“We can only renew ourselves by discerning God’s will in our daily lives.”

This line was all that I retained from the blither and blather of a random papal Tweet. It is a statement of radical, uncontested Protestantism; if I should put it vaguely. More succinctly, it reveals pathological narcissism in the speaker, and marks him out as someone, at most, only partially sane.

His other remarks were of the same quality.

Let me explain. No one can discern God’s Will, even when it is presented to us in its simplest, most direct form. God, for instance, tells us not to murder our children. But we don’t need to discern this. It is like science. The “fact” that murder is evil, is confirmed by all human experience, and is too obvious to insist upon a written proof. A person who doesn’t understand it is not making a mistake, a “scientific error,” or discovering an exception to the conventional rule — although such things happen.

But we are discussing Murder. An intelligent person knows what that means, as much as an unintelligent person can know it. I daresay even an over-busied Peronist from Argentina will “smoak” it out.

What he may not know — what he may imperfectly “discern” — is that he will be damned for a knowing act of murder. The same for many acts that are an analogy to that; that resemble murder by intention or style. Or perhaps, after the course of a complex life, he will not be damned.

We might know this by discerning God’s Will, assiduously through all pasts and futures, if we could. Be we cannot. We can only beg for mercy, and promise to amend.

This, at least, distinguished a Catholic from a Calvinist in my mind. I am not trying to condemn Calvinists here, for again in my experience, few of them honestly believe what they’ve been taught, and many are in defiance of the teaching, or by forgetting it, kind and merciful. The belief that they’ve been saved, by the Will of God, and are among the “elect,” is an emotional distraction from what in their lives was objective. It is foolish to depend upon discernment.

It is foolish to pretend that you know what you can’t know, and yet, can know perfectly well that you can’t know.

Call this “science.” The standards for proof are very high, when we look into the most straightforward, demonstrable empirical questions. It goes beyond, for matters that must be permanently invisible to us, such as the Will of God in all its unknowable detail.

The person who claims to teach, more than he has received from his own teachers, and tells others to claim this freedom for themselves, must generally assume himself to be very knowing. But he lies, and is a mindless tyrant, and what he knows is false. Ignore him.