Friday, March 04, 2016

The Long, Slow Walk

Entrepreneur Bob was tired. It's not the sort of day you skip to the park with a picnic lunch. Cloudy and cold, it seemed as if the seasons have been arguing over whose turn it is. We didn't talk much, and that was fine by us.

When we got to Mass, I thought I could actually sense the angels during the consecration. As I approached for Holy Communion, I saw a whole row of old people. I let them go first. What a sight we must have been! Like the poor invited to the rich man's feast, because his honored guests were too good to come.

I don't have much to give you, Lord, but I heard there was a banquet.

Thursday, March 03, 2016

Hunger And Thirst

A friend gave a talk on the Eucharist last night. There were many interesting and informative aspects, but I realized--as I sat there unexpectedly moved by the love of God--that I wanted the Eucharist. And perhaps more than receiving Him in Holy Communion, I was thankful that the Sacrifice of the Mass is offered so widely. For it is the sacrifice of Calvary, re-presented. It's not repeated; it's offered so that we may stand at the foot of the cross, offering our love and all that we are as best we can. It may be the last two coins we have, so to speak, but we will offer them.

"For they offer it for themselves, and all who are dear to them, in hope of health and well-being." I understand why the priest says this. Our small gifts given to God rain down blessings upon everyone we know. It simply must be the Sacrifice of the Mass Our Lord was thinking of when he said, "After I am lifted up, I will draw all men to myself."

I must continually improve my dispositions, and my attention, at Mass. Many people we love may be drawn ever closer to God through us.

Wednesday, March 02, 2016

Be My Rest, O Jesus

If I said I was "concerned," that would be an understatement. I had trouble focusing during Mass today. I'm deeply convinced that we should all pay attention to the political process, and participate with fully-formed Catholic consciences. And in that, I forcefully reject any notion of making the perfect the enemy of the good.

I gave the Lord every feeling of agitation and anger. I have to surrender. I have to trust. And I am. In that, I will grow.

I may regard the advice to look for virtue elsewhere than in this sphere as nothing more than pious nonsense that shifts responsibility in the face of unreason, but perhaps people who say this are just tired. I'm tired, too.

But He's there. He lifts me up when I don't want to go on. He reminds me that he's not going anywhere. I remember his voice on the day his vicar decided it was time to go. He spoke to me in the silence. That was the day I realized I was a child, and God the Father was my father. I was 33 years old, and every shred of human love I could muster was streaming down my face. It was for this man, Benedict XVI, and I wasn't sure it was going to stop. But I went on. In God's mercy, I went on.

Therefore, even if the temporary triumph of evil men makes us weep, perhaps like we never have before, even if our very nation is taken away from us, Jesus will be there. And that's more than a platitude; He told me, as he has all the other times.

Tuesday, March 01, 2016

I'm Definitely Conservative, And I Don't Buy, "But Hillary Is Worse!"

There has to be a basic, "Don't vote for a fascist" clause, right? Clinton and Word-Salad both love abortion. They both will leave the redefinition of marriage in place, praising it all the while.

Mrs. Clinton appears to have committed a whole series of felonies...and she'd still be the better choice. This guy only understands whatever pleases him. We'd be lucky not to die by a nuclear weapon launched by him or at him. I fear for the well-being of every person of color in this country, unless they happen to serve Mr. Trump his food and drink.

I'm abstaining in the event of a Trump nomination. That is, unless explicitly instructed otherwise by ecclesiastical authorities.

Monday, February 29, 2016

Catholicism Versus Libertarianism: An Argument

I'm going to keep this one simple, because firstly, I am not all that smart, and secondly, the moral contours of the basic question are not in themselves complicated. Here we go:

The Catechism of the Catholic Church states in paragraph 2406: "Political authority has the right and duty to regulate the legitimate exercise of the right to ownership for the sake of the common good."

"The common good" is defined as, "the sum of those conditions of social life which allow social groups and their individual members relatively thorough and ready access to their own fulfillment."

The above definitions presuppose that the common good and the right of ownership exist. CCC, 2406 also suggests but does not specify that there could be a right to ownership that is illegitimate.

Therefore, political authority acts justly, prima facie, when it acts to secure relatively thorough and ready access to temporal goods, because that physical well-being, as an expression of the natural common good, is prior to the supernatural common good, but is not contrary to it. The natural common good is not contrary to the supernatural common good, because grace builds upon nature, but does not destroy it.

The universal destination of all goods, in accord with CCC, 2402, implies that the right of ownership of property in CCC, 2403 is theoretically subordinate to the supernatural common good.

Libertarianism asserts that political authority only acts justly with respect to private property when it upholds the obligations of contracts entered into freely, in accord with commutative justice; that is, it acts unjustly if it attempts to act for any other purpose.

But Catholic doctrine establishes that consent alone does not establish the morality of any agreement entered into freely, according to Rerum Novarum 44-45; that is, commutative justice and free will are not in themselves sufficient.

Libertarianism does not grant that the political authority may justly act in defense of other kinds of justice, or that the parties may enter into a contract that is intrinsically unjust with regard to things or persons. Thus, it does not theoretically subordinate the natural common good to the supernatural common good, because it denies that the former exists, or that the political authority has the right to regulate the right of private property in accord with the latter.

Therefore, libertarianism violates Catholic doctrine with respect to justice.

(Note: It is possible to argue that any particular regulation of the right of private property by political authority is imprudent, and possibly unjust, if such an action destroyed a natural solidarity that had developed, provided that the exchange in question was morally licit, and did not of itself prevent thorough and ready access to some necessary good.)