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Fake news, plastic surgery, bullying, other moral issues of 2019

The Fall of the Rebel Angels Pieter Bruegel the Elder 1562

In the Catholic ethos, all moral principles are created neither by consensus nor by the majority opinion. Moral principles are neither subjective nor based on one’s outlook, for they are OBJECTIVE, PERMANENT and UNIVERSAL – hence, they are applicable for 2019 and 2030, and eternally.

Consider how the Vicar of Christ answered certain moral questions raised by some confused, curious, or rather higgledy-piggledy Catholic and non-Catholic millennials.

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  1. On bullying and cyberbullying.They are the devil’s work. “The desire to attack someone because they are weak, we have no doubt, is the devil’s. Because attacking the weak is the work of Satan” (Pope Francis, Homily, January 8, 2016).
  1. On cosmetic and plastic surgery. Pope Francis: “We cannot afford to have them become a necessity; for the good of us all, we cannot accept the spread of an artificial aesthetic. All these depersonalizes man’s beauty, making him look the same as everyone else” (God is Young, 2018).
  1. On fake news and gossip.“Gossiping,” the Holy Father pointed out, “kills… because the tongue kills, like a knife.” Be careful, the Pope added, the gossiper “is a terrorist because he or she throws a bomb and leaves” (St. Peter’s Square, November 13, 2018).
  1. On abortion.Abortion is a “horrendous crime” and “very grave sin” (Pope Francis, November 20, 2016). In 1588, due to its gravity, Pope Sixtus V attached the penalty of excommunication to abortion.
  1. On priest’s permanent faculty to forgive abortion. This announcement came from Pope Francis at the end of the Jubilee of Mercy in 2015. A woman procured abortion “cries for years without having the courage to go see a priest… Do you have any idea the number of people who can finally breathe?” he asked, adding how important it is to find the Lord’s forgiveness (Pape François et Dominique Wolton, Politique et société, L’observatoire, 2017)
  1. On transgender technology.Gender-changing technologies are “biological and psychical manipulation of sexual difference.” In the Christian-biblical context, sexual complementarity between a man and a woman is “creative and fruitful” (Vatican City, June 09, 2017).
  1. On the protection of the youth against priest-predators.The Church will “continue to enforce her zero-tolerance stance on sexual abuse…” (Synod of Bishops 2018, “Young People, the Faith, and Vocational Discernment”).
  1. On the right to life and happiness. They are “inalienable rights of all members of the human family,” the foundation of true freedom and lasting peace in the world.” Pope Francis: Everyone has the right to life and happiness (Speech, 70thanniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 2018).
  1. On rich-poor gap.How do we solve the problem of this gap, when the rich are becoming richer and the poor poorer? “Human dignity is the basis of justice, while the recognition of every person’s inestimable worth is the force that impels us to work, with enthusiasm and self-sacrifice, to overcome all disparities” (Pope Francis, Vatican City, November 18, 2017).
  1. On gun violence and mass shootings. Pope Francis has long been a critic of weapons manufacturing and has publicly condemned mass shootings. He questioned the “business executives who call themselves Christian and manufacture weapons.” He said that gun violence and arms trade were “drenched in blood” (Address to the Joint session of the US Congress, 2015).

Catholic moral principles do not change in time. The official Catholic position on moral issues today, as ever, is firmly grounded on the Gospel (Divine Revelation), Sacred Magisterium (teaching office), Sacred Tradition apostolic succession), and the natural law – and not on what is popular or convenient.

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Jose Mario Bautista Maximiano (jomaximiano@gmail.com) is the author of 24 PLUS Contemporary People: God Writing Straight with Twists and Turns(Claretian, 2019).

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