30 September 2020

I look around and try to think of something novel to say about passages such as this. There have been sermons innumerable about it. Anything you think of has been said before, from discussing the poverty of disability, to spiritualizing paralysis, to discussing how the faith of friends matters.

When what really matters is that Jesus can forgive our sins, because he his not a man, but God: truly man and truly God. No man can forgive our sins, but God can. It is why those around him said he blasphemes: they knew he was calling himself God.

Of course, we now call blasphemy hate speech.

Matthew 9:2-8

2 And they brought to Him a paralytic lying on a bed. Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the paralytic, “Take courage, son; your sins are forgiven.” 3 And some of the scribes said to themselves, “This fellow blasphemes.” 4 And Jesus knowing their thoughts said, “Why are you thinking evil in your hearts? 5 Which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up, and walk’? 6 But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—then He *said to the paralytic, “Get up, pick up your bed and go home.” 7 And he got up and went home. 8 But when the crowds saw this, they were [d]awestruck, and glorified God, who had given such authority to men.

There is very little to add, except this: the world hates us. We should not be aligned with the world, and we should not expect the institutions of this world to be our friends. There are too many people who worship our consitutitons and consider that moral authority resides in parliament or the supreme court. Nations that had no need for a supreme court invented them — and watched them try to bollox Brexit. This is falling into the liberal idea that the church is peripheral. it is not. It is central.

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Tocqueville notes that the church/state separation was not because the American people wanted their politics free of faith, but because they wanted their faith free of politics. Jefferson’s “wall of separation” claptrap was in response to formal recognition within state government; but even he could not suggest that the church should be without influence in the government. The written Constitution does not mention the Deity. But the constitution (small-c) of the country always envisioned a role for the church. The fact that the church in question was not the Catholic Church is a question of conversion, not of politics.

We see, then, how the Church should interact with the government. By exercising their legitimate and God-given role of regulating the sacraments, the clergy can constrain the bounds of moral and political actions. American politics is flush with Catholics, and has been for generations. So long as these politicians wish to remain in communion with the Church, and palatable to their Catholic constituents, they must remain in good standing. They must, in other words, adhere broadly to Catholic moral teaching.

This relationship is broadly similar to the relation between Church and state during the middle ages. For although the medieval clergy had more direct power over the secular governments, its greatest authority was its immutable one, and came from the regulation of the sacraments. The sacraments tie even a lowly thing like a king to a force higher than himself; he can abjure them, but everyone in heaven and earth knows it will be better if he doesn’t.

Richard Greenhorn

Greenhorn forgets that a King can kill you: Let is bring forth Thomas Beckett as a witness. We need to be relaxed about the needed reform of our nations. Nations are not an empire: Russia was once an empire, and it is again a nation. That took some pain, but it may do better than we will in the West.

For we think we can do without God. We spurn the sacraments: our new, forught for sacraments are abortion and euthanasia.

But is far better that we do not mock God, and live a sober, upright and Godly life. We do not need a constitution or king to tell us to do that. Our love of God should draw us to being like him instead.

For we know all nations will bow before Christ, who has the power to forgive.