Catholics claim they know the whole truth about everything

January 15, 2019 • 12:15 pm

Have a gander at this quote that came from Franciscan University. The backstory appears at the site Church Militant and Inside Higher Ed (IHE). Franciscan University [FU] is a Catholic school in Steubenville, Ohio; it’s sufficiently hard-line to include homosexuality in a course on “deviant behavior” along with rape and robbery.

Here’s the quote, which would be hilarious if it wasn’t both true and sad:

“Franciscan University encourages the faculty, in their teaching function, to address all material relevant to their subject matter but, as specified in the Faculty Handbook, opposes the promotion of propositions and values contrary to Catholic teaching. This in no way impinges on true academic freedom, as the Catholic church accepts all that is true and rejects all that is false.”

Where did this come from? As Inside Higher Ed (IHE) reports, FU removed the departmental chairmanship from Stephen Lewis, an FU professor of English, after he was found to have included the Emmanuel Carrère’s book The Kingdom in a course syllabus. Given its content, that book was a no-no. IHE summarizes the contentious parts:

Part memoir, part religious history — imagined and actual — the hard-to-summarize book essentially tells two stories: that of Carrère’s own crisis of his Catholic faith and that of the formation of the early Christian church. Watching pornography in one scene, Carrère’s says that Jesus’s mother, Mary, wasn’t a virgin. Rather, he says, she knew men in her youth and “might have come, let’s hope so for her, maybe she even masturbated.” There’s a bit more about a favorite adult actress and female masturbation.

There was an outcry among Catholics, and the University President apologized in an open letter, saying that The Kingdom was pornographic, blasphemous and would never again be taught at FU. There’s more to the story, but, as IHE reports, the quotation at the top came from a statement issued by FU on Monday.

According to that statement, no criticism of Catholicism can impinge on Catholic teachings because what the Catholic Church teaches is 100% true!

While religious schools are free to censor whatever they want, I find it ineffably sad that they censor criticism in this way, especially when it comes from a Catholic teacher trying to inspire thought (they’ve also made sure the book isn’t in the school bookstore).

And really, how brainwashed do you have to be to buy the school’s statement that “the Catholic church accepts all that is true and rejects all that is false”? Does that mean that homosexual behavior is really, truly, a disorder, and that you can go to hell if you don’t confess it? And that the sacramental wafers literally become Jesus’s body when blessed? And that Jesus’s mother was a virgin, which was apparently based on a dubious translation from Hebrew? Some “truths”!


h/t: Luana


80 thoughts on “Catholics claim they know the whole truth about everything

  1. I believe that the Caliph Omar said something similar when he burned the Library at Alexandria. Whatever was in it was either in accord with the Koran, and redundant, or wasn’t, and heretical. Burn it!

  2. The arrogance of the deluded has no bounds.

    At the same time, banning books only leads to curious people reading said banned books. Would Catcher in the Rye be even half as popular with kids if it were never banned? I doubt it.

    1. Catcher probably wouldn’t be half as popular if it had all that David Copperfield crap about what a lousy childhood Holden Caulfield had, and where he was born, and how his parents were occupied before they had him, but he didn’t feel like going into it, if you want to know the truth. 🙂

  3. because what the Catholic Church teaches is 100% true!

    Of course it is. That’s why they took a few hundred years to exonerate Galilleo… I take it they admit that Earth isn’t the centre of the universe?

    1. Well, they liked the idea:
      se non è vero, è ben trovato

      So if you bump off your adversary, and go to confess it, you will be forgiven, and not burn in hell. Is there a better world you could wish? So why not go for it!

      1. “And Giordano Bruno has not been exonerated yet.”

        I just fired off a question to opus dei, with the question why?

  4. I read St. Matthew [King James version?] as saying Mary became pregnant before she married Joseph and that Joseph knew she was pregnant but did not call attention to the fact or reject her to avoid ruining her life. Look what that story got us.

    1. I believe she would have been stoned to death if he had made it public. My reading was that he wa going to put her away quietly, meaning have her killed in a more humane way until the angel told him it was ok to marry her.

      1. That is both more charitable and more prejudicial than my take.

        My guess is old Joseph had a nice piece of totty he was quite fond of (regardless of her nocturnal adventures) and he preferred to spare Mary the grief, and himself the embarrassment. Enlightened self-interest. Win – win.



        1. Bear in mind that it is just a fiction story based on an incorrect reading of a verse taken out of context from Isaiah (7:14 if you are interested). The “correct” interpretation is the one that was in the author’s head when he made it up.

          The story is not based on real events, so there’s no reason IMO not to take it at face value.

  5. Last week’s episode of the “In our time” podcast was on the changing view of papal infallibility and is worth a listen, not entirely on topic but not that far off either.

  6. “the Catholic church accepts all that is true and rejects all that is false”

    I think that from now on the “No True Scotsman Fallacy” should be called the No True Catholic fallacy instead.

    Bertrand Russell (in History of Western Philosophy) says that the Jews tried to tell the early Christians that their text didn’t say Mary was a virgin, but the Christians didn’t trust them. (I have no other reference for that though, and Russell is a bit foggy on some parts of history in that book. However, despite being a ‘history of philosophy’ it’s also a quite insightful history of the Church too.)

    1. It doesn’t say she was a virgin. The Hebrew word they translated as “virgin” actually meant “good”. So to them “good woman” = “virgin”.

      And take a gander at this if you have a spare almost nine minutes to be horrified that such people exist:

      1. Sadly, my main reaction to that is to wonder just how long it will be before he’s discovered “committing homosexuality…”

        Such an iniquitous religion.

        1. As always, blame the mother…

          Although if we’re equating rabid Catholicism with mental illness, I’d agree with you.

          1. No, I know mother blaming is a common fallacy, but in this case with rabid Catholicism, egocentricity, and denied homosexuality, she may have contributed behaviorally or genetically. But, that’s just a hunch.

      2. Actually, the word that is problematic is “maiden” or “young woman”. Matthew wasn’t working from the Hebrew text of Isaiah 7:14 but from the Greek text of the Septuagint where the Hebrew word “almah” had already been translated to “parthenos” which means “virgin” apparently.

  7. Confirmation bias in overdrive, if it’s not OUR truth then its not a truth. WE abandon truth to live by a lie and fantasize. WE are hopeless and dont you forget it. Catholicism gets anal in search of truths.

      1. from ‘Abuse This Word,’ a wonderfully illustrated ABCDerium:

        ‘Litany’– ‘Litany good farts lately?’

  8. “This in no way impinges on true academic freedom, as the Catholic church accepts all that is true and rejects all that is false.”

    This seems like an escape hatch. The first part tells an academic not to worry about it. The second explains that, as long as you teach the truth, you will be safe.

    Is it possible this is carefully crafted by the university to get around restrictions that the Catholic Church would place on teaching? Perhaps I am being overly generous.

    1. Sounds more like a threat to me. The kind of threat very commonly used by powerful organizations (or people) familiar with brutality and coercion and that find advantage in pressuring everyone else to believe, or pretend, that the organization (or person) holds the righteous ground. The Catholic Church is pretty much the best example of what I mean, ever.

    2. The Catholic church also teaches that demons and magic (miracles) are real, so they must also be “true” as well.

      Whatever the Catholic church teaches is always “true” so you should never examine any of their claims. That is why the Catholic encyclopedia exists, so that you don’t have to read secular encyclopedias with all of their scientific falsehoods!

      1. Yes, doubting is a sin! Even licking your finger and opening a volume of the Britannica is a sin! So god created the internet to get rid of these bad books. But somehow god lacked the faculty of seeing into the future, with the appearance of internet discussions like this one. haha!

  9. “We’re out of Corn Flakes. FU”
    It took me 3 hours to realize FU was Franciscan University.


    1. Reminds me of the one about the Catholic mother who goes to her parish priest to ask what she should do about all the profanity her two young sons were using. The priest tells her the Church approves of corporal punishment, and this sounded like a fitting case for it.

      Next morning, the kids come into the kitchen and she asks the first one what he wants for breakfast.

      “Give me some goddamn cornflakes,” he says. She gives him a smack up side the head, then turns to the other kid.

      “I sure as the fuck don’t want any cornflakes, ma.”

      (My godmother told me that one.)

  10. “And really, how brainwashed do you have to be to buy the school’s statement that “the Catholic church accepts all that is true and rejects all that is false”?”

    Not much, as it turns out. Other organizations aren’t as open about it but follow the same principles. I know a number of people who believe their preferred political party embraces all that is true and rejects all that is false–and therefore suppression of other viewpoints isn’t an infringement on their rights, merely a rejection of falsehood.

    It’s basically a tribal version of epistemology: what’s true or false isn’t dependent upon objective reality, but upon which group you are a member of. Embracing the “right” truths is a way of indicating you’re in the tribe. This can be seen at a lot of scales in human societies, ranging from small groups (“Becky is such a [insert slur here]!”), to industries (see much of economics), to societies (North Korea, for example).

    1. Yes, there are examples closer to home: It is not a coincidence that Fascism blossomed in countries with a strong Catholic following (Austria, Bavaria, Italy, Spain, and now Poland). And now in Christian-Orthodox areas and countries, such as Russia, Greece, etc. Christian orthodoxy and , because it is strongly unified, powerful rituals, and of its inherent ‘logic’ arguments, is a powerful unifying force. Islam, because of its different faces, fortunately less.

      1. My point is that you can’t blame religion. It’s a built-in human characteristic, one that’s easily identifiable in many areas. Christianity is particularly egregious about it in the Western world, but that’s because it’s been a dominant force since Constantine; it has nothing to fear. The same arguments appear in pretty much any area of life, though.

    2. Religion gets special treatment (and blame) because it claims backing from all-knowing, all-powerful, spiritual authority that isn’t available to you local political party. Followers can follow all sorts of things, but it takes a special kind of “leadership” to claim divine authority. Ignoring this critical difference is myopic, IMO.

      1. Ignoring that it’s a very common trait in human activities is nothing short of willful ignorance, IMO.

        Please note that I’m neither trying to defend this institution, nor trying to say “Well others do it so it’s all right”. I am responding to a specific observation, one with a very narrow scope, raised by the author. He asked about how brainwashed one has to be to buy into something like this. The answer is “Not very much at all”. Religion can exploit this trait in humans, but it didn’t create it–it’s a trap we’re ALL at risk of falling into. Mocking religious people for falling into that trap in no way ensures that we won’t do the same.

      2. Many religions make sure to destroy critical thinking at an early age. Just think of catechisms. Starting at six, you were forced to memorize questions and answers, like an automaton. I always refused to play this disgusting game.

        You see this in other religions as well. Some Muslims are not allowed to speak the words naming features between your nose and chin, and if you ask why, you get “because it is written that this is forbidden.”

  11. It us not well known or published but I believe all religious school have a rule against teaching or promoting anything that conflicts with the church teaching is not allowed. It can be interpreted loosely.
    Emory had that rule when Altizer was there leading, or as spokesman for, the God is Dead theory. They did not fire him or interfere with his teaching of those ideas.

    1. Emory also went through some convoluted reasoning that would make Justice John Roberts proud to allow same sex marriages on campus

  12. “the Catholic church accepts all that is true and rejects all that is false.”

    Having been raised a Catholic and having had my primary and secondary education in Catholic schools, I don’t find this statement surprising. Whatever the church says is true, is true. And Oceania has always been at war with Eastasia.

  13. I saw a talk show on EWTN, the Catholic channel, on the topic “Is the Pope infallible?”
    A priest said, “Well, let’s look at the evidence: in 2,000 years, no Pope has ever erred. To me, that’s pretty convincing!”

    How can anyone argue with that?

    1. Except some popes HAVE erred, at least according to later popes. Some popes were even declared heretics by later popes. Of course the loophole is probably that a pope later declared a heretic was never a true pope in the first place.

      The whole thing is screaming: “We’re making every bit of this shit up as we go along.”

    2. The crackup is that Papal infallibility wasn’t declared until 1869. This was one of the first “cracks” I discovered in Seminary, where I briefly trained to become a priest.

      If I could be taught falsity on this small issue for my entire childhood, what else wasn’t true? Turns out: quite a lot! 🙂

  14. Okay, I’m going to be controversial here, but I think this needs to be said: those who cherish reason, science, democracy and freedom should truly fear the Catholic Church.

    As an atheist, I have little respect for any organized religion, but we in the Western world owe a debt of gratitude to the brave men and women who protested the power and corruption and (so they thought) doctrinal errors of the Catholic Church, unleashing the Protestant Reformation, which in turn laid the groundwork for all the political and intellectual freedoms and human rights that we hold dear.

    Many will say the church has changed, but I think that is an extremely naive view. I think they’ve only been constrained from their more evil inclinations by the shift in the balance of power since the 16th century. If they were in charge again, I believe they’d behave just like they did during the dark ages.

    The ecumenical movement to unite all Protestants under Rome’s umbrella should send shivers down our spines. When you see how Catholicism has behaved in countries (for example in South America) where they hold most or all of the power, it is brutal and despicable. So many on the Left are enamored with “Liberal” Pope Francis, but don’t be fooled. The Catholic Church has survived and thrived for many years precisely because it knows how to play politics, to its advantage. It is interested in power and influence, and it will do whatever it takes to get it and maintain it.

    Now some may see this as an anti-Catholic rant. Catholics will for sure. But I hold no animosity towards the average Catholic in the pew — they are generally good people who have simply been brainwashed by the system. They are caught up in a terrible bondage to a hierarchical dictatorship, ritual and complicated dogmatic formulas, motivated to continue on in that path for fear of burning in an eternal hellfire. I have nothing but pity for those people — but utter contempt for the institution and its leaders, who prey like vicious parasites on their gullible followers.

    1. “If they were in charge again, I believe they’d behave just like they did during the dark ages.”
      A great plot for a horror sci-fi thriller.

    2. “Okay, I’m going to be controversial here, but I think this needs to be said: those who cherish reason, science, democracy and freedom should truly fear the Catholic Church.”

      Why do you think that’s controversial?


      1. Well, in our politically correct environment that seemingly is entirely ignorant of history, we’re told not to offend — even history’s worst offenders. That’s what prompted my intro.

        I have been called anti-Catholic on numerous occasions by Catholics themselves, and by “liberals” who strangely defend the Catholic Church as if freedom and democracy depended upon extending a welcoming hand to an institution that has been one of history’s most brutal and undemocratic. The apologetic wing of the Catholic Church is immense and thorough in its whitewashing of its own history. Protestants understood five centuries ago what a threat to freedom of will and conscience the CC was, but today they’ve seemingly forgotten that and are rushing into reunion with “Mother Church”. But by her own admission the CC doesn’t change; she is the same institution she was during the dark ages, she’s just restrained now due to the change in the balance of power.

        I’m no believer, but I do think the Protestants of old understood the dynamics of Catholicism much better than most non-religionists of today. They saw what a threat it was, whereas many atheists today just see it as one more church whose beliefs need debunking. You don’t take over the Roman Empire and rule the West for more than a thousand years without supreme political skill and confidence in your own infallibility.

          1. I couldn’t agree more with you. Anyone who knows anything about the RCC should be anti-Catholic. Not even considering that it told its flock to vote for Trump–but that’s all the more reason!

          2. That’s because the claptrap was drilled into them way before they were able to think critically. With a lot of mortal threats thrown in, just to cement the lessons.

    3. “The ecumenical movement to unite all Protestants under Rome’s umbrella…”

      I see the Catholic Church much as you do, Greg, but I don’t think this movement is much of a threat. The centrifugal forces that create religious schisms is greater than whatever gravity ecumenicals can muster.

  15. I respect the Christian values I was brought up with, but at the age of 15 I easily rejected the church’s truths, as I found them literally incredible. However, I notice that many people ere strongly attracted by them for precisely the same reason. “Just because it is unbelievable, you must have faith that it is true”.
    Some call it brainwashing, but I do not raise my eyebrows anymore, as I’ve come to the – general, and hopefully not too simplistic – conclusion that the hard-wiring of our neurons in that particular part of our brains determines if we converse or deconverse.
    Does this make sense?

  16. “Franciscan University encourages the faculty, in their teaching function, to address all material relevant to their subject matter but, as specified in the Faculty Handbook, opposes the promotion of propositions and values contrary to Catholic teaching. This in no way impinges on true academic freedom, as the Catholic church accepts all that is true and rejects all that is false.”

    I know its early, but this gets my vote for best example of question-begging for 2019!

  17. Sometimes I imagine having a magic wand to convert all the good stuff that individuals and small institutions do inthe name of Catholicism into something overtly secular.

    For example, they have excellent networking for refugees, promote economic justice and a few other things. Which makes it a damn shame that they do so many evil things too.

  18. ‘. . . the Protestant Reformation, which in turn laid the groundwork for all the political and intellectual freedoms and human rights that we hold dear.’

    Perhaps. But perhaps giving too much credit to the Reformation and too little to the Enlightenment. Unless, of course, you’re asserting that the one was ‘groundwork’ for the other. That would entail not only freedom of conscience but freedom of inquiry, including that which led to modern science and atheism. Evidently you can foresee this in the fact of the Reformation. I cannot. When Luther said that ‘Reason is the devil’s whore’ (and, yes, I know of the attempts to explain this plain language away), he was preaching his own anti-intellectualism: one book (Bible), one confession, no deviations.

    1. I agree, essentially, with what you are saying. Certainly, the early Reformers were just as zealous/fanatical as any pope had ever been.

      However, when they called into question the pope’s authority, and began teaching that it is the individual’s responsibility to come to the truth, they set in motion the social and political forces that would eventually make the Enlightenment possible.

      Of course, causal connections are notoriously difficult to establish, as David Hume so famously argued. But that’s how I see it anyhow. The separation of church and state would never have become a reality if it weren’t for the Reformation.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *