The Sarabite: Towards an Aesthetic Christianity

There is a continuous attraction, beginning with God, going to the world, and ending at last with God, an attraction which returns to the same place where it began as though in a kind of circle. -Marsilio Ficino

Friday, October 26, 2007

Reply to Concerns (Briefly)

Yesterday's post resulted in some questions that are tough to answer. Nevertheless, the fact that I am up particularily early gives me a chance to address them.

1. I realize that an absolute condemnation of torture could be considered relativist or "taking things out of historical context". In judging morality, however, one needs to make such judgements. Absolutely speaking, torture is NOT a good thing. The fact that it happened sometimes in a supposed "defense of the Faith" does not make it a positive good. In Christian morality, the ends can never justify the means. Perhaps it is this attitude that brought Christendom down. This society is a direct product of that intolerant one. If one would like to argue that the only reason things fell apart was because we didn't torture enough heretics and burn enough people at the stake, be my guest. The fact is, Franco's Spain was proceeded by La Movida Madrileña, in which people threw off the restrictive mores of "Catholic Spain". And all the laws in the world couldn't have prevented this.

2. Connected to this is the fact that coercion is not a means to convince someone of your point of view. The idea that their is a spiritual good that transcends the material good of some people is not Christian:

What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him? If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit? Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. (James 2: 14-17)

To destroy the body of someone in order to save his soul is foolishness. Yes, I am passing judgement on the past. But if you want to argue the contrary opinion, be my guest. Just don't whine about it when you end up on the rack.

3. Yes, we live in a bad society. One absolute abomination is the ease by which women destroy their babies in their own wombs. One of these days, we are going to have to answer for this. Remember, every nation has an angel according to the Fathers of the Church. What must our angel think?

However, unless we are prepared to lynch homosexual couples in the street, ban artificial birth control, and force women to stay home to raise the kids, we are just going to have to deal with it. If we are to sow the Kingdom of God here and now, we have to do it by persuasion and example and not by force and counter-productive nostalgia. I am glad that our Church in this day and age does not have to use instruments of violence in order to get its way. There are many things that are wrong with this society, but also many things that right. Let us just be thankful that we are where we are.


At 8:33 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

There should, have been and can be laws against abortion which is pre-birth infanticide.

There have been laws (and still are in many US (Protestant) states) against sodomy.
Whether they work or not is a separate question.

Perhaps it is not laws, beyond the tax structure, but a culture (TV, MTV, pornography etc) that demeans motherhood, promotes sexual "liberation" etc.
Of course we cannot force women to stay home with babies, but some women (especially your paisanas from Mexico but economic pressures force 2 incomes) want to stay home with children but some consider them not as significant to society and they should be lawyers, doctors or at least have jobs and there is a need for 2 incomes or the modern society does not seem to stress responsibility with males and there are too many single moms.
While it is not force, and most people your or Levi's age will disagree, standards in movies and TV are not so crazy and were once part of US society and laws.

I will agree that is nostalgia for some (Medeival times without the warts, or an imaginary 1950s USA, or a Mexico that never existed where all the problems are because of Freemasons and the simple Indigenous people just loved Spanish colonail rule)
also we are not in a position in the USA to enforce our will (right or wrong)

AND the current school of thought has moved away from Aquinas and Pius V to Pope John Paul the II (some good and some bad) but against the death penalty, against war as a way to solve problems, (Aquinas had the Just War theory), interfaith dialogue (some of which is very good), ecumenicism, tolerenace, religious freedom, dignity of the individual, liberty, political freedom, certain economic rights (just wage etc) Some predate Vatican II.

Coercion is only possible when you are in power.

If Arturo disagrees with me anymore or Levi has anymore doubts we can do burning at the stake, the rack (some inaccurately call it the wheel)or other methods of coercion.

I do like very much the image of the Good Samaritan you have for this post.

At 8:22 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I do think the old school discipline of children and in old school Catholic schools was better.
That was physical violence against the body and coercion.
You need a little force or you will have chaos.

At 9:21 PM, Blogger Levi said...

I don't think anyone read the last comment I gave on the other post. The point was not that I was having doubts about the Church, because frankly, I really don't. I dealt with all the doubts my weak little mind could muster before I entered the Church.

My point was to ask why any of the distinctly Catholic doctrines matter if there is no real opposition between Protestantism and Catholicism? I really think there is. Most of my friends are protestant, and while we are still friends there is still much opposition between us that cannot be explained away by saying we are talking past each other, creating a false dialectic, etc.

I'm not saying we need to take power and kill them all. But I don't see a problem with having a critical attitude toward a heresy that tries to masquerade itself as the church. Especially, if St. John the Apostle can run out of a bath house telling people to get out before the roof caves in, because a heretic has come in.

That's all.

At 12:32 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Arturo's trial for heresy is beginning soon.
It will be broadcast on YouTube using modern technology.
The rack may be employed although we think a confession will come quicker.
No need for burning at the stake.
However, the blog will require a Nihil Obstat and Imprimatur for all posts and purging of past posts with an apology and admission of heresy.

At 1:54 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What about Parents and Teachers and physical discipline and "coercion"?

At 3:30 PM, Blogger Jim said...

El Caudillo,

A small point, but FYI -- the U.S. Supreme Court struck down all state-level anti-sodomy statutes a couple of years ago. They are all now unconstitutional.

At 4:41 PM, Blogger Levi said...

I find it funny that things that aren't addressed in the constitution can be declared unconstitutional. Whatever happen to that being up to the states? Oh well, I guess the states can resist if they want...After all, the supreme court doesn't make law.

And it would be interesting to see our president send federal marshals to go enforce the right to sodomize.

At 4:59 PM, Blogger Jim said...

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the Court drew on the same part of the constitution (the due process clause of the 14th amendment) to strike down state anti-abortion laws as it did to strike down state anti-sodomy laws.

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