Elizabeth Scalia had a posting on this on Patheos this week. I think a humane, loving idea (of God’s) – that we are flawed and only inch our way towards holiness – is being conflated with a completely different concept. Gradualism is the concept enshrined in George McDonald’s famous maxim: “God is easy to please but hard to satisfy”. He explains by describing the way a father is delighted by his baby’s first, faltering steps, but he won’t be satisfied until his child can walk with a firm step and run. Our Father in Heaven is pleased with every small effort towards holiness that we make, but He is not satisfied until we are truly holy.
In the Synod, this beautiful concept is being perverted to mean that each person can aim for intermediate phases along a path to holiness, stopping to smell the roses for some indeterminate amount of time along the way, and get full marks for getting that far. For instance, we’re told that “cohabitating” (not living in sin, mind you) isn’t marriage, but if that’s as far as you can get at this time (maybe because you can’t afford that big fancy wedding you have your heart set on), well then, fine. That’s good enough. This is cruel and bigoted. It’s like telling a child from a poor background that he doesn’t have to take algebra, because after all, he’ll probably never need it anyway. What a crock.
So, as the evil one often does, he is leading people to sin by appealing to their own kind hearts. “See how they are hurting. Sob. Let’s relieve their distress by cutting them some slack.” The enemy is always quite content to use our kind instincts in order to lead us into perdition. The enemy cannot create, only pervert the good that God does. So, this is a case of looking at the great patience and gentle, persistent teaching of God and perverting it into a situation where couples are applauded for creating houses of straw for themselves. It’s crazy. I have no doubt it will be enshrined in their report. Lord help us