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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 palette 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
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
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.