Author Topic: The Manhattan Declaration: Why it absolutely cannot be supported  (Read 969 times)

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Offline Caraffa

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The Manhattan Declaration: Why it absolutely cannot be supported
« on: December 14, 2009, 06:57:02 PM »
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    Recently a number of conservative Christian clergy representing the Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, and Protestant traditions signed something called the "Manhattan Declaration" affirming their common opposition to secularist policies regarding abortion and same-sex marriage. Their efforts have been widely hailed, even by Gerald Warner, as representing a bold orthodox challenge to political correctness. But this document is nothing of the kind. In fact it is a sad reflection of the pathetic tendency of "conservative" Christians to concede entirely too much to the liberalism that has paved the way for the current state of affairs they find so objectionable.

    I wouldn't bother posting on this here, though, if I hadn't been irked by, among other concessions to the worldview of those the signers claim to oppose, a completely unnecessary swipe at the European monarchies of the past:

    In Europe, Christians challenged the divine claims of kings and successfully fought to establish the rule of law and balance of governmental powers, which made modern democracy possible. And in America, Christian women stood at the vanguard of the suffrage movement. The great civil rights crusades of the 1950s and 60s were led by Christians claiming the Scriptures and asserting the glory of the image of God in every human being regardless of race, religion, age or class.

    Far from a daring challenge to secular leftism, this paragraph is a model of the Progressive interpretation of history that uncritically celebrates the advance of "Democracy" and "Equality" and regards the past four centuries or so as an uplifting struggle of liberal Good against reactionary Evil in which Good so far has usually triumphed, an interpretation with which I vehemently disagree. While some Christians did indeed support the developments this paragraph lists, other Christians opposed them. Did they necessarily sin by so doing? Is there now only one Christian position on all the great political controversies of the past? When did universal suffrage, for example, become Christian orthodoxy?

    While no Christian monarch ever claimed divinity in a pagan sense, many pious Christians ardently supported royal claims of divinely based authority, with one of the most tragic defenders of "divine right," Charles I, traditionally regarded as a martyr in Anglicanism. Are he and his supporters to be cast into darkness? I am tired of the way official "conservative" Christianity--Roman Catholic, Anglican, and Protestant (the Orthodox usually not so much)--aligns itself with liberalism on every issue other than sex and abortion.

    Contemporary Conservative Christianity too often seems to want to say to its liberal enemies, "we really love all the Liberal Progress that's been made and believe in Democracy and Equality and Human Rights and Religious Liberty just as much as you do, we just don't like abortion and ɧoɱosɛҳųαƖity." Apparently, God was always on the "progressives'" side in past conflicts, He just isn't today, because now having ruined everything else, they're going after sex, and we can't have that, because sɛҳuąƖ peccadilloes are absolutely the worst thing imaginable, and the decline of traditional beliefs about sex is ever so much more intolerable than the decline of everything else people used to believe in. Sarcasm aside, this kind of thinking is simply incoherent. Why lҽϝƚιsƚs should pay attention to those who assure them that they've previously always been right about everything, but please let's just not go any farther, is beyond me. As long as conservatives and Christians refuse to challenge the Left's basic premises, offering it only a pale echo, they deserve to lose.

    The "Manhattan Declaration"

    By E. J. G. Jones

    Over the last few days, a document has become known to me, called the "Manhattan Declaration." I first heard of this a week ago, and paid it no mind -it just seemed to be the usual pro-life initiative, and goodness knows, we hear of a new one of these every other moment, it seems. I didn't think too much of it.

    However, it seems that word of this declaration is circulating in Traditionalist circles, and many Catholics are being exhorted -and are exhorting others, to sign this document. I was asked to affix my own name, and thought it would be a good idea to read through the document in question before taking such a step. I'm glad I did.

    This Manhattan Declaration is, to put it bluntly and simply, not Catholic. Not only is it "not Catholic," in the sense that it was written and compiled by an ecumenical commission of various Catholic, Eastern Orthodox schismatic, Evangelical Protestant, and generally 'conservative' persons, but it is actually against the Faith.

    What is it?

    The compilers of this document describe their purpose as a "call of Christian conscience" to assert 'fundamental truths about justice and the common good,' these being enumerated as:

    1. The sanctity of human life
    2. the dignity of marriage as the conjugal union of husband and wife
    3. the rights of conscience and religious liberty

    But these are all good things, right? Shouldn't Catholics fight against the secularism sweeping our culture?

    Yes, Catholics should indeed fight the secularism which is sweeping through our culture. There is no problem, of course, with being pro-life, or with being in favor of an understanding of marriage which defines it as exclusively a relationship between a man and a woman. In fact, Catholics are obligated to believe and defend these things.

    The problem here lies with the ecumenical character of the document, which forbids Catholic participation in this initiative.

    It is wrong for two reasons:

    Firstly, because St. Paul commands us, and the constant tradition of the Church echoes him in this, to have no alliances with heretics and unbelievers. (2 Corinthians 6, 14-18)

    Secondly, because the document fails to adhere to the Catholic teaching on marriage, preferring a "least common denominator" approach so as not to alienate these heretics. It is Protestant, thus, and not Catholic -by omission, rather than by any specific statement. Thus, the issues which are truly at the root of the marriage initiatives for sodomites, namely, a wrongful purpose of marriage conceived around pleasure for the individuals, rather than around the procreation and education of children, are ignored. 'gαy marriage' did not spring from a void suddenly, it is the logical result of the principles which the Protestants and other moderns today espouse -namely, this novel redefinition of marriage, which allows for contraception and divorce. If Christ's followers are truly to accomplish anything in today's society, they must at the least be forthright about the problems, rather than engaging in excessive hand-wringing and thou-shalt-nots which merely cloud the issue at hand. Protestants cannot defend this weak position they embrace, save by appealing to their ultimate principle of private judgment, and claiming to know the answers to these moral questions 'by faith.'

    Well, at least religious liberty is ok, isn't it?

    Most assuredly not. This tenet of the declaration is in open contradiction with the faith, and cannot be reconciled with Catholic doctrine. Men have an obligation to know, love, and serve God, and to do what is right. They do not have the "right" to do evil, and in a Catholic society, which is what we should aspire to, for the glory of Christ the King, the public toleration of heresy would be a great evil, akin. but worse than, the toleration of murder or public nudity. It is permitted, to avert a greater evil, for states to tolerate heresy temporarily, but this is not an optimal state of affairs, and must be rectified as soon as possible (presumably by the conversion or dispatch of the great number of heretics which would justify such tolerance.) Thus, as Catholics, we cannot endorse a document which explicitly proclaims religious liberty to be a 'fundamental human right' and a good in its own right. Nobody has the authority to gainsay God. We should not affix our signatures to such a document, and the Church has spoken about the errors of religious liberty numerous times, particularly in the encyclicals of the 19th century supreme pontiffs.
    Pray for me, always.


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