Sunday, November 21, 2010

Called to Duplicity

I'll have more to say about the substantive claims in another post. For a moment I'd just like to draw attention to startling contrast between the posting guidelines at CTC and their actual conduct:

Posting Guidelines

If you wish to comment here, please follow these guidelines. Since truth and love go together, make sure that your comments arise from a genuine love for the persons about whom (or to whom) you are speaking. It is a good habit to pray for the person you are writing to (or about) both before and after you write your comment. Pray that you will be united with this person in the Body of Christ. If you are criticizing another participant’s claim or position, address your criticism to that person in the second-person; don’t speak about that person in the third-person. Speaking about another participant as though that person is not present is impolite, and suggests that you wish only to criticize a person, and not to be reconciled with that person in the truth.

This is to be a forum wherein unity is pursued in the context of humility, charity, respect and prayer. For that reason, ad hominems are not allowed. That means that you may not criticize or insult or belittle or judge or mock any person, his character, intelligence, education, background, or motivations. Attacking persons is fallacious and uncharitable and will not be permitted here. If you are wondering why your comment was not posted, the most likely reason is that it contained some ad hominem.

Another common fallacy related to the ad hominem fallacy is the genetic fallacy, wherein a person’s argument or claim is dismissed because of its source. An argument is not refuted, nor is a position falsified, merely by its source. One common form of this fallacy is labeling a position (or its source), and then dismissing it on account of its label, instead of its own merits. An argument or position is not refuted by a label. In order to evaluate what is under the label, we have to evaluate the positions and arguments underlying such terms. Also, please avoid imperatives and other patronizing or disrespectful forms of address.

Did the Pope Condone Condoms in Certain Cases?

Nov 20th, 2010 | By Tim A. Troutman | Category: Blog Posts
Several main-stream media outlets are running a story with headlines like “Pope says condoms acceptable ‘in certain cases’.” One does not even need to read the quotation in context to know that this is false. The reason one can know this is because the pope does not have the authority to do such a thing. The Catholic Church does not have the authority to overturn natural law. That is why she can never condone artificial contraception.

Unsurprisingly, many Protestant blogs (including some well known Reformed blogs), dissenting Catholic blogs, liberal blogs (and some conservative ones) are all running this story without the slightest attempt to read what was actually said – much less to understand it within the context of Catholic moral teaching. (I recommend reading Matt Yonke’s “Contraception and the Reformed Faith” to better understand Catholic moral teaching on this subject.) How quick the world is, including separated Christians, to jump on any opportunity to disgrace the bride of Christ! Well, “If the world hates you, know that it has hated Me [Christ] before it hated you.” (John 15:18) If you want to find the Church that Christ founded, you don’t need to read through all of the articles on Called to Communion. You don’t even need to read the early fathers. Just find the Church that the world hates the most.

Sean Patrick November 20th, 2010 7:24 pm :
Thank you Tim. Telling that certain Reformed blogs (the bad ones) are running with this like it’s a shut case. The desire to score points against the Church trumps reality. The same folks know better about the media when it comes to their issues but the gloves come off when the media misreports the Holy Father. In a word: Pathetic.

Tim A. Troutman November 20th, 2010 10:39 pm :
TurretinFan –

As for an example of Reformed blogs handling this just as poorly as the liberal media, Triablogue is one. I think that one’s pretty well known. Did you find their treatment of it adequate and fair?

Sean Patrick November 20th, 2010 10:40 pm :
TurretinFan -

I refuse to link it on account of the refuse spewing comments and invective vomit but you can look at the other reformed blog that starts with a ‘T’ for starters which features comments from other usual suspect Reformed bloggers that make their way around the internet. It is absolutely and utterly reprehensible.

Sean Patrick November 21st, 2010 1:54 pm :
If anything the Pope is frankly too trusting with the media and a little naive to think that a comment like that would not be played up and grossly misinterpreted by the media in a matter of minutes. And after the media spreads the lie the enemies of the Church are all to eager to use it against Her even when they know it is a false characterization; such as the aforementioned ‘bloggers.’

This is not the first time that the media has taken a comment from a cleric and twisted the words to mean something unintended. The media does it all the time with Conservative politicians. Many of these Reformed bloggers are eager to come to the defense of their Republicans when it happens to them but the Pope? No such luck. All of a sudden the media is just an honest reporter. This is all so transparent.

Tim A. Troutman November 21st, 2010 2:53 pm :
Peter – you saying that the libelous article to which you linked doesn’t need commentary implies that what was already said in the article speaks for itself and adequately represents the truth. What you are doing is deliberately spreading (and implicitly endorsing) false propaganda against the pope. I can understand that you disagree with the Church teaching on sexuality. But at least have the decency not to join in with the secular world in deliberate misrepresentation of the Church. No one at Called to Communion would ever do that to one of your leaders. Please return us the common courtesy.

This reaction is both typical and predictable. On the one hand, CTC has a set of self-flattering guidelines to advertise how well they intend to treat their theological opponents. An exercise in making themselves look good.

On the other hand, when that’s put to the test, the guidelines instantly become inoperative. That’s because it’s so much easier to be nice to the people you like. To like like-minded people. The acid test of their sincerity is whether they apply their guidelines to the people they dislike. And what we immediately see is the classic contrast between how they treat the in-group and how they treat the out-group. So much for ecumenical outreach.


  1. Steve and everyone else,

    Listen, we disagree on a lot of things. Let's put that aside for now. One set of issues that we mostly agree on is morality. We're allies in this fight (if in no other fight). The world is against us. If we can't lock arms on any other issue - fine - let's lock arms on this one.

    I'm not asking you to accept Catholic moral teaching on any issue. Even if you disagree on this specific point - you can surely see that the media is treating the pope just as it treats every moral leader (Catholic or Protestant). If a Reformed leader got up and said something that was taken out of context regarding abortion.. brothers you better believe I'd be out there defending that Reformed leader.

    On a much smaller scale... not too long ago I overheard a number of liberal Protestant co-workers of mine gossiping and slandering my friend, an OPC elder, on a moral issue and I had to repent after the things I said in his defense! He and I may disagree on many things - but he is a good man with God-fearing convictions and I will not stand by while he is slandered by those who have accepted the world's version of morality.

    We have different beliefs on many issues - many critical issues. Ok. But we're not enemies. If anyone slanders you unfairly, and I hear about it, differences aside, I'll have your back. I don't ask for the same in return - I'm just asking for you not to join in with our attackers. Especially when this is an issue at least close to something we agree on - we both agree that human sexuality is sacred and that is the fundamental issue at stake.

    Sorry if anything I said came across slanderous - I really never wanted to mention names because I didn't want to say anything negative about you guys. The only reason I mentioned it is because TurretinFan asked specifically. I hope you'll accept my apology.

  2. Steve and everyone else, ...

    I hope you'll accept my apology."

    I can only accept for myself... and I do.

    Thanks for the apology.

    I'm a joyful Manhattan Declaration signer and supporter.

  3. Sorry if anything I said came across slanderous...

    Notice how such an apology is in reality no apology. Try using this kind of "apology" when you've offended, for example, your wife! The reason it is no apology is because it owns nothing - it owns no wrong . . . It's all predicated on an *if* that does not affirm its condition.

    This is a hypocrite's attempt to pose himself as being apologetic.