Truth and charity are not mutually exclusive



Father Najim’s proposal in last week’s article would present a dangerous precedent if it were heeded. The arguments purported to give Communion to divorced and civilly remarried Catholics because the refusal to do so seems both uncharitable and unmerciful misrepresents the notions of Charity and Mercy as two competing virtues, when in fact they are in total cooperation.

When this kind of reasoning is imposed one presumes Truth and Charity to be in competition with one another. The question as to which perfection will win the day seems to be the task for each side of the debate: is the victor Truth or Mercy?

God is utterly simple. His perfection and His “one-ness” means that Justice, Mercy, Truth, Charity, and every other perfection of which God is the Author, are in total harmony: there is no disunity in God, nor in His attributes.

While Fr. Najim’s article offers us an approach to pastoral charity, he simultaneously implies that this charity can supersede the Truth of marriage. The Truth of the Church is meant to accompany and guide that journey of conversion. If we are ever at odds with what the Church teaches then we must be moved towards conversion. The role of the Church is to make present the mystery of Christ — not to fabricate or dilute it. The belief that the Church can simply create another “privilege” or exception because the Truth of the gospel is hard to swallow is both dangerous and wrong: that is precisely the opposite of pastoral charity.

Father Nicholas Fleming

Assistant Pastor SS. John and Paul Parish, Coventry