomas Aquinas says that we could never exhaust the reality of a single fly much less anything else- why put such a limit on the limitless God?

    19. What I’m obliquely asking, Steven, (as I suspect you know) is – Hast thou personally sold all thou hast and given it all to the poor? If so, whose computer are you writing this on?

      “Yes, I know many who understand those two sayings and try to live them out.”
      From this, I assume you are not one of the many. If I assume correctly, then why not?

      “Your self-reference is your stumbling block- it doesn’t matter if they make sense to us, it matters whether or not these things are true and sometimes we need help with that because we are not all ready to “test everything and keep what is good” especially if we are not certain what constitutes the good.”
      This is all true (well, more or less) but it gets us nowhere. You are just as self-referential as I am – we have no choice. We each only “experience” the world through our individual sense data, so we each “fashion” our own world. (Kant, as you know – with a soupçon of Wittgenstein)

      “…it matters whether or not these things are true and sometimes we need help with that…”
      Of course we do. I try get “help” by reading, discussing, and objectively assessing, as far as I can. But, ultimately, it has to be my decision. And yours has to be yours.
      But that’s all obvious. And doesn’t solve the problem – that things you are certain are “good,” are surely “not good,” to someone else.

    20. Steven Jonathan

      Toad, I have not sold everything and given it to the poor. I am not a saint, I am a great sinner. But the correlation between the stuff I own and that dictum is misleading. It is a material reduction to think one could sell all one’s stuff and give it to the poor and the commitment is met, this is not the case. On the intellectual level it is about detachment from material things and a proper valuing of permanent things and on a spiritual level it is about authentic charity.

      I am a member of the Body of Christ, but a poor one.

      It is true that we all think for ourselves, but there is a difference between that and self-referencing- for an example, you repeatedly say, as most people do, “we experience the world through our individual sense data, so we each “fashion” our own world.” This is self-referencing- and I did that for 40 years and most people do it for a life time- even though as you admit you are influenced by Kant and Wittgenstein, and many others besides if you are aware of it. But I no longer self-reference in this way- I do think for myself, but I submit my will to the will of Christ- if I learn something Christ would have me do that I disagree with, I defer to Christ- “I believe it first so that I may come to understand.” This is the inversion of what you claim to do- you need to “see it to believe it” I do not- I believe it and then by cooperating with the gifts of the Holy Spirit I come to understand. I have learned the most in my life by the gifts of the Holy Spirit first, second by philosophical conception and this can be corroborated by the sense data- so where you use your intellect to rationalize your sense data, I allow God first, the great philosophers second to teach me about physics and metaphysics while my sense data takes a third seat- Jesus said “don’t judge by appearances, but judge right judgement.” The only way to do that is to defer to the proper authority, and that authority is not me, it is the revealed work of God the Logos, the Christ elucidated by the great souls who come in His name. We do not self-reference in the same way.

      We are at a sort of dead end because we don’t share first principles- and on this last point you are demonstrating relativism- I am saying the opposite and you are not hearing me- We know what is good and we know what is not good if we listen to Christ and the prophets. It doesn’t matter if someone else thinks it is good. A bank robber thinks robbing a bank is good, his opinion of this is irrelevant- he is stealing someone else’s money. A rapist might think what he does is good, it doesn’t matter, he is violating someone else’s rights. A murderer may think he is solving a problem and justify his murder- but he is wrong. You can no sooner invent your own “goods” than you can make a new color. We either discover what is good or we don’t. You seem to think that a person thinking a thing makes it so, but we know that we don’t make our own realities, if we are sane and work hard we may discover the nature of reality, but we must first shed our delusion and recover some common sense. The good is the good regardless of what anyone thinks and bad is bad.

      I really wish we could find some common ground, but it doesn’t seem likely because even though we may use the same words, I fear we mean different things. But I have very much enjoyed our conversation. On a final note, though you may not be asking- I am no authority, I am not an arbiter of truth, not even my own truth- So to look for answers you might be a good idea to go to St. Augustine or other great souls to learn more about what is good- Kant and Wittgenstein are brilliant, but untethered to the eternal laws that govern reality.

    21. “Kant and Wittgenstein are brilliant, but untethered to the eternal laws that govern reality.”
      Yes, Steven. After that comment (on which I will not bother to comment) it’s time to call it a day. Good luck with your teaching career.

    22. Steven Jonathan

      Toad, thinking of a good teacher, a modern essay worth reading that addresses most of what you brought up here, is called The Weight of Glory- I highly recommend you give it a read, it is not very long and if you are seeking a kind of truth that satisfies the soul, but not the modern sensibilities, this is a great place to start.

      Please do read it:

      It is only 9 pages. I would love to try to explain parts of it that are bound not to make sense in this day and age.

    23. Steven Rummelsburg claims — incorrectly — to speak for all Roman Catholics.

      He does not.

      There are many types of Roman Catholics, and many of those types would not utter these kinds of remarks.

      He also insists that “Truth” (his capitalized word) is (a) an objective standard, but it also is (b) determined by each person’s private conscience.

      That is untrue. Both cannot be true. Objective reality can result from consensus and be nearly universal, as with science; however, personal conscience varies widely and is wholly unregulated.

      Rummelsburg also writes — incorrectly — that he knows exactly what his supernatural deity thinks and says because those thoughts and words perfectly match human intellect and free will.

      The evidence proves otherwise.

      Rummelsburg may imagine his deity’s mind and his mind are in high agreement, but there are 7 billion minds on earth, and almost none of them have the same exact thoughts that are shared between Rummelsburg and his deity. Just ask anyone; a mis-match is nearly guaranteed every time.

    24. Re: Muhammed, what he was teaching was also recorded posthumously within 20 years of his death, although the Quran was supposedly known then by quite a few by heart. There is no doubt that he was a real person.

    25. All this religious folklore about a “spirited soul” vs. a “non-spirited soul” is merely the recognition that some creatures have higher intellect and express language, while most have lower intellect and express little or no language.

    26. Sure, Aristotle is still the highly regarded expert in animal physiology and psychology. Or not?
      >We are better than animals at math, science, philosophy, theology, language and many other things

      Dogs possess intellectual capacity equal to 2-4-5 year old human (although they don’t have a voice apparatus that would allow them to speak). Does that mean they have a “spirited soul”, or does that mean that a non-speaking toddler equal in “math, science, philosophy, theology, language” to a dog doesn’t possess a “spirited soul”?

      At what time in zygote/embryo/foetus development the “spirited soul” gets implanted to said zygote/embryo/foetus?

      What’s sign that “spirited soul” left a human body?

    27. Steven Jonathan

      your analogy is a material reduction and not terribly apt- by composite I mean in fact that they are one and the material body is the manifestation of the spirited soul- if you want to be a reductionist about it, a better analogy is the chair and the formal cause of “chairness” it is the material that emanates from the spirit, not the other way around. Death is the unnatural separation of body and soul.

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