Sunday, October 14, 2012

Catholicism in the Hands of the People


51% of Catholics believe gay marriage should be legal

Jamie Manson has written a provocative article speculating that rank and file Catholic support for gay unions can be chalked up to what she calls the Catholic imagination.

Her premise is posited in response to The Archbishop of Newark’s declaration “that those who support marriage equality should refrain from receiving the Eucharist.”
“With somewhere between 52 percent and 72 percent of Catholics in this country supporting same-sex marriage, a lot of people are going to be turned away hungry from the altar.”
For Catholics, receiving communion is a big deal. It is one of the seven sacraments and is the very center of Catholic faith. I know the Catholic Church looks to outsiders like a legalistic fortress, and it is, but Jesus Christ is the core of the faith. Without the life, death, burial, and resurrection of God Made Man, and without Christ’s saving grace, Catholicism has no meaning.

The Catholic Imagination

Manson does a wonderful job scraping away the legalistic barnacles and exposing the Catholic soul:
In his book The Catholic Imagination, Fr. Andrew Greeley writes, "Catholics see the Holy lurking in creation. As Catholics, we find our houses and our world haunted by a sense that the objects, events and persons of daily life are revelations of grace."
The Catholic imagination, or "Catholic sacramental view of the world," as my mentor Margaret Farley calls it, has its roots in the Catholic understanding of the relationship between grace and nature.
In Catholic theology, grace perfects nature. Yes, human beings are a mess, and we're born into a very messy world. But because we are created by God and because everything God creates is good, there is intrinsic goodness in us. God offers us countless opportunities of grace to help us transform ourselves and to redeem us.
Catholics believe the finite is capable of the infinite. This is why Greely says objects, events and persons all have the capability to reveal God's grace to us. That grace can come in our experiences of love, forgiveness, compassion, justice, sacrifice, but also in the midst of suffering, brokenness and desolation. (Jamie Manson)
Ducky, a fellow Catholic, will invoke Dorothy Day every now and then. She’s not a famous actress, but rather a leftwing Catholic woman who devoted her life to social activism and helping the poor. In March of 2000, The Vatican opened the case for her sainthood. She too had the Catholic imagination:
It is the Catholic imagination that gave Dorothy Day the vision to see a prostitute with advanced syphilis as Jesus Christ on her doorstep. (Jamie Manson)
This is not unlike the Theology of Bono, a world-famous rock star married thirty years to the same woman and also a devoted Catholic:
It's a mind-blowing concept that the God who created the universe might be looking for company, a real relationship with people, but the thing that keeps me on my knees is the difference between Grace and Karma. […]
But I'd be in big trouble if Karma was going to finally be my judge. I'd be in deep s---. It doesn't excuse my mistakes, but I'm holding out for Grace. I'm holding out that Jesus took my sins onto the Cross, because I know who I am, and I hope I don't have to depend on my own religiosity. (Bono: Grace over Karma)
The Bono interview and the Jamie Manson article do not deal in Catholic orthodoxy or theology, focusing instead on the hearts of two believers. Bono has departed from some Church teachings while carrying out others quite faithfully, and Manson rejects Catholic doctrine in her conclusion on gay marriage, but along the way both of them beautifully explain what moves and motivates everyday Catholics.

You could also listen to Mumford and Sons, another band caught between the sacred and the profane. Although they are not Catholic, they capture the same spirit, of celebrating life and all that is in it, because although it is full of the fallen and the broken, it’s all God’s creation, and God still blesses it with his grace.

Life does not deal in neat categories and pristine lines of demarcation. We drink, we cuss, we act out, we sin, but we are also capable of loving God so much, and getting down on our knees and crying over our sins, even as he cleanses us and forgives us.

*- This is neither a defense nor an attack on Catholicism or any other religion.  I will delete comments by jihadis intent on using this discussion to launch attacks on the beliefs of others.

80 comments:

FreeThinke said...

The questions posed concerning the nature of liberty at FreeThinke's blog this morning complement this provocative piece very well.

Central to what-might-be-termed The Problem of Existence is the need to decide for oneself whether freedom is to be found in relentless rebellion and self-indulgence, or in submission to the dictates of a higher, presumably wiser and more beneficent symbol of authority?

If the human condition, as many believe, is by its very nature one of perpetual servitude and eventual victimhood, would it be better to serve unbridled Licentiousness, Ruthlessness and Corruption or Unselfishness and Devotion to Truth, Love and Principle?

~ FreeThinke

Rational Nation USA said...

A provocative article.

The concept of freedom is an interesting one for sure FT.

Was it Janis Joplin who said in a song... Freedom is just another word for nothing left to lose?

Seems there are many forces at work demanding servitude to something or someone. There is never a shortage of followers.

Freedom is found perhaps when mankind arrives at that point when everyone repects the rights and freedoms of all to live their lives as they chose without infringing on the rights of others.

Mankind will likely continue this perpetual search until mankind as we know it itself becomes extinct.

Sunday thoughts.

Ducky's here said...

Ducky, a fellow Catholic, will invoke Dorothy Day every now and then.

-------------

God our Creator,
your servant Dorothy Day exemplified the
Catholic faith by her conversion,
life of prayer and voluntary poverty,
works of mercy, and
witness to the justice and peace
of the Gospel.

May her life inspire people
to turn to Christ as their Savior and guide,
to see his face in the world’s poor and
to raise their voices for the justice
of God’s kingdom.

We pray that you grant the favors we ask
through her intercession so that her goodness
and holiness my be more widely recognized
and one day the Church may
proclaim her Saint.

We ask this through Christ our Lord.

Amen.

Ducky's here said...

Mumford & Sons = Nickleback with bad banjo -- unlistenable.

Sometimes feel they are part of the New Age trivializing of mysticism.

FreeThinke said...

New Age = Nuage

Jack Camwell said...

A nice article Silver.

The head hancho political science professor at Ohio Dominican University (my alma mater) is deeply Catholic, but he's this brand of Catholic that you're talking about here.

He made us read some Greely, and the guy is a pretty good author. But the thing is that he always talked to us about the Catholic Intellectual Tradition and this notion of the Catholic imagination--which of course he said was not limited to Catholicism.

The problem with the Catholic church today is that they're stifling the imagination for the sake of maintaining tradition and a conservative Catholic outlook. I think the church hierarchy feels threatened by the fact that the Old Catholics are dying, and the Young Catholics are becoming the majority voice.

I don't think they want to be oppressive, but rather they don't want to feel like they should change their theological stance on things simply because of majority popular opinion. History shows that the Catholic church is anything but quick to change--but it DOES indeed change.

Particularly on the matter of gay marriage, my professor used this argument of grace in order to justify it religiously/morally. He asked us one morning "do you really think that the ONLY way to experience the grace and love of God is through a sexual relationship between a married man and woman? Do you really think God so narrow?"

I am inclined to believe that God is not so narrow, as he suggested.

FreeThinke said...

What virtue could there possibly be in POVERTY?

I've never understood the concept.

Somewhere it says in the Scriptures. "Give me neither poverty nor riches." doesn't it?

I see the embrace of poverty as a misunderstanding of the virtue of HUMILITY -- a different thing entirely.

I am not poor, thank God, but neither do I confuse or conflate my good fortune with virtue.

Wealth -- along with beauty, brains, talent, energy, ambition, gunpowder, good food, and atomic energy -- is an entirely neutral phenomenon. It is whatever its possessor CHOOSES to MAKE of it.

~ FreeThinke

Ducky's here said...

Voluntary, Freethinker, voluntary.

Surely you aren't going to trash free will.

Liberalmann said...

When I was growing up you were three things in my neighborhood; Irish, Catholic and Democrat. The right does all it can to drive wedges in the catholic demographic with issues such as abortion and gay marriage. Issues they really have no plans to do anything about but dangle them in front of our faces every election cycle to create fear and division.

More and more Catholics are coming back to the Democrats after being manipulated into voting for the GOP in 2000 and 2004. Even elderly Catholics, whose main issue is abortion and gay marriage are refusing to board the hate train.



Always On Watch said...

I fail to understand how Dorothy Day could support Castro's "social reforms." Was she a believer in the redistribution of wealth, perhaps? As a Protestant, I am not all the familiar with the work of Dorothy Day although I do, of course, know of her many good deeds and has seen a documentary or a film about her.

In my view, if one is going to take on the name of a particular religion or a particular denomination of a particular faith, one should believe in the doctrines specific to that religion or denomination.

I understand that Roman Catholics and some Protestants believe the receiving communion is critical if not essential. So, why aren't there denominations within the Catholic Church to accommodate dissent? Maybe that's stupid question, but I come from a Protestant background and upbringing.

Ducky's here said...

Simply put AOW, the Catholic Worker tradition is not frightened by socialism.

Thersites said...

...now THAT's an understatement, if EVER there was one, duckman.

FreeThinke said...

Denigrate Free Will?

Wouldn't dream of it, Ducky.

But, there you go again essentially changing the subject as a means of sidestepping the point at hand which in this instance was a questioning of the VALUE inherent in embracing poverty.

Some are Masochistic, I suppose, and can't be happy unless paradoxically they inflict misery on themselves. I don't question their right to do it, but I DO question the advisability of holding it up as some sort of ideal role model.

Prosperity gives the individual much more power to do good than barely having enough to make ends meet for himself.

~ FT

Jersey McJones said...

FT, I'm sorry that you fail to see the spiritual virtuosity of poverty. I assume you probably do see the spiritual virtuosity of the Protestant Work Ethic?

JMJ

Shaw Kenawe said...

"Bono has departed from some Church teachings while carrying out others quite faithfully, and Manson rejects Catholic doctrine in her conclusion on gay marriage, but along the way both of them beautifully explain what moves and motivates everyday Catholics."

I was raised a Catholic. We called folks like Bono and Mason Protestants, and really that's what they are--protesting doctrine they, with their free will, reject. Strictly speaking, you're not allowed to do that and consider yourself Catholic, but many, many Catholics reject doctrine they disagree with. They're also called "Cafeteria Catholics."

My oldest sister converted to Methodism when she married. Except for my dear old Italian Nonna, who believed my sister's children would burn in hell, everyone else in the family accepted her conversion to Protestanism, and we even went to services at her church--which was deeply frowned upon at the time, but by then, I was becoming a rebellious, thinking-for-myself Catholic.

I am now a nontheist. But I do like to hear the Latin and the hymns [which I still remember word for word] when I attend the far too many funeral Masses I've had to attend these past few years.

Perhaps someone could tell me exactly where one could find "God's grace" in Dachau or in a 3-year old dying of leukemia. I suppose one could talk oneself into finding it somewhere. We humans are capable of telling ourselves all sorts of stories that give us the courage to keep on. But in those two particular instances, I have yet to hear an argument that gives me a rational example of anything godly to be found.

Finntann said...

AOW@So, why aren't there denominations within the Catholic Church to accommodate dissent?

Because by the Catholic viewpoint known as the four marks of the church; there is only one, holy, catholic (universal), and apostolic church.

Cheers!

Silverfiddle said...

Shaw: We are fallen, and life on earth is obviously full of pain and suffering. Heaven in over there, in the next life, not here.

Thersites said...

What was G_dly about the crucifixion, pShaw? Are you saying that there was "nothing"?

Thersites said...

""Where there is no love, put love, and you will find love"" - St John of the Cross

Silverfiddle said...

@ Jack: The problem with the Catholic church today is that they're stifling the imagination for the sake of maintaining tradition and a conservative Catholic outlook.

Tradition, with a capital T is exactly what they are charged to maintain. That and Christ's teachings as handed on to them, so it's a little deeper.

Also, if you read the old testament, God indeed takes a very narrow view.

Everyone is free to speculate, but Catholic orthodoxy remains grounded in what has been revealed.

Ducky's here said...

Well Freethinker, maybe voluntary poverty gives you a chance to find out what's important.

Shaw Kenawe said...

"Shaw: We are fallen, and life on earth is obviously full of pain and suffering. Heaven in over there, in the next life, not here."


I don't believe any of that. I don't believe that we are "fallen," but that we have the capacity to do good and to do evil, and we need to listen to our better "angels" or nature, that we have personified the dualism [devils and angels] that is part being human. But I understand people believe differently, and people have beliefs that give them comfort and peace of mind.

I believe our heaven and hell are right here on Earth, and when it's over, that's it. We go back to oblivion.

I live my life knowing, for me, there is no heaven or hell, but only the reality of good and evil here on earth, and to always choose good and to avoid, as much as one can, evil.

Z said...

terrific post, SF...thanks for this.
There's a lot I could discuss on this but what's the point...I see people who don't believe in the Scripture, GOd's only words to us, arguing with you.
What's the point? Belief is the HUGE elephant in the room and it's hard to talk about what we believe with those who simply don't.

Thanks...it's smart and well thought out and well written.

Thersites said...

You just don't dare to believe, pShaw...

Finntann said...

@only the reality of good and evil

I don't know, the simple dichotomy of good and evil seems far too pat an answer. The Taoist view is that the difference between good and evil is perception.

While there may be a moral absolutism, one could argue that without omnipotence the exercise of moral absolutism is evil in itself.

One could even argue that evil may be necessary and can lead to good.

I think most would readily condemn the actions of Nazi Germany as evil.

Suppose though, that without the Third Reich the entire world would be under the dictorship of a Stalinesque Soviet hegemony with billions dead make a difference in your viewpoint?

I used this particular example in response to Shaw's question about "where one could find "God's grace" in Dachau".

As I said, moral absolutism without omnipotence is evil.

Now? How many angels can dance on the head of pin?

Cheers!

Kid said...

"51% of Catholics believe gay marriage should be legal"

78 % if all statistics are made up.

Ducky's here said...

Well, z, in light of Freethinker's question,can you take agape too far?

It's all well and good that you feel your dogma is the one great truth but those that have to share the world with your extremism need to remind you that you don't define belief.

Natsuo (夏男) said...

> I know the Catholic Church looks to outsiders like a legalistic fortress, and it is

And that's exactly how it should be. (And this is coming from a non-Catholic.) If the Catholic Church were essentially a democracy, that fact alone would disqualify it from being considered to be God's church.

A church that runs as a democracy is a church of man, not of God.

You either accept the doctrines/theology of a certain church and do your best to adhere to them or you don't. If you don't, there's no need for you to be in that church. You can go elsewhere. There's a whole smorgasbord of churches that essentially worship a god made in their own image. There's sure to be one somewhere that won't ask you to work hard at adhering to a higher standard. It will be a (pseudo-)church made in your image.

Personally, I see no real value in a church that conforms to what I want. (You don't need a church to socialize or hold a bazaar for poor kids.) For me to grow, I have to adhere to the standards that God sets. Those standards are much higher than my current level. He would be a cruel God indeed if he didn't give me the maximum chance for growth in this life (and only God really knows what experiences we need). Part of that "divine tutorial" is humbly submitting to standards that God has set. A church that changes with the whims and personal philosophies of its members or society in general is no church at all. It's a social club.

There is no salvation in a social club.

Shaw Kenawe said...

There is always evil in the world, whether it's Nazi Germany or Stalinist Russia, or the Khmer Rouge, or the genocide in the Balkans, or Rwanda, or in Mao's China or even in the sports program of an American university.

When hasn't there been great evil in the world?

I guess I don't understand what you mean by "moral absolutism without omnipotence is evil."

And angels don't dance on the head of a pin anymore, I think they're texting.

Shaw Kenawe said...

"Part of that 'divine tutorial' is humbly submitting to standards that God has set."

But there is more than one "divine tutorial" set by more than one group that believes it has the divine guidance from God.

Are they all divinely correct?

Thersites said...

Plato, "Philebus"

SOCRATES: I wonder whether you would agree with me about the origin of pleasure and pain.

PROTARCHUS: What do you mean?

SOCRATES: I mean to say that their natural seat is in the mixed class.

PROTARCHUS: And would you tell me again, sweet Socrates, which of the aforesaid classes is the mixed one?

SOCRATES: I will, my fine fellow, to the best of my ability.

PROTARCHUS: Very good.

SOCRATES: Let us then understand the mixed class to be that which we placed third in the list of four.

PROTARCHUS: That which followed the infinite and the finite; and in which you ranked health, and, if I am not mistaken, harmony.

SOCRATES: Capital; and now will you please to give me your best attention?

PROTARCHUS: Proceed; I am attending.

SOCRATES: I say that when the harmony in animals is dissolved, there is also a dissolution of nature and a generation of pain.

PROTARCHUS: That is very probable.

SOCRATES: And the restoration of harmony and return to nature is the source of pleasure, if I may be allowed to speak in the fewest and shortest words about matters of the greatest moment.

PROTARCHUS: I believe that you are right, Socrates; but will you try to be a little plainer?

SOCRATES: Do not obvious and every-day phenomena furnish the simplest illustration?

PROTARCHUS: What phenomena do you mean?

SOCRATES: Hunger, for example, is a dissolution and a pain.

PROTARCHUS: True.

SOCRATES: Whereas eating is a replenishment and a pleasure?

PROTARCHUS: Yes.

SOCRATES: Thirst again is a destruction and a pain, but the effect of moisture replenishing the dry place is a pleasure: once more, the unnatural separation and dissolution caused by heat is painful, and the natural restoration and refrigeration is pleasant.

PROTARCHUS: Very true.

SOCRATES: And the unnatural freezing of the moisture in an animal is pain, and the natural process of resolution and return of the elements to their original state is pleasure. And would not the general proposition seem to you to hold, that the destroying of the natural union of the finite and infinite, which, as I was observing before, make up the class of living beings, is pain, and that the process of return of all things to their own nature is pleasure?

PROTARCHUS: Granted; what you say has a general truth.

SOCRATES: Here then is one kind of pleasures and pains originating severally in the two processes which we have described?

PROTARCHUS: Good.

SOCRATES: Let us next assume that in the soul herself there is an antecedent hope of pleasure which is sweet and refreshing, and an expectation of pain, fearful and anxious.

PROTARCHUS: Yes; this is another class of pleasures and pains, which is of the soul only, apart from the body, and is produced by expectation.

SOCRATES: Right; for in the analysis of these, pure, as I suppose them to be, the pleasures being unalloyed with pain and the pains with pleasure, methinks that we shall see clearly whether the whole class of pleasure is to be desired, or whether this quality of entire desirableness is not rather to be attributed to another of the classes which have been mentioned; and whether pleasure and pain, like heat and cold, and other things of the same kind, are not sometimes to be desired and sometimes not to be desired, as being not in themselves good, but only sometimes and in some instances admitting of the nature of good.

PROTARCHUS: You say most truly that this is the track which the investigation should pursue.

Ducky's here said...

Interesting avatar, Shaw.

Manship?

Natsuo (夏男) said...

>Perhaps someone could tell me exactly where one could find "God's grace" in Dachau or in a 3-year old dying of leukemia.

If your view is limited to our mortal existence (not even a speck in the timeline of eternity), you would naturally be wholly unable to see God's grace, love, and purpose in those things.

However, if you have the ability to broaden your mind, understand that we--horribly fallible mortals--have a severely limited vision, and realize that our mortal existence is only part of God's larger plan for us, the answer is rather simple.

In the scriptures, God has stated that he wants us to share in all that he has and is. For us to have the ability to gain that great blessing and the eternal joy that comes with it, we have to be godly. (Otherwise, we wouldn't even be able to comprehend it, let alone enjoy it.) Each person comes into this life with different strengths and weaknesses. That means that we need the experiences that will turn our weaknesses into strengths and our strengths into greater strengths.

Those experiences are typically challenging, and often stretch us to our very limits. But godliness--acquiring the attributes (the virtues) that Jesus displayed as the Great Exemplar--is not a light and easy thing. It requires that stretching.

The experiences that have given me the most growth, and shown me most clearly the love of God for me, individually, have typically been the most painful. (And believe me, I'm no stranger to tragedy.) God doesn't enjoy my suffering, or the suffering of the victims of concentration camps or the little child suffering a serious disease. However, he knows exactly what each of us needs in this life, and he loves us so deeply that he is willing to suffer his own pain at our suffering. Jesus took all of our pains, suffering, and sin on himself in the Garden and on the Cross. He knows exactly how the worst of the worst feels, from personal experience.

From that broader, eternal perspective, the challenges, struggles, suffering, and yes, even horrific tragedy, are all things that in themselves are limited to this life that's gone in the blink of an eye. If we do our best (whatever that best is) in submission to God's will, what we learn and how we grow will be eternal, and the eternal blessings will make our tiny moment of suffering seem like nothing. For the humble and faithful who do their best, there is even comfort in this life, a comfort that transcends our circumstances.

Now, if you don't believe in God or something outside this tiny mortal existence, or if you are so arrogant as to believe that there's nothing outside what we fallible mortals can perceive with our physical faculties, then there's really no point in discussing this further. But that's a (very) short summary of what I think most devout Christians generally believe on the subject of the relationship between God's grace/love and suffering (particularly of innocents such as small children).
It's what I not only believe, but what I know, with a surety that transcends purely physical perception.

Accepting it or rejecting it is, of course, up to you.

Natsuo (夏男) said...

>the reality of good and evil here on earth

The belief in the existence of good and evil presents a bit of a problem for atheists and other types of non-believers.

Who determines what is good and what is evil? If there is no God, then people decide. If we're essentially just animals who live for a time on the earth, then my idea of what is good and what is evil is just as valid as anybody else's. In fact, the words "good" and "evil" lose any real meaning, and are reduced to "what I like" and "what I don't like."

Maybe I like to stab people in the face. Maybe I like to kick puppies. Maybe I like to push people off the curb in front of an oncoming bus. It really wouldn't matter, because there is not authoritative good or evil. Neither exist.

Some try to use the argument that good and evil are defined as what makes society run better and that which makes society run worse. Essentially, there is no moral component of good and evil, just whatever keeps the machine running and whatever stops it from running.

The same is essentially true of the argument that good and evil are what the majority of people say they are. That argument is, of course, a common fallacy. It doesn't matter how many people say that an apple is a watermelon (and I'm not talking about the words, just the actual objects). An apple is always an apple, and a watermelon is always a watermelon.

Ultimately, with God out of the equation, there is no such thing as good and evil (in any meaningful sense), and I can do whatever I want to, regardless of how much it hurts others. Others can try to stop me because they don't like it, but it wouldn't be because my acts were evil. I might choose to behave in a way that helps society function well, but I have no moral obligation to do so.

Ducky's here said...

Trying to manage suffering grace allows us the compassion, humility, and spirituality we need to overcome.

God doesn't suffer for us. Suffering is integral to our existence which is largely organized around sorrow and loss.

There will always be this difference between those who see religion as a guarantee of eternal bliss, something their minds are absolutely not organized to understand, and those who see the religious community as a way to find strength.

It's a good distance removed from the Calvinist evangelicals.

Ducky's here said...

Natsuo, your hallow musings haven't abolished the categorical imperative.

Silverfiddle said...

What's Kant got to do with it? Christianity is a deontological philosophy, to a certain extent, but it's tenants are revealed.

But I agree with your earlier comment.

I'm not hip to the churches preaching Christianity as some kind of get rich and be healthy and happy racket. Might as well skip it and go walk on hot coals with Tony Robbins.

Natsuo (夏男) said...

>But there is more than one "divine tutorial" set by more than one group that believes it has the divine guidance from God. Are they all divinely correct?

No. It merely means that either the church that actually is led by God is the only one that is right and the rest are wrong (although they may get many parts right), or they're all wrong and God's church is not currently on the earth.

A church either has authority from God or it doesn't. If it does, its doctrines are correct and its ordinances are valid. If it does not, it's doctrines are incorrect (at least in part) and its ordinances are invalid.

Either you have authority from God (just as Jesus gave it specifically to his apostles, who then used that authority to bestow authority on others for specific purposes), or you don't (like if I signed a contract stipulating that you would give me 50% of your monthly income).

Whether God's one true church is on the earth, and all the others lack the authority to claim to be God's church, or it's not, and all of them are wrong. It's something that you have to find out for yourself. That's a spiritual action rather than merely an intellectual action. It means studying the scriptures and doctrines, etc., and then going directly to the source and asking God what's right.

If you're unwilling to do the work to get that answer, then it really won't matter what you choose to do. You'll just be one tragic animal among billions of other tragic animals trying to find what gives you pleasure in a life devoid of any meaning. (If there's no good and evil, and we live and die and that's it, our lives really have no meaning at all.)

Finntann said...

@I guess I don't understand what you mean by "moral absolutism without omnipotence is evil."

Most religions have morally absolutist positions and regard their system of morality as having been set by a deity and therefore absolute, perfect, and unchangeable.

This may work well if judged by a deity that is omniscient, omnipotent, and omnipresent. When judgement is carried out by the deities less than perfect followers the end result has been evil more often than not... the Inquisition, the Salem Witch Trials, etc.

In other words, Divine Justice may be absolute, but human justice is and needs to be relative.

God says "Thou shall not kill".

Man says thou shall not kill except under certain circumstances such as the defense of self or others subject to imminent harm.

Since we are not omnipotent, the attempted enforcement of our morally absolute code upon others is inherently evil.

Your question "Are they all divinely correct?" is precisely my point.

Cheers!




Natsuo (夏男) said...

>Natsuo, your hallow musings haven't abolished the categorical imperative.

There it is folks! The non sequitur of the day!

Natsuo (夏男) said...

And, I wouldn't be so arrogant as to claim that my "musings" are hallowed. I would expect someone like you to consider them hollow (since it takes a certain degree of spiritual maturity to really get it), so I'm surprised that you think that they are holy!

P.S. "Hallow" is a verb, so you need "ed" at the end when using it to modify a noun.

Anyway, thank you for the compliment!

Silverfiddle said...

Natsuo: I follow you, and you make imminent sense, as usual.

Knowing Ducky, I think he meant "hollow." His grammer is as sharp as his criticism and sarcasm.

I don't get the reference to the categorical imperative either. Christianity is a revealed religion, not something to be reasoned out.

Ducky's here said...

@Silverfiddle -- What's Kant got to do with it?

----
Well, you can call it the second great commandment but "categorical imperative" has a little more gravitas.

Ducky's here said...

@Natsuo -- I would expect someone like you to consider them hollow ...

------
Irony challenged.

Someone like me? Do tell, all knowing guru.
Maybe paste some Socrates.

Natsuo (夏男) said...

Oh, I know what he meant. It just didn't merit a serious response, so it got a silly response.

And you're 100% right about Christianity being a revealed religion. Limited, mortal reason is always insufficient when approaching it.

Ducky's here said...

Christianity is a revealed religion?

Read much Aquinas, Silverfiddle?

Stop now.
Go huddle with Natsuo and pick your own dogma, so many of them have been revealed.

Ducky's here said...

@Silverfiddle -- His grammer(sic) is as sharp as his criticism and sarcasm.

----

FreeThinke said...

"Where there is no love, put love, and you will find love"

- St John of the Cross

That, of course, is IT -- The Holy Grail of doctrinal and ideological aims and objectives -- The Pearl of Great Price -- The Goal towards which we should strive.

"Return not evil for evil."

"Never respond in kind."

"A soft answer turneth away wrath."

"Be not overcome by evil, but instead overcome evil with good."

"Forgive them, Father, they know not what they do."

"Blessed are ye when men shall revile you and persecute you and say all manner of evil against you falsely for my sake."


All of that is rooted in The Golden Rule.

What could be simpler?

We need to ask ourselves why we want always to argue against the precepts that have the power to lead us out of the Darkness and Desperation in which most seem to dwell -- as if by CHOICE?

~ FreeThinke

Silverfiddle said...

@ Ducky: Well, you can call it the second great commandment but "categorical imperative" has a little more gravitas.

Got it. Throw in the Golden Rule as well.

"grammer" How do you know I wasn't referring to Kelsey?

OK, spelling was never my forte. Were it not for spell check, I would be totally incoherent.

I'm backing out now...

FreeThinke said...

Our problems are not rooted SIN, they stem from the SOPHISTRY embedded in Marxism, Freudian Psychology, Sociology, the false Liberation Movements and resultant glorification of the Victimhood of Minorities and the virtual Deification of Social Activism.

I believe the Founding Fathers -- all of them from Protestant- free thinking stock -- were true libertarians, but the vulgar excesses of the modern era have so blurred the distinction between liberty and license we no longer seem have a functioning moral compass to guide us, and no longer know where to draw the line.

The disappearance of once-agreed-upon standards of right and wrong, appropriate and inappropriate behavior, good taste and bad taste has done incalculable harm.

I've never understood how it could have been, but when I was a very small boy, I somehow KNEW INSTINCTIVELY what was acceptable to the adults in my world, and what would likely be frowned upon -- or worse -- earn me a thrashing.

Since extreme permissiveness became the order of the day thanks to the poisonous influence of idiotarians like Dr. Spock, children -- and their parents -- no longer feel there should be any boundaries or constraints on personal behavior. As a result too many simply go wild.

The pseudo-ethos of the 1960's ushered in The Culture of Incessant Critique and Complaint (i.e. Critical Theory developed by The Frankfurt School) which turned everything upside down and inside out.

Suddenly "students" were encouraged to Challenge, Question, Criticize, Condemn and refuse to COOPERATE with all representatives of Authority and Tradition, going even so far as to commit acts of theft, vandalism and mayhem with an air of militant self-righteousness that all-but destroyed the concepts of restraint and self-control as virtuous.

The Catholic Church in the main has been a source for much good, but its officially rigid, authoritarian stance and hierarchical, markedly undemocratic structure has traditionally repelled mainline Protestants for most of our past history.

Shaw put it all so clearly and so beautifully in her last set of remarks for once I found myself in agreement with much of what she said.

~ FreeThinke

Jersey McJones said...

Ya' know, guys, I've been working a lot lately so I haven't been able to post as much as I'd like, so I'm getting a little ignored, but back to the point of this post...

I replied to FreeThinke, "FT, I'm sorry that you fail to see the spiritual virtuosity of poverty. I assume you probably do see the spiritual virtuosity of the Protestant Work Ethic?"

And that to me seems to be the crux of the misunderstanding of spirituality by non-Catholics. The Protestant Work Ethic EXPLAINS the virtuosity of poverty. It is not the same thing, but rather an example of the virtuosity of poverty, the GRACE of poverty.

From my understanding of the Bible, grace is not just personal, subjective, professed love of Jesus. Grace comes from how we interact with all of God's universe, and how we appreciate it.

There are lot's of problems with the Catholic Church, but that is not one of them. That is grace.

JMJ

Always On Watch said...

Protestants also believe in "the holy catholic church," but not in the sense of Roman Catholic.

See this definition of "holy catholic church."

Again, I do not see much point in belonging to any group if one has very strong feelings that one of the tenets is wrong.

Shaw Kenawe said...

"Ducky's here said...
Interesting avatar, Shaw.

Manship?"

A piece of bronze sculpture I made while working in a bronze foundry in Pietrasanta, Italy.

FreeThinke said...

Grammar.

GRAMMAR.

G-R-A-M-M-A-R!

G-R-A-M-M-A-R!!!!!!

Got that?

FreeThinke said...

VIRTUOSITY (ˌvɜːtʃʊˈɒsətɪ)


having consummate mastery of musical technique and artistry

the quality of being masterful or brilliant

(art) the quality of being a connoisseur, dilettante, or collector of art objects

I'm sure Jersey meant to say the VIRTUE of poverty, but even so I stoutly maintain there could be none. Poverty indicates LACK. There is no virtue whatsoever in that -- only great sadness.

Silverfiddle said...

@ AOW: "Protestants also believe in "the holy catholic church," but not in the sense of Roman Catholic."

Actually, Catholics understand it in the same way. In the Nicene Creed, "holy catholic church" is written just as you have written it, catholic with a lower-case c, meaning not the Roman Catholic Church, but the universal church founded by Jesus Christ.

Like protestants, Catholics lament that Christ's church has become fractured.

-FJ said...

In order for "poverty" to be considered a virtue, those who received "grace" from heaven's more fortunate would generally be "thankful". THEY are NOT.

Nieztsche, "Human, All too Human"

Observe how children weep and cry, so that they will be pitied, how they wait for the moment when their condition will be noticed. Or live among the ill and depressed, and question whether their eloquent laments and whimpering, the spectacle of their misfortune, is not basically aimed at hurting those present. The pity that the spectators then express consoles the weak and suffering, inasmuch as they see that, despite all their weakness, they still have at least one power: the power to hurt. When expressions of pity make the unfortunate man aware of this feeling of superiority, he gets a kind of pleasure from it; his self-image revives; he is still important enough to inflict pain on the world. Thus the thirst for pity is a thirst for self-enjoyment, and at the expense of one's fellow men. It reveals man in the complete inconsideration of his most intimate dear self, but not precisely in his "stupidity," as La Rochefoucauld thinks. In social dialogue, three-quarters of all questions and answers are framed in order to hurt the participants a little bit; this is why many men thirst after society so much: it gives them a feeling of their strength. In these countless, but very small doses, malevolence takes effect as one of life's powerful stimulants, just as goodwill, dispensed in the same way throughout the human world, is the perennially ready cure.

But will there be many people honest enough to admit that it is a pleasure to inflict pain? That not infrequently one amuses himself (and well) by offending other men (at least in his thoughts) and by shooting pellets of petty malice at them? Most people are too dishonest, and a few men are too good, to know anything about this source of shame. So they may try to deny that Prosper Merimée is right when he says, "Sachez aussi qu'il n'y a rien de plus commun que de faire le mal pour le plaisir de le faire." ("Know that nothing is more common than to do harm for the pleasure of doing it:")

-FJ said...

We hear the cry everywhere today, "I am a victim!" Why is that?

Malice afoot! A desire of the insignificant to inflict a little pain and garner a little attention. Spoiled children.

jez said...

Chastity indicates lack too, but that doesn't mean there is no virtue in it.

Voluntary poverty is a recurring biblical theme. It may run counter to intuition, but that is not unusual in the bible. The entire Sermon on the Mount runs counter to intuition.

Thersites said...

lol! Good point, jez.

I hate to inform the modern world of this, but in the "ancient" world, virtues were always "opposed" by other "cardinal" virtues. As "courage" was opposed by "temperance". As "wisdom" was opposed by "justice".

Meden agan! And THAT applies to "chastity", as well. Where is today's "wise" Eteocles, ever ready to assign a hero to oppose a foeman Argive at the gate in response to his Spy's intelligence? And who better than himself to oppose and battle his "brother" Polynieces?

Aeschylus, "Seven Against Thebes"

Sons of Oedipus, Antigone stands ready to mourn you, EQUALLY.

Thersites said...

Erratum: "Sons and BROTHERS" of Oedipus... above.

Thersites said...

Chastity... the "virtue" of "sterility".

Antigone triumphant!

Antigone represents numerous themes such as the very first woman who goes against the Patriarchal society and defies rules, defies subjection or any kind of law. Antigone represents the voice of every woman on Earth. Yet she also represents every renegade or every slave who strives for freedom, for equal rights. The name itself in Greek means An-ti= Against the, gone= gonia = corner , so the name itself is a controversy. Something that is against the saying. Antigone was against Creon's norms and beliefs or sayings. On the other hand, one may interpret the name as the woman who wishes not to have children. Gonos derives from gonimotita that is fertility; now the suffix Anti - gone brings about the meaning of a person who does not want to have any children=Non-fertile. There are variations to the true meaning of Antigone but what Antigone truly represents it depends on how each individual will perceive it.

-FJ said...

Kinda makes me want to bury a Vestal Virgin alive of sacrifice a virgin to the volcano, doesn't it?

Worshippers of Artemis... ;)

-FJ said...

Plato, "Theaetetus"

And many arguments are used to show, that motion is the source of life, and rest of death: fire and warmth are produced by friction, and living creatures owe their origin to a similar cause; the bodily frame is preserved by exercise and destroyed by indolence; and if the sun ceased to move, "chaos would come again." Now apply this doctrine of "All is motion" to the senses, and first of all to the sense of sight. The colour of white, or any other colour, is neither in the eyes nor out of them, but ever in motion between the object and the eye, and varying in the case of every percipient. All is relative, and, as the followers of Protagoras remark, endless contradictions arise when we deny this; e.g. here are six dice; they are more than four and less than twelve; "more and also less," would you not say?' 'Yes.' 'But Protagoras will retort: "Can anything be more or less without addition or subtraction?"'

"ALL argument is a cuckold and a whore." - Thersites

Finntann said...

While understanding the difference between Catholic and catholic, I still maintain that there are no denominations, in the sense of AOWs question "So, why aren't there denominations within the Catholic Church to accommodate dissent?" because the Catholic church views itself as the catholic church and the only legitimate game in town. It does not tolerate dissent.

From outside of a Catholic perspective, one could argue that there are denominations of Catholics: Old Catholic Church, American Catholic Church, Celtic Catholic Church, Union of Ultrecht Old Catholic Church, Apostolic Catholic Church, etc.

With the exception of the Union of Ultrecht churches of which Rome recognizes their apostolic succession through the Anglican Communion, none of them have recognized apostolic succession. They do recognize the Old Catholic Church as having 'valid sacraments'.

Schismatic churches formed after both the Vatican I and Vatican II councils.

Oddly enough, with the possible exception of the Celtic Catholic Church, the majority of the schismatic churches are more traditional not more liberal.

Cheers!

Shaw Kenawe said...

And the Eastern Orthodox church which calls itself the Orthodox Catholic Church and allows married clergy.300 million followers.

FreeThinke said...

"The Church of Rome honors, celebrates, revels in, and dedicates herself to the promotion and perpetuation of Universal Ignorance as the most effective means possible of obtaining and maintaining social control."

All authoritarian-totalitarian organizations and political movements subscribe to that identical philosophy.

~ Al Terego

FreeThinke said...

Oh, Thersites, and all this time I thought that Antigone was simply one of those typical women who would prefer her menfolk to remain at home to till the fields, harvest the crops, do the heavy lifting and fend off rapists and robbers.

I've always believed Anti-gone meant Pro-stay. ;-)

beamish said...

New Age = Nuage

Rhymes with sewage.

Silverfiddle said...

"And the Eastern Orthodox church which calls itself the Orthodox Catholic Church and allows married clergy.300 million followers."

Yes indeed, and Big C Catholicism considers their masses and sacraments valid, as well as their bishops.

beamish said...

Just another milestone demarking the disapearance of that rare and endangered species known as "conservatives."

There's a clear line from the gay orgy called CPAC to the Gay Old Party nominating the founding father of gay marriage.

The only reason to vote for Romney over Obama is if you're worried sick that Obama is not going to ask the Boy Scouts to let your child earn a merit badge in sodomy.

FreeThinke said...

I understand Nietzsche's point about children and some of society's less fortunate making calculated efforts to win attention by flaunting their minor wounds and pitiable condition.

However, in so many cases -- and I know this for an absolute fact, because I've spent a tremendous portion of my life involved with children from the ghettos, severely handicapped individuals, the chronically and terminally ill -- people truly are victims of tragic depriving circumstances through no fault of their own -- and BELIEVE ME their need for help and support is NOT something they've contrived in their wicked imaginations merely to PUNISH those who are not so afflicted.

This is where the Libertarians and the Objectivists and I part company.

A vital ingredient is lacking in the character and temperament of those who are incapable of feeling empathy for and exercising charity towards those whose helplessness and suffering are GENUINE.

I hate self-righteousness as much as I could hate anything, but I believe it's important for those who would regard me as a selfish, bigoted, hard-hearted racist, and would-be aristocrat that I make it a practice to donate a full 25% of my income -- sometimes more -- to people I know, personally, who are in desperate need of assistance and to animal shelters who do not kill the creatures in their charge.

I don't do this out of shame or guilt, nor am I duped by anyone's wily, manipulative tactics. I do it, because I am well aware that "There but for the grace of God, go I."


If I can stop one heart from breaking
I shall not live in vain.
If I can ease one life the aching --
Or cool one pain --
Or help one fainting robin
Unto his nest again
I shall not live in vain.


~ Emily Dickinson (1830-1886)

beamish said...

51% of Catholics support gay marriage, and 59% of Catholics support the founding father of gay marriage for Queermander in Chief.

Sounds about right.

jez said...

Oh Beamish, just shut up and kiss him.

Silverfiddle said...

That's why Jez is my favorite liberal!

-FJ said...

Ah, FreeThinke, again and again you insist upon "discriminating"... so what ever happened to the generally pervasive "liberal" ideological call for "universal tolerance"?

The Left see's no "distinguishable" difference between the "deserving" and "undeserving" poor. Widow/Orphan and Crackhead/Addict co-exist and are treated equally in the Sea of Ever Increasing Federal Funding Dependence. Handi-capped and Handi-capable ALL float in the same semiotic boat. And believe me when I say, the "handicapped" might truly be grateful for the charity that they receive, but I can assure you whole heartedly that the "handi-capable" RESENT the HECK out of it!

jez said...

Thank you SF :)

beamish said...

Oh Beamish, just shut up and kiss him.

Can't do it. The "Buckley Rule" - vote for the most conservative electable candidate running, has me seriously considering a vote for Obama.

beamish said...

...especially if the delicious eschatological ravings of the pro-Romney crowd's prognostications that Obama's second term will destroy the America that calls Romney a conservative could be true.

FreeThinke said...

A MIND IS A TERRIBLE THING TO LOSE!