Moral Abyss: The Limits of #LoveWins

Carlos McKnight, 17, of Washington, left, and Katherine Nicole Struck, 25, of Frederick, Md., hold flags in support of gay marriage outside of the Supreme Court in Washington, Friday June 26, 2015. A major opinion on gay marriage is among the remaining to be released before the term ends at the end of June. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
(AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

Since the 1960’s the West has increasingly become gripped by a new zeitgeist which might be summarised as ‘everyone should be free to do whatever they want so long as it doesn’t directly harm anyone else.‘ Some might add ‘without their consent‘ on the grounds that if people wish to be harmed why should anyone else stop that? However that might be the shorter form has all the force of an apparent truism. What reasonable person would unnecessarily restrict the freedom of another? Surely only the authoritarian or the bigot could oppose such an obviously fair proposition.

On closer examination though the idea can be seen to contain fatal flaws. It proceeds from an extreme individualism which holds that the individual has absolute priority over the family or society such that indirect harm to these things is considered to be less important than the frustration experienced by an individual prevented from fulfilling her or his desires. Moreover it assumes that the meaning of the word ‘harm’ is self-evident but that is far from being true as debates around issues like abortion, euthanasia or the compulsory wearing of motorbike helmets testify. The combination of these two errors is toxic and capable of producing great harm before the zeitgeist runs its course.

To take the second point first. In the West pluralism is normative, a thousand flowers bloom a thousand schools of thought contend. What this means is that there is no unified moral consensus nor is there an agreed basis upon which one can be formulated. The previous era was united around the propositions of Christianity a religion which is increasingly being rejected and attacked by Westerners. Nonetheless nothing has emerged which can both replace its moral formulae and command near universal support. Definitions of ‘harm’ produced by that system remain the default ones but non-Christians do not necessarily have any coherent arguments to defend these definitions which seem to persist merely by force of habit. Against this individuals and groups whose desires or appetites were suppressed or disapproved of under the  Ancien Régime can advance their case, fine-tuned to speak the language of the zeitgeist, and those forces that feel uncomfortable about the demands can command no intellectually respectable arguments to counter them….click here to read more

Guest Posting on the Nun Blogger

I’m honored that Sister Anne of the Daughters of St. Paul asked me to guest post on her website. We “met” on twitter because Sister Anne wanted her followers to know about my books, which are an alternative view of Tudor England to Hilary Mantel’s in Wolf Hall.

She wrote:

“A few weeks ago, I mentioned the TV series “Wolf Hall” and its inaccurate presentation of St Thomas More, recommending a series of novels set in the same time frame that offer a very different (and more true to life) perspective. Today NunBlog is honored to welcome author Nancy Bilyeau, Twitter’s @TudorScribe, as a guest blogger”:

To read the post, go here.

 

 

 

Finding the Narrow Gate

Continuing the Highway to Hell series.

"Guess I'll have to find a wider, easier path."
“Guess I’ll have to find a wider, easier path.”

What if you do remember whizzing past some of the signposts covered in the previous posts? A suggestion was put on the table for consideration, “Turn around.”

Yes, turn around, or as we learned, convert. What happens if you turn around? You may find you have some baggage to unload. Stuff that you might really want to keep. Stuff that you may feel you can’t live without. What do you do? Well, don’t do what the guy in the picture is about to do.

 

Continue

The Mother of Anne Boleyn

Now that Wolf Hall is on Broadway and on PBS, a great many people will be talking about not only Thomas Cromwell but also Henry VIII, his first wife, Catherine of Aragon, his daughter, the Princess Mary, and of course his second wife, Anne Boleyn.

In my novels I take the opposite side of the Reformation from Hilary Mantel–my protagonist is a Dominican novice. But I also in my research have found many surprises in the religious choices of people who lived in the 16th century. Including the mother of Anne Boleyn.

To read my post, go here: http://nancybilyeau.blogspot.com/2015/04/the-lonely-death-of-elizabeth-boleyn.html

You Are Worthy

I’m sure you’ve gone through difficult situations.   I’m sure you’ve stuggled and cried and yelled at God.  I’m sure you’ve asked “Why me?”

Difficulty and suffering is part of the human condition.

Somtimes the biggest struggle we have is our feelings of unworthiness.  Unworthiness of love.  Unworthiness of forgiveness.   Unworthiness of help.

Our faith tells us that our worth comes from God.

But society tells us that our worth comes from what we accomplish, what we look like, how much money we have.

Sometimes we listen to society just a bit too much.

Read the rest here.

Perpetual Sanctification (part one)

Did you ever have one of those weeks that you thought you just might not survive?  I mean emotionally, not physically, although, sometimes emotional stress is worse than the most strenuous physical workout.  Well that’s the kind of week I had.

It not only left me battered and bruised, but it had me questioning every decision I have ever made as a wife, mother and friend.  I would no sooner  think I was on solid ground and the rug would be pulled out again!

In those times, although, not much fun, much growth can occur.  I found myself swept away in a current that had been building for quite some time.  Continue reading……