Saturday, January 15, 2022

Barron on “diversity, equity, and inclusion”

In a recent Word on Fire video, Bishop Robert Barron comments on the currently fashionable chatter about “diversity, equity, and inclusion” (or DEI, as they are commonly abbreviated).  In much political and cultural debate and institutional policy, these have come to be treated as fundamental and absolute values.  Indeed, as Bishop Barron notes, the trio has come to have the status that liberty, equality, and fraternity had for the French revolutionaries.  But like the latter notions, DEI rhetoric is not as innocuous as many suppose.  As the bishop argues, diversity, equity, and inclusion can have only relative and derivative rather than absolute and fundamental value, and some forms of them are bad.

I’ll summarize Barron’s points and then add some reflections of my own.  As he acknowledges, there are obvious respects in which diversity, equity, and inclusion can be good.  The diversity or variety that we find in the natural and social orders reflects the richness of being; justice requires equality before the law, equality of opportunity, and the like; and certain forms of exclusion from participation in the political and economic orders are gravely unjust, such as the slavery that existed in the American south before the Civil War.  Diversity, equity, and inclusion, Barron says, are valuable insofar as they facilitate the realization of fundamental and absolute values, such as justice and love (where love is defined as willing the good of another).

At the same time, as Bishop Barron points out, there are other respects in which diversity, equity, and inclusion can be bad.  A social order can exist only when its members recognize a common good, and principles that transcend the interests of individuals and unite them into a whole.  Thus, a degree of diversity that would allow even for the rejection of any such binding principles, or any common good, would destroy the social order. 

As Barron also notes, some inequities are a consequence precisely of the diversity of strengths, interests, etc. that naturally exist among human beings.  They cannot be eliminated, and to try to eliminate them would entail totalitarianism.  Here Bishop Barron is simply reiterating a theme that is longstanding in Catholic social teaching.  In Rerum Novarum, Pope Leo XIII taught:

It is impossible to reduce civil society to one dead level.  Socialists may in that intent do their utmost, but all striving against nature is in vain.  There naturally exist among mankind manifold differences of the most important kind; people differ in capacity, skill, health, strength; and unequal fortune is a necessary result of unequal condition.

In Humanum Genus, Leo wrote:

No one doubts that all men are equal one to another, so far as regards their common origin and nature, or the last end which each one has to attain, or the rights and duties which are thence derived.  But, as the abilities of all are not equal, as one differs from another in the powers of mind or body, and as there are very many dissimilarities of manner, disposition, and character, it is most repugnant to reason to endeavor to confine all within the same measure, and to extend complete equality to the institutions of civic life.

Criticizing the Sillonist religious socialist movement in the encyclical Notre Charge Apostolique, Pope St. Pius X states:

The Sillon says that it is striving to establish an era of equality which, by that very fact, would be also an era of greater justice.  Thus, to the Sillon, every inequality of condition is an injustice, or at least, a diminution of justice.  Here we have a principle that conflicts sharply with the nature of things, a principle conducive to jealously, injustice, and subversive to any social order.

Similar statements can be found in the teaching of other popes and in the tradition more generally. 

Inclusion, argues Barron, cannot be absolute, for the same reason diversity cannot be.  Inclusion is always inclusion within some social order.  But, again, any such order requires, for its very existence, commitment to common principles and a particular way of life defined by those principles.  Any society must therefore exclude those who refuse to abide by those principles.  Nor, as Bishop Barron notes, does the Church’s openness to all show otherwise.  As he says, the Church welcomes everyone, but only on Christ’s terms, not their own.

Much more can be said.  To reinforce Bishop Barron’s point that diversity, equity, and inclusion are not absolute values, we should note that there are obvious respects in which they will not be present in Heaven.  For example, there will be no diversity of religious belief in Heaven.  The central feature of Heaven is the beatific vision – the direct, clear, and distinct knowledge of the very essence of the triune God.  Hence, in Heaven, there will be no atheists, no anti-Trinitarians, no pantheists, etc.  Such errors will not be possible.  (Am I saying that no one who is presently guilty of such errors about the divine nature will be saved, not even by invincible ignorance?  No, I am saying that even if they are saved, they will not persist in those errors in Heaven, because the beatific vision precludes that.) 

What about equity?  The Church teaches that, in the afterlife, not all will be rewarded equally or punished equally.  For example, the Council of Florence states that those who are saved “are straightaway received into heaven and clearly behold the triune God as he is, yet one person more perfectly than another according to the difference of their merits.”  Similarly, the council teaches, the damned “go down straightaway to hell to be punished, but with unequal pains.”   For not all the righteous are equally righteous, and not all the wicked are equally wicked.  In this way, some inequities are destined to persist forever. 

St. Therese of Lisieux proposed a famous analogy in her autobiography The Story of a Soul:

I once told you how astonished I was that God does not give equal glory in heaven to all His chosen.  I was afraid they were not at all equally happy.  You made me bring Daddy’s tumbler and put it by the side of my thimble.  You filled them both with water and asked me which was fuller.  I told you they were both full to the brim and that it was impossible to put more water in them than they could hold.  And so, Mother darling, you made me understand that in heaven God will give His chosen their fitting glory and that the last will have no reason to envy the first.

End quote.  But doesn’t God love everyone equally?  No, he does not.  As Aquinas argues, although there is a sense in which God loves all things equally, insofar as it is the same one act of will by which he loves everything, there is also a sense in which he clearly loves some more than others, which is reflected precisely in the fact that he has not given the same degree of goodness to all:

In this way we are said to love that one more than another, for whom we will a greater good, though our will is not more intense.  In this way we must needs say that God loves some things more than others.  For since God’s love is the cause of goodness in things, as has been said, no one thing would be better than another, if God did not will greater good for one than for anotherGod is said to have equally care of all, not because by His care He deals out equal good to all, but because He administers all things with a like wisdom and goodness

It must needs be… that God loves more the better things.  For it has been shown, that God's loving one thing more than another is nothing else than His willing for that thing a greater good: because God's will is the cause of goodness in things; and the reason why some things are better than others, is that God wills for them a greater good.  Hence it follows that He loves more the better things.  (Summa Theologiae I.20.3-4)

Moreover, the love that God has for us, and the love he commands us to have for others, is by no means unqualified, and by no means does it entail an attitude of inclusiveness toward evildoers.  Aquinas writes:

Two things may be considered in the sinner: his nature and his guilt.  According to his nature, which he has from God, he has a capacity for happiness, on the fellowship of which charity is based, as stated above, wherefore we ought to love sinners, out of charity, in respect of their nature.  On the other hand their guilt is opposed to God, and is an obstacle to happiness.  Wherefore, in respect of their guilt whereby they are opposed to God, all sinners are to be hated, even one's father or mother or kindred, according to Luke 12:26.  For it is our duty to hate, in the sinner, his being a sinner, and to love in him, his being a man capable of bliss; and this is to love him truly, out of charity, for God's sake…

As the Philosopher observes (Ethic. ix, 3), when our friends fall into sin, we ought not to deny them the amenities of friendship, so long as there is hope of their mending their ways, and we ought to help them more readily to regain virtue than to recover money, had they lost it, for as much as virtue is more akin than money to friendship.  When, however, they fall into very great wickedness, and become incurable, we ought no longer to show them friendliness.  (Summa Theologiae II-II.25.6)

In this last passage, Aquinas echoes Christ’s teaching on reproving the sinner:

If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone.  If he listens to you, you have gained your brother.  But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every word may be confirmed by the evidence of two or three witnesses.  If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.  (Matthew 18:15-17)

Of course, this refusal of inclusiveness is, in this life, not absolute.  Even the seemingly most obstinate sinners may end up repenting after all – one of the purposes of excommunication is, in fact, to try to help the excommunicated person to see the gravity of his situation – and when they do repent they must be shown the friendliness we temporarily denied them.  But if they do not repent before death, there will be no inclusiveness shown them in the afterlife, as scripture, the Fathers, popes, creeds, councils, and catechisms clearly and irreformably teach (and as Bishop Barron agrees, by the way).  There will then be no DEI office to which they might appeal.

Needless to say, many contemporary Christians cite scriptural passages that speak of forgiveness, mercy, and the like in defense of a radical inclusiveness and universalism, while ignoring the many passages that would exclude such an interpretation.  They peddle these selective misreadings as if they represented some new and deeper insight into the Gospel.  In fact there is no new insight here at all, but just that ancient error of hairesis or heresy – “choosing” the part of Christian doctrine you like and ignoring the part you don’t like, inevitably distorting the former in the process.  The true sources of radical egalitarianism are to be found, not in the teaching of Christ, but in a disorder of the soul first analyzed by Plato and in apostasy from Christianity.

Related posts:

Poverty no, inequality si

Liberty, equality, fraternity?

The Gnostic heresy’s political successors

Scholastics contra racism

78 comments:

  1. I do hope that my saintly mom who passed last week in a nursing home after suffering from dementia for 9 years, will be duly rewarded for being God's Humble and Faithful Servant to the end. I hope that in the presence of the Beatific Vision, her prayers for her sinful and unworthy son, for whom she prayed for tirelessly while she lived, will be granted in this world or in the next.

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    1. May your mother rest in peace. You have my condolences.

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    2. My mother is also in a nursing home, she is 90 years old, she knows me and my sister for now, but her thoughts are more in the past than the present and, as the vein sisters say. Dad died last year at the age of 90. he does not know his brothers-in-law and other relatives, they were good and faithful spouses, parents and grandparents and I hope that God will reward them for that, greetings from Croatia.

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  2. "For since God’s love is the cause of goodness in things, as has been said, no one thing would be better than another, if God did not will greater good for one than for another… God is said to have equally care of all, not because by His care He deals out equal good to all, but because He administers all things with a like wisdom and goodness…"

    So, some things are better than others because God wills them to be better, but despite the fact that all things are administered with a like wisdom and goodness (which is demonstrably false, BTW) some things end up being better (or worse) than others.

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    1. God administers not only the creation of separate things, but a whole ecology of beings that together, in their multitudinous different functions and roles, manifest a profound Maker. These different roles in the ecology of creation require some things doing X, and others doing Y. And yet some things are higher beings than others, because they have more being than others: horses have all of the facets of goodness that minerals like calcium, iron, and carbon have, but they also have life (like plants do), and in addition they have senses. It is ridiculous to consider horses as no better than minerals like calcium deposits in the grand scheme of things.

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    2. That doesn't answer the question why some things end up being better than others if they are administered with a like wisdom and goodness.

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    3. Because God wills a certain order to the universe and some goods are subservient to others. God wills that humans are the kinds of being that eat food to survive. In so doing, he must will some food (plants and animals) of an inferior nature to humans to exist. He loves food less than humans, but both are willed with the same wisdom since one is made for the sake of the other.

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    4. I can somehow understand how objects and animals end up having subservient goods, but what about human beings?
      If I received the same wisdom and goodness as you, how do I end up Being worse or netter than you?








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    5. And that the chief end intended is a complex system with many layers and levels, a complex system that houses beings with different levels of capabilities, which requires (one, same) wisdom ordering the whole.

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  3. "there is also a sense in which he clearly loves some more than others, which is reflected precisely in the fact that he has not given the same degree of goodness to all"

    Can you expand on this a bit? I have puzzled over this on my morning run and can't make it work without invoking a kind of voluntarism, wherein God grants varying amounts of goodness to souls PRIOR TO that soul having made any choices. I may just be having trouble applying this notion to concrete cases, and with understanding what it means for God to "give" "goodness." I know in our A-T frame we join two notions of goodness:
    1. The degree to which something actualizes its nature
    2. The exercise of the will (in rational beings) to act from the truth and to go good/avoid evil.
    In the first sense, I worry that this sentiment about God "giving more goodness" to some because (?) He loves them more implies that the "defective" instances of humans can rightfully be read as less-loved by God than those who are healthy, more able-bodied, more intellectually capable, etc. This is the kind of nauseating tendency I read about in historical Calvinism - the wealthy and the strong go about convinced that they have God's favor, and, like the Jewish authorities of the Gospels, console themselves with the doctrine that the afflicted and disabled are that way due to God's disfavor (plus their sins, of course). I thought that the Catholic doctrine attributed the privation of goodness in this first sense to The Fall - defective matter/genetics, the sins of the parents (resulting in fetal alcohol syndrome, or malnutrition during pregnancy, etc), even growing up in a malformed culture riven with violence, abuse, ignorance, false doctrines, etc. However, I do seem to run into the risk of a voluntaristic God in trying to explain why God chooses to put a particular soul to particular parents, PRIOR TO that soul having any chance to demonstrate its meritoriousness. I guess one go-around is to point out that no soul deserves any goodness at all, but still, does God have a rational basis for doling out the disparities or not? If so, what is it, if not, how do we evade the charge of voluntarism?
    If you mean the 2nd sense of goodness, the capacity to use one's will to do good and avoid evil, this seems even worse - it sounds like God grants some people a greater capacity, or a greater ease, in doing what is commanded of all. This again sounds Calvinist - those who God grants sufficient goodness to obey the commands are saved, those from whom that grace is withheld are damned.
    Can you or another reader clarify?

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    1. The Virgin Mary had a higher and more good role in salvation history than me. He will a higher portion of the good for her. But not a higher intensity.

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    2. But it would make no sense for God to just arbitrarily will this for Mary but not for others. So it must be because of her *merits*. This means that part of God's love for creatures must be entirely *responsive*, *reactive*.

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    3. As I commented to Walter above: the initial place to notice some things being better than other things is in the many natures God created to fill the providential order. It takes many different KINDS of beings to fill up the ecology of the created order God planned, to display God's goodness not merely by the SHEER multitude of differences, but even more by the way all fits together into a harmonious pattern: Ants and bats and horses and bacteria and grasses.

      This reflection carries over into considering the goodness of those (like humans) who share the same nature: God gives to each a distinct role in the planned order of salvation. To one he gave the role of the Mother of his Son, to another he gave the role of "our father in faith, Abraham", to another he gave this or that role. The goodness of each role is seen in the goodness of the overarching Plan of Providence, which exceeds in goodness any SINGLE creature. So, it is a better thing that there be many roles with a consequent multitude of merits, each according to a distinct place in the hierarchy of salvation. That some have the role of being a (saintly) janitor and another of being a pope (who, by the way, is called "the servant of the servants of God") does not mean one role is bad and another good, by God's voluntaristic decision. Being even a janitor who goes to heaven is a very great good indeed. God has such a role for each and every human created. For those who accept his grace and are saved, this role is part of the hierarchy of good. For those who reject his grace and end up damned, they serve the glorious final Plan by being the contrast in the picture, the dark parts that allow the luminous parts to be seen still more clearly. Hence their damnation is not evidence that God had no place for them in heaven, but that He could arrange a Plan that allowed them to choose evil in spite of being called to love.

      It may be true to some extent that God gives some greater ease toward choosing the good than He gives to others. But from my experience of life, ALL who reach adulthood undergo such trials and testing as bear real danger of failure, real moral difficulty, require truly hard efforts. We certainly do make comparative estimations of one's trials versus another's, and this is the basis that we proclaim some heroic. But we are only ever able to estimate, or rather guess, at the true state of the interior battle waged. The constant mantra of the winners of the Medal of Honor indicates a subjective leveling of that interior battle: "I was doing my job." I don't know what all that leads to, other than caution about drawing conclusions regarding God's fairness in putting some in harder and others in easier situations.

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    4. Thanks for the reply. I take your position to be answering the question of why God provides different "roles" to different people, and that some of these roles are "more good" than others. This is relevant to my concern, but I am not sure that your reply answers the charge of voluntarism. If God fore-ordains certain roles for certain souls, on what basis does he make that choice? What basis could there be, prior to that soul existing and acquiring some sort of merit, or having any other rational basis for God's granting it the extra good?
      My personal way (perhaps not the Church's way) of answering this issue is to suppose that, e.g., Mary could have said "no," or sinned otherwise, and God would not have acted supernaturally to grant her the role. (I imagine lines of other women who God asked to be the mother of the Son who said no before Mary said yes.) The fact that Mary said "yes" is the basis for her being granted the extra good. This is of a consistent piece with the "disparate rewards" in Heaven for the saved.
      If Mary cannot say "no," or we cannot resist the role we are assigned, I think we are back in Calvinism and a world where we lack moral agency at all.
      However, my concerns about the disparities in goodness are less about "roles" in the "plan of salvation" and more about the two aspects of goodness I outlined in my post. I maintain hope that someone will answer them.

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    5. @ScottDD

      Your view makes me remember molinism. Check it out, the Church considers it a legitimate option as well. I see it as a mistaken position because i think that it pressuposes what some call freedom of indiference but it is not a heretical view.

      Now, perhaps another good reading would be Aquinas itself in the theme: https://www.newadvent.org/summa/1023.htm

      Of course, it seems that were you want a answer St. Thomas is okay with mistery, but i suppose that it will help advance the discussion. Take a look at molinism and St. Thomas and we see were it goes.

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    6. Thanks, Talmid. I do have an affinity for Molinism as a way to preserve God's omniscience and omnibenevolence while also allowing for actual free will; thanks for the tip to revisit his thinking to also address the question of why and how God determines the placement of souls. I really appreciate it! One of these days, this blog will convert me all the way to Catholicism.

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    7. Molinism isn't compatible with actual free will, at least not if by actual free will you mean the power to choose between two alternatives.

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    8. I prefer Thomism over Molinism these days. I am an Ex-Molinist. I find the Thomistic view more Transcendent and I no longer believe it is mere Catholic Calvinism. It upholds free will.

      But that having been said I think basic difference between the two views is each puts the Mystery Bookmark in a different place.

      The relation between the freedom of the Will and the divine sovereignty is not a puzzle to solve but a divine mystery to contemplate.

      In Thomism, God causes the will to freely embrace conversion and faith by premotion which is how efficacious grace works. But as for grace that is merely sufficient and not efficacious it is admitted the grace given is somehow truly sufficient so salvation is somehow a real possibility for the recipient since God cannot command the impossible. But it is for all practical purposes left a mystery as to how merely sufficient grace that is not efficacious is truly sufficient.

      On the other side of the coin. In Molinism the difference between Efficacious Grace and Sufficient Grace lies in the fact if the will resists efficacious grace it becomes merely sufficient.

      But here the mystery is how does efficacious grace secure the free co-operation of the will? A Molinist like the late great Fr. William Most would simply say somehow Grace causes the will to freely convert etc etc...

      Both Molinists and Thomist believe the Thomistic view " Free-will is the cause of its own movement, because by his free-will man moves himself to act. But it does not of necessity belong to liberty that what is free should be the first cause of itself, as neither for one thing to be cause of another need it be the first cause. God, therefore, is the first cause, Who moves causes both natural and voluntary. And just as by moving natural causes He does not prevent their acts being natural, so by moving voluntary causes He does not deprive their actions of being voluntary: but rather is He the cause of this very thing in them; for He operates in each thing according to its own nature."END

      An element of mystery is required in either case. Logically it cannot be shown that God cannot cause free will or cause a being to act freely.

      Most objections to God causing free will come from Materialists whose metaphysics reduces all things to mechanism and material things which cannot describe free actions and by nature exclude them & lend themselves by nature to some form of hard determinism.

      Thomistic Metaphysics are not so limited....

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    9. I was telking about real free Will, not about some ad hoc Thomist redefiniyion of free Will.

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    10. Then yer begging the question if you are not assuming the Thomist view. We all hold it here. If some other view of Free Will is incompatible with the Divine Omniscience and or Sovereignty who cares? That view is false regardless if gods exist or not

      Also you got it backward the Thomist view is the Real view. The volunteerism view is the later one.

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    11. I have clearly stated what i mean by real free will: the power to choose between two alternatives.
      And that kind of free will is incompatible with Divine Omniscience.
      Compatibilist free will isn't, of course.
      Now, I agree that compatibilist free will is "the real view"

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    12. Son, I too was attracted to Molinism, for a short time. I believe that he (and other late Scholastics) thought his approach wasn't different from Thomism, but rather a refinement of Thomism in a specific direction to clarify an ambiguity.

      I stopped being a Molinist when I read Garrigou-Lagrange, and (even more) Fr. William Most on grace and free will. Fr. Most helps clarify one of the important points that Molina had been stuck on (along with his opponents): the "sufficient" vs "efficacious" grace distinction is a dead end, and (on both sides) the attempt to square the circle on the basis of that "distinction" was doomed to failure. (That's my description, Fr. Most doesn't bother to say that.)

      Here's the reason: when God moves the soul toward the good, the soul IS in motion toward the good. It is ALREADY moving, if God "moved" the soul. But motion toward is defined by its end (this is basic Aristotelianism): God's act of moving the soul toward good X just is giving the soul the impetus by which it will arrive at X ... as long as else nothing impedes. An impetus may come up either from the outside (some other agent acting), or from the inside, by the person himself refusing or rejecting the end X. Until you consider motion toward X as if it might be impeded and thus (may) need some (further) act, the motion is ONE motion, having ONE end, and thus arriving at X is within its very definition. It doesn't need one motion to move it toward X and another motion to move it again to X. Thus taking it from the viewpoint of its beginning, God's moving me toward X just is both sufficient and efficacious grace, EXCEPT if we consider some INTERVENING agent's act (i.e. something extrinsic to THE ACT of its own nature.) One single act doesn't need one moving force to "set it in motion" and another moving force to "get it all the way to the end" if there is no intervening cause, and some intervening cause is an extrinsic consideration of the act itself.

      When you (the moved person) have enough time (during the motion toward X) to reflect on and reconsider whether to keep on going along with movement toward X, THEN you need a new grace because your (newly reconsidered) consent constitutes a NEW act, not the same old act already in motion. Thus, when taking into account (for those motions taking sufficient time to "change your mind") that you might become one of those "intervening causes" to impede the motion toward X, efficacious grace means not a second grace intrinsically necessary for the first motion to arrive at X, but a second grace with respect to a second act, one of (new) consent under the RE-consideration of X. For those acts too short for you to actively and consciously re-consider, (or is long enough but under which you don't take the opportunity to re-consider) the initial grace moving you to the good is both sufficient and efficacious all wrapped in one, because THE ACT is one single act, the movement is one movement. Sufficient grace of act X is ALWAYS (inherently) enough to get you to X when getting to X is a single act, other graces are needed when more acts are needed (i.e to deal with impeding causes).

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    13. Fr. Most differed from Molina in regards to the indifference considered, I think. For Most, God causes the will to move toward the good, and yet causes it in such wise that the will can repudiate, can reject the motion so initiated. Thus sin is a refusal to cooperate with what God causes, not so much a failure to initiate (in yourself) motion toward the good.

      Even calling it indifference is partially misleading: God designed us to incline toward the good, and moves us toward the good. But His agency CAN be resisted.

      And wanting to explain the rejection of God's moving action by a cause is another wrong path: the evil of sin isn't CAUSED by an efficient cause, it is "caused" (so to speak) by a deficient cause, a LACK of rightness. When a person is moved by God toward X, and he rejects X, trying to locate within him some efficient cause of that wrong leads to all sorts of error. His willing not-X is a turning away from good X, and has no (properly speaking) efficient cause, because efficient causes act toward some good. His turning away does have an IMPROPER sort of "efficient cause" because he always does so by turning to some other good, but this is improper as an account because the other good is a lesser good, and turning from the greater to the lesser cannot be explained by the lesser as such. The lesser good cannot be the proper cause of the turning from the greater (or we would ALWAYS choose the lesser). So, the core element of sin in the act, that rejection of the greater for the lesser, cannot have a proper efficient cause. Thus its name is deficient cause, and its nature is a defect in the will. A deficiency, a lack, a deformity.

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  4. I'm all for equality of opportunity, but equality of OUTCOME is a terrible idea. It disincentivizes hard work, personal responsibility, and innovation, and promotes authoritarianism. Furthermore, would anyone want surgeons and airline pilots to be holding their positions as a result of some kind of diversity quota? We would prefer them to have earned their status based purely on merit.

    It's a goal which is impossible to achieve, but I get the feeling it's increasingly on the agenda.

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    1. Why should we be in favor of equality of opportunity? It seems just as bad as equality of outcome. In order for everyone to have the same opportunities, their initial life circumstances must be the same. So, you have to get rid of all nepotism and inherited wealth and equalize the starting opportunities between people with different natural abilities. At that point, what's the difference between "equality of opportunity" and "equality of outcome"?

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    2. Admittedly it's not an easy concept to define. However, I'm talking about a minimal standard and negative sense which says that nobody should be discriminated against for something which is irrelevant to the situation or circumstance. I see the difference as being about intervention, or not. A policy of equality of outcome actively intervenes to ensure that those who are disadvantaged are making gains. Equality of opportunity doesn't intervene directly, but rather works to remove obstacles which may hinder anyone in making those gains.

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    3. What kind of obstacles are you talking about? You mean anti-discrimination law?

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    4. I also share Geocon's intuition. I attempted to formalize my intuition here:

      https://kurte77.substack.com/p/opportunity-implies-equity

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  5. I'm reading Viktor Klemperer's The Language of the Third Reich and I would bet that he would look at DEI, BLM, preferred pronouns, and the ever-expanding list of "-ists" and "-phobias" and recognize it as pieces of a "prison language" similar to his own time. And like a prison, the prisoners develop a kind of secret language largely out of self-defence.

    This is why our ruling class is obsessed with "dog whistles". For example, "Equality of opportunity" is a dog whistle for white supremacy. This is just Thomas Cromwell from A Man for All Seasons:

    "there is among us a brood of discreet traitors...to which deceit the King can brook no longer. And we, his loyal huntsmen, must now drive these subtle foxes from their covert."

    which is why I've been saying for a while that end-game is a kind of modern Test Acts in which people will be coerced to formally swear to a number if Leftist dogmas if they want to hold an office higher than Town Dog Catcher.

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  6. As a member of the DEI committee at my company, I guess some here will regard me as an enemy. But there is absolutely nothing in the above post that is antithetical to our mission. Our mission is simply to point out where policies, practices, or behaviors are unfair or consciously or subconsciously treating people unfairly. For example if people are being treated differently because of their race that should be recognized, discussed, and remedied. And sometimes bias is unconscious and embedded institutionally. And there are sins of omission too where a person may be treated ok but their needs, interests, and values may be neglected or unintentionally slighted. These too ought to be addressed. Are we addressing these problems as an end in itself? No. The ultimate goal is a happier and more productive workplace. So, to that extent it is true that DEI is not a value in all contexts, as pointed out by Bishop Barron and Dr. Feser. But our committee is not claiming that. It's not even our ultimate goal. Our ultimate goal, to repeat, is a healthy, productive workplace.

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    1. I am reminded of how in state statutes that affect my work, any subchapter begins with a definition of terms used in the following paragraphs.
      You committee well be capable of all sorts of mischief without definitions along the lines that Barron suggests

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    2. For example if people are being treated differently because of their race that should be recognized, discussed, and remedied.

      What if, perchance, a situation comes up where different treatment based on race is a GOOD THING? Desirable, beneficial, wise and helpful? Is it then "remedied" by being eradicated?

      What could possibly be such a situation? Well, that's easy, but I will give two simple examples: By and large, if you are doling out sunscreen at the company picnic, and you have a limited amount, all OTHER things being equal, you might give less to those who are brown-skinned and more to those who are pale-skinned. If you announce auditions for the role of Martin Luther King Jr. for an upcoming play, you might give less weight to those who are white and female than those who are black and male. Choosing a white female for the role on the basis of her having "the most superb acting ability of all those who auditioned" might NOT be a good idea.

      I have been around those in the DEI division of my outfit, and highly respect many of the good things they have accomplished. I take positive pleasure in the fact that my workplace is (largely) free of racial discrimination (so far as I am aware). But I am still aware of the tendency of their general thinking being in the direction of the problematic, and they need to be pulled back from positive error with relative frequency. Just this Christmas, their annual "be careful" message (inadvertently, I suspect) preferenced secular value-systems over religious value-systems. I don't view them as enemies, but I do view them as being (typically) over-focused on what is ultimately only a portion of the whole, and thus having too easily a tendency to treat what is a tool as if it were an end in itself.

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    3. Hi Unknown. I do not think that every ad-hoc committee, especially in a private company, has to explicitly renounce philosophical positions it never intended in the first place. It would be absurd for us to declare "Don't worry. We do believe in the common good. And don't worry we agree that diversity, equity, and inclusion are not philosophically rubber terms." Similarly, nor should an ad-hoc committee charged with improving work-place morale be pressured to issue a statement abjuring "Don't worry. We believe in hard work. And we do not deny the importance of effort and challenge in human life." No one would be assuming that(aside from places outside the organization like here.)

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    4. Tony-I'm not arguing that one never should make a preference based on race or gender but only in cases where it is opposed to the larger goal of having a humane workplace. Point taken though on the secularization of well,everything.

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    5. Subconsciously?
      Who are you or anyone to read my or anyone's freaking subconscious intentions? Dealing with the subconscious is for trained psychiatrists, not some random WHO fellow employee at Subway or Walmart.

      And regardless, jmc, there is a linked to article in a post by Feser either here or in a thread linked to talking about DEI at LSU. Whatever your watered down experience of DEI, the phrasing and powers granted therein are clearly red herrings utterly ripe for abuse, not least the ability to target individuals for a sit-down talk about their alleged subconscious racism and discrimination. Please. All these people need to be forced to move to Communist China. They have plenty of employee DEI committees for you to sit on - oh, and their ultimate goal is also a "healthy, productive" workplace (to help glorious Party achieve its domestic and geopolitical goals and policies).

      Amazing how ridiculous people have become.

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    6. Timocrates-Subconscious is not the exact term I meant. We're not doing Freudian analysis! I meant unconscious and inadvertent action. Again, we're not reading people's minds we are just pointing out *behavior*. Some biased remarks are explicit like calling someone the "n" word. More typical though are remarks where the person may say something offensive without realizing it (hence "unconscious" or "inadvertent.") An example might be the remark made to a black employee "Gosh you are really articulate!" meant as a compliment but something never said to a fellow white employee. Another example would be "mansplaining" to a female. These are inadvertently offensive and need not be part of the workplace.

      I am quite taken aback that you equivalized the PRC's policies with DEI committees! You are aware of China's record with ethnic minorities?

      Racism and bias ought not be issues relegated to the exclusive domain of the left. After all, we are the one's who understand better the dignity of man. For wonderful reading see the remarks made on this topic by John Paul 11. (He even used the "d" word.) See also his thoughts on "Structures of Sin" regarding how institutions themselves can become carriers of vice. I trust that you don't regard him as a Communist, though these days who knows?

      Concede the point that institutions can become abusive. Campuses are a good place to see that. Of course, all ideas, even noble ones can be twisted by power-seekers. For evidence look up "clericalism" or "Catholic scandals."

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    7. Your committee and you personally may be a kind of exception of the rule (I doubt it though). But you and your committees have absolutely unjustifiable influence in a work place: the very act of singling someone out as a racist -innocent or not- tarnishes them and makes them persona non-grata. It provides an incentive to avoid them like a pest. That is too much power and it will absolutely be abused by people and especially clever people who know how to act with an air of plausible deniability behind their actions or choices.

      DEI is already a slander on general society. Its existence means the society is already guilty of racism, sexism, etc.: an absolutely libelous generalization.

      "Mansplaining" is B.S. feminist reactionary stupidity. Most charitable people enjoy explaining and SHARING their knowledge: it's apparently demonic and uncharitable when a man does it while the other person happens to be female. THAT'S HYPOCRISY.

      A DEI committee can only result in other workers picking up slack for time wasted. How is that fair? Are you going to waste an hour of work for a sit-down chat? How many people need to be involved to insure accountability and fairness? Who is paying for this? Are you forcing people to work overtime and do it in their after-hours unpaid? Are you making them give up their lunch breaks, which is criminal and possibly dangerous? And how on God's good green earth aren't already existing worker's rights and safety legislation and enforcement agencies not sufficient to deal with workplace issues, especially if or when its a person who has no further organizational oversight to appeal to in the cause of problems or abuses? If the team-leader at McDonalds is an abusive power tripper, an employee or employees can ask for the manager to intervene; if the manager protects the abusive or exploitative team-leader, then start the legal process. I assure you if that person doesn't stop immediately they will be forcibly terminated. Workers already have legal options to deal with these situations.

      So essentially DEI is useless except, perhaps, for hiring review. But are these people even qualified to make judgments on qualifications? What about really tricky positions likes for sales-people, where it's highly subjective to determine what the "right stuff" is or might be in a candidate? In every sales organization I ever worked with or in, just about every hiring manager for sales staff had their own nuanced philosophy about who made potentially for a good sales person: sometimes they would want formal qualifications and other times they would 'tap' people whom they may have met but stood out to them as potentially very good and provide training and pay for courses, etc., for that person. In such situations - given the subjectivity of it - anyone could claim it was potentially biased or discriminatory. You can hardly prove or disprove it.

      I'm sick and tired of these DEI-like social do-gooders and their blatant hypocrisy and self-righteous elitism: STOP LEFTSPLAINING TO PEOPLE.

      DEI is itself a social construct that is a structure of sin: society must be default guilty of sexism and racism and discrimination to justify its creation. That is simply slander. It's politically biased by default and an extension of left-wing politics that bypasses the democratic and legislative processes. So you're damn right it's just a clone of Soviet Union and modern Chinese Communist Party political and ideological oversight of a workplace.

      Finally, I will point out that the creation of DEI makes every liberal and leftist who worked their way up the institutional ladder default the one's responsible for failing to be anything other than hypocrites by not already fixing these alleged problems: ONCE AGAIN THE LEFT EATS ITS OWN. Of course, this is just further slander.

      GO AWAY DEI. SOCIETY DOESN'T WANT OR NEED YOU.

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    8. I would never want to serve on a DEI committee, but I have had to endure DEI training. Some thoughts on the matter:

      https://fatherofthefamily.blogspot.com/2021/03/trigger-happy.html?m=1

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  7. This may have been addressed in a previous post or elsewhere, but in the event that an individual who has not repented dies suddenly, how will he be judged after death. I suppose this question comes from the perspective of fairness, for it is possible that he would have repented had he had lived a longer life, something that to some extent is up to chance.

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    1. Two possible answers come to my mind here:

      1. Perhaps there is no case like that on reality. For all we know, the world could be ordered on a way that any damned would never had returned to grace had he lived longer. It is sure possible to God to create history with only these damned.

      2. Every person receives enough grace to never sin mortally and this person still failed to do it, so how could God be unjust on not giving a second chance to this person when she does not deserves it?

      These are only possibilities and nothing more, of course, in the end the concrete cases are hard,we barely know our hearts and other persons even less. Knowing what could have been is even harder than knowing what is, so certitute here is not possible.

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  8. The capacity of the heterodox to weaponize certain appealing terms beyond their relative meaning is pretty incredible.

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    1. "They will be amazed at his signs and wonders and be terrified of him"
      -pretty much any doctor of the church who talked about the antichrist ever.

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  9. It seems to me that equality of opportunity is just as utopian as equality of outcome. For in order for everyone to have the same opportunities, their initial life circumstances must be the same. But then, people who naturally start out with different physical, spiritual, and mental capacities will have a head start and thus greater opportunity. Furthermore, the family as an institution is perhaps the biggest obstacle to equality of opportunity. Those who live in a two-parent household with a loving mother and father will have a better starting position than those who do not. Also, the wealth and social status of one's parents will determine one's own opportunities too through inheritance and nepotism. Given all these factors, equality of opportunity seems as impossible as equality of outcome.

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    1. I agree. In fact, i tend to see a desire of equality of opportunity as being a motivation to some egalitarians. The son of a rich and famous persons clearly has WAY more opportunities and resources that the son of the average joe. Resources, education, free time, connections, even things like nutrition, there is no equality there.

      In fact that seems why classical liberals and libertarians tend to push as hard as possible the idea that our sucess is decided by our effort, creativity and other personal qualities* by using every "poor guy is now rich" story they can find. If privilege is wrong and only effort makes sucess just them you either shows that every game has the same chance of winning or you can't refute the guy that insist we all start with the exactly same cards.


      *that also can be learned, btw. Just buy my course and you will have a chad millionare mindset in six months!

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    2. I agree.

      I'm also not sure that 'equality before the law' fares much better.

      What people typically mean when they say they believe in ‘equality before the law’ is that they believe certain features should be deemed irrelevant when determining justice, for instance race. But in that case, saying that you favor ‘equality before the law’ is far too vague to have any meaningful, stable content: every person means something different by it. Everyone, liberals and conservatives alike, thinks the law ought to discriminate on the basis of certain features but not on others.

      The law by its very nature must discriminate (you cannot have a law that does not discriminate in one way or another). ‘Equality before the law’ is too vague for it to do any real work: any given case always comes down to the particulars, where the law discriminates in one way or another based on the particulars of that case. Every single law treats some people differently from others. And every time a law is executed, it is treating the individual against which the law is executed differently from other people because of particular features that differentiate that individual from others.

      The million dollar question then is which features and distinctions matter and which features and distinctions don’t matter? That’s what needs to be debated. Saying that one favors 'equality before the law' doesn't seem to add anything.

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    3. When people say "equality before the law," they generally mean no respecting persons.

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  10. Our mission is simply to point out where policies, practices, or behaviors are unfair or consciously or subconsciously treating people unfairly. For example if people are being treated differently because of their race that should be recognized, discussed, and remedied.

    So would you agree it was highly unjust for white men to be denied recognition by the American Geophysical Union's highly esteemed fellows program because the nominees all happened to be white men? When the selection committee admits that all the candidates were excellent nominees but were refused because there weren't also women and "people of color" to choose from, indicating diversity is a requirement?

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    1. @Kevin: your lead question presupposes you think the AGU decision unjust. Does any of the men you have in mind have a just CLAIM to receive an award? If the answer is "no," then the outcome was not "highly unjust." You might say the selection subcommittee did not do its job, but you need to argue that not being awarded an award that was awarded to no one is to suffer injustice.

      Your report is misleading. The AGU selected 59 fellows in 2021 (45 men). It was only the cryosphere section, one of about 2 dozen, that did not name any fellows. And it is not true that no women were candidates; there was one.

      https://www.eenews.net/articles/nominees-for-a-science-award-were-all-white-men-nobody-won/

      Yours is an example of whataboutism, but it doesn't invalidate what jmchugh wrote. jmchugh reports s/he is actually doing the challenging work of striving to promote a good workplace culture.

      One of my former students, a woman, is a computer engineer, the only woman in that role in her small company. Many of her colleagues are so imbued with dude bro culture that biased outcomes seem simply normal to them, even outcomes of bias in computer code (how people are selected, etc.).

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    2. Hi Kevin. YES I would agree. I didn't mention above that I work in an industry with much ethnic diversity. I do not believe that all employment outcomes that don't show a diversity of ethnicities are prima facie biased (though sometimes they are evidence of bias.) That is absurd. I think that university policies that exclude Asians, for instance, are despicable. On the other hand, I do think that it's fair to be aware of bias that does too often happen in employment decisions. Moreover, education and training need to be made available for many who are currently left out to give them a fair shot.

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    3. On the other hand, I do think that it's fair to be aware of bias that does too often happen in employment decisions. Moreover, education and training need to be made available for many who are currently left out to give them a fair shot.

      I agree fully. I just tend to draw the line at those who believe a room full of white men is a problem.

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    4. ficino4ml-Right. Things like "dude bro culture" in a room in where there are few women might be an area where a DEI committee can be helpful.

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    5. Kevin-Agreed. Numbers always tell you something but they aren't telling you *necessarily* that there is bias going on.

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    6. @jmchugh: My former student was someone who all the other kids literally acknowledged as a genius. She has formulated things for her company that I have no idea how to describe. Yet the guys she works with don't realize, for example, how a program to sift job applications by similarity to the existing employee mix is a program designed, even if unwittingly, to reproduce the very white male mix already present. Say, a Black woman applies... the software will probably give that applicant a lower rating if the software is set up to select candidates who are like the employees already on the team - i.e. white guys. This sort of thing replicates inequality of opportunity.

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    7. The elephant in the room here is that most women do not want to be programmers, and many male-dominated spaces are so constituted for reasons of natural inclination and capacity. To some degree the same can be said of ethnicity. A man born short doesn't have the same opportunity to be a professional basketball player as a tall man by virtue of his biological makeup.

      Life hands inequality of opportunity as much as inequality of outcome. It is not our job to fix nature (defects are a different matter, I'm not speaking to that here). It is our job to try and foster an environment for everyone to live up to their natural capacities.

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    8. ficino4ml That's a great example of how bias can simply perpetuate itself over time.

      Anonymous-I think several points are relevant here. To repeat what I said above, mere statistical disparities in the composition of a group of human beings does not prove bias. Secondly, in employment sometimes a mix of one gender over another is desirable. Arguably the military is an example. I'd be harder pressed to think of an employment situation that would need to be racially uniform, belly dancers maybe. Cooks at ethnic restaurants, perhaps.

      Natural inclination is an issue but I don't believe capacity or competence is the issue. I wouldn't break down competency by race or gender (except in the latter case physical strength.) However, inclination is an issue. Nevertheless, if a woman who is competent presents herself in a particular field or workplace there is no reason to treat them differently for the job. And they should not have to prove themselves over and above anyone male. And I'll go further people should be as welcoming as they can and endeavor to have everyone on the team comfortable. It's a matter of justice and fairness. For insight into this you don't have to read feminist literature. See Alice Von Hildebrand's "Memoirs of a Happy Failure" to see what she faced way back when as both a woman academic and a woman philosopher.(Philosophy has been traditionally dominated by men.) (Granted, part of her problem was her views.)

      That being said, it can be hard for a woman to work in a Male dominated environment and vice versa. I thank God for my male colleagues without whom my workday would be longer. And a male working for a female manager and vice versa can be difficult. We have different psychologies. Regardless, the answer is not bias or exclusion.

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    9. @Anonymous re elephant in the room and life's handing us inequality of opportunity:

      I think that your last sentence, viz. "It is our job to try and foster an environment for everyone to live up to their natural capacities", undercuts in a salutary way the effects of your metaphors--which express assumptions that I give your last sentence credit for derailing. I think you, jmchugh and I would agree that if most of the computer techies in a company (or even in the industry) are male, it doesn't follow that a female techie is less able to contribute to the company's goals. To say, sure, but she may have trouble fitting into the culture of the white male team already in the office, does not by itself give us any "oughts." Is it good for the office culture to be as dude bro as we're postulating here?

      My former student - a computer engineer not programmer - works in a small company that was getting into AI. Planning was given to a group of guys, and there were some initial difficulties in conceiving of how the project would best be developed. My former student was the only one with technical training in AI, having earned an M.S. in just that specialty. But at first, it entered no one's mind to include her on the team, and no one knew her master's was in AI because they just didn't think to ask or check. After an intra-office competition in AI design was announced, and my former student entered a last-minute AI production and "won" the competition, she was asked to be on the AI team. And even then, what I might call dude bro blindness to her potential to contribute continued. How is that good for the goals of this company?

      I don't think anyone contests that some occupations will tend to be filled mostly by either men or women, but I think we should be critical toward the work done by metaphor in phrases like "life hands us inequality of opportunity." It's individuals organized into groups and systems that do this "handing." We can improve our groups and systems in many ways. Much of what is true about them at any time is not a direct "given" of nature.

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    10. I think we are in agreement, since we are all saying that not seeing diversity in an area of life is not evidence of unjust bias. If someone has the ability to do a job, to exclude them on factors that will not inhibit this ability doesn't seem just. But to try and "level the playing field" so that those without the ability, or with less ability, can participate doesn't seem advisable. Some amount of this is fine, but we should also recognize that some people will not be as capable as others in any given sphere.

      Some of this inequality will fall along lines of gender, ethnicity, and so forth, when looked at high-level. For instance, there will be fewer Asian basketball players who are capable of being professionally competitive than black players. That doesn't mean Yao Ming shouldn't be recruited.

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  11. BTW Happy Martin Luther King Day to all here. It's worth pointing out for those that don't know that Rev. King was a proponent of Natural Law and quoted Aquinas in his "Letter From a Birmingham Jail."

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  12. Good points being made by both you guys. A great insight is here:

    "Diversity, equity, and inclusion, Barron says, are valuable insofar as they facilitate the realization of fundamental and absolute values, such as justice and love (where love is defined as willing the good of another)"

    Is that not exactly the problem with not only modern ideologies but some groups on the Church? This idea of picking a legitimate good like liberty, equality, mercy, patriotism, tradition etc, removing that good of the whole structure that it is a part and so losing not only the other goods but also the health way of seeing the picked good?

    Truth is not a bunch of facts that can be separated but a bit more like a system were each part needs the other. Less like a lego tower and more like a animal. If one ignores the whole and just chooses a part as a basis of a new system then only errors will be produced.

    Can't we say them that pretty much all false worldviews are like heresies?

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  13. Professor Feser, please do a post on whether or not one can "reasonably hope that *all* men will be saved."

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  14. *Ahem*
    I demand every public and private office and place of business, profit or non-profit, in the holy name of Social Justice, immediately implement the righteous demands of Faith, Hope and Charity and immediately hire a Faith, Hope and Charity Officer who will have full and unquestioned power to implement the holy Social Justice of the Righteous and never-to-be-questioned Faith, Hope and Charity Program for Social Peace and Eternal Tranquility.

    1. Faith:
    Faith is discriminated against systemically in corrupt left-wing society. All future applicants will be forced to provide a proof of Faith to balance the scales of justice and guarantee the Faith be fairly represented. Those not adhering to the Faith are the enemies of all people and do not deserve representation in moral society.
    2. Hope
    Hope is essential for the drive and motivation to carry out this program. Those who at any time lose any fervor in carrying out the righteous crusade for holy Social Justice are suspect of backsliding and apostasy and are to be immediately fired and replaced by A True Believer(TM).
    3. Charity.
    All persons will be forced to pay 10% of all earnings to charitable institutions that are acknowledged as faithfully following the holy Social Justice program for Faith, Hope and Charity as reparations for the criminal injustice of left-wing debauchery, mass-murder of hundreds of millions of people born and unborn, and generally just God-awful stupidity and outrageous hypocrisy. They have demonstrably made everyone dumber with their lunatic ravings.

    Anyone question this holy Social Justice program is to be condemned and publicly mocked, flogged and generally berated for their criminal lack of Faith and for supporting bigoted, biased and irrational anti-holy Social Justice policies. They, their parents and their children will be forever guilty of this offense, which is to be duly punished by public law.

    Finally, under no circumstances will the holy Social Justice Program be accused to attempting to impose a religion, a test of faith, etc., on anyone. This is pure New Atheist lies and bigotry, a necessary falsehood produced by generations of left-wing social conditioning that has no merit or bases at all. Down with the left-wing, artificial social Superstructure! Down with the oppressors!

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  15. The spiritual realm aside ...

    It seems to have escaped the attention of the inclusion mongers and the sensitive souls and the entitlement minded, that speaking socially there is a reciprocal dimension to their demands that they be accepted and included and affirmed and all that crap, when they migrate from some dystopian sump hole, [be it local, regional, national, psychological or social] to a more functional place which others, not themselves, have created.

    Is it a mystery to them that there is a potential cost imposed on the creator [figuratively speaking] when he opens his order (system, realm, polity, whatever) to just anybody? Do they imagine that he has some special unidirectional responsibility to create and maintain and act responsibly, which they, the presumably "entitled", do not have? He sets the table, they may freely graze. Is that the idea?

    Gee, that does not sound fair. Make the strong man the unconditional and enabling slave of the dysfunctions of the disordered weak?

    Why? Is "man" just another way to spell "d-o-o-r-m-a-t"?

    If not, can the tender-hearted guarantee, minus any individual and divisive tests, that the included will in fact contribute positively in desired ways, and not just reproduce the same mess which they made - or expressed - in the place, be it geographical or psychological or social, they are now fleeing?

    The pope for example, seems to think that people who have created rule of law refuges or polities, are obligated to welcome people who deny and disrupt the same rule of law. He reckons the distruptors are entitled to flee there, because the rule of law polity is preferable to the collectivist or dictatorial sump hole the effects of which which the disruptor wishes to escape. Thus, potentially at least, turning the rule of law polity into just another chaos sump hole.

    Where then, are those citizen victims of invited chaos supposed to look for their refuge and support?: To their flouncing, quizzically voiced, gay priests?

    The little pot-bellied guy has Swiss Guards to protect him. What's he offering the guards? Money, apparently.

    What's he offering Americans, apart from his snarky petulance?

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    1. Regardless of your opinions of the Holy Father, Pope Francis, you are under obligation to pay him respect and not refer to him in the unacceptable way you just did.

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  16. Journey 516 on January 18, 2022 at 5:08 AM, said,

    Regardless of your opinions of the Holy Father, Pope Francis, you are under obligation to pay him respect and not refer to him in the unacceptable way you just did. "

    You mean I assume, as "the little pot bellied guy", and not as "Bergoglio".

    Nonetheless, I think that you do have half a case with your rather mild rebuke - despite the rather low opinion many Argentine commentators had of his character even before he was elevated to his current status on a re-do, and through the reported machinations of the self-described St. Gallen Mafia.

    After all, them that "despise government. Presumptuous are they, self-willed, they are not afraid to speak evil of dignities."

    That is to say those self-willed who speak slightingly of dignitaries; or, of "glorious beings", as the particular translation may go.


    And of course the Scriptures are full of injunctions as to how Christians ought to speak,

    "Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing ..."

    And letting " ... all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice ..."

    I rather wish that Bergoglio himself had as much charity and goodwill towards transcendence minded Christians, as the scriptures enjoin ordinary believers to have for one another.

    As for a pope who takes a smirking pleasure in alienating middle-class believers, and in speaking less like Gregory the Great, or an apostle, or even a country preacher exhorting his "dearly beloved", than a politician ... he might, we say with all charity ... bear this in mind.

    "If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man's religion is vain. "

    "Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things."

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  17. Ed just as a brief thank you note, thank you for linking to Bishop Barron's page where he responds and refutes the idea that he believes that hell will be empty. There is a Barron "derangement syndrome" in some traditionalist circles where it is commonly asserted that he is an obvious heretic.

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    1. Sure. He said that "we don't know if there are any human beings in Hell".

      Well, we do know. And stating that we don't know is profoundly evil, dishonest and blatantly heretical.

      We don't know if a serial killer who died unrepented is in Hell? Are you serious? The level of denial of modernists is beyond ridiculous at this point.

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    2. "We don't know if a serial killer who died unrepented is in Hell?"

      But, is there an actual serial killer who died anrepented? And if so, how do you know?

      I'm don't agree with the proposition that hell is empty but yours is a bad argument.

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    3. My argument is not bad. It is simple and straightforward. Not bad. You guys are sadly devoid of any faith.

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    4. Flavius,

      One of the ecumenical councils said the Fallen Angels are in Hell but none have said any specific human person is in Hell. So we in fact don't know. Cardinal Avery Dullas said Von Balthazar's speculation was not against the faith and it has never been formally condemned. The Von Balthazar speculation on what we could call Potential Universalism or Theoretical Universalism allows for the possibility of damnation. Classic Universalist Heresy denies damnation is at all possible, or that Hell proper exists and or reduces Hell to a glorified temporary Purgatory.

      Which is not Bishop Barron's view at all.

      If God gives sufficient grace to all and sufficient grace is somehow in some mysterious way truly sufficient(meaning Salvation is really possible to him who is given it) then universal salvation is truly possible since give sufficient grace to all.

      Hoping for the salvation of all is not the same as saying all will in fact be saved.

      The failure of the Barron Derangement Syndrome Crowd to realize that difference makes them tedious as well as Hella Stupid (pun intended).

      Given we are not Calvinist heretics who confess the errors of absolute certainty of Salvation or Limited Atonement or unconditional predestination to perdition then we must admit a theoretical universalism is truly possible.

      Hoping everyone is saved & admitting it is possible is not the same as saying everyone will in fact be saved. I personally doubt everybody will be saved but I see nothing wrong with hoping for it.

      "“O my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of hell, and lead all souls to Heaven, especially those in most need of Your Mercy”-Our Lady of Fatima.

      This prayer is allowed is it not? If we can pray for everybody to be saved we can hope for it to come to pass and admit it is possible it might come to pass(remotely so).

      But again we are nor Baptist heretics who believe in the error of absolute assurance of salvation which Trent rightly condemns as the vain confidence of the heretics. So we cannot know.

      The problem with the Barron Derangement Crowd is the lot of 'em sound like Calvinist heretics.

      Admit potential universalism is possible and move on. Remind people even Von Balthazar said under his speculation damnation is still possible and Hell a real threat.

      Hoping everyone is saved is not the problem. Not having a healthy fear of going to Hell is the problem.

      I don't see why I canny have both?

      I hope everybody will be saved and I fear I might go to Hell for being a wee bastard.

      See it is not 'ard.

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    5. Listen, special boy: I don't have any "syndrome" and you are not Catholic. Same with "Bishop" Barron.

      Only few are saved. This is something Jesus Christ says in Matthew's Gospel.

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  18. "But doesn’t God love everyone equally? "

    Can, since every Human individual has differences in the innate hereditary aptitudes, but also practice them differently in performance, be equally loved by it's different, but nevertheless resemblance
    of aptitudes and also how he practices them(self-development)?

    Best regards,
    Luis Maduro.

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    1. Well, the goods of the soul like character, virtues and love are greater that the goods of the body. A clumsby and sickly saint is more lovely that a talented and healthy sinner. So someone who has very few hereditary talents but has dedication, charity, willpower etc can be said to be more loved that the guy who has a lot of talents but is lazy and egoistic.

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  19. Quoting myself from a resemblance context:


    "Does the premeditated controlled, time dynamic equilibrium, be the key between economic classes, also based on opportunity and equity; but beneath due safeguards for citizenship and their defence through social security?"

    Does my previous question resumes in an equality of opportunity, based on "own capital" achievment, beneath an dynamic equilibrium environment(society)?

    Best regards,
    Luis Maduro.

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  20. I am grateful for Bishop Barron's video and for this post. Regarding the link to Bishop Barron's website that is included to support his affirmation of Scripture and Tradition, I have a few thoughts.

    In his interview with Larry Chapp and in his comments, Bishop Barron suggested that a Balthasarian reading of LG 16 is the manifest reading. In the comments after the video, I called Bishop Barron's attention to the caveats in LG 16 regarding invincible ignorance and called attention to Dr. Martin's dissertation. Rather than receiving a response, my comments were deleted.

    I also noted that the weight of Tradition in the Church Fathers stands overwhelmingly against Origen and Balthassar. This was in response to a patently false suggestion from Bishop Barron that he could quote just as many "universalist" texts from the Church Fathers as "massa damnata" texts (reflecting that Bishop Barron is not familiar with the Church Fathers on this point).

    The problem with the position of Balthasar lies largely in the influence of Barth on Balthasar on this point. Barth had little room for cooperation with grace in his thought and spoke of salvation as though it depended solely on the will of God. That is a very reformed way to speak of salvation, but it is not a Catholic way to speak of salvation which understands the need to cooperate with grace. Under the influence of Barth, Balthasar and Bishop Barron speak this way. Bishop Barron said in the combox that the cross of Christ would have accomplished nothing if most people were going to hell (revealing his opinion that most people are *not* going to hell). That suggestion is remarkably strange and reflects Barth's influence on Bishop Barron through Balthasar. To make possible a salvation that we must "work out with fear and trembling" is not to accomplish nothing; it is simply to make our salvation possible rather than virtually inevitable because we must cooperate with God's love and grace. Possible and virtually inevitable are different things.

    It is odd that a Thomist like Bishop Barron would have difficulty with such an obvious distinction. It also reflects that has moved beyond "hope" to thinking that most people are going to heaven. This entails the very fundamental problem that either Bishop Barron does not think that cooperation with grace is necessary (in good Barthian fashion but contrary to Catholic teaching) or he thinks that most people are in fact cooperating with God's grace. If the latter, how would he know something like this? And how does that square with the state of our society these days? Most importantly, how does it square with the teaching of Christ: "The road is broad which leads to destruction and many will follow it; narrow is the path that leads to life and few will find it"? (Mt. 7:13-14)

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  21. Does the Catholic Church teach as revealed infallible doctrine that hell is and will be eternally populated by at least one human being? How one answers that question will determine how one understands "all" in the sentence "We may hope that all will be saved." If we know that hell is and will be populated (which the Balthasarian "hopes" we do not know), then we cannot logically hope and pray that every human being will be saved.

    Given that I am not Roman Catholic, I do not have a dog in this hunt. No matter the answer to the above question, I am quite confident that God has never revealed to anyone that hell is everlastingly populated. Such a "revelation" would contradict God's self-revelation in Jesus Christ that the Holy Trinity is absolute, infinite, and unconditional Love. What I do not understand, quite frankly, is why Roman Catholics do not stay awake each night worrying about this. Balthasar saw and felt the problem, which is why he invented his "uncertain" hope. He knew that RCC dogma proscribed apokatastasis, so he pushed the doctrinal envelope as far as he could. I applaud both his conscience and his attempt to find place for the universalist hope within the Roman Catholic Church, even if I judge the attempt a failure.

    Unlike everyone else in this thread, I deem it a failure because it leaves open the question "Is God perfect Goodness and Love?" It's as if the Balthasarian is saying: "We hope and pray God is absolute Love, but in the end he may turn out to be otherwise." As far as I am concerned, this is not genuine hope. It's more akin to the poker player who hopes to be dealt pocket aces (.05% chance). He or she knows it's possible, but doesn't expect it to happen very often. But theological hope is not a matter of playing the odds. Richard John Neuhaus's definition of faith and hope has long guided my reflections on this matter: “Faith is hope anticipated, and hope is faith disposed toward the future.”

    I know, of course, that supporters of eternal damnation maintain that eternal damnation is reconcilable with God's love, but that may be a discussion for another time.

    I commend to everyone Dr Jordan Daniel Woods' critique of the Balthsasarian hope: https://afkimel.wordpress.com/2020/04/26/george-macdonald-against-hans-urs-von-balthasar-on-universal-salvation/.

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  22. Does the Catholic Church teach as revealed infallible doctrine that hell is and will be eternally populated by at least one human being?

    Let's take a wider scope: Does the Christian Church teach as revealed doctrine that Satan and the fallen angels are in Hell? A conclusion with respect to "one human being" leaves open whether there is any PERSON consigned to Hell.

    I know, of course, that supporters of eternal damnation maintain that eternal damnation is reconcilable with God's love, but that may be a discussion for another time.

    I submit that it isn't any MORE a discussion for another time, than is your assertion that "Such a "revelation" would contradict God's self-revelation in Jesus Christ that the Holy Trinity is absolute, infinite, and unconditional Love." The two claims are on a par, and opposed.

    I submit also for your consideration that God clearly DID NOT INTEND to reveal all truth to us, He intended to reserve some of it for later revealing. As such, it can't make more sense to affirm (definitively, as "revealed doctrine") that God's infinite love precludes anyone being damned eternally to Hell, in spite of direct evidence in Scripture that He does, than it does to affirm definitively that God's infinite justice implies some being damned to Hell eternally, in spite of the direct evidence in Scripture of His infinite love. That is, there is evidence of both aspects to God in Scripture, ALONG WITH evidence of some being damned to Hell. We cannot shove the latter aside in order to insist on the infinite love having a (definitive) a specific meaning that is contradictory to and overturning the evidence of damnation, apart from some (also definitive) independent basis that elevates such specific meaning as more definitively revelatory of God than His own assertions about damnation. Otherwise, we have to accept BOTH the divine assertions of infinite love AND the divine assertions of damnation as revealing Him to us.

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