Should Parents Turn Gay Kids “Over to Satan”?

Since this post wound up being too long, I’ll get to the short answer to the titular question and say, “No.” And let me just add “duh.”

But noted anti-Catholic John MacArthur has a different perspective . He was asked a question about how a parent should respond to a child who is gay, and this was his response:

There’s a problem of language here: he’s speaking Protestantese to people who only understand English. Most people will hear “turning over to Satan” and think “damnation.”

That may in fact be what MacArthur has in mind, and the dark depths of the Calvinist brain are well beyond my ability to understand. But let’s look at what he may be trying to say, on his own terms.

In the video, he suggests two ways for a parent to respond to a gay child. If the child claims to be a Christian, he is to be confront sternly. If there is no response, you’re to tell the church and there is to be a public “putting-out” of the child.  Shunning, in other words. You have to alienate them and separate them. You don’t eat with them. You “turn them over to Satan” as Scripture says.

If the adult child does not claim to be a Christian, it’s a “whole different issue.” You have to treat them like a non-believer, by bringing the Gospel to them directly and confrontationally.

Okay, so exactly what part of the Scripture is MacArthur misinterpreting here?

First up, 1 Timothy 1:18-20:

18 This charge I commit to you, Timothy, my son, in accordance with the prophetic utterances which pointed to you, that inspired by them you may wage the good warfare, 19 holding faith and a good conscience. By rejecting conscience, certain persons have made shipwreck of their faith, 20 among them Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have delivered to Satan that they may learn not to blaspheme.

Satan is a liar, not a teacher, so we cannot view this as a “learning” discipline. Hymenaeus and Alexander, who were teaching heresy, won’t learn to avoid error from the father of heresies. So what does Paul mean?

St. Thomas offers two interpretations:

First, that just as the Lord gave the apostles power over unclean spirits to cast them out (Matt 10:8), so by the same power they could command the unclean spirits to torment in the body those whom they judged deserved it. Accordingly, the Apostle commanded the Corinthians on his own authority to deliver this fornicator to Satan to be tortured. Hence, secondly, he discloses the effect of this sentence when he says: for the destruction of the flesh, i.e., for the torment and affliction of the flesh in which he sinned: “One is punished by the very things by which he sins” (Wis 11:16). Thirdly, he mentions its fruit when he says: that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus, i.e., that he may be saved on the day of death or on the day of judgment, as was explained above (3:15): “but he himself shall be saved, yet so as by fire,” i.e., of temporal punishment. For the Apostle did not deliver the sinner over to Satan’s power forever, but until the time when he would be converted to repentance by bodily torment: “Vexation alone shall make you understand what you hear” (Is 28:19). This sentence of the Apostle corresponds to what the Lord observed, when he said to Satan: “Behold he is in your hand (namely, his flesh), but yet keep his life unharmed” (Jb 2:6).

To deliver this man to Satan can also be understood as referring to the sentence of excommunicating by which a person is cut off from the community of believers and from partaking of the sacraments and is deprived of the blessings of the Church. Hence it says in S. of S. (6:10): “Terrible as an army set in array,” i.e., to the devils. For the destruction of the flesh would mean that, being cut off from the Church and exposed to the temptations of the devil, he might more easily fall into sin: “Let the filthy still be filthy” (Rev 22:11). Hence he calls mortal sins the destruction of the flesh, because “He who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption” (Gal 6:8). But he adds: that his spirit may be saved, i.e., that the sinner, recognizing his vileness, may repent and thus be healed: “I was ashamed, and I was confounded, because I bore the disgrace of my youth” (Jer 31:19). This can also mean that his spirit, namely, the Church’s Holy Spirit, may be saved for the faithful in the day of judgment, i.e., that they not destroy it by contact with the sinner, because it says in Wis (1:5): “For a holy and disciplined spirit will flee from deceit and will rise and depart from foolish thoughts.”

“Turning over to Satan” is excommunication, since the person is put out of the Church. He becomes part of the world rather than part the body of Christ, and is thus a subject of the Lord of the World: Satan. This is a medicinal penalty in Catholicism, meant to correct grave and persistent sin.

There is also the sense that “turning over to Satan” involves punishment of the body, in the hope that by the torments of Satan the sinner may be drawn back to the straight path.

Next, let’s look at 1 Corinthians 5:

1 It is actually reported that there is immorality among you, and of a kind that is not found even among pagans; for a man is living with his father’s wife. 2 And you are arrogant! Ought you not rather to mourn? Let him who has done this be removed from among you. 3 For though absent in body I am present in spirit, and as if present, I have already pronounced judgment 4 in the name of the Lord Jesus on the man who has done such a thing. When you are assembled, and my spirit is present, with the power of our Lord Jesus, 5 you are to deliver this man to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.

As the flesh will be glorified in salvation, so is it corrupted in sin, and the punishment of this flesh is the work of the devil.  As St. John Chrysostom writes: “For the gain is greater than the punishment: one being but for a season, the other everlasting.”

So we have this notion of the obstinate sinner being punished in order to draw him back to the church. Is that how MacArthur understands the passage? I don’t know. Calvinists tend to think most of us are damned, so I’m guessing he has something else in mind.

But here’s where we get to the really fun part with MacArthur, because he and other fundamentalists are awfully selective when it comes to what they think is worthy of divine punishment. See, there are other people who should be turned over to Satan, according to Paul:

9 I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with immoral men; 10 not at all meaning the immoral of this world, or the greedy and robbers, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. 11 But rather I wrote to you not to associate with any one who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or robber—not even to eat with such a one. 12 For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? 13 God judges those outside. “Drive out the wicked person from among you.”

Here we have the distinction MacArthur is attempting to make: Paul is not referring to the “immoral of this world” (non-Christians), but to he who “bears the name of brother” (Christians).

Please note, however, the list of people included.  Is MacArthur suggesting we turn people over to Satan for speaking harshly of others (“revilers”) and stop eating with people are greedy? Drunks are to be put out of the church? In fact, are all the “immoral” to be put out of the Church and cut off from family? You’ll have a pretty small church.

Elsewhere, Paul identifies others deserving of harsh judgement. Among them is “any one who eats and drinks without discerning the body.” That means anyone who fails to recognize the True Presence of Christ in the Eucharist. Like John MacArthur.

In fact, Paul makes this link direct in 1 Corinthians 5 when he writes “let us celebrate the festival, not with the old leaven, the leaven of malice and evil, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.” This is the Eucharist.

The Council of Trent took a more sensible line, tempered by mercy, as taught to us by the One who ate with sinners:

Should they, however, happen to sin in any manner through human frailty, that precept of the apostle is to be observed by them, that they reprove, entreat, rebuke them in all kindness and patience, since benevolence towards those to be corrected often effects more than austerity, exhortation more than menacing, charity more than power. But if, on account of the grievousness of the transgression, there be need of the rod, then is rigour to be used with gentleness, judgment with mercy, severity with lenity; that so discipline, salutary and necessary for the people, may be preserved without harshness; and that they who are chastised may be amended; or, if they be unwilling to repent, that others, by the wholesome example of their punishment, may be deterred from vices; since it is the office of a pastor, at once diligent and kind, first to apply gentle fomentations to the disorders of his sheep, afterwards, when the grievousness of the distemper may require them, to proceed to sharper and more painful remedies; but if not even these are effectual in removing those disorders, then is he to free the other sheep at least from the danger of contagion. (Trent, Session 13, De Reformatione, Chapter 1)

It’s worthwhile to note that this decree follows one on the Eucharist. Thus, in context, Paul is not recommending that parents stop having dinner with their kids, but that the Eucharist should be withheld from people engaged in obstinate sin, whether that sin is sodomy or greed. Notably, this power is reserved to the Church, not the individual or the community.

And, of course, merely “coming out”–the criteria which is used by MacArthur–is not enough to trigger any of this. Declaring one’s sexual preference is separate from engaging in gravely disordered sexual acts. The acts, not the ontological state, are the sin.

So how are we to respond to a child who comes out? 

MacArthur missed the one word that should have led all the others: love. With love. How parents navigate this tricky minefield of modern sexuality is no easy thing, and we can hope that the Synod on the family turns its attention to offering real guidelines for dealing with children and loved ones with mercy, love, and faith. It’s not easy. The world has gone mad and our children are not immune to this madness.

There’s a fine line to be walked, and we need a little guidance on how to walk it. Do we attend a gay wedding? No, because that would be creating a public scandal. But do we stop talking to a gay child?

Of course not, and there is nothing in Paul or anywhere else to suggest that we should. You can’t just yank out a line from Paul, isolate it, and use it as a one-size-fits-all guideline. This is just Religion by Proof-Texting, not the faith of a living Church.

The obsession of Christian fundamentalists, and in some sectors of Catholicism, with homosexuality is an unfortunate byproduct of our times. Political and social issues are becoming entangled with the faith, and some are losing perspective on the reality of sin.

It’s kind of strange to see people talking so much about the sinfulness of sodomy (which affects the non-sodomite not at all) while giving little attention to the other three sins that cry out to heaven: murder,  oppression of the poor, and defrauding workers of their just wages.

We don’t see a lot of Bible-belters carrying signs that say “God hates defrauding workers of their just wage.” But drag sodomy into the discussion, and suddenly some people get very interested in letting you know what they think. This has more to do with the individual and his insecurities than with the sin itself.

As for me, I intend neither to sodomize nor to be sodomized, and so the sin is of little interest to me, except in the way it indicates a general decline in the public’s understanding of healthy sexuality and the continuing erosion of marriage. If a child of mine fell into that behavior, I would be heartbroken and do I would could to help him or her find the way to live a life of faith in chastity.

It would not be an easy road to walk, but I would not leave my child to walk that road alone.

As the Fathers of Trent observed, “rigour [is] to be used with gentleness, judgment with mercy, severity with lenity; that so discipline, salutary and necessary for the people, may be preserved without harshness.”

Paralyzed Man Moves Hand With Aid From An Implanted Chip

Ian Burkhart, paralyzed in a swimming accident, became the first person to move his own body with help from a microchip implanted in the brain. Dubbed “Neurobridge,” the technology allows the chip to read rudimentary thoughts in the patient’s brain and then trigger electrodes to stimulate muscles in the hand, causing directed motion.

From The Telegraph:

At just 0.15 inch wide, the chip has 96 electrodes which ‘read’ what he is thinking and is housed in a port inside his skull.

After weeks of practice sessions, when Mr Burkhart focused intently on wiggling his fingers while the chip responded by moving an animated hand on a computer screen, the first proper test took place last week.

The port was connected to a computer which decoded the messages sent by his brain and beamed them to a sleeve containing electrodes which was placed around his forearm.

One journalist said that when he was “plugged in” Mr Burkhart resembled Neo, the Keanu Reeves character from “The Matrix” film series.

Mr Burkhart’s first attempt at using his thoughts to move his hand exceeded all his doctors’ expectations. While they had hoped he would be able to move one finger, he was able to curl his seemingly dead hand into a fist, open it out flat and pick up a spoon.

The signals sent by the computer had triggered electrodes in the sleeve which stimulated the muscles in his hand, causing them to move in the same way they would if a message had been sent directly by the brain.

Afterwards, he told CBS: “Today was great. To be able to open and close my hand and do those complex movements that I haven’t been able to do for four years was great.

“Physically, it was a foreign feeling. Emotionally it was definitely a sense of hope and excitement to know that it’s possible.”

Dr Ali Rezai, Mr Burkhart’s surgeon, said: “I do believe there will be a day coming soon when somebody who’s got a disability – being a quadriplegic or somebody with a stroke, somebody with any kind of brain injury – can use the power of their mind and by thinking, be able to move their arms or legs.”

Watch:

Supreme Court: Police Need a Warrant to Search Cell Phones

They made the right decision in ruling that the police need a warrant to search your cell phone or other electronic devices. Given the way the government (at all levels, from federal down to local) has been behaving lately, you’d think the Fourth Amendment had been repealed. In fact, it’s time for it to be strengthened. Using the War on Terror as an excuse to abridge our fundamental rights was merely giving a victory to the terrorists. A few savages with bombs can’t topple our country: only we can do that by sitting still as our rights as free people are eroded inch by inch.This is a small step in the right direction.

From Politico:

Writing for a nearly unanimous court Wednesday, Chief Justice John Roberts said searches of digital devices for information are not comparable to searches law enforcement officers often conduct for contraband after making an arrest.

He acknowledged that the court’s decision would make it harder for police to fight crime, but said that did not justify excusing them from getting a warrant before conducting searches of cellphones and smartphones.

“We cannot deny that our decision today will have an impact on the ability of law enforcement to combat crime,” Roberts wrote for the court. “Cell phones have become important tools … among members of criminal enterprises and can provide valuable incriminating information about dangerous criminals. Privacy comes at a cost.”

All the justices except for Justice Samuel Alito joined Roberts’s majority opinion. Alito agreed with the court’s basic holding but said he’d give legislatures more leeway to set rules limiting the warrant requirement in certain circumstances.

The lively oral arguments in the case exposed the court’s struggles in recent years to grapple with technology, as the respected justices discussed everything from Facebook to Fitbit and the implications of the integration of mobile devices into the average Americans’ life.

The most vocal defender of device privacy was Justice Elena Kagan, expressed concern that police could get into all the information on someone’s phone if they were arrested for something like driving without a seatbelt.

On the other hand, some of the court’s conservative justices, like Justice Antonin Scalia, were not as concerned about the search, though he suggested openness to limiting the evidence collected to the crime of the arrest.

One of the central questions to argument was how new devices relate to old-school items a person might be carrying at the time of arrest that could be searched. The Obama administration had supported the position that there was no fundamental difference between the two, as a person could carry a briefcase with personal documents, or photos in their billfold, the same as on a smartphone.

But the administration also supported some limits on the search, such as narrowing the scope to what could be evidence in the crime at hand, although it argued call logs could always be searched.

 

“In Search of Steve Ditko”

I took my son and a friend to the Philadelphia Comic Con last Saturday, so I’ve spent the last few days immersed in classic comics. That got me to poking around the web, and I stumbled upon “In Search of Steve Ditko,” a documentary from the BBC in which Jonathan Ross explores the strange world of artist Steve Ditko (co-creator of Spiderman).

The reclusive Ditko cleaves to a radical objectivism that began to creep into his work starting with The Question (the model for the Watchmem’s Rorschach) and reached full flower with his Randian superhero, Mr. A. It’s really very good documentary with interviews from Alan Moore, Neil Gaiman, John Romito, Stan Lee, and others. Despite featuring only a few old snapshots of Ditko and a few seconds of his voice, it nonetheless manages to capture the appeal of this elusive, unusual artist, and the strange limits of his stark black-and-white, good or evil worldview.

The problem with objectivists is that they fail to understand the consequences of the fall of man, and thus respond to evil with a strict and violent justice untempered by mercy. Even in the world of comic book villains, that’s not a rational response to the problem of evil.

Look What I Got in The Mail!

 

It’s beautiful and big and mine mine mine!

This is me:

It leads with the complete text of his central work on the topic, Spirit of the Liturgy, and then collects all his papers and homilies on the liturgy in several sections: Typos–Mysterium–Sacramentum, Celebration of the Eucharist, Theology of Church Music, and Further Perspectives. It’s listed as volume 11, but published first at Benedict’s request because of the importance of the subject. There are new introductions and editorial notes.

The production is outstanding, and even a for die-hard Ratzingerian like myself much of it is completely new to me. Can’t wait to start it, but I’m finishing In Search of Sacred Time: Jacobus de Voragine and The Golden Legend by Jacques Le Goff, and this is one to savor. I’m hoping his Biblical work is next, since that was a major focus of my study.

My edition appears to be current and corrected. Some of the first run had pages printed in the wrong order (hence the low reviews on Amazon).

Francis Returns to the Quote Heard Round the World: “Who Am I To Judge?”

Stop me if you’ve heard this one, but in an off-the-cuff interview on an airplane early in his pontificate Pope Francis said, when asked about homosexuality, “Who am I to judge?”

Except he didn’t. He was asked about the alleged “gay lobby” of homosexual Vatican employees, and replied, in part, “A gay person who is seeking God, who is of good will — well, who am I to judge him?”

That didn’t stop millions of know-nothings from parroting a partial quote out of context to justify any absurd defense of the modern gay agenda, but people with an ax to grind rarely let messy facts get in the way.

Of course, any Christian would know that the key to his answer was not some approval of some currently popular behavior or obsession, but of a very particular word with a very particular meaning in our faith: judge

You know, as in that “judge not” thing we’re warned against. Repeatedly.

There is one judge: God.

In comments at mass this morning, Pope Francis elaborated on the theme in his homily on today’s reading from Matthew 7:1-5:

“The person who judges,” the Pope said, “is wrong, is mistaken and is defeated” because he assumes God’s place: He who is the one and only judge.” Jesus’ accusation of “hypocrite,” Pope Francis pointed out, is addressed to all of us who hastily judge others. “God,” on the other hand, said the Pope, “takes his time” when handing down judgment.

Alluding to Jesus’ words, the Pope said those who judge others mistakenly desire to remove the splinter from their brother’s eye without noticing their own eye is pierced by a wooden beam.

He who does this, the Pope observed, “is so obsessed with the person he wants to judge -that person – so, so obsessed! That the splinter will not let him sleep! ‘But I want to take away the splinter!’ … And he does not notice the log that he, himself has.” Such a person, said the Pope, confuses the splinter for a beam. He “confuses reality. He’s fantasizing. And he who judges becomes a loser, ends up badly, because the same measure will be used to judge him.” Those who are judgmental, the Pope concluded, assume the role of God and can bank on ultimate defeat.

Only God, and those of his choosing, have the right to judge, affirmed the Pope who pointed to Jesus as an example to follow.

“Jesus, before the Father, never accuses! It’s the opposite: he defends! He’s the first Paraclete. Then, he sends the second, who is the (Holy) Spirit. He is the defender: he comes before the Father to defend us against the charges.”

In the Bible, the Pope continued, the “accuser” is the devil, Satan. “Jesus will judge, yes, at the end of the world,” the Pope added, “but in the meantime, he intercedes, defends.”

Ultimately, he who judges, said Pope Francis, “is an imitator of the prince of this world who’s always behind people to accuse them before the Father.”

The Pope invited the faithful to “imitate Jesus: intercessor, advocate, lawyer” not just for ourselves, but for others too. And “do not imitate others, which in the end will destroy us”

If we want to follow the way of Jesus, the Pope concluded, “more than accusers, we have to be defenders of others before the Father. I see a bad thing in someone – do I go defend him? No! But keep quiet! Go pray and defend him before the Father as Jesus does. Pray for him, but do not judge! Because if you do, when you do something bad, you will be judged. Let us remember this well; it will do us good in everyday life when we get the urge to judge others, to speak ill of others, which is a form of judging. “

Related: Pope Francis’ Honeymoon is Over. 

 

Facebook Users: Please! Stop! Doing! This!

This is a kind of thought virus used to promote a business or product:

Companies that want you to pay attention to them come up with some dumb meme and then challenge you to disprove it. It is always something insanely easy to disprove, such as “Name a day of the week that ends in ‘Y’. I bet you can’t! ;)”

And everyone dutifully replies “Monday!” “Friday!” “Wednesday!” “That’s easy!”

When you share or even respond in the combox, the post appears on your friends’ stream. Thus, the business that started the thread winds up plastered all over place, providing them with tons of free and annoying advertising. It’s a kind of promotional thought virus spread by people who don’t realize they’re being used.

So, please, just stop it already.

Woman Killed As Satanic Sacrifice

At this point, there doesn’t appear to be any organized cultic activity in this case from Greece, but it’s still a disturbing story:

Alexandros Papageorgiou, suspect

Greek police have arrested an Athens man accused of brutally killing a woman in a satanic ritual on Orthodox Easter Sunday.

The suspect, identified by local media as Alexandros Papageorgiou, 22, confessed to murdering a 41-year-old homeless woman in a pre-dawn attack, as she lay in a square in the Athens seaside suburb of Glyfada, police said.

Papageorgiou told detectives he hit his victim with a heavy stone and then cut his arm to daub on a bench the number 666 and the symbol of an upside-down cross in blood.

He said he believed the sacrifice would get him closer to Satan.

Read the rest.

Sky News adds this detail:

Described as “deeply disturbed” and a drug addict by his father, he is alleged to have bludgeoned his victim to death, using a heavy stone which he picked up from a park in a southern suburb of Athens.

“I slit my hand with a knife and as blood oozed out I looked around and she was the first person I saw,” he said in his confession, leaked to local media Wednesday. “It could have been anyone.”

DNA analysis and a fingerprint on a plastic bag containing the murder weapon which police found in a nearby bin led authorities to track the suspect who publicised his activities through social media.

The suspect embraced Satanism at age 13.

Related posts.

Always Bring Your Weasel to a Basilisk Fight

A basilisk kills a man with his gaze, and is in turn killed by the stink of the weasel.

If only this man had remembered to bring his weasel when he decided to draw on a basilisk…

From Pliny’s Natural History:

There is the same power also in the serpent called the basilisk. It is produced in the province of Cyrene, being not more than twelve fingers in length. It has a white spot on the head, strongly resembling a sort of a diadem. When it hisses, all the other serpents fly from it: and it does not advance its body, like the others, by a succession of folds, but moves along upright and erect upon the middle. It destroys all shrubs, not only by its contact, but those even that it has breathed upon; it burns up all the grass too, and breaks the stones, so tremendous is its noxious influence. It was formerly a general belief that if a man on horseback killed one of these animals with a spear, the poison would run up the weapon and kill, not only the rider, but the horse as well. To this dreadful monster the effluvium of the weasel is fatal, a thing that has been tried with success, for kings have often desired to see its body when killed; so true is it that it has pleased Nature that there should be nothing without its antidote. The animal is thrown into the hole of the basilisk, which is easily known from the soil around it being infected. The weasel destroys the basilisk by its odour, but dies itself in this struggle of nature against its own self.

Now you know.

[from Bestiary (Royal MS 12 C XIX, ff 6r-94v), British Museum]