Saturday, February 17, 2007

Fr. Salvany, Deacon Tom and an Authentic Charity

In his classic work Liberalism is a Sin," Fr. Felix Sarda Y Salvany writes:

"Charity is a supernatural virtue which induces us to love God above all things and our neighbors as ourselves for the love of God. Thus after God, we ought to love our neighbor as ourselves, and this not in any way, but for the love of God and in obedience to His law. And now what is to love? Amare est velle bonum, replies the philosopher: "To love is to wish good to him whom we love." To whom does charity command us to wish good? To our neighbor, that is to say, not to this or that man only but to everyone. What is that good which true love wishes? First of all supernatural good; then goods of the natural order, which are not incompatible with it. All this is included in the phrase "for the love of God."

It follows, therefore, that we can love our neighbor, when displeasing him, when opposing him, when causing him some material injury and even, on certain occasions, when depriving him of life. All is reduced to this in short: Whether in the instance where we displease, oppose or humiliate him, it is or is not for his own good, or for the good of someone whose rights are superior to his, or simply for the greater service of God.

If it is shown, that in displeasing or offending our neighbor, we act for his good, it is evident that we love him even when opposing or crossing him. The physician cauterizing his patient or cutting off his gangrened limb may none the less love him. When we correct the wicked by restraining or by punishing them none the less do we love them. This is charity and perfect charity. It is often necessary to displease or offend one person, not for his own good, but to deliver another from the evil he is inflicting. It is then an obligation of charity to repel the unjust violence of the aggressor; one may inflict as much injury on the aggressor as is necessary for the defense. Such would be the case should one see a highwayman attacking a traveler. In this instance, to kill, wound, or at least take such measures as to render the aggressor impotent, would be an act of true charity.

The good of all good is the divine good, just as God is for all men the neighbor of all neighbors. In consequence the love due to a man inasmuch as he is our neighbor ought always to be subordinated to that which is due to our common Lord. For His love and in His service we must not hesitate to offend men. The degree of our offense towards men can only be measured by the degree of our obligation to him. Charity is primarily the love of God, secondarily the love of our neighbor for God's sake. To sacrifice the first is to abandon the latter. Therefore to offend our neighbor for the love of God is a true act of charity. Not to offend our neighbor for the love of God is a sin.

Modern Liberalism reverses this order. It imposes a false notion of charity; our neighbor first, and, if at all, God afterwards."

A false notion of charity puts neighbor before God, if God is recognized at all. It is such a false notion of charity which motivated certain Church leaders to reprimand Deacon Tom McDonnell for a homily in which he took pro-abortion politician Representative Brian Higgins to task for his support of the culture of death.

How else can we explain the rush to reprimand this heroic Deacon? Concern for rubrics? As one reader of this blog commented:

"Why is it that almost no one in this country is ever concerned about the "rubrics" of the Mass (tolerating every sort of liturgical abuse and aberration) but is suddenly so concerned about the rubrics when deacon McDonnell names names in a homily? Such an attitude seems almost perverse to me. Is this simply an effort to muzzle courageous pro-life witness?"

An excellent question. More importantly, as I have already noted, Blessed Cardinal Clemens von Galen used his pulpit to name Hitler and other Nazi officials who were violating the common good. And no one ever reprimanded him for "rudeness" or not following the rubrics of the Mass.

Fr. Salvany was a prophet of sorts. A very long time ago he warned us about a false notion of charity which inverts the order of authentic charity and places more importance on love of neighbor than on love of God. That so many Catholics have been influenced by this false notion of charity goes without saying. This even though the Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches clearly in No. 1822 that:

"Charity is the theological virtue by which we love God above all things for his own sake, and our neighbor as ourselves for the love of God."

Bishop Kmiec and others who have rushed to reprimand Deacon Tom McDonnell have forgotten this. They have placed more importance on the respect of men (and especially those considered by the world to be important men) than they have on loving God (and His Commandments) above all things.

Small wonder then that the Church in the United States has suffered so much.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thank you for that Paul. You're right. When we put man before God, it is not God we are serving but someone else.

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