The Rejection of Catholic Moral Teaching by Liberals

Many liberal Catholics (not all of them) have rejected Church teaching on morality. Some on the far left have tried to justify direct abortion, especially when the mother’s life is in danger, but sometimes also more generally. Many liberals have rejected, in word or in deed, magisterial teaching on contraception. They do not believe that contraception is at all immoral, and it does not weigh on their consciences that some forms of contraception are abortifacient. But the liberal rejection of the Catholic moral teaching does not stop there.

The recent secular approval for gay marriage in the U.S. and other nations has led many liberal Catholics to approve of gay marriage, and to claim that Jesus would also approve. They reject Church teaching on the immorality of the unnatural sexual acts committed in same-sex relationships. Approval for gay marriage implies approval for sex within that marriage.

On sexual ethics more generally, many liberal Catholics ignore or reject basic Catholic teaching: they do not think that sex outside of marriage is immoral. They have no interest in the teaching that, to be moral, each sexual act must be marital, unitive, and procreative. The use abortifacient contraception and commit unnatural sexual acts within marriage, with no regard for the grave immorality of these acts. It is not so much that they go through each teaching and decide against the Magisterium on each point. Rather, they simply ignore Church teaching, then believe and act according to their ideas and preferences.

On ethics as a whole, most liberal Catholics have never heard the teaching that three fonts of morality determine whether any act is moral or immoral. And they cannot give a coherent explanation as to why some act are called intrinsically evil and are therefore always immoral. They have not learned the teaching of the Church on the basic principles of ethics, and they do not consider that teaching when deciding which acts are moral, and which are immoral.

Worse still, many liberal Catholics go online and teach others to think and act in the same way. They speak repeatedly online about moral issues, and they openly contradict (or simply ignore) Church teaching to the contrary. They adamantly assert that Jesus would agree with them, if they mention their Lord and Savior at all. They teach without first having learned. They lead many souls astray with false teachings on faith and morals. And they never accept correction. Many liberal Catholics are causing grave harm by distorting and rejecting Church teaching.

And many conservative Catholics behave the same way. They have not learned the basic principles of ethics taught by the Church. They have no idea what a moral object is, or how to tell if an act is intrinsically evil. They cannot explain how to determine the morality of an act from the three fonts of morality. They do not reject all direct abortion. They make excuses for the use of abortifacient contraception and mere contraception. They approve of unnatural sexual acts within marriage. They do not accept that lying is always immoral. They make all kinds of errors on matters of morality. And then they go online and influence other Catholics to adopt their sins and their false ideas.

{6:41} And why do you see the straw that is in your brother’s eye, while the log that is in your own eye, you do not consider?
{6:42} Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, allow me to remove the straw from your eye,’ while you yourself do not see the log in your own eye? Hypocrite, first remove the log from your own eye, and then will you see clearly, so that you may lead out the straw from your brother’s eye.

Ronald L. Conte Jr.
Roman Catholic theologian and translator of the Catholic Public Domain Version of the Bible.

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