The marriage of Joseph and Mary

Super Flumina

under the patronage of St Joseph and St Dominic

By the rivers of Babylon there we sat and wept, remembering Zion;
on the poplars that grew there we hung up our harps. . . Ps 136

St Dominic


Philosophy behind this website

Professor Solomon's Introduction to Philosophy

11th September 2001


Australia's Catholic Bishops

Australian Catholic Bishops should say

Australia's Support for Legislation Worthy of Adolf Hitler


Bill of Rights




Church's Fathers & Doctors

Church's Teaching on Divorce, Contraception and Human Sexuality

Compatible sites


David Attenborough

Defamation of Catholicism

Discipline & the Child

Dismissal of the Whitlam Government

Economic Problems

Evangelium Vitae 73



Freemasonry & the Church

God is not Material

Harry Potter



Letter of St Paul to the Hebrews

Mary MacKillop

Miscellaneous Papers



Moral Issues

Non-directional Counselling

Papers written by others


Politicians & the Catholic Church

Pope Benedict XVI

Pope Leo XIII

Pope Pius XII

Popes on St Thomas



Religious Freedom

Questions for Catholic Parents in Parramatta

Research Involving Embryos Bill - Letter to the Prime Minister

Sts John Fisher & Thomas More

Science and Philosophy


Subversion of Catholic Education


Thomas Merton

Vatican II

For young readers:

Myall Lakes Adventure

© 2006 Website by Netvantage



The expression 'non-directional counselling' derives from the thought of American psychologist Carl Rogers who regarded the giving of direction as a denial of the rights of the individual.  It is used by psychologists to justify the placing before those seeking help of alternatives, whether morally good or evil, without recommendation as to which they should follow.

Just how ambivalent the expression is can be seen from the United Kingdom's National Help Line which puts it like this--"Counsellors at crisis pregnancy counselling centres are trained in non-directional counselling, enabling you to discover more clearly how you feel about the situation you are in".

The presence of the comforting word 'counselling' with the addition--'non-directional'--gives the impression that those involved are exercising the non-judgmental position which ought to characterise Christian charity.  'While we should hate the sin we should love the sinner,' so the argument might go, 'and thus not enter into judgment about his conduct but leave it up to him.'

But the non-judgmental act relates to the state of the person's soul--the subjective element.  It does not relate to the objective element, the act itself.  If the act is sinful, we must judge it so--we must be completely judgmental!

In truth, the expression 'non directional counselling' is self contradictory.  Counsel is advice or opinion given to direct the judgment or conduct of another.  The client, confused as to what he should do, is looking for direction.  Counselling, by definition, is directional.

Moreover, it is an act of Christian charity to show those caught in a dilemma the right course to follow.  The morally evil choice will inevitably involve them in moral and physical harm and they should be told so.  The morally good choice will inevitably benefit their soul and body even if it means putting up with physical discomfort or suffering.  The failure to give proper direction in such a case is a sin against charity.  If a blind man came to us for advice as to which of two roads he should follow and one of them had a trench across it, we would sin grievously in advising him to choose either.

The expression has been embraced by Modernists within the Catholic Church as a via media, a middle way between what they regard as the overly strict application of principle and the needs of the age.  But while moderation is a desideratum in the application of the virtue of temperance, it has no application in matters of principle.  To make the point clearer--some things admit of more and less: others admit only of 'Yes' and 'No'.  You can have more or less pie for dinner, more or less wine.  But you can't have more or less of a dog in the back yard.  There is either a dog there or there isn't.  A woman can't be more or less pregnant; she either is pregnant or she is not.   Principles are among the things which admit only of 'Yes' and 'No'.  You cannot moderate a principle without denying it.

The poison of the heresy of Modernism is not understood.  The Modernist is a Catholic who gives lip service to the Church's theological and moral teachings but works quietly to compromise those teachings, to see that they are conformed as much as possible to worldly values.  The Modernist maintains that if society advocates giving women a choice between aborting her child or continuing with the pregnancy to term then the Church must do the same.  The Modernist calls himself a Catholic; he may be seen every Sunday at Mass and communion, but he is possessed of a superior knowledge.  He knows better than the Church.  He may proclaim his orthodoxy loudly but the test is whether his practice conforms to it.  Agere sequitur esse: do follows be.

Beware, then, of catch phrases like this which are not only misleading but embrace grave error.  As Mao Tse Tung said--Use my words and you will begin to think my thoughts.

Michael Baker