On The Problem of All or Nothing Thinking in Modern Discourse

One of the more common features of discussion and debate in the modern setting, often so polarized polemical, is the problem of “all or nothing thinking.”

All or nothing thinking is a kind of cognitive distortion which is forgetful that life often has subtlety, and that, between two positions, there may be middle ground which can and should be considered.

All or nothing thinking also has a strong influence the discussion of issues today. If the person articulates position, or point of view on some topic, they are often presumed by many to hold that position in an extreme sort of the way, without any distinction or qualifications.

I encounter a lot of this, writing on the blog, and in public speaking. If, for example, I say “A” is important, and we ought to consider “A” and give it some more attention, inevitably there will be some readers, and listeners who will say, “Oh yeah! Well what about B and C and D? Are you saying they’re not important at all?”

Of course I am saying no such thing. In the world of ideas, to hold “A”  is not thereby to exclude other concepts that might actually balance and help distinguish. But those who engage in all or nothing thinking, and increasingly common problem today, interpret the upholding of “A” to be exclusive of other concepts. This makes them react either with extreme support (as in, “Tell it like it is!”), or extreme hostility.

To cite a recent example here on the blog, I recently wondered aloud if perhaps our life lacks some depth because, instead of living locally and more intensely in communities of more natural distance, we tend to live in more selective communities that are often far-flung, either by physical or virtual distance.

One instance of this tendency is the current practice by increasing numbers of Catholics to attend Mass, not in their neighborhood church, but in some distant community more to their liking, either liturgically or for some other reason.

While such a practice is certainly permitted, I simply proposed that those who engage in it, should consider that they are going to be less deeply involved in the parish that is 30 to 45 minutes away from where they live.

I was surprised at the strong reaction with this observation provoked. A lot of the reactions were rooted precisely in all or nothing thinking. Some of the reactions were strong enough that I did not post them, due to rather uncharitable descriptions of church life. But the general gist of them went something like this, “Oh! So you are saying I have to attend my local church with dancing girls, a crazy pastor, and all sorts of hideous practices, rather than go to a distant parish which is sound, with a good liturgy and teaching?!”

Of course I am not saying any such thing. For that would be all or nothing thinking. Rather what I am saying is that, among the things we should consider when we attend Mass, is physical distance. There my, in fact, be good reasons for us to attend not the neighboring church, but a more distant one. But other things being equal, physical proximity is a good thing, and should be part of our considerations.

While I would think that my proposition of proximity as one factor, among many, would be understood as such, I find increasingly, that many think that I am speaking absolutely. I am not, and find their presumption puzzling.

But I am finding that many today, more than in the past, do divert quickly to all or nothing thinking. This then often provokes strong negativity, even hostility.

I am not sure where this increase in all or nothing thinking comes from, but I suspect it has a lot to do with the increasingly polarized and polemical nature of our culture. This quality is in turn generated by the culture wars, and the “been in the storm too long syndrome.” The television new cycles, especially the 24 hour news channels, also tend to present life in a debate format. Indeed, presenting everything as a battle, and emphasizing hard edgy commentary sells.  The quick shorthand of TV also simplifies things to soundbites and simple camp designations like “right wing” “Left wing”  and extremist labels.

There is also simplification of people such that if the person opposes abortion, they must be Republican. If they oppose the death penalty they must be a Democrat.

Life, of course is not really quite so simply categorical, and people are little more complicated than that. Ideas are not always understood or advocated in undiluted ways either. But careful distinctions generally makes for “poor” TV.  Categorical soundbites sell better. And the more usual and natural human experience of seeing a certain idea in a world of ideas, and balanced by a careful interaction of those ideas, is usually lost on TV debate formats and advocacy journalism.

Surely, as a man of faith, I will tell you but there are absolutes. But even absolute truths, often balance each other and require context to be properly understood.  Jesus is fully divine. This is absolutely true. It is also absolutely true that Jesus is fully human.

All or nothing thinking has a hard time negotiating the delicacies and distinctions of balanced truth, or the the complex interactions of the world of ideas. And many things in our culture fuel this unhealthy cognitive distortion.

What then is the remedy for all or nothing thinking? In a word, I would propose the remedy to be “discernment.” The root meaning of the word discern, in its Latin roots, means to sift, to sort, or to distinguish. Thoughtful discernment is an important remedy for the polarized, polemical, all or nothing thinking of our current cultural setting.

Respecting the context of an argument, and the intentions of someone who proposes that idea, are also important and helpful. While it is true that some do present ideas in an all or nothing way, most people present ideas or points of view in a way that holds other things equal, in a way that is presumes and respects that other factors must often be considered. As a general rule seems reasonable to assume that if a person is presuming idea “A”, they did not thereby exclude principles B,C or D,  but only that “A” should be given due consideration.

In effect, we presume good will on their part and intelligence as well. Such attitudes go along way to avoiding misunderstanding and hostility. If we wonder how idea “A” interrelates with B,C or D we can always ask. But we need not presume that our interlocutor means what he says in an absolute sense. We can also engage in our own discernment, as we sift, and sort and distinguish ideas. By discernment, we can retain what is good, distinguish were necessary, and balance ideas against one another.

For the reasons stated, reasonable discourse is becoming less common today. All or nothing thinking is one of the reasons for this we do well to identify this cognitive distortion, know it’s moves and properly rebuke it, where necessary.

33 Replies to “On The Problem of All or Nothing Thinking in Modern Discourse”

  1. One of the best things about the Catholic faith (aside from salvation, the Eucharist, confession, Mary, the Saints, holy days, holy cards, religious vocations, Easter Vigil, glow in the dark rosaries and the Magisterium) is its ability to move us to hold two competing ideas in balance: solidarity and subsidiarity; faith and works; free will and the sovereignty of God; equality in dignity and difference in roles….the list is very nearly endless. Once I began to understand the centrality of this essential paradox, and entered into it, I found myself more interested in other people and their ideas and much more able to find common ground with them….and much less likely to fall prey to the polemics you speak of either in listening or, please God, in my own thinking. Well said, Monsignor, well laid indeed. (And I didn’t watch the debate either)

  2. Speaking of discernment and the problem of all or nothing, what would you get if you got an insomniac, an agnostic and a dyslexic all on the same page. Someone who stays up all night wondering if there’s a Dog. I’m not crazy about reality but it’s still the only place you can get a decent meal. When did they start using dancing ladies in the mass? I have experienced an occasional crazy pastor or hideous practice.

    1. Well said and very funny. I have been to Masses where there were barefoot dancing girls, but not for about 12 years.

  3. “Respecting the context of an argument, and the intentions of someone who proposes that idea…” “In effect, we presume good will on their part and intelligence as well.” “…identify this cognitive distortion, know it’s moves…”
    This seems to me like putting rules in place which can deal with it and, also, to have ongoing direction to insure that the rules are properly followed. But rules are there because people are not always (sometimes rarely, or never) reasonable in an intelligent way.
    Rules of order for committees often have these sort of rules and, if the chair person of the general committee is adequately skilled then, when a person presents a report and is questioned why they endorse only “A” when “B” and “C” are connected, the chair can rule them to be side issues and move them to other parts of the agenda – such as “New Business” “Unfinished Business” etcetera. If the chair does not do so the person who is presenting can state the need to deal with the connectedness separetly.
    This can divert the distractions that prevent all ideas from being considered for their true value … temporarily. However, there are motives for the distractions which will virtually always remain and, the holders of these motives usually wait for the opportunity to bring the distractions back.
    Is this based on who’s right instead of what’s right? If I can destroy, or thoroughly degrade, other people’s presentations and get mine out intact then, mine would be the best because it’s the only one. But, if it’s the best because it’s the only complete one then isn’t it also the worst because it’s the only one?
    Seems like the “all or nothing” accusation is just another way of breaking other people’s stuff so that my stuff (or the elite agenda which I’m a party to) appears to be the best and I can wallow in a god like and egotistical illusion. Goodwill on the part of others, but not myself.
    To qualify, I diligently try not to use this distortion but, rather to look for what’s right in search of truth. I only use myself as an example as an attempt to avoid pointing the finger at anyone else – including a hypothetical and non existant someone else.
    However; if I point to this motive, even if only by daring to inquire if that’s a motive behind the actions; I find myself guilt tripped and often accused of “persecuting” the one who is actually persecuting me when I feel that I actually sidestepped the conflict by pointing to the fallacy in the attack on me rather than counter attacking.
    Once in a long while I get away with it.
    This reminds of, John 15:18 and John 15:25 and makes me wonder why some have been pushed out of churches for looking for the meaning of the message.

  4. I agree, but with a caveat. There is absolutism, but there is also the fetishization of compromise, a mindset that sees compromise as an intrinsic virtue. A middle ground solution ought to be considered, but it should never be embraced simply because it is middle ground. Think of the stimulus package, for example. There may have been some very good economic arguments for a large stimulus; there may have been some very good economic arguments for no stimulus; and to be sure, there were people arguing for both of those options, and there were people who set “let’s just split the difference and have a medium stimulus.” But it may be that there is no good economic argument for a medium-sized stimulus. Compromise may be good politics, but it may not be good policy. We ought to consider splitting the difference, but we should only do so if the policy outcome is itself good policy.

  5. Might I also offer as some of the causes of the rise in all or nothing thinking that critical thinking skills (for instance, logic and philosophy) are not taught as much as they once were, and the rise of objective (true/false or multiple choice) testing in our schools to replace the essays and short-answers that allowed for expansion of nuance.

    1. I find myself reluctant to respond in any depth because I fear that I may try to subtley claim the same sort of credit which Jim deserves but, I will say that if there was a “like” button that I would click it.

  6. One reason people get edgy when driving far for distances to attend Mass is criticized is that the same practice is promoted by other people who also claim to be the champions of orthodoxy and all good things Catholic. I loved that Beatles song when I was a kid.–not so much now.

  7. One of the things that characterizes the Catholic Church is that it has the right balance of direct clear truths and subtleties and nuances.

    Often, a religious or intellectual system errs on one side or the other – the fundamentalists and integrists make clear statements without nuance and subtlety; and with many modernists everything is nuance and subtlety without clear and absolute truth.

    With the former, there is the underdevelopment of the intellect, where they disdain the intellect fearing the intellect because they wish for an illegitimate security; and with the latter, intellectualism is over-developed and out of control as they engage in cognition for its own sake because they wish to be “intellectual,” in which case their thinking serves pride rather than truth.

  8. Thank you so much for this appeal for civility and sanity. I have given this matter a lot of thought and I have concluded that one of the primary culprits is the fact that in the media and on the internet it is conflict that sells and simplified conflict sells best. The media and the internet promote soundbite-sized presentation of extreme views because that is what keeps people tuned into one channel or constantly refreshing the comments on a web page. It is all about “grabbing eyeballs” and logic, subtlety, charity and honesty are forgotten. I don’t expect any better from secular sources but even the most respected Catholic news sources publish columns that are nothing more than comment bait, written to polarize opinion and to provoke extreme reactions in the combox. I find this very discouraging and I have drastically cut back on what I read from many well known Catholic websites. We are blessed that we can always count on this website for depth, subtlety and charity.

  9. great piece! wish there was a “share” button. maybe there is but not by reading it on my phone. funny reply about the dyslexic!

    1. Twitter. Ah but twitter than what? Well, by tweeting I may have to leave my secure little bubble that I have somewhat developed here.
      I may tweet or retweet some blog.adw.org stuff but never put it on facebook. Am I so worried about my facebook friends opinions that I hide from these unknown opinions?

  10. Well, isn’t ‘discernment’ actually a major problem with Catholicism (and all faiths) today? People ‘discern’ what is and is not important or relevant to them and discard the rest. As in, “I beleive in Jesus; but His message is just be happy” or “I get the whole sex within marriage thing – but I really, really love my girlfriend, so…”.

    I do take your intended point, Msgr., but perhaps in some things – such as the core of our faith – it really should be ‘all’?

    1. No, I don’t follow you. The faith sets forth discernment as an essential practice. Many of the Saints have written whole treatises on the practice of discernment.

      1. Let me try again. The call for moderation can be interpreted as freedom to pick and choose the elements of the faith you wish to follow. As in the examples I gave above. We don’t need people taking a ‘moderate’ view of the Commandments or other central elements of the faith. People can misinterpret the essential practice of discernment as a license to do what they want.

    2. I think what Jamie is getting at is the idea that the Church has to [and does] draw a line in the sand on some issues.

      For example, there are no women priests and never will be because this is a pretty fundamental aspect of Catholic doctrine. Anyone who comes to a different conclusion about women priests through “discernment”, or personal feelings, or whatever, is way outside the bounds of Catholic orthodoxy. There is no gray area on this issue, except perhaps to say that women can and do play an important role in the Church in various capacities outside the priesthood.

      1. The article clearly states that there are absolute truths. Further the opening graphic states “all things in moderation, including moderation” hence your line in the sand is preserved and, if you will desist in all or nothing thinking, and be willing to hold a few other things equal, (ceteris paribus) you can appreciate the wisdom of the article and not fret too much. The article is not an all or nothing argument, in fact it is an article against that. Hence as clearly stated right in the article absolute truth can be affirmed as well as the Catholic tradition of discernment. For in discernment there is a sorting and sifting of things which are of God, and things which are not, things which true and things which are not. Things which the Church teaches and things she does not.

  11. As several commentators accurately pointed out, Catholicism is a religion based on Faith and Reason, which one would expect from the religion founded by God. The problem is that outside the Church, the world (at least the portion of it that discusses ideas) is turning towards fundamentalism, either in religion such as fundamentalist Protestantism and Islam or towards a very dogmatic scientific atheism. Fundamentalism lacks subtlety and nuance and demands an all or nothing approach. Unfortunately, in this country at least, we are stuck between these competing fundamentalist views of society and the Church here lacks the strength and will to offer up a cohesive alternative because of internal dissent over abortion and the attempt of some segments of the Church to minimize the mass murder of millions of human beings. Remove that dissent and dialogue over prudential issues will become more civil and nuanced.

    1. Nate,
      I agree that fundamentalism is becoming a bigger problem, but I wouldn’t exclude Catholics from this trend. Recently some bishops have suggested strongly on the record that “good Catholics” could only vote for one of the presidential candidates based on their party’s platform regarding abortion (regardless of whether the candidate is likely to do anything or even be able to do anything about this issue). Such a perceived prohibition treats any dialogue about how best to reduce and eventually remove abortion from our culture as an attempt to “minimize” the importance of this issue. It is even suggested by some that for a Catholic to vote for President Obama, for example, constitutes “dissent”. People obviously have strong feelings about certain issues like abortion, but these are precisely the issues where dialogue is needed the most. This isn’t something which needs to be removed in order for prudence to enter–let’s talk, and the truth need not be afraid.

      1. Daniel,

        I’m afraid that you are engaging in self-delusion if you think that abortion will be dramatically reduced in this society by anything less than a legal ban on it. The truth is simple – an abortion procedure has the same moral equivalence as an SS guard throwing a child into an oven at Auschwitz. If you support a candidate that believes that is morally acceptable, I fail to see how you can consider yourself as supporting Catholic principals.

  12. There are intrinsic evils which must never never be supported, abortion is one of them as well as euthanasia and same sex “marriage” To support a candidate who believes these are okay is placing ones salvation of ones soul in grave danger. Prudential decisions involve those things that do not support intrinsic evils. No Catholic should support Obama or his “Catholic” in name appointed staff members. This must be spoken directly to the people of our faith. They have been blinded by confusion and compromise. God said to love the sinner but hate the sin. The problem is people in the past two generations do not know the definition,meaning, or eternal consequence of unrepentant sin. Look at the moral fabric of our society. We must start taking strong definitive, united, prayerful action in setting the course of society on the right and holy path. This may mean appearing “close minded and uncompromising” but in reality it is true love.

    1. Generally I agree with you Julie, I myself cannot and will not vote for a pro-abort pol. But, there are distinctions to be made in what you have said that Cardinal Ratzinger included in his memo: Worthiness to receive Communion that you might want to check. In effect, the matter comes down to formal vs material cooperation.

  13. The problem is that our priests, bishops, cardinals must start teaching the basics of our faith in more black and white terms. I was raised in your generation after the Vatican II council. I was never taught Baltimore Catechism in my 11 years of Catholic school. Benediction and Adoration went by the wayside. Many of the beautiful Sacred traditions of our faith were locked away in favor of the “me” and “us” instead of the “our focus on Christ”. The Sacraments are what bring us in union and true Communion with our Lord. We must bring back Tradition, Truthful Teachings, Sacraments(most important), and Living God’s Love through word and sacrificial action on the part of clergy and laity. Our “Catholic” members must be taught, retrained , and renewed in the truth of our faith. This would begin with teaching the ten commandments during homilies in Mass as well as in schools, teaching the difference between mortal and venial sin and making the Sacrament of Confession/Reconciliation more available to people in all our Catholic Churches. A priest once said “Where there is law there is love, Where there is love there is law, Where there is no law there is no love, Where there is no love there is no law.” This is where we need to begin to renew and evangelize. In scripture, Matthew 5:17-19
    Christ said ” Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets, I have come not to abolish but to fulfill. Amen, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or the smallest part of a letter will pass from the law, until all things have taken place. Therefore. whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do so will be called least in the kingdom of heaven. But whoever obeys and teaches these commandments will be called greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”
    Msgr. you, all of the priests of any “rank” as well as people of faith, have been given a great commission. We cannot be grey or lukewarm we must help save souls through showing/teaching God’s Love , Mercy and Truth.

    1. You seem to equate Concerns about all or nothing thinking with a lack of clarity. You rightly note the priests and deacons should be clear in their preaching on Catholic teaching. But Catholic, indeed Biblical teaching has many balances to maintain. The same Jesus who said He came to bring that piece, but the sword, also said peace is my farewell gift to you. The same Jesus who gives principles for excommunication, also says of the weeds let them grow together with the wheat to the harvest. Thus in orthodoxy, balance, context, and distinctions are necessary. These things are not opposed to clarity, or conviction, but are part of it. What you see is gray may in fact be highly significant, and colorful distinction. Of course you are right, there are clergy who Waterdown the teachings But calling for necessary distinctions, and the avoidance of all nothing thinking, is not per se an example of what you cite

  14. Msgr Charles,
    Below is a link to an awesome bold homily. Father John Fitch gave this homily at Epiphany Cathedral in Venice FL( my Parish). We need all the priests, clergy and people of faith to stand and be brave in order to bring Christ into the world and truly into the hearts and lives of all people. Don’t worry about political correctness. God judgement counts not the judgement of worldly men.
    God bless you always


  15. Msgr the weeds and the wheat are growing together. We do not want the weeds to smother and kill all the wheat.We must make the wheat strong. The Lord said the harvest is plenty and the laborers are few. We the Church must stand firm on our Lord’s teachings with love and truth without the fear of hurting feelings. This will draw many more people into the secure and loving arms of our Savior and Lord and into the Sacramental Holy Mother Church. My husband and I have been blessed with five beautiful children ages 21-8. As parents in this modern day secular society we have a lot to battle in trying to keep our children strong and close to our Catholic faith. The battle starts very young with moral free media, twisted messages, ideas and ideals given to the young in high school and especially college. We have been blessed to have the children in Catholic school k-8. The school reinforced our teaching at home. Unfortunately the holy family life has been severely attacked over these two generations. People do find security in absolutes of our Faith. Once these absolutes are mastered and processed they can move more safely into the “Holy Spirit of the Law”. That is how consciouses are formed. It’s sacrifice and work to build a Holy conscious when training the very young. It takes a lot of communication and mentoring to keep the youth on the Holy path. Even adults need direct absolutes for discernment when they have not been taught from very young, the absolutes. I know very young people who are much more mature in their faith walk than many many adults who have not been grounded and shaped by
    the absolute morals/principles of our Catholic faith. People like you have been gifted with deep intellectual thoughts. Yet many people especially ,adults who are babies in our faith need to be taught in more simplistic, direct , black and white terms.” Baby” Catholics must be given the milk of the Word not solid food . In this way they can can grow in virtue and truth.
    Below is a You Tube video with my oldest daughter Amberose describing a beautiful divinely inspired Pro-life art piece she painted. This is where our New Evangelization will begin. With our youth rooted in the truths of our One Holy Catholic Apostolic Church, the Holy Spirit will burst forth with many gifts to share with all His creatures.
    Through the strength and guidance of the Holy Spirit she shared this with many youth on her secular college campus.

    Thank you for your dialogue
    Have a blessed weekend
    Julie C

    1. Julie, I am just telling you what Jesus said. Not everything can or should be resolved. God himself leaves some things unresolved. I like you want a more pure Church, so does God, but preaching absolutes, when that is not in fact the orthodox teaching is not the way to go. Life would perhaps be simpler with more absolutes. There are some, but as I say in the article, even things which are absolute, are often balanced by other things which are also absolute. Is God sovereign? You bet. Are we also free? You bet. Both of these are clear truths. But they balance each other. To be orthodox is to accept this, baby or adult. We must teach the faith, not a partial, or as you put it, milky version of it.

  16. Msgr. you did not understand me. Teaching the faith starts with teaching the absolutes ie.ten commandments,
    difference between mortal , venial sin, God’s love and mercy, etc. etc. etc (milk)

    As one grows in faith and holiness God will reveal higher truths through the Holy Spirit ( Solid Food)

    Hebrews 5:12
    For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you have need again for someone to teach you the elementary principles of the oracles of God, and you have come to need milk and not solid food.

    1Corintians 3:2
    I gave you milk to drink, not solid food; for you were not yet able to receive it. Indeed, even now you are not yet able

    Keep it simple for all to see and understand

    1. I understood. I just don’t agree it is as simple as you make it. You seem to be opposing what I have set forth as though I am saying there are no absolutes and you seem insistent on using the word. I am also not sure why you are being so insistent and argumentative here. Elementary does not mean we can neglect to teach whole aspects of the faith because a few are simple. God help us if the Church abandons her intellectual traditions and disciplines because some insist on milk, not solid food. In orthodoxy, balance and distinctions are still necessary. You speak of the Ten Commandments. Take one: thou shalt not kill. But what does kill mean? Can I kill bugs or animals? Sure. OK so its only humans. But what if my life is threatened? When can I kill in self defense and under what circumstances. Is it OK for a nation to go to war? When, and how? What about capital punishment? Abortion is surely wrong but what about ectopic pregnancy and double effect? Jesus takes the commandment even further and speaks of the love of enemy and not growing angry. But what does that mean and what are its limits? Is all anger forbidden. If not what is the difference between righteous and unrighteous anger? Its not enough to say to anyone older than a ten year old, “don’t kill” more must be said. And though you call the commandments “absolutes” they must still be understood. They admit of some distinctions. The absolute is that it is always wrong to directly kill or intend the death of the innocent. But terms like innocent, direct and intend must be understood in a Catholic sense. Even absolutes must be explained and distinguished.

      Finally I will simply say that the texts you are quoting are not instructions for preachers as you seem to assume. They are rebukes to the people of God who still need milk and (presumably) demand it when they should be on solid food. It is hard to turn a rebuke into a general counsel. At best it is advice for little children or catechumens but it is not a good counsel for the homilist or teacher in the liturgical assembly where the context of faith is to be presumed, and teaching is to advance, not hold back, to distinguish and exhort in the context of existing faith.

  17. Msgr
    I do not mean to come across as arguing. It is sometimes easier talking vs typing. My concern is that we have lost many many Catholics to the secular world and the secular world principles. The draw is so powerful that even “good’ people get pulled in without realizing it. When priests are guiding and leading the flock in this day and age they must be leaders and be direct when it comes to helping the people form the proper moral conscious es. There are so many “Catholic” people cohabiting without the Sacrament of marriage. This is in a large spectrum of ages. ( thou shall not commit adultery)
    Middle school kids are sexually active and on birth control. The numbers of women having children without marriage has increased to an all time high and now it is through their choice in many circumstances. The degradation of family life is the root of many of the evils and problems in our society. We must draw people back into our churches by getting down to teaching the basic morals , and teachings of our faith to the people in straight, forward, simple, easy to understand ways. In this way people will grow with a good foundation. Then, when challenging circumstances arise in their lives they will know how to pray, how to discern, and how to make holy choices in their life circumstances. Truly, God’s love and mercy is not that complex. Each and everyone of us is a little child in the eyes of God. He loves each of us as though we were His own. Yet, the leaders in our church must bring this message to the people in simple terms. Trust me many intellectual people do not see God because they make Him out to be to complicated. Matthew 18:3 “Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.” That message is for all of us , including the Pope.
    Quite honestly your paper above in confusing to me. In the worldly sense my IQ is not low and my Catholic faith has always been the center of my life. So if I was a little confused as to your points in the document above, how about the average “person”? God has blessed you priests with the grace to bring Him to us through the Sacraments. We do not want our religious freedom lost because the people of our faith do not have properly formed moral conscious es. We need the Religious to come back down to serve the great multitude of people who are in need of clear spiritual guidance, Holy Sacraments and God’s love.
    God bless you in your work.
    Julie JMJ/SAG

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