So, what do you think of the Joseph Bottum capitulation?

Here’s what at First Things Matthew J. Franck has to say with links to Bottum’s article in Commonweal and the New York Times’ follow up:

Joseph Bottum, once the editor of this magazine, has unburdened himself of a change of mind on the subject of same-sex marriage, in Commonweal (and thereby earned himself also a grateful, and perfectly timed, pilgrimage by a New York Times writer to his home in South Dakota). Others who really know the author may wish to comment at greater length on an essay that is avowedly very personal. But what I detect in it is the work of someone who was never all that interested in investigating the arguments on either side of the same-sex marriage debate; whose scant interest in it has now been fully exhausted, both intellectually and morally; and whose present conclusions hover in mid-air without anything to support them other than a wistful regret that he has lost a hoedown partner in a gay man who has come fairly unglued over the issue.


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5 Responses to So, what do you think of the Joseph Bottum capitulation?

  1. Pingback: So, what do you think of the Joseph Bottum capitulation? | Catholic Canada

  2. EPMS says:

    Should everything that is immoral in the eyes of the Church also be illegal? Heterosexual sodomy? Adultery? The early Puritan communities in America made these acts crimes, along with Sabbath-breaking and blasphemy. Many of these laws stayed on the books until the late 20th C. I am not sure that there is much of a consensus for following their example.

    • Rev22:17 says:


      The Catholic Church has long maintained that there are two distinct bodies of doctrine — (1) moral doctrine, derived from the order of the universe by reason alone and thus applicable to all humanity, whether Christian or not commonly called “Natural Law,” and (2) theological doctrine, deduced from divine revelation (scripture and tradition) and thus applicable only to Christians. The origin of Natural Law in classical philosophy begins with Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle, and thus clearly is NOT fundamentally Christian. As an absolute standard of morality deduced by rigorous logic, Natural Law defines what is just and what is evil, and thus constitutes the only viable standard by which to judge the legal system of a society. Quite simply, legislation that does not conform to Natural Law is inherently unjust and therefore evil.

      The distinction between moral and theological doctrine is apparent in Catholic teaching in many ways. Perhaps the most common is the customary depiction of the ten commandments divided into two tablets, with the first tablet containing the commandments pertaining to religion and the second tablet containing the commandments pertaining to morality. This distinction is also apparent in the articulation of the dogma commonly called “papal infallibility” in apostolic constitution Pastor aeternus promulgated by the First Vatican Council, which is very careful to say that a document promulgated ex cathedra is “infallible” with respect to both faith and morals. Note the following wording from the last chapter of the document (boldface added).

      9. Therefore, faithfully adhering to the tradition received from the beginning of the Christian faith, to the glory of God our savior, for the exaltation of the Catholic religion and for the salvation of the Christian people, with the approval of the Sacred Council, we teach and define as a divinely revealed dogma that when the Roman Pontiff speaks EX CATHEDRA, that is, when, in the exercise of his office as shepherd and teacher of all Christians, in virtue of his supreme apostolic authority, he defines a doctrine concerning faith or morals to be held by the whole Church, he possesses, by the divine assistance promised to him in blessed Peter, that infallibility which the divine Redeemer willed his Church to enjoy in defining doctrine concerning faith or morals. Therefore, such definitions of the Roman Pontiff are of themselves, and not by the consent of the Church, irreformable.

      In the apostolic constitution Dei verbum on divine revelation, the Second Vatican Council was careful to maintain this distinction.

      So the answer to your question is that moral doctrine of Natural Law is in fact not only a proper basis for civil legislation, but also an essential basis for civil legislation if a society is to be just.


  3. EPMS says:

    So why is the Church not speaking out for renewed legislation against birth control and heterosexual sodomy and oral sex?

  4. TACit no more says:

    It’s good, appropriate, that you call it capitulation! And having just read also your post above of part of Ms. Scalia’s response, I submit here a link to a very recent article, which gives one the needed perspective to recall why Bottum is wrong, and Ms. Scalia’s criterion is inappropriate:

    It’s crucial to remember that this fight is completely intentional, on the offensive, and constructed from false premises on the part of the left.
    It must, however, be very difficult to be a journalist in the environment thus created.

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