Sunday, September 16, 2012

The War on Terror vs. The War on Women

It’s interesting to note that those who think the term “war on terror” is politically incorrect seem to be very comfortable with the term “war on women”.

The war on terror should be called “overseas contingency operation”, but the war on women, happening right here at home, is a real war and The Catholic Church is a top aggressor. How dare they not help pay for the contraception of others; to help them deface their natural & healthy fertility!? How dare the Church want legal protection for every human life!? Have you ever heard of such madness!? While this travesty is happening in the U.S, there are some actually worried about a few extremists in the Middle East who get carried away sometimes.  If we could be a little nicer to them, I’m sure they would lighten-up so we could focus more on the real war happening in our own backyard.
In case you can’t tell, I’m being sarcastic. What would a real war on women look like? Consider a scenario where men kill innocent women and call it an “honor killing” or a land where men will relieve a woman of her nose with a knife if she removes her veil in public. Now that is a war on women if I ever heard of one.
Is the Catholic Church an enemy of women or did the Catholic Church actually begin woman’s liberation? In a book called How the Catholic Church Built Western Civilization, by Thomas E. Woods, Jr., Ph.D., we read about some interesting things that may not be taught in our public schools (or Catholic schools for that matter).
Ø  After the promiscuity of the ancient Romans, the early Church taught that intimate relations were only for husband and wife restoring dignity to women and marriage in general.
Ø  The Church also sanctified marriage elevating it to the level of a sacrament and prohibited divorce. This was a huge benefit to the women of the ancient world. Men could not leave their wives with nothing to run off and marry another woman.
Ø  Adultery, according to the Church was not confined to only a wife’s infidelity, as the ancient world so often had it. The men were held equally accountable.
Ø  The Catholic Church helped women gain autonomy. Women were allowed to form self-governing communities. Where in history were women able to run their own schools, convents, colleges, hospitals and orphanages outside Catholicism?
So numerous were the women joining the Church in the early centuries, the Romans thought Christianity was a religion for women.
As mentioned before on this blog, every problem has a cause and an effect and it is important to know which is which. Do we really understand the cause of the problem or are we only fixated on the effects? A root-cause of many societal problems is a misunderstanding of the word “freedom”. The supposed war on woman is about people thinking rights are being taken away and taking away rights would be akin to losing freedom, but if we understand true freedom we understand this: Freedom is NOT being able to do what we want; freedom is being able to do what we ought.

Fight for true freedom

Friday, September 7, 2012

The Evil of Two Lessers

You're the Diet Coke of evil.
Just one calorie, not evil enough.
Some speak of voting for “the lesser of two evils” in the upcoming presidential election and that voting this way only brings more evil.  A more accurate phrase may be “the evil of two lessers” IF we understand the reality of evil.

Thomas Aquinas tells us that good signifies “perfect being” and evil signifies “the privation of perfect being”, so when a thing lacks a perfection it ought to have, we perceive the deficiency as evil (see his Compendium of Theology). 

Another important point is that evil has no substance, nature or being. We may say for example, Satan is evil, but the word "evil" is an adjective. Satan is not evil itself in the way that God is Goodness itself. Think of darkness; it is merely the absence of light. Darkness doesn’t come from anywhere or find its source in anything; it is merely the lack of something. No one can bring more darkness or take away darkness; one can only take away light, bring light or stop light from dimming. Once we understand all this, we can see that any candidate is a “lesser” in the sense that everyone is imperfect and the imperfection can be called evil. So we are really talking about the imperfection of two candidates or “the evil of two lessers”.
Think of monetary debt as an election issue. Candidate “A” has a plan that will grow the debt by 20% per year. Candidate “B” has a plan that will grow the debt by 10% per year. Let’s say debt or negative dollars = evil and positive dollars = good. No one really brings negative dollars. I can’t hand you a negative dollar bill. Both plans result in more debt, but "B" is better. Going back to our light metaphor, Candidate “B” will slow the dimming of light better, or bring more light to help compensate or some combination of both. The result is more light (more dollars) than "A".

We can easily relate this to the topic of abortion or the killing of human beings. Suppose Adolf Hitler died before the fall of Nazi Germany and there was an election for a successor. Candidate “A” wants to keep the killing of all Jews legal. Candidate “B” wants only the killing of Jews who are a product of rape/incest or any Jew unintentionally threatening the life of a German. Both are imperfect because both will allow killing, but Candidate “B” brings more good , moving closer to perfection like lighting one candle brings more light in the darkness.  Is choosing NOT to vote at all in this scenario a sin of omission, because “B” could possibly save many lives? Just a question.

Of course, there is always a third party or a write-in candidate. This option reminds me of the contemplative side of Catholicism. A big part of contemplation is to be in the present moment because that is where we find God. The past is gone and the future does not exist; there is ONLY now. In the present moment there is no time to build-up a more perfect (or less evil) third candidate that can win. In our moment in the voting booth, we can only try to bring more good (more light) based on the candidates we have.
It is better to light one candle than to curse the darkness.

Monday, September 3, 2012

A Week without God

Something I saw in a local parish bulletin (plus a political convention going on) made me think of “A Week without God”. Hope you like…

"If you were blind, you would have no sin; but since you say, 'We see,' your sin remains. (John 9:41)

“Be miserable and mourn and weep; let your laughter be turned into mourning and your joy to gloom.” (James 4:9)

     My tears have been my food day and night, while they say to me all day long, "Where is your God?" (Psalm 42:3)

"He found him in a desert land, and in the howling waste of a wilderness...(Deut 32:10) 

“but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst…" (John 4:14)

“but if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them; or else you may even be found fighting against God." (Act 5:3)

“He will judge among the nations, He will fill them with corpses, He will shatter the chief men over a broad country.” (Psalm 110:6)

Seven days without God makes one WEAK!