FAST FOOD (AD 2019): Thirty-Fourth Helping
“I don’t know what you mean by ‘glory,’ ” Alice said.
Humpty Dumpty smiled contemptuously. “Of course you don’t—till I tell you. I meant ‘there’s a nice knock-down argument for you!’ ”
“But ‘glory’ doesn’t mean ‘a nice knock-down argument’,” Alice objected.
“When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less.”
With words all thing are possible. So also is the case when interpreting a character from literature, art or film For example, John Wayne as a film character is always portrayed as a tough talking, macho fist and gun guy. It would be absurd to interpret his film character as being a wimpy Casper Milquetoast dufus. Absurd, but not impossible. With words all things are possible. “Peter, put up your sword,” seems clear and straightforward enough. But today Peter has the sword (actually, it is the halberd, probably the cruelest and most lethal hand-to-hand combat weapon ever invented) as a permanent part of symbol system on his coat-of arms—and he has the mercenary army of highly trained and paid professional killers to back up the symbol. But, with words all things are possible.
However, while all things are possible with words, all things done with words are not equally probable to the human mind and conscience as the truth. The word ‘probably’ means likely. And of course there are varying degrees of ‘’likely. So with words while all things are possible, the human being must ask him or herself about the probability of an interpretation likely being the case, the truth of the matter.
‘Lax’ means careless, slack, derelict, heedless, irresponsible, reckless.
‘Laxism’ is a theory or system of moral theology that permits a person to follow an opinion or interpretation even though the opinion or interpretation is only slightly probable or even doubtfully probable. Laxism is formally condemned by the Church in 1679 by Pope Innocent XI.
“ I give you a new commandment, love one another as I have loved you” (Jn 13:34, 15:12) Because with words all things are possible, it is possible to say these words can mean anything the person chooses them to mean. But, while trying to avoid self-deception and with an honest conscience, what is the most probable meaning of these words? What is the degree of probability that they mean and that Jesus meant them to mean that His disciple can love as He loves and simultaneously kill other human beings, torture them, slit their throats, burn their faces off, disembowel them, deceive them, hate them, tear them apart and do all the other act that war requires of people regardless whether or not they are Christian? Would such an interpretation of Jesus’ “new commandment’ be a laxist interpretation and therefore morally condemned by the Church?
And, if one had the ordained responsibility to serve the Christian community by instructing the Christians in that community in the teachings of Jesus, and in how essential it is to obey them e.g. “Teach them to obey all that I have commanded you,” and yet let these Christians, especially the young Christians in the community whose brains are not yet fully developed, go forth and train for and do all the acts of war mentioned above and many other of like character believing they were following Jesus and the will of God as revealed by Jesus, would not such an ordained minister of the Church be engaged in a laxist interpretation of the ministry he or she were called to, as well as, in a laxist interpretation of the “new commandment?”
With words all things are possible. The evil of moral laxism is one of them.
-Emmanuel Charles McCarthy