DEXTERA DOMINI

The Declaration
on the Pastoral Care
of Left-Handed Persons


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                                                             DEXTERA DOMINI
                                                            The Declaration
                                                       on the Pastoral Care
                                                     of Left-Handed Persons

                                                 THE RIGHT HAND of the Lord
                           has adorned his spotless bride, the Church, with
     many wondrous gifts, not the least of which is the supreme ministry of
         defending the arsenal of Christian truth.  Through the wisdom of a
  provident God, this congregation, the watchdog of the household of faith,
   exercises diligent custody over the sacred deposit of doctrine, guarding
         it like a talent buried in the sand (Matt. 25:25).  To this richly
      satisfying task it brings the feral instincts of a lioness protecting
         her cubs and the dispassionate zeal of a raptor pursuing its prey,
        so that the pearl of great price may be safely gathered up with the
       wheat and deposited in the nets of Peter's bark (Matt. 13:46; 13:30;
   John 21:6).  Wherefore it seeks to infiltrate the entire Catholic world,
              like leaven mixed into a lump of dough (Matt. 13:33), and so,
       like yeast, to ferment the pilgrim Church with its viscid and fungal
         spores so that the entire mass may swell into a frothy, pulsating,
        gelatinous ooze of faith.  Thus, like a prudent householder, it may
    bring forth from its storeroom both the true and the old (Matt. 13:52).

         Having already disposed of other perversions, it becomes necessary
    to speak out with the profound disgust regarding yet another aberration
     which, like the pulling of a polyester fiber, threatens to unravel the
                                                 seamless garment of faith.

      This particular menace has been propagated by those who, basing their
          opinions on spurious sophisms of the psychological and behavioral
   pseudo-sciences, claim that it is acceptable, or even normal, to use the
    left hand when engaging in manual activities.  In the face of tradition
              and right reason, they point to a small but vocal minority of
  individuals who primarily use their left hands or purport to be bimanual.
       With callous disregard for the natural order they judge indulgently,
               and even excuse completely, sinistral behavior, that is, the
    indiscriminate use of the left hand in the place of the right.  Such an
     insidious abuse is defended as though there were no difference between
    right or left, Jew or Greek, male or female, slave or free (Gal. 3:28).

        For while it is neither possible nor desirable at present to decide
         whether this disorder is genetic in origin or merely the result of
           repeated nasty thoughts, in either case one may never argue that
          left-handedness is compulsive and therefore excusable.  It is, of
              course, necessary to take note of the distinction between the
      sinistral condition and the individual left-handed actions, which are
                                intrinsically disordered and utterly wrong.

   And although the particular inclination of the left-handed person is not
  necessarily a sin, it is a more or less strong tendency ordered toward an
   intrinsic moral evil, and thus the inclination itself must be seen as an
    objective disorder.  Therefore, both the condition and all acts flowing
        from it are to be condemned, as are all those who suffer from it or
                 engage in it, and everyone who thinks like them or defends
            them or befriends them, into everlasting torments in the lowest
          pit of hell where the lake of fire is never quenched and the worm
                                                      dies not (Mark 9:48).


                                                      I. General Principles

  INDEED, CATHOLIC TRADITION has constantly taught that only the right hand
       may properly engage in manual activities.  The left hand must remain
     curbed and passive or, at most, ancillary and subservient to the right
       hand, analogous to the function of a pallet in respect to an artist,
         or the operation of a dustpan to a broom, or the role of a wife in
          relation to her husband.  Hence, the use of the left hand, either
      principally or indiscriminately along with the right, has always been
               held to be an abuse, a sin against nature, and intrinsically
                                           disordered as an unnatural vice.

            Right reason itself argues for this arrangement.  For reason is
  properly called right reason inasmuch as it emanates from or tends toward
  the right.  Hence, in all things reasonable, the right is right and is to
      preferred, with the sole exception of the wearing of earrings of men,
                                 wherein, left is right and right is wrong.

          The very use of language, even in pagan times, confirms that what
      is on the left side in unfavorable and perverse.  It is no linguistic
      accident, but rather a natural manifestation of the divine will, that
             the Latin word for "left" (sinister) has come to connote evil,
             malevolence and villainy, while in common speech a left-handed
                                        compliment is no compliment at all.

      The aesthetic argument, to be sure further reveals the uselessness of
     left-handed activity.  For who can gaze upon the handwriting attempted
   with the left hand without sensing that it is tilted the wrong way, that
  is, as if blown off course by a malign east wind (Exod. 10:13; John 4:8).
         In the nearly unanimous estimation of humanity such scrawling is a
                       cause of wonderment and no little aesthetic scandal.

        Moreover, the Scriptures themselves amply attest to the preeminence
      of the right hand and the depravity of the left.  Thus the right hand
            confers blessing and signifies strength, while the left hand is
             treacherous and deadly (Gen. 48:13-20; Exod. 15:6; Eze. 21:22;
        Rev. 1:16-17; Judg. 3:15, 20:16; 2 Sam. 20:9-10).  A place at one's
                 right hand is the seat of honor and dignity (1 Kings 2:19;
                 Ps. 45:9, 110:1).  Sagely does Qoheleth teach that "a wise
       man's heart inclines him toward the right, but a fool's heart toward
      the left" (Eccles. 10:2).  In like manner, both the passivity and the
         inferiority of the left hand are apparent in the solemn injunction
    forbidding us to let our left hands know what our right hands are doing
   (Luke 22:50).  And it is by no accident that the elect are to stand like
           innocent sheep at the right hand of the Eternal Judge, while the
       reprobates cower and whimper like noisome and tick-infested goats on
         His left, awaiting their dizzying descent into sulfurous fumes and
               unfathomable miseries in the mind-bending agonies of eternal
                                                 damnation (Matt 25:31-46).

           In a similar vein, the Fathers of the Church eloquently denounce
    sinistral behaviour in many and varied texts.  Thus, Origen writes that
     "the perverse, because of their sinister deeds, tend toward the left,"
      while Augustine unambiguously teaches that "the Lord strongly forbids
    the left hand alone to work in us" (Origen, In Matth. 23,70; Augustine,
     Serm in Mont. ii,2,9).  A multitude of other Fathers and Doctors would
              have written in like manner had the thought occurred to them.

     But by far the strongest and most persuasive argument for the Church's
   position is drawn from the so-called "teleological proof," wherein it is
  demonstrated that the purpose of having hands is twofold.  The lesser and
secondary use of hands is to handle things, or, within limits, people.  The
   greater, or primary, end is to reflect the divine activity itself.  Thus
manual endeavor is said to be "procreative" in that it mirrors the creative
         work of God.  And God, as is obvious, uses only His right hand, as
       Scripture clearly teaches (Exod. 16:6-12; Deut. 33:2; Ps 17:7, 18:34,
    74:11, 110:1, 139:10; Is. 48:13, 62:8, Lam. 2:3; et al.)  In fact, this
congregation, privy as it is to the intimacies of the Godhead, is presently
  studying this very matter and intends to issue a definitive determination
    regarding the exact number of fingers on the Deity's right hand and how
                                                          they are adorned.

                     Therefore, it is obvious that left-handed activity, or
       sinistrality, lacks an essential and indispensable finality.  Such a
  deficiency marks each and every sinistral act, rendering it defective and
      incomplete.  In short, sinistral behavior, like contraceptive sex and
 theological dissent, is about as useful as mammary glands on a male bovine
                           [Tr. note: the typica is somewhat more graphic].

                 Let it not be said, moreover, that left-handed activity is
 fundamentally private or harmless to society.  In a world where the common
  cold is spread principally by manual contact, such arguments are patently
   groundless and futile.  Manual activity is always social in nature, that
   is, oriented toward and affecting the lives of others.  In view of this,
       the following practical applications are presented for the religious
                        submission of the minds and hearts of the faithful.


                                                         II. Pastoral Norms

  SINISTRALS, THAT IS left-handed people, should always be made to feel the
   depth of compassion that the Church wishes to extend to all contemptible
                                                                  deviates.

            It is deplorable that sinistral persons have been the object of
 malice, prejudice and bigotry in the past; the dignity of each person must
                         always be respected in word, in action and in law.

          Having amply touched upon this point, however, it is necessary to
add that at times good Christians can and ought to regard such persons with
    aversion and abhorrence as cheap, vulgar, degenerate, perverse, errant,
  depraved, vile, warped and base, and totally undeserving of opportunities
 belonging to right-handed people.  Some, of course, may erroneously object
   that the Church's position could tend to encourage feelings of animosity
     and intolerance against such maggots.  Special care must thus be taken
  to point out the finely nuanced distinctions operative in this situation.
     It is, for example, quite possible to love people while simultaneously
       hating everything about them, including the fact of their existence,
    just as it is possible to uphold and defend the dignity of an ant while
    in the very act of crushing it underfoot.  History is replete with many
 sterling examples of this Christian principle in action (See, for example,
        the decrees of Gregory IX and Sixtus IV establishing, respectively,
                                       the Roman and Spanish Inquisitions.)

                On a practical level, the faithful may legitimately deem it
    necessary, and even laudable, to discriminate against sinistrals in the
                                             following areas, among others:

        - the adoption of children and the employment of teachers and
    coaches, lest, by work and example, the impressionable young be exposed
    to shockingly offensive manual options;

        - housing, since it would offend Christian piety that innocent
    people, who rightfully protect their homes against vermin and pests,
    should have to live next door to such human debris;

        - the military, for in conformity with the intention of our warrior
    God, who trains for battle (Exod. 15:3; Ps. 18:34) morally correct guns
    and weapons of war are fittingly designed only for the right-handed
    lifestyle;

        - the workplace, given sinistrals' well-known tendencies to
    proselytize, overtly or covertly, and to warp the unwary into a
    left-handed lifestyle;

        - life in general, since the sufferance of sinistral behavior,
    like a contagious disease, is both a menace to the right ordering of
    the cosmos and a deterrent to universally accepted natural activities
    like handshakes and manual transmission driving.


   WHEREFORE, BISHOPS ARE to be especially concerned to defend and champion
authentic morality, not only in family life and in the prompt transmittance
of the Peter's Pence, but also in the regulation of manual activity.  While
   promoting the joy of virtue for its own sake, let them not disdain other
      effective means to coerce proper manual behaviors among the faithful.
       Such might well include the occasional homiletic reflections upon an
     afterlife in company with grotesque fiends, as well as richly detailed
   accounts of unimaginable torment, excruciating heat and unrelenting pain
     and putrefaction amid rock-rending shrieks of anguished despair in the
bottomless chasm of Gehenna.  Above all, they are to remind sinistrals that
   manual activity may be undertaken only by right-handed people within the
                      context of a lifelong commitment to right-handedness.

         Therefore, let sinistral and bimanual individuals be instructed to
        disguise their sinistrality by keeping it repressed, although under
  no circumstances are they to keep their left hands in their pockets.  For
   a vice that is truly repressed is no vice at all.  To this end, hypnosis
     and mind-altering pharmaceuticals may be licitly administered so as to
                                           render their left hands useless.

            If such individuals are indeed incapable of being cured of this
  disorder so as to properly use the left hand only in a secondary role, if
  at all, they must refrain from all manual activity with either hand.  For
   God, who is bountiful to his loved ones in sleep, has blessed inactivity
                      for the sake of the kingdom (Ps. 127:2; Matt. 19:12).

          Additionally, insofar as these sinistrals still lack the capacity
  for, or obdurately resist a lifelong commitment to right-handedness, they
   are to take more urgent measures to be cured.  In this connection, it is
     altogether licit and harmonious with the principle of double effect to
  resort to the therapeutic use of amputation in accord with Scripture: "If
  your [left] hand causes you to sin, cut it off, for it is better to enter
                                     the kingdom maimed" (Matt. 18:9), etc.

        Finally, all sinistrals, to whom bishops and pastors of souls offer
     the solace of holy religion, should be assured that despite their best
      efforts they will probably go to hell anyway for thinking left-handed
 thoughts.  Let them thus be encouraged to know that, after a life in which
     they have basically considered themselves worthless, they will at last
    find themselves entirely worthy of something; to wit, eternal damnation
     in the slime-infested miseries of the abyss, where horribly disfigured
       imps and little red demons with pitchforks and tridents will perform
          unremitting acupuncture upon their most sensitive bodily parts as
    they roast in the searing embers of hell.  About which, most assuredly,
             this Congregation will happily have more to say in the future.


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Dextera Domini / Anonymous author, circa November 1994 / Typeset flush right by Richard Oliver / Formatted in HTML by Elizabeth T. Knuth, 30 March 1996 / Rev. 12 December 1998 / © Copyright 1996-1998, Elizabeth T. Knuth / URL: http://www.users.csbsju.edu/~eknuth/rehu/dex-text.html