Looking For Loopholes 
Kathy Bernard - Publisher


Lying in a hospital bed shortly before his death, W. C. Fields was visited by the actor Thomas Mitchell, a good friend.   When Mitchell entered Fields' room, he was shocked to find the irreligious Fields paging through a Bible.  Fields was a lifelong agnostic, and fervently anti-religious (he once said that he had skimmed the Bible while looking for movie plots, but found only "a pack of wild lies").

'I didn't know you were religious person, Bill,' the friend questioned, knowing his friend was agnostic.   'I'm not!' Fields said crossly.

'Then what are you doing with that Bible?'  

W.C. Fields roared,  ‘I’m looking for loopholes' "

Are we like W. C. Fields, looking for non-existent loopholes in the bible to support our lifestyles?   Too many people think God's laws are antiquated and do not apply to today’s way of life.  Strict laws on abortion, divorce, unmarried sex, same sex marriage, are just a few of the things that have been bent and contorted to suit today’s thinking.  Clear and stern warnings in the bible are carelessly tossed aside if they stand in the way of personal pleasure and needs.  Choices are justified with loud shouts of rights and preferences, with anger fueling the masses.  But though many search in vain, there are no escape hatches to be found, for God has decreed His rules clearly and firmly in Matthew 5:18:  ”I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not even the smallest detail of God’s law will disappear until its purpose is achieved.”  And so self-interpretation of truth to suit is not acceptable to God.  Those who dare to rewrite are in grave danger of losing their salvation to eternal life.

Do you search in vain for loopholes concerning living together without marriage?  How about missing mass and stealing the Sabbath for solely selfish purposes?  Looking for loopholes to cheat or commit adultery?  What about abortion?  Are some of us trying to find something in the bible that will allow us to “feel good” about aborting a human life because it is not convenient to have a baby?  Can’t afford it, you say?   Do you drink to excess, smoke pot because it feels good, ignoring that our bodies are temples for our souls?  Are we intensely trying to find a loophole or a biblical verse that condones and sanctions same sex marriage knowing such marriages cannot pro-create as God intended?  Are we claiming rights that God said equivocally “NO” to?

Today masses gather in noisy crowds to talk about rights, fervently emploring passers-by to join their ranks.  Not the rights of old such as those that say all men are equal and precious to God.  No, these are rights to change the very laws that God forbids.  And sadly the outrage that many expend on causes that are wrong is growing as others come aboard.  We now hear angry voices pressing to be heard.  Politicians hold onto and sanction to appease for the votes they need to be elected to office.  Changes, they insist, must be made to accommodate this new thinking.   Never mind the old, it is time for the new, for it is justified they say.

What will we tell the Lord when He comes again and we strain to hear our name being read, only to find it is not there in God’s book of life?   What will we say when we stand in judgment and all the things God said not to do, we “found” a loophole, a "human misunderstanding" we claim, albeit shaky, to support our idea of truth and the right to decide using free will?  How will we stand there and explain what we knew deep in our hearts was a selfish interpretation of our Heavenly Father's truth? 

We are constantly hearing that we must change with the times, and move with that change.  Feeling and needs are at stake. The clergy who tell us we must not indulge in sinful lifestyles are beaten down and are deemed “old school”, "out of date".  Our 'right now' mentality of earthly pleasures has a massive ticket price when we consider we are squandering our eternity Christ died to give us.  Sadly, those aborted lives we so easily took for selfish reasons without later getting repentance to God will loom large when we stand in judgment someday.

And so, how can we be strong in these troubled times?

God has provided for all things by giving us something that, if we listen, will enable us to judge these changing times.  It is called “conscience”, a built in God gift called the Holy Spirit.  It is the spiritual thread that ties us to our heavenly Father.  It warns us to reason prayerfully before we give in to sin.  It protects us from evil dangers and is better than all the means of high tech communication used today.  It is a direct form of transmitting truth and wisdom from God in support of His word.  Catechism 1783-5, 1792, 2039 tells us  “A well-formed conscience will never contradict the objective moral law, as taught by Christ and His Church.”  Conscience is the means God has given us to make moral and rational decisions based on the wisdom He gives if we are willing to listen. Our faith demands that we use it: "When he listens to his conscience, the prudent man can hear God speaking." (Catechism, 1777)  But we compromise this dignity of conscience if we haven't formed that conscience well, or taken the care to reason clearly and objectively as a believing Christian.

Pope John Paul II tells us that conscience is an "interior dialog of man with himself" about right and wrong. It "is also a dialog of man with God": it is "the witness of God himself" calling him (or her) to obey the moral law, and is a person's "witness of his own faithfulness or unfaithfulness." This is the basis of the great dignity of the conscience: it derives from its witness to objective moral truth. (Veritatis Splendor, 57-58, 60).

Again, Pope John Paul II teaches:  “Jesus alludes to the danger of the conscience being deformed when he warns: “The eye is the lamp of the body. So if your eye is sound, your whole body will be full of light; but if your eye is not sound, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!" (Mt 6:22-23) 

Catholics United For The Faith declares: “Moral conscience is man’s most secret core, and his sanctuary. It is there that “man discovers a law which he has not laid upon himself but which he must obey” (Gaudium et Spes, 16). In his conscience, man not only discovers the natural law (cf. Rom. 2:15) but encounters God Himself, the author of the law.  While the natural law written on our hearts teaches us the general, objective principles of the moral life, conscience applies the natural law to particular circumstances, enabling us to choose what is good and avoid what is evil (cf. Catechism, no. 1777).”  But we must listen prayerfully, not letting others over-ride God’s  gentle and loving voice.

There are no mistakes in the bible.  There are no loopholes, no tricky passages except those man creates for his own purposes.  It is inspired, meaning "God breathed and His word is infallible.”   No man can change it, no matter their station or their title. They cannot claim it is outdated, nor can they look within their conscience with one eye on what they want, then feel they can successfully change the decrees of God while still maintaining salvation.  Jesus tells us in Luke 13:24-28:  “Strive to enter by the narrow gate; for many, I say to you, shall seek to enter, and shall not be able.  But when the master of the house shall be gone in, and shall shut the door, you shall begin to stand without, and knock at the door, saying: Lord, open to us. And He answering, shall say to you: “I know you not, whence you are. Then you shall begin to say:  “We have eaten and drunk in thy presence, and Thou hast taught in our streets.  And He shall say to you: I know you not, whence you are: depart from me, all ye workers of iniquity.   There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when you shall see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob, and all the prophets, in the kingdom of God, and you yourselves thrust out.”  And so, do not be like those who scramble about to find something they can misinterpret in order to move ahead with selfish, earthly and ungodly needs.  Satan will rejoice in you but God will not. 

Is it hard to accept God’s path for us?  You bet it is.  Especially in light of public disdain.  But this is a decree of God and we cannot go beyond it without losing the gift of Jesus Christ.  2 John 9-11 states, “Anyone who wanders away from His teaching has no relationship with God.  But anyone who remains in the teaching of Christ has a relationship with both the Father and the Son.   And so we are subject to it, and will be held and bound to it.  There is no way and no loophole we can use to be released from His Truth.  When we live a life that may be suspect, are we concerned that there is a God watching and making sad note of our actions?  Are our rights worth forfeiting heaven? 

Peter said in Acts 4:20 “we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.” – Douay-Rheims.  And so, fellow Catholic Christians, we might play “ring around the rosy” with God’s truth but it will lead right back to the same.  Either we follow God’s precepts or we endanger our souls pursuing what we mortals perceive and declare as truth.

In a speech given in Rome at Saint Peter’s in 1993 at the Feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord, Pope John Paul II in the fifteenth of his Pontificate tells, “But temptations can be overcome, sins can be avoided, because together with the commandments, the Lord gives us the possibility of keeping them: "His eyes are on those who fear him, and He knows every deed of man. He has not commanded any one to be ungodly, and He has not given any one permission to sin" (Sir 15:19-20). Keeping God's law in particular situations can be difficult, extremely difficult, but it is never impossible. This is the constant teaching of the Church's tradition, and was expressed by the Council of Trent: "But no one, however much justified, ought to consider himself exempt from the observance of the commandments, nor should he employ that rash statement, forbidden by the Fathers under anathema, that the commandments of God are impossible of observance by one who is justified. For God does not command the impossible, but in commanding He admonishes you to do what you can and to pray for what you cannot, and He gives His aid to enable you. His commandments are not burdensome (cf. 1 Jn 5:3); His yoke is easy and His burden light (cf. Mt 11:30)".

Bishop Thomas Gumbleton is a retired Roman Catholic auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Detroit.  He states in his October 2006 homily “The Word of God is, in a sense, dangerous, because if we really listen, we're going to have to make dramatic changes in how we act, who we are and so on. And sometimes we're tempted to say, "If only I could find a loophole. I want to hear God's Word, but maybe not all of it" -- something like that.  …”we get kind of a hint of how difficult the Word of God can be when Solomon says, "I prayed and understanding was given to me, I asked earnestly and the Spirit of Wisdom came to me, and I preferred her to scepters and thrones. And I considered well as nothing compared with her." Wisdom. Knowing God and God's Word is more important than anything else. In a way that's threatening -- people look for a loophole.”    Bishop Gumbleton is a founding member of Pax Christi USA and an outspoken critic of violence and militarism.  He has appeared on numerous radio and television programs, and has published numerous articles and reports. By special arrangement, his column is an internet exclusive on the National Catholic Reporter.

John Paul II speaking on the Mount of the Beatitudes in the Holy Land in March 2000 says, “Jesus’ call has always demanded a choice — a choice between the two voices competing for your hearts. Even now on this hill.  Or we could say this morning, even now in this church, Jesus’ call is a choice between the two voices competing for our hearts. Even now in this church.  The choice between good and evil.  The choice between life and death." 

Are you willing to gamble on God's FOREVER with a "rubber stamp" loophole signed by man or the laws signed in blood by Jesus Christ?


By His Divine Power, God has given us everything
we need for living a godly life. We have received all of
this by coming to know Him, the One who called us to Himself
by means of His marvelous glory and excellence.
2 Peter 1:3 



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