Pride: the Root Cause of Moral Decay

Pride has been in our Catholic news lately, to the point that it becomes too obvious to ignore.  Abortion, dissent, and disobedience are the news of this week within the Catholic blogosphere.

Cowboy Papist sees pride as the most capital of sins that worms its way into our hearts and souls.  It is the root of all sin and error, the cause of our moral decay, for us personally, in our society and our culture.  We are all guilty of the sin of pride, no matter the degree to which we commit ourselves to it; we all often see ourselves as too important for our neighbor in one form or another.

As a former rodeo cowboy in our younger life, Cowboy Papist is guilty of severe and extreme pride; struggling daily with the virtues of humility and charity in the place of pride.  It is a core centrality of our secular culture to be prideful, full of self esteem and arrogance, to achieve successes which we decide best suits our own goals in life.

If you want to make God laugh, tell Him your plans,” is a great quote from the opening of the movie, Bella.

First, a quick definition from New Advent’s Catholic Encyclopedia:

Pride is the excessive love of one’s own excellence.
St. Thomas . . . considers it the queen of all vices, and . . . understands it to be that frame of mind in which a man, through the love of his own worth, aims to withdraw himself from subjection to Almighty God, and sets at naught the commands of superiors. . . Regarded in this way, it is of course mortal sin of a most heinous sort. . . the blackest of sins. . . (one) turns his back upon God, not through weakness or ignorance, but solely because in his self-exaltation he is minded not to submit.
A less atrocious kind of pride is that which implies one to make much of oneself unduly and without sufficient warrant, without however any disposition to cast off the dominion of the Creator. This may happen, according to St. Gregory, either because a man regards himself as the source of such advantages as he may discern in himself, or because, whilst admitted that God has bestowed them, he reputes this to have been in response to his own merits, or because he attributes to himself gifts which he has not; or, finally, because even when these are real he unreasonably looks to be put ahead of others. . . Vainglory, ambition, and presumption are commonly enumerated as the offspring vices of pride, because they are well adapted to serve its inordinate aims.

The opposite of pride is humility, defined at Catholic Encyclopedia relative to this discussion as:

Humility in a higher and ethical sense is that by which a man has a modest estimate of his own worth, and submits himself to others. According to this meaning no man can humiliate another, but only himself, and this he can do properly only when aided by Divine grace.  Of humility, St. Thomas (says)  “The virtue of humility consists in keeping oneself within one’s own bounds, not reaching out to things above one, but submitting to one’s superior”. . . Humility is the first virtue inasmuch as it removes the obstacles to faith, as St. Thomas says. It removes pride and makes a man subject to and a fit recipient of grace . . .

To answer the question of how so much corruption got into our Church, Michael Voris at RealCatholic.com offers this video where the sin of pride has caused enormous scandal for Catholics throughout the world:

This week, we read at Catholic Review from Baltimore that a group of about 400 Irish priests are unhappy that they were not consulted when the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference, (the equivalent of our USCCB), approved the recent translation of the missal:

“A group representing more than 400 of Ireland’s 4,500 priests has made an urgent plea to the country’s bishops to postpone the introduction of the new English translation of the missal for at least another five years. . . The priests’ association suggested that the Irish bishops follow the example of the German bishops (see below) and assert the right to make their own decisions regarding the celebration of the liturgy in Ireland. . . (that the new translation of the Mass is) “archaic, elitist, and obscure.

How cavalier of them; really, what would the Vatican or the world’s bishops know about the celebration of the Catholic liturgy?  As Fr. Z says today, they are simply fomenting dissent and disobedience and chaos.

This is Pride.

And then we have German theologians seeking to end the celibacy rule for priests:

BERLIN (AP) —University theologians in Germany have called on the Catholic Church to abandon the vow of celibacy for priests, open up the clergy for women and accept gays couples.  The 143 professors said the church must implement bold reforms because of “a crisis without precedent” following the discovery of widespread sexual and physical abuses by clergymen a year ago. . . The professors also called for a more democratic and less centralized church, including giving the faithful a say in appointing their priests and bishops. “What can be decided locally, should be decided there,” the appeal said.

Pride again.  Who is the Church in comparison to these university professors? All we need to do is have a fair and equal vote on all policies and liturgies and go with the majority.  Naturally, we’re assuming German university professors get a vote – not!

There are churches that undoubtedly meets their needs – Anglican, for one.  It never ceases to amaze Cowboy Papist why these people / groups who feel the need to change centuries of doctrine and dogma, to change our Magisterium, would want to stay with the Church when there are so many alternatives that can fulfill their disordered and prideful ways.

There must be a limit to ecumenical practice.  We’re in the minority here, but please, and we say this with all the charity we can muster – go.  Help these many other churches who are not in full communion with the Roman Catholic Church to adapt their theologies to their culture and secular societies.  Please go – thank you for your concern; we’ll be just fine.  Here’s the exit.

Cowboy Papist continues the work to remove our arrogant ways, one sin among many.

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3 Responses to Pride: the Root Cause of Moral Decay

  1. Interesting that you converted in 85. You must have noticed the decline in the number of these disobedient clergy over the years.

    As a cradle Catholic of 50+ years I recall teh late 70’s as the low point (high point for them) in which anything but orthodox worship was available. I prayed that Pope John Paul II would address the disorder in the church as specifically in the USA. Yet he chose to wait them all out. At the time I thought we paid a terrible price in not removing these disident clergy, yet it seems there days are indeed number and those devoted to their cause have few of the younger clergy following and fewer still with the desire to take up their standard.

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