As a result of my recent blog posting, entitled “Judging the Judge,” I received a good deal of complimentary comments, but was inundated by very critical comments.
I would like to answer those who criticized what I said. First I will give some explanations of things that may have been unclear.
In moral theology there are certain reflex principles which are used in order to resolve a doubt. In the case of two testimonies which are contradictory, i.e., “he said, she said,” the doubt is resolved, all things being equal, by taking the word of the superior. Judge Kavanaugh is the superior in this case, not because he is a man, but because he is a federal judge, and a very renowned one at that. He has stronger credibility, according to this moral principle, than his opponent.
I say “all things being equal,” since it is possible that the word of an inferior could be more credible than that of a superior, for various reasons. But when both seem credible, presumption must be made in favor of the superior. Perhaps my critics disagree with this principle, but nonetheless it is Catholic moral theology.
By saying that the immoral actions of a seventeen year old, especially while drunk, should not affect his qualifications later in life, should not be taken as an absolution or a condonation of the immoral behavior of teenagers. It is simply to say: if he repents of his immoral actions, and if this repentance is accompanied by the amendment of his moral habits, these actions should not disqualify him in the future from responsible and honorable positions in society. Saint Bernard of Clairvaux said “Penance is second innocence.” There is the outstanding example, as well, of Saint Augustine, who led a morally dissolute life as a young man, but who converted from it and went on to become a great saint and one of the greatest doctors of the Church.
It is a mortal sin to get drunk. Inebriation, however, does reduce the culpability of a sin, inasmuch as the excessive alcohol impairs the use of reason, as well as moral inhibitions, with the result that people do and say things while drunk that they would never do or say while sober. This is Catholic moral theology. If you do not accept this, your argument is with both Catholic moral theology and even common sense, because everyone knows that this is true.
I do not believe, however, that Judge Kavanaugh is guilty of the aggressive behavior of which he is accused, because I do not find the testimony of Dr. Ford to be credible, owing especially to the many memory lapses concerning the circumstances of the event.
This is my conclusion. It was also the conclusion of the FBI. Others may find her credible. I do not impose my conclusion on them, and they should not impose their conclusion on me.
But this is exactly what my critics did. I received about thirty hate emails, many of them interspersed with vulgar and filthy language, such as the S-word and the F-word, but nearly all of them accusing me of condoning sin, of being a child abuser, of being non-Catholic, and of other horrid things. One of them said, “You are a pig, Bishop.” Another said, “How many young boys have you f****d?” These were not isolated cases. Only two of the thirty emails that I received were civil and balanced, although they expressed disagreement.
First, let me say that attacking your opponent with anger, hate, insult, and filth does much to detract from your credibility. People who are confident of their positions are able to defend them with rational arguments, not F-words.
Second, to express my opinion about the credibility of Dr. Ford’s testimony, or that of any witness, is entirely my right, and I should not be harassed or preyed upon by Leftists who disagree with me. Abusive language and false accusations are themselves a form of violence.
The Leftists have turned their political views into religious dogma, and they are ready to burn at the stake anyone who disagrees with them.