Catholic Culture Trusted Commentary
Catholic Culture Trusted Commentary

If the English cannot live in accordance with moral values, are they free?

By Dr. Jeff Mirus ( bio - articles - email ) | Jan 11, 2017

If you want to see how darkened the human intellect can become through sin, look no further than the remarks of Dame Louise Casey in the United Kingdom. Casey holds a dubious position which apparently puts her in charge of “community integration”, perhaps the better to ensure that nothing is permitted to follow its natural course.

Casey is up in arms about Catholic schools and “homophobia”, and she dislikes the expression religious conservatism because “often it can be anti-equalities”. In any case, she has pronounced that “it is not OK for Catholic schools to be homophobic and anti-gay marriage”. Catholic schools should not be allowed to oppose homosexuality because “it is not how we bring children up in this country.”

Dame Louise concludes that people should be able to “live the lives that they want to live, but that they cannot condemn others for living differently.” Catholics, however, must not be permitted to “live the lives that they want to live”, for they are not to be allowed to raise and educate their children in accordance with their own values. In other words, Catholics are to have just the liberty they need to live in accordance with the values of Dame Louise Casey—and not one whit more.

As is usual in such cases, Dame Louise latches on to the tortured term “homophobia”, as if the position that homosexual activity is immoral arises from fear. This inability to make appropriate distinctions already reveals the darkening of the intellect, as does the assumption that freedom is not diminished by the State’s forcible imposition of Dame Louise’s values on others. In this case, she even imparts a delightful upper class English tone to the discussion: “This is not quite the thing,” she seems to say. “It just isn’t done!” I believe that is a fair representation of the rational level of her remarks.

Of course Dame Louise also confuses moral judgment with personal condemnation. The two are not the same, even if they may at times be closely related. One may regard someone’s behavior as immoral without condemning such a person wholesale and across the board. By Dame Louise’s logic, we ought not to be allowed to teach our children that stealing is wrong, or to discourage the behavior patterns of those who plunder others, or to attempt to rehabilitate those who have fallen into such a way of life.

Sadly, our cultural elites simply take for granted that they are always self-evidently right about everything, despite reinventing their moral principles roughly every ten years. And if they are self-evidently right, then they must view as tremendously liberating all those policies which prevent others from thinking, saying or doing anything different from what, in their superior wisdom, they have approved.

And yet they do not even pretend to have a standard of right and wrong which derives from anything other than their own prejudices. They are themselves guilty of the very moral stupidity that they so conveniently project onto others. But I suppose we should not find this at all surprising. As I said at the beginning, this is simply the darkening of the intellect which is invariably caused by attachment to sin. We all suffer from it to one degree or another, but it is a fatal condition in those who see themselves as the arbiters between good and evil, and so refuse to open themselves to grace.

To put the matter as succinctly as possible, the freedom to live as Dame Louise Casey insists that we live is neither more nor less than slavery to sin.

Jeffrey Mirus holds a Ph.D. in intellectual history from Princeton University. A co-founder of Christendom College, he also pioneered Catholic Internet services. He is the founder of Trinity Communications and See full bio.

Sound Off! supporters weigh in.

All comments are moderated. To lighten our editing burden, only current donors are allowed to Sound Off. If you are a current donor, log in to see the comment form; otherwise please support our work, and Sound Off!

There are no comments yet for this item.