Moral/Sexual Issues

Was Jesus Nice?

by Steve Ray on January 5, 2021

I wish I had a dollar for every time someone has said to me. “That was not very Christ-like.” This response usually comes after being honest to the point of making someone upset.  The implication is that Jesus was a cuddly little nice guy who was always smiling, always accepting with kind words – in short NICE.

In America we tend to be pretty nice, except maybe if you live in New York City. But in contrast to the rest of the world we tend to be very polite, genteel, gracious and nice. Tour guides in other countries say that Americans are the nicest people. We transpose our niceness onto Jesus and think he was a lot like us.

But does LOVE = NICE?

Of course Jesus was loving. He is God after all and God is love (1 John 4:8). We also know that love does not always equate to NICE. God allowed Paul to have a thorn in the flesh to keep him humble (2 Cor 12:7). Three times Paul prayed for it to be removed. God said NO.  God was not acting very American. He certainly wasn’t very nice about it.

Nice is defined primarily as “pleasant or commendable, kind or friendly” (Collins English Dictionary). It originally comes from the Latin meaning “simple, silly or ignorant.”

There is such a thing as “tough love.” It is the kind of love that cares enough to be honest, to confront, to discipline, to cause temporary pain to bring about eternal glory.  On the surface “tough love” does not always appear to be nice. How often has a child, sent to the corner blurt out “You are not very nice!”

Was Jesus nice?

Like Aslan the Lion in C. S. Lewis’ Narnia series, Jesus is approachable and loving, but don’t ever consider him “tame” or too cuddly. Jesus is God as well as man. He expressed the wrath and anger of God as well as the mercy and love of God.

Imagine coming to the Temple in Jerusalem one day to pray. You hear a great commotion and run over to see an angry man throwing over tables, grabbing the money from the merchants and throwing the money on the ground.

But worse, you see him make a scourge of cords – a whip – and striking people with it. You are shocked that anyone would be so rude and destructive, so inconsiderate and mean to lash people with a whip. People ran in fear! Everyone was upset. Jesus was red in the face and scowling.  It certainly wasn’t very “Christ-like.” How nice was that?

Jesus was always loving, but he was not always nice, as we Americans count niceness. Here is just one example. Jesus spoke very harshly to his fellow Jews.

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within they are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness. So you also outwardly appear righteous to men, but within you are full of hypocrisy and iniquity. . . .  You serpents, you brood of vipers, how are you to escape being sentenced to hell? (Matthew 23:27,  28, 33).

Ouch! It doesn’t sound very kind and courteous: not very thoughtful or nice!

So, maybe there is more to WWJD (What Would Jesus Do?) than we’ve been led to believe. Maybe we shouldn’t worry so much about being nice, being liked, acting like genteel Americans. Maybe we ought to be more honest and forthright about the things that really matter.  Maybe we should be more willing to hurt some feelings, step on some toes, show tough love to those in sin.

Maybe we should be more Christ-like.

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I just read Bishop Barron’s article/blog concerning voting, and frankly, I was very disappointed. Usually, I try to give the benefit of the doubt and avoid criticizing brothers in the Lord, especially bishops, but this was too much.

He contradicts or at least minimalizes what the United States Council of Catholic Bishops said concerning the priority of the abortion issue. They stated, “The threat of abortion remains our preeminent priority because it directly attacks life itself, because it takes place within the sanctuary of the family, and because of the number of lives destroyed.”

Instead of being clear on this issue, he blows smoke into the air and obfuscates, confusing uninformed Catholics. He leaves Catholics confused and uncertain as to their moral obligations without any practical direction or moral instruction.

As much as I appreciate most of what Bishop Barron writes, this piece was a huge disappointment. I consider it misrepresenting the Catholic position and confusing people in the process.

Bishop Strickland had a few things to say to Bishop Barron in this article “Bishop Strickland Schools Bishop Barron on the Truths of the Faith”. Also I have provided (below) the response of apologist John Martinoni to Bishop Barron’s article (used with his permission).

For a very clear assessment without the confusion and moral uncertainty, read this excellent article by Archbisop Lucas here.

Crisis Magazine weighs in HERE.

John Martignoni’s Response

I would take issue with Bishop Barron on a couple of points:

     1)  He seems to imply, and many other Catholics outright say it, that the Republican Party does not line up with Catholic social teaching on issues pertaining to “concern for the underprivileged, for the migrant and refugee, and for the environment, as well as opposition to capital punishment and to all forms of racism.”  I have to mostly disagree.  I would like for someone to tell me where the Republican platform, or President Trump, or any Republican senator or congressman has said they are not concerned about the underprivileged, or the migrant and refugee, or for the environment, or not that they are not opposed to racism? Outside of capital punishment, I don’t know of anything that Republicans advocate for that can be said to be intrinsically evil.  But, even with capital punishment, there are folks from both parties on either side of that debate. 

     Also, there is much debate as to whether or not capital punishment can even be said to be an intrinsic evil.  There are those who say, rather, it is a prudential judgment of recent popes that there is no need for capital punishment in our day and age.  Since the Church has indeed taught in the past that capital punishment was a legitimate means of punishment for the state to use, I would have to lean heavily towards the position that it is not an intrinsic evil, even though I am, personally, opposed to the death penalty.  Also, I would have to agree with Bishop Barron when he says in that same article: “…the number of those threatened by abortion and euthanasia is far greater than the number of those under threat of capital punishment. Sometimes people will say that all lives are equally sacred, but in this context, that observation is something of a red herring. For the relevant question is not which lives are more sacred—those of the unborn, the elderly, the poor, the migrant, [the incarcerated]—but which lives are more direly and directly threatened.”

     2) He seems to be saying that it’s okay for voters to put matters of prudential judgment on the same level as matters of intrinsic evils.  Yet, the two simply do not equate.  He says: “Each [voter] would have to say some version of ‘despite his unacceptable position, I will vote for him because, in prudence, I have determined that other commitments of his and/or his own character counter-balances his objectionable opinion.’   Does this lead us into somewhat murky waters? Frankly, yes, but that’s necessarily the case when we’re dealing not with matters of principle but matters of prudence.”

     He does not mention any difference here between matters of prudential judgment and matters of intrinsic evil, leaving the reader to also not make any such distinction.  So, “Hey, I disagree with Candidate A because he supports abortion, but I’m going to vote for him anyway because I disagree with Candidate’s B position on illegal immigration, even though he is opposed to abortion.”  Abortion is an intrinsic evil; one’s position on how to best deal with illegal immigration is a matter of prudential judgment – there is no moral equivalence between the two positions.

     And, he even seems to be saying that not liking a person’s character justifies one’s vote for a pro-abortion candidate over a pro-life candidate.  Let’s see…not liking Candidate A’s character on the one hand vs. Candidate B advocating, promoting, passing laws for, and profiting from (through campaign donations) the deaths of up to one million babies a year.  Uhhh…no.  

     When it comes to matters of prudential judgment vs. matters of intrinsic evil, that’s where those two questions I asked in my last newsletter come in to play:

     Let’s say that the candidate you are voting for, instead of being a staunch supporter of abortion, and a supporter of the laws that allow for the killing of more than one million unborn babies each year, let’s say that instead of supporting abortion, that candidate was a staunch supporter of laws that allowed for the lynching of one million black men a year.  Could you still vote for that candidate?  Would their position on healthcare or education or immigration outweigh their position on lynching?  

      Or, let’s say, instead of supporting abortion, that candidate was a staunch supporter of laws that allowed for the gassing of one million Jews a year.  Could you still vote for that candidate?  Would their position on healthcare or education or immigration outweigh their position on gassing Jews?  

      Let’s be honest…you answered a strong, resounding, “NO!!!” to each of those questions, didn’t you?  You could not and would not vote for a candidate who supported the lynching of even one black man, much less one million black men, no matter how “right” he or she was on the other issues.  You could not and would not vote for a candidate who supported the gassing of even one Jew, much less one million Jews, no matter how right he or she was on the other issues.  

      How, then, can one vote for a candidate who supports abortion “rights” and who supports laws that allow for the killing of over one million unborn children a year?!  The only way you can do that is if you do not believe the unborn child is a human being deserving of full protection under the law.  The only way you can do that is by devaluing the life of the unborn child.  The only way you can do that is by worshipping at the altar of the god of choice, rather than the altar of the God of Life.

Please visit John Martignoni‘s site here and consider contributing to him.

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This morning I had prepared to wax eloquent about the recently revealed comments by Pope Francis and the confusion and dismay they are causing with faithful Catholics and the jubilant “hurrays” coming from the  Catholics who would love to Church to fit the modern world.

Remember that GK Chesterton said, “The Catholic Church is the only thing which saves a man from the degrading slavery of being a child of his age.”

But I couldn’t do better than the excellent article written today in Crisis Magazine online entitled “Where Francis Leads, We Can’t Follow” written brilliantly by Michael Warren Davis. I hope he doesn’t mind I reproduce it here for you all to read and appreciate.

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download“Homosexuals have a right to be a part of the family. They’re children of God and have a right to a family. Nobody should be thrown out or be made miserable because of it. What we have to create is a civil union law. That way they are legally covered. I stood up for that.”

That’s a quote from Pope Francis. Pope Francis—the Bishop of Rome, the Vicar of Christ, the Supreme Pontiff of the Catholic Church. And not only has he come out in support of civil unions for same-sex couples: he has also confirmed old rumors that he did so in his native Argentina as early as 2010. For at least a decade, Francis has quietly but actively dissented from Church teaching on human sexuality.

Lest there be any doubt, in 2003 the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith—then led by Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, who was appointed by John Paul II—declared:

The Church teaches that respect for homosexual persons cannot lead in any way to approval of homosexual behavior or to legal recognition of homosexual unions…. Legal recognition of homosexual unions or placing them on the same level as marriage would mean not only the approval of deviant behavior, with the consequence of making it a model in present-day society, but would also obscure basic values which belong to the common inheritance of humanity. The Church cannot fail to defend these values, for the good of men and women and for the good of society itself.

That is indeed the perennial teaching of the Catholic Church. And the Pope is now on the record dissenting from that teaching, publicly and unambiguously.

download (2)Up to this point, I’ve tried very hard to give Francis the benefit of the doubt. No longer. The Pope has made it abundantly clear that his mind is not with the mind of the Church. He doesn’t believe in the sacred deposit of the Magisterium. He doesn’t feel bound to the Church’s traditions.

Some readers will accept that implicitly. Others will not. So, let’s be very clear: One of the first principles of Catholic social teaching is that immoral acts must not be given legal sanction. That’s why the Church plainly teaches that abortion (CCC, 2273) and pornography (CCC, 2354) should be prohibited by law. We as Catholics believe that civil authorities must not condone vice, even implicitly.

For the Pope—or any Catholic—to endorse same-sex civil unions is wicked. It follows the exact same logic that Joe Biden uses to justify his support for abortion: “I’m personally opposed to killing babies in the womb, but I wouldn’t impose that view on women who want to kill their babies.” The Pope has just made that exact same argument for male sodomy.

This may be the most significant moment in papal history since Paul VI published Humanae Vitae. In fact, Francis’s comments are a kind of diabolical inversion of Humanae Vitae.

When he ruled that artificial contraception was always and everywhere immoral, Paul VI was addressing a live debate in the Church that had never been definitively resolved. And not only did he go against popular opinion: he contradicted many of his own leading theologians, including many “conservatives.” As for Francis, nobody was expecting him to weigh in on the marriage issue. This was a spontaneous remark, and on a matter that has long been settled by Church authorities. Only a small handful of “mainstream” theologians and bishops have ever signaled their support for civil unions.

download (3)Paul defended the Magisterium against vast legions of Sexual Revolutionaries outside the Vatican walls and their many fifth-columnists within. Francis has raised the white flag to the Sexual Revolution without their firing so much as a peashooter in his direction.

Some Catholics will take this as proof that Francis is consciously working to subvert traditional Church teaching. Others will assume he’s just theologically illiterate and, frankly, not very bright. Still others will conclude that he’s prone to spouting off on topics he neither understands nor really cares to understand. Many think he’s going senile, which might be the most charitable view. But I’ll leave that for the reader to decide.

At some level, it doesn’t matter. Whether the Pope is consciously or accidentally dissenting from the Church, he is dissenting from the Church. There’s no question about that.

Little wonder that progressive Catholics are thrilled by the Pope’s comments. Father James Martin, who has long worked to undermine the Church’s teachings on homosexuality, tweeted: “This is a major step forward in the church’s support for LGBTQ people.” His colleague at the Jesuit-run America Magazine, Michael J. O’Loughlin, likewise wrote: “People downplaying the Pope’s words, on camera, endorsing civil unions for gay couples should ask LGBT Catholics how the remarks make them feel…. I assure you this is big news.” Indeed, it is.

Of course, the Catholic Left will weaponize the Pope’s comments against orthodox believers. Father Daniel Horan, the wayward Franciscan, wonders “what bigoted church leaders who have been firing Catholic school teachers and parish ministers for entering into same-sex unions are thinking right now. Maybe they’re thinking about what their own resignation letters might look like.” No doubt. Progressive bishops and diocesan bureaucrats will use Francis’s endorsement as a cudgel against orthodox Catholics in our schools, colleges, and chanceries.

download (1)What’s astonishing is how many “conservative” Catholics can’t see that. Ryan T. Anderson, who gained prominence as a critic of Big Trans and now teaches at the University of Dallas, also took to Twitter in support of Francis. Dr Anderson noted that he himself had also “proposed something like ‘civil unions’ for non-married people.” Again, one tries to give Francis the benefit of the doubt. But that clearly crosses the line into cognitive dissonance.

Francis may be one of those fifth-columnists that Paul VI opposed. Or maybe he’s one of their useful idiots. But this much is perfectly clear: Pope Francis doesn’t think of himself as pope. Whatever his idea of the papacy is, he’s dead wrong.

The duty of the pope is to safeguard and clarify the Sacred Deposit of the Faith. He’s supposed to think with the mind of the Church and follow the Magisterium; instead, he speaks whatever happens to be on his mind and expects the Magisterium to follow. The papacy hasn’t humbled him, as it did his predecessor. It has emboldened him.

Francis embraces the worst Protestant caricature of his office. He sees himself as a man with universal competence, one given to him directly by God Himself. That competence allows him to opine authoritatively on any matter, sacred or secular, that happens to tickle his fancy. That’s not what a pope is, by any stretch of the Catholic imagination.

But we know that. We also know that, when the Pope flatly contradicts the Magisterium, we may ignore him. Better yet, we can—and we must—contradict him loudly, for the sake of those who might otherwise follow the Holy Father into error. “This isn’t what the Church teaches,” we say. “This isn’t what Catholics believe.”

What a horrible burden this pope has put on the faithful. A good Catholics wants nothing more than to respect, trust, and obey the Successor of Saint Peter. Francis has made that impossible for so many. If he were really as wise and compassionate as he believes himself to be, he would recognize how many of his poor children he’s leading into scandal and disbelief.

Yet sometimes a dutiful son can do nothing but resolve to be a bigger man than his father. And that’s the sad situation we now find ourselves in. Pope Francis is leading our family down a dangerous path, and we can’t “accompany” him on that journey. We have to plant our feet firmly in the Church’s sacred traditions, and encourage our brothers and sisters to do the same.

Pray for our Holy Father, who needs our prayers now more than ever. If you love him, stand your ground. Please God, he’ll turn away from his error someday. Then we, the faithful remnant, may lead him back home.

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You Laity are Very Important and Should be Involved Reminding Priests and Bishops

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We Catholics often think we should sit back and let the bishops and priests do everything. We should look to them to save our Church. But Archbishop Fulton Sheen has a word of exhortation for us: “Who is going to save our Church? Do not look to the priests. Do not look to the bishops. […]

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Another Great Talk by Fr. Altman, God Bless Him and his Defenders!

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One good priest responds to Fr. Altman‘s strong, uncompromising homilies and to his weak-kneed bishop. Fr. Dwight Longenecker’s excellent article is entitled “On Prophets and Pearl-clutchers” and published by Crisis Magazine. Read it here and pass it on.

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Fr. James Altman: You Cannot be Catholic and Vote Democrat

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UPDATE: Some bishops have spoken out in agreement. Click here. Two versions: 1) The homily alone; and 2) the homily with David Gray eating popcorn, gesturing and more. You choose :-) A friend just shared this: “My friend just shared this and I could not fail to pass on the Good News! You may have […]

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Freedom from Pornography

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The statistics about guys addicted to porn is staggering. There are some good services to help if you want deliverance. Here are a few Catholic ministries that have been recommended. If you know of others, let me know and I will add them here.   ______________________________________________________________________

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Why Didn’t Jesus Condemn Homosexuality?

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Steve’s extensive response to new questions in the ComBox below. For the newly revised and full article click here. IN RESPONSE TO MY BLOG JESUS IS NOT A HOMOPHOBE, ROD WROTE: Rod May 30, 2012 at 10:21 PM Steve, Your posting is remarkable! It is remarkable that, despite your attempts at convincing yourself that Jesus […]

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Was Jesus a Homosexual? Some say “Yes” and try to Prove it from the Bible!

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After posting my blog entry “Jesus and Homosexuality” I received a correspondence from a Harry H. McCall, a self-proclaimed ex-reverend. He referred me to his blog “Debunking Christianity.” His post was entitled Jesus the Homosexual: Evidence From the Gospels. It is despicable to even say or suggest this of Our Lord but we need to […]

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Crisis Magazine has come out with a good and insightful article debunking the idea that the Catholic Church endorsed and promoted slavery. The modern anti-Christian, anti-history narrative takes it for granted that the Church was either a promoter of slavery, or at best complicit or it turned a blind eye. This article by Paul Kengor […]

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Why We Don’ t Support Pride Month: Excellent 56-Second Video by Fr. Simon

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If you click the video and it does not play, then click on the words above the video and it should take you to Twitter to view the 56 second video. It is short, sweet and carries an eloquent punch. Twitter deleted this video and Fr. Simon’s twitter account because it went viral. Let’s make […]

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Who Speaks for God on Morals? Many Choose their Church Like they Choose a Restaurant

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We have a “church” near our house that is making it comfortable for anyone to join no matter who they are, what they believe or what they practice. They say it is our job to accept and love, to be nice, not to judge. “Celebrate Diversity!” Celebrate Diversity is a slogan of acceptance, multiculturalism, non-judgmental […]

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Homosexuals and Shellfish

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I received a copy of an e-mail which was very sarcastic. The sceptic’s words are in red. He wrote: “Thank you for doing so much to educate people regarding God’s Law. I have learned a great deal from you, and try to share that knowledge with as many people as I can. When someone tries […]

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“Straight Talk to Teens” a new Steve Ray talk available on MP3

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Teens don’t want platitudes or to be talked down to. They want a challenge, they want the truth! In this talk, I address a large group of teens and you could hear a pin drop.  

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Girl with the Beard Slated to Win the Race

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If you aren’t subscribed to the Babylon Bee, it’s a good daily dose of conservative, moral and political satire. It is social commentary and a lot of fun. It is the Christian version of “The Onion.” You can subscribe here.

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St. Damian Feast Day: Sodomy Past and Present and Confronting the Clergy

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There is a lot of homosexuality in the ranks of our clergy, even and especially with prelates in Rome. It is not mentioned, not rebuked.  Unhappily it seems to be ignored and condoned. Very few bishops have mentioned or addressed it. Laicized pervert McCarrick and his collaborators and protectors are good examples. He advanced all […]

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