December 8, 2021

"Sins of the flesh are not the most serious" — pride and hatred are "the most serious."

Said Pope Francis, quoted in "Don’t sweat about sins of flesh, says Pope Francis" (London Times).
The question came up [after]... the resignation of Michel Aupetit, the Archbishop of Paris, who offered to step down after the French magazine Le Point claimed that he had a consensual, intimate relationship with a woman, which emerged when he sent an incriminating email to his secretary by mistake....

Aupetit denies the accusation, but the Pope said: "It was a failing on his part, a failing against the sixth commandment, but not a total one" — not "total" because there were only — according to the accusation — "small caresses and massages." 

The Archbishop was, of course, not married, so was it really correct to cite the Sixth Commandment, "You shall not commit adultery"? The London Times raises this question, but doesn't talk about whether the secretary was married. You're participating in adultery if the other person is married to someone else, unless you're trying to weaseling out of coverage — looking for loopholes — which has got to be some kind of sin in itself. 

But I'll leave it to the Pope to define sins for Catholics. Maybe to break the priestly vow of celibacy falls within the sin of adultery. 

64 comments:

rehajm said...

I see justice reform measures have reached the confessional. Thank you Pope DeBlasio…

wendybar said...

This Pope is a joke. He is a Marxist spewing Progressive and is okay with murdering babies in the womb. Not my Pope.

Left Bank of the Charles said...

I don’t think it matters for the definition of adultery, even under Catholic theology, if the secretary who received the email meant for the paramour is married.

jaydub said...

I imagine the pope was mostly relieved that the cardinal was involved with a woman instead of an altar boy. Of course, there is also the possibility that the pope is just setting a new president regarding sins of the flesh as a hedge against any potential discoveries that might strike closer to home.

tim maguire said...

The vow of celibacy has no biblical basis (it wasn't even a thing for the first 1,000 years of the Catholic Church), and most of the biggest problems facing Catholicism today can be traced to it. Most prominently, it makes the priesthood an attractive choice for people who are uncomfortable with their sexual urges.

Bob Boyd said...

Shorter Pope Francis: Hey, it coulda been worse.

The Pope was almost giddy when it turned out the Archbishop of Paris had been caressing and massaging a grownup. Laughing with relief he joked, "Oh my God! It seems so...healthy. It's almost like you told me Michel has a secret membership to Planet Fitness and has been caught working out."

Nancy said...

The 6th commandment as⅗ written only forbade nonmarital sex between a man and a married woman. A married man was not a problem because in that culture he could take another wife.

Leland said...

Oh fuck it, fuck it all.

Kane J. Renniks said...

Catholics see the Sixth Commandment as a prohibition of sins against chastity which includes pre- and extramarital sex (including sexual caresses and massages). The Pope would call it a sin against the Sixth Commandment even if the secretary was single.

It's an interesting comment on your end, and revealing I think, of US legal training that we want the words to mean what they say - and precisely that. Especially when it comes to regulating behavior (looking to the letter, not the spirit of the law). Catholic moral teaching is far more flexible in its application - possibly because the Holy Spirit is guiding its promulgators!

Last note - today is the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, celebrating the conception of Mary, Mother of God, free from the stain of original sin. It's a Holy Day of Obligation in the United States. If you are a Catholic - and you are reading this -- just a friendly reminder that you must attend Mass today.

marybeth said...

The secretary was the whistle-blower, not the affair partner, and, I think, probably a male member of the clergy.

Sydney said...

Priests are married to the church. They even wear a wedding band. So, yes, it was adultery.

Lyle said...

Like Christ, priests are mystically married to the Church. It's a mystical kind of adultery.

Sebastian said...

"pride and hatred are "the most serious.""

Like, pride in one's own superior morality that demands other people to sacrifice and hatred of xenophobic Europeans who prefer not to be invaded by "migrants"? The Pope is indeed a serious case.

Howard said...

Pride is the original sin. Catholick priestesses are married to Jeebus, therefore by getting handsy with a consenting female is cheating on God. Since he is jealous and vengeful, God will smite his ass to the hot place. He would have been smart keeping it on the download with alter boys instead so the church would cover it up and send him to a new parish with fresh meat.

M Jordan said...

Jesus upped the ante to impossible heights on the sixth commandment: just look at that woman in the wrong way and you might as well as checked into the Super 8. Maybe the Pope didn’t know to cite that much more germane example. He seems pretty damn dumb. But then, all Marxists are.

Bender said...

Foolish thoughts like these from Francis are how child sex abuse scandals happen.

The reason that "sins against the flesh" ARE so serious is because the sexual dynamic is so powerful, how sexual drives can utterly overwhelm a person's thoughts, actions, will.

But no one has ever accused Francis of critical thought.

mikee said...

Althouse, leaving Catholic sins to be judged by Catholics might save you some time, but trust me, even Emo Philips doesn't slice transgression from the one true path as finely as some Catholics.

Fernandinande said...

The nice thing about lust, gluttony, greed, sloth, wrath, envy and pride is can do them all at once and they don't require any heavy lifting.

Bill R said...

I remember being taught the same thing in 1967 or so. That sins of the flesh were the easiest to forgive and sins like hatred and pride were more serious.

That was welcome news in 1967 when I was 16 and throbbing 24 hours a day. Still, in Catholic penology, the penalty for being a guard at Auschwitz and eating meat on Friday were the same, eternal damnation. So it was better to be cautious.


.

TRISTRAM said...

Umm, that's not how that works.

"For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all."

JK Brown said...

Henry the VIII wins?

Certainly seems like the Catholic church is becoming more and more like Eddie Izzard's description of the Church of England. Cake or Death?

Blair said...

What the Pope said is theologically unremarkable. Pride IS the worst sin - it is the original sin of the devil. But that doesn't imply what the headline says he said, which is fake news.

Priestly celibacy worked fine for the best part of a millennium. It's only become problematic for the RCC because of Vatican I and II, which have degraged the role of monasticism and tonsure in church life.

Saint Croix said...

Interesting to me how Catholics and Protestants have a different numbering system for the 10 Commandments.

The Sixth Commandment for most Protestants is "Thou shalt not kill."

It's the Seventh Commandment that is a commandment to cherish and honor marriage, and not cheat on each other.

And of course in the Protestant church, priests can marry, same as anybody. Not to cause a holy war or anything, but I think the Catholic church is wrong to require priests to stay celibate. If God calls on you to be celibate, then be celibate. But marriage isn't a sin and it's wrong to say priests are sinning when they marry and have sex.

Bill R said...

I remember being taught the same thing in 1967 or so. That sins of the flesh were the easiest to forgive and sins like hatred and pride were more serious.

That was welcome news in 1967 when I was 16 and throbbing 24 hours a day. Still, in Catholic penology, the penalty for being a guard at Auschwitz and eating meat on Friday were the same, eternal damnation. So it was better to be cautious.


.

Saint Croix said...

Peter, the first Pope, had a mother-in-law.

Paul said...

@M Jordan, Jesus said LUST... not just 'wow, she is sexy.'

Go look up what lust means.

Give you a head start..

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lust

'According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, a Christian's heart is lustful when "venereal satisfaction is sought for either outside wedlock or, at any rate, in a manner which is contrary to the laws that govern marital intercourse".[2] Pope John Paul II said that lust devalues the eternal attraction of male and female, reducing personal riches of the opposite sex to an object for gratification of sexuality.[3]

Lust is considered by Catholicism to be a disordered desire for sexual pleasure, where sexual pleasure is "sought for itself, isolated from its procreative and unitive purposes".[4] In Catholicism, sexual desire in itself is good, and is considered part of God's plan for humanity. However, when sexual desire is separated from God's love, it becomes disordered and self-seeking. This is seen as lust. "

Saint Croix said...

Martin Luther was famous for arguing that priests should be allowed to marry, and to not allow them to do so actually leads to sinning.

M said...

Typical Marxist. Sins that destroy Western Civilization OK. Sins that we can use against those who take pride in Western Civilization and “hate” Marxist not ok. Francis is the worst Pope of modern times. I wonder if he is actually a believer in Christ or just Marx?

Critter said...

Once again, this pope seems to be inventing Catholic teachings. Why raise pride and hatred in a case where there was no evidence of either? Probably because of his Marxist obsession with social justice memes.

Bender said...

Every time. EVERY time, we get treated to this parade of prideful ignorance and animus here with respect to the Church.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

So we can still condemn the gay pride parades, as long as it is for the pride rather than the gay, right?

Narr said...

Some of my Catholic friends--back when popes were always Eye-ties--used to joke about popes and married sex: You no playa da game, you no makka da rules.

Sean Gleeson said...

Echoing and agreeing with M Jordan's comment, earlier. Just adding this citation for anyone who needs it: Matthew 5: 27-28. "Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart."

Drago said...

wendybar: "This Pope is a joke. He is a Marxist spewing Progressive and is okay with murdering babies in the womb. Not my Pope."

Correct. A Liberation Theologist marxist from way back. The Catholic Church wanted a non-European, southern hemisphere Pope so they chose a dude who would be comfortable in a room with Fidel, Che, Chavez and Ortega.

The ONLY glitch from a marxist perspective: the Pope won't backtrack on abortion, because to do that would be to completely give the game away.

Joe Smith said...

The secretary is a fink.

With a woman?

Give him a medal...

Iman said...

Winston was right: the Pope does smoke dope.

Lem said...

The narratives are that prejudice is the worst sin of all. But if you accept that prejudice is a perversion of pride, then pride is back in the lead of the original deplorables.

Tina Trent said...

Priests are in matrimonial condition with the church, as are nuns, who marry Jesus. And for Catholics, intercourse has one purpose: the creation of life between two people married within the church.

Consider this: in most Catholic communities, the priest carries enormous power. Is he exploiting this power over a woman younger, less experienced, or easily compromised by him? You know, like American sports coaches, doctors, and teachers? Why condemn the one disparity but joke about the other?

The pope's still as ass, though I pray he becomes less ass-like, no offense to real asses, who are fine creatures.

Tina Trent said...

Nancy, that is not true. I hope nobody fed you this hogwash with impure intent.

On the scale of sins, Dante confined to the lowest of the lowest circle of hell to those who betrayed their benefactors.

Robert Cook said...

"Jesus upped the ante to impossible heights on the sixth commandment...."

Ummmm...the Ten Commandments were not issued by Jesus.

farmgirl said...

Kane- yes &done
A beautiful Holy day- Stainless the Maiden

As for our Pope- I have no idea what all the media manipulates, but- one can be assured Catholicism is as worse a threat to their progressive agenda as a conservative one. Not always the same thing.

farmgirl said...

I wonder if Howard is a “recovering Catholic”?
The sarc sure sounds like it
Anyone being handy w/innocents is not well
From the priest to the President

Joe Smith said...

'Catholick priestesses are married to Jeebus...'

And right on cue, a Catholic bigot outs himself.

walter said...

"small caresses and massages."
I expected a stronger appetite from Aupetit.

mikemtgy said...

The Archbishop is/was married to the Church.

KellyM said...

@ Kane - thank you for noting this; went to 7am Latin Low Mass this morning.

And yes, in my opinion this is adultery, whether the woman was married or not. The Archbishop is marries to the mystical Bride, the Church. I'll pass on "Pope" Francis's pronouncement, as I'd prefer to know what Pope Benedict thinks. After all, he's really still the Pope.

Big Mike said...

There are reports that Francis is dying. This may be his last chance to excuse pederast priests.

PM said...

Unless something's changed, the Catholic Church identifies two unforgivable sins: Presumption and Despair.

Joe Smith said...

When something was obvious, the old saying was 'Is the Pope Catholic?'

Apparently not anymore...

Joe Smith said...

'There are reports that Francis is dying.'

We're all dying...

Bender said...

Given the weakness of the flesh, sins of the flesh might be all the more forgiveable in the mercy of God, but that weakness of the flesh makes those sins all the more serious.

That weakness is such that rather than being a master of one's desire, he becomes a slave to it. That much is obvious if we only look at our sex-obsessed culture. In that weakness of the flesh a person becomes a slave that turns away from God toward the satisfaction of base desire. And in that state of bondage, rather than treating himself and others as persons, he treats his own body and other people as objects, as mere things. It is the antithesis of the love to which we are called.

How much corruption, how much theft and violence, how many murders, how many wars have happened because of someone's sexual desires?

M Jordan said...

Blogger Paul said...
@M Jordan, Jesus said LUST... not just 'wow, she is sexy.'

Paul, I don't give a Pope's hat for what the Catholic church says lust is. Jesus was quite clear. The Pope is an idiot. But they say he's dying so I'll soften up and just call him a moron. (That's a notch higher than idiot on the old Stanford-Binet chart I believe.)

Paul said...

@M Jordan.

Did you read ALL the definitions at the wiki I linked to?? It's not just Catholic. Read up on lust... especially what it meant back at the time of Christ.

Narr said...

"How much corruption, how much theft and violence, how many wars have happened because of someone's sexual desires?"

Some, don't see the close connection, and surely you jest.

(There was the Trojan thing, but other than that . . .)

Seamus said...

"The Archbishop was, of course, not married, so was it really correct to cite the Sixth Commandment, 'You shall not commit adultery'?"

Yes. To quote the Roman Catechism (the Catechism of the Council of Trent): "But that every species of immodesty and impurity are included in this prohibition of adultery is proved by the testimonies of St. Augustine and St. Ambrose; and that such is the meaning of the Commandment is borne out by the Old, as well as the New Testament."

Moreover, the Catechism of the Catholic Church (1994) says: "The tradition of the Church has understood the sixth commandment as encompassing the whole of human sexuality." The section of the Catechism dealing with the sixth commandment discusses lust, masturbation, fornication, pornography, prostitution, rape, homosexual acts, adultery, divorce, polygamy, and incest.

Rollo said...

You are being very modern. Until relatively recently, all sex outside of marriage, including among unmarried people, was regarded as wong by most churches. Of course, it wasn't literally adultery, but the New Testament writers regarded it as sinful. The Old Testament forbade adultery, incest, and other sexual practices, but not premarital sex as such. Theologically, sins of the flesh were not regarded as the worst, but not every priest or minister was that up on his theology.

farmgirl said...

Matthew 5:27 “You have heard the commandment that says, ‘You must not commit adultery.’j 28 But I say, anyone who even looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart. 29 So if your eye—even your good eyek—causes you to lust, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. 30 And if your hand—even your stronger handl—causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell.

Who are you going to listen to now?
Doesn’t this matter most? Sure- we’re going to fail… but we must always try

farmgirl said...

Lol- I guess my Matt 5 was worth repeating- I didn’t see the comments before I posted mine. I’m reading them now.

Mikey NTH said...

Wouldn't the archbishop be married to the church?

ken in tx said...

I think Envy is a worse sin, Especially the kind of envy that does not really want what you have but mostly wants you not to have it.

Vance said...

In the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, or the LDS church, scripture lays out a pretty clear hierarchy of sin. Worst is the unforgivable sin--you do that, you are done. That is where, having known Jesus, you turn and betray Him or the Sin against the Holy Ghost. Unforgivable. Second is murder. Jesus has said that it is possible to repent of murder... but it is not easy. And indeed, King David, who slew Bathseba's husband, only received a promise that his soul would not be left in hell. Not that he would be exalted or saved.
But after murder is adultery and other sins of the flesh. Again, adultery is betrayal of someone. But the power of God is creation, which He has entrusted to man. so-called "sins of the flesh" are messing with that power, and anything outside the bounds the Lord has set is a grievous sin. The Lord wants chastity before marriage and total fidelity after marriage. Anything more than that is sin.

So the Pope is wrong here, although of course that's only if you take the LDS church's view of things.

Blair said...

Ummmm...the Ten Commandments were not issued by Jesus.

Ummmm... yes they were. Christ is the Word of God and the second person of the Holy Trinity. He is "begotten before all worlds". Who do you think spoke to Moses on the mountain?

TestTube said...

Pope Francis is absolutely right here.

ganderson said...

"small caresses and massages."

Sounds like “I just had a couple of beers, officer…”