In “Moral Theology: Software, Moral Formatting and Living in Sin,” Father Rolheiser used a weak analogy when he compared classical Catholic moral theology to “a highly specialized software.” The analogy is weak partly because software determines how applications behave. If Catholic moral theology is software, then shouldn’t it program how Catholics behave?
Father Rolheiser writes that he believes in the principles of classical moral theology, but we can no longer use its way of naming sin. Why? Because much of our culture and many of our churches no longer understand that language, “good” people will be offended if we tell them the way they are living is inherently disordered.
What are we to do? Help people understand the language of the Church’s moral teachings? No! Change Catholic theology! “We need a new software, a new way of morally formatting things.”
If you don’t reject Father Rolheiser’s analogy out of hand, his logic falls on its face because redefining a value changes how you treat it. If your moral theology software no longer defines a value as sinful or immoral, the program would no longer logically need to include any routines that would define how to change the no-longer-sinful value.
Letters to the Editor can be emailed to email@example.com. Letters must be 200 words or less. Please include name, email and phone number. Subject to editing. For more information visit tvc.dsj.org/submissions.