Consequences of Vatican II
Dog and Pony Show
Lyle J. Arnold, Jr.
Dog and pony shows became popular in the late 19th century. The term refers to small travelling circuses where the main attractions were trained dogs and ponies performing tricks. One of the traditional acts was to have the animal jump through flaming hoops. In today's usage, it has come to mean a highly promoted, often over-staged performance, presentation or event designed to sway or convince public opinion.
A passage in the book Animus Injuriandi II ("Desire to Offend") in Chapter VII, "Offenses against Catholic Morals," qualifies as this type of "entertainment." In it, Atila Guimaraes describes the new Situation Ethics of the Conciliar Church. The only difference is that the ringmaster is a grifter with a collar, who presumptuously expects his reader to jump through hoops. These are the words of Fr. Edward Schillebeeckx:
The ringmaster makes the dogs jump through the hoop
"The ‘new' of Situation Ethics lies in the fact that it discerns the objective norm of conscience not in abstract norms that would apply equally for all men, but rather in practical norms. That is to say, the concrete situation in which an individual is engaged personally and one time alone, is for him the objective norm that should regulate his conduct, and this situation is the revelation of the will of God for him.
“Therefore, the Situation Ethics of believers views the orientation of conduct by abstract norms as a deformation of the moral conscience, as being hypocritical, rigid, scrupulous and indolent and, finally, a reckless judgment of one's neighbor." (italics in original) (1)
After reading his demented account several times, I concluded that he would have made a good carnival side-show barker, but as a Dominican theologian he failed miserably. His freakish, convoluted words make it easy to understand that he was a major contributor at Vatican II. Like the Council itself, Fr. Schillebeeckx’ citation is a fantastical display of quackery. His proclamation of the "new" of Situation Ethics is nothing more than worn out, existentialist license that makes subjectivism the criterion of truth.
How and why does Catholic teaching, which defines truth as the adherence of the intellect to the objective reality, suddenly get inverted? What kind of magic does this Situation Ethics (S.E.) possess, by stating that "it discerns the objective norm of conscience?"
Presto! Fr. S. has showed the new magic of S.E., something pulled out of a sorcerer’s hat, a something out there possessing the power to give a person a "one time alone" liberty to find God's will for him in a particular situation. To make this happen, all S.E. did was to declare that the subjectivity of the conscience is now a case where God has breathed His divine will into the soul of one who is "engaged personally" in some endeavor.
Since S.E. does not place any limits on the person's endeavors, it could pertain to a whole range of immoral acts, from homosexuality to same-sex marriage, abortion, birth control, ad infinitum.
This Situation Ethics – new or not - described and espoused by Schillebeeckx was strongly condemned by Pius XII. One of the reasons was precisely because it abolishes objective moral norms. So the Conciliar perito slips in his “objective norm” to circumvent any possible condemnation. But, as Mr. Guimaraes explains, he is using the term in a “new” conciliar sense: this “objective norm” is “the ‘universal entity’ of the human being.” (2)
Schillebeeckx himself explains what he has re-termed “moderate situationism” – his “new brand of Situation Ethics:”
Presto! Schillebeeckx pretending to make a new brand of Situation Ethics appear
“This moderate situationism aims both to guarantee the absolute validity of general norms and to defend the situational moments of our existence where no absolute norms can be applied.”
He goes on to explain that God’s will is normally revealed through natural law and Revelation, whose interpretation is entrusted to the Church. But, he adds, these orientations are not sufficient. Therefore, “God shows His will through the interior work of grace; this grace is interiorly directed to the interpretation of the practical situation as an appeal to man.” (3)
Notwithstanding this cheap trickery, it is still a rat he pulls out of the hat. It is the “new” Situation Ethics in an updated version of a moderate situationism. Here also, objective norms are replaced with subjective norms that change depending on each particular situation. Whatever I think in my mind is truth, “revealed” truth, Schillebeeckx effectively says. If I think it, it is “the will of God” for me.
Playing with objective truth
What Fr. S. and his beloved moderate Situation Ethics do is to play with the concept of truth, moral truth. This is his circus trick.
If I say that the white wall is white, I am correct. I saw reality as it is. If someone says that the same wall is grey or green, he reveals that he has some defect in his eyes, which supplied him with false information, or in his mind, which erroneously interpreted that color. The wall, however, continues to be white no matter what I – or other viewers – interpret it. This is what an objective reality is. This also applies to moral truth.
Now, if someone tells me that there is a magic show in town where a magician makes that same white wall change colors randomly for each viewer according to his moods, I might pay for a ticket to go see that circus show. Behind the trick, either there must be a mechanical device projecting colored lights on the wall to trick the eyes of the attendees, or some psychedelic drug is distributed that fools the viewers' mind to give them the impression the white wall is green, yellow or red.
If you are looking at a white wall and see colors like these, be sure that someone gave you a drug
So it is with moral reality. God established in nature the rule that it is evil to deny a just salary to the worker - this moral reality does not change. No matter how many persons are dissatisfied with this law, no matter how difficult it can be to enforce this commandment of nature, the objective rule remains intact as an objective truth. What takes place with this simple natural precept, also happens with all moral norms, either natural or revealed. They do not change.
Now comes Situation Ethics that tells us moral norms are subjective. That they change according to the “internal revelation” of each one. I would say that we are witnessing the same kind of tricks we found at the circus or local dog and pony show. S.E. is fooling both our eyes and our minds - our ways of seeing reality and the moral criteria of our conscience.
Be aware and be careful. There is only moral objective truth, and we should follow it assisted by the grace of God. Subjective truth, existential truth, adaptable experimental truth are nothing but tricks Progressivism and its agents are performing to dupe us.
(1) Volume III of the Collection Eli Eli, Lamma Sabacthani?, TIA, 201, p. 265.
(2) Ibid., p. 261
Posted July 16, 2012
Related Topics of Interest
The Language of Truth Is Simple
Fr. Schillebeeckx: Theology should Critique the Church
The Official Hermeneutics of Rupture
The Victory of the Sappers
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