Although philosopher Ed Feser is writing about Catholic bishops , I think this passage is applicable to at least 75 percent of Christian clergy:

Here’s how the temporizing approach works. Where the liberal or secularist finds Catholic teaching hopelessly “reactionary,” the temporizing churchman will either keep silent about it or qualify it to the point of blunting or even neutralizing its force. Hence he will, for example, say nothing at all about contraception. Homosexuality and abortion he cannot keep silent about, because they are matters of current political controversy. Regarding homosexuality, then, he will issue a vague statement to the effect that the Church believes that we are all called to honor the Creator’s plan for sex and marriage. If he can’t avoid doing so, he will acknowledge that this entails that homosexual activity is immoral; but he will also, and almost before he has finished uttering it, proceed to bury this acknowledgment under a mountain of verbiage about the respect, sensitivity, compassion, and understanding owed homosexual persons, about the evils of discrimination, etc. Regarding abortion, the temporizing bishop will speak vaguely of “promoting a culture of life” and emphasize the compassion owed women who find themselves “in difficult circumstances” – rather than, say, calling attention to the unique depravity of willfully murdering your own flesh and blood for the sake of a hassle-free orgasm. No matter how wicked the practice or policy and no matter how shrill and dishonest the propaganda of its defenders, the temporizing bishop will respond in the mildest fashion and will attribute only the best motives to the other side. As George Carlin might have put it, whereas the great churchmen of the past were football players, the modern, temporizing bishop prefers baseball. Or to switch metaphors, he brings a bean bag to a gunfight.

Articles by Joe Carter

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