Thursday, April 13, 2017

My latest contribution to the Jaded Politics project courtesy of the Musings From Exile weblog{1} can be read HERE.

As there is no shortage of folks across the political spectrum who are drinking various flavours of Kool Aid where the Trump Administration is concerned, it seems appropriate to remind folks of what my standard disclaimer on that subject entails:

I am one of the very few no BS commentators on the actions of the Trump Administration; meaning: you will get no BS from me on what they do. I call fair balls and strikes. I am no administration slappie unlike a lot of folks now who unfortunately were reactionary critics of Obama for eight years. Nor am I a reactionary critic either unlike a lot of folks who are now but were Obama slappies for eight years previously. If you are looking for either (i) uncritical and mindless fanbot worship of the Trump Administration or (ii) constant unrelenting criticism of everything the Trump Administration does, this page is not for you. If however, you are looking for someone who will call a fair strike zone and give credit to President Trump and his Administration where warranted and also criticize them when warranted, then you are at the right place!{2}

This same disclaimer applies to virtually every subject out there. To frame it another way, and since this weblog only recently became active again, for those who do not know or may have forgotten: I call fair balls and strikes on all subjects I write on. I do not believe in spin nor do I believe in being a slappie for any person or cause{3} -even those causes I happen to generally agree with.

And as the weblog archives of Rerum Novarum more than adequately substantiates this claim; ergo, no more needs to be said on that at the present time.


Notes:

{1} "I link to the Musings From Exile weblog version so I do not trigger a trackback to it on the main page; thereby ensuring that I keep Rerum Novarum separate from that project." [Excerpt from Rerum Novarum (circa April 8, 2017)]

{2} Excerpt from the Musings From Exile Article Introduction and Page Disclaimer (circa April 5, 2017)

{3} Though I write from a predominantly conservative point of view politically and socially, I am a longtime Independent voter. I am therefore not wedded to conservatism and when I view it as wrong or lacking on an issue, I will where applicable say so. On moral and ethical matters, my position is within Catholic thought and this also applies to theological matters. However, with Catholic positions that fall outside the realm of doctrine, if I view a given position taken as wrong or lacking, said positions will hardly be blindly accepted by me no matter now predominant they may be.

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Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Points to Ponder:

"A willingness to apologize is part of the willingness to shoulder responsibility, which is an important part of growing up. A mature person is supposed to feel regret when he or she has offended or upset some other person...Someone who rarely apologizes will seem unsympathetic and uninterested in coming to terms with others. He or she will seem overly proud. It may seem to a more dispassionate observer that that person is more insecure than arrogant, and unwilling to admit to a mistake for that reason." [Fredric Neuman M.D.]

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Tuesday, April 11, 2017


My latest contribution to the Jaded Politics project courtesy of the Musings From Exile weblog{1} can be read HERE.

It was actually was originally handled in a much shorter blurb to this humble weblog yesterday. After the project editor in a conference asked if anyone wanted this story for Jaded Politics, I figured since I already had a blurb done on it here at Rerum Novarum that I would take it and rework it a bit for that endeavour. The above link encapsulates the essence of yesterday's blurb but goes into greater detail on the subject with pictures and video.

Note:

{1} "I link to the Musings From Exile weblog version so I do not trigger a trackback to it on the main page; thereby ensuring that I keep Rerum Novarum separate from that project." [Excerpt from Rerum Novarum (circa April 8, 2017)]


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Monday, April 10, 2017

Woman Banned From Uber for Life After Threatening to Falsely Accuse Driver of Rape

This sort of story is a good reason to assert the following: any woman who falsely accuses a man of rape and has him charged should be imprisoned for the equivalent amount of time he would serve if convicted of such a charge.

By the way, the same principle goes for false claims in any other area as well (i.e. domestic violence). No one who engages in false accusations should be allowed to walk away unscathed from their lies. And this same principle should apply to cops who lie, prosecutors who during a trial who withhold evidence, etc. Furthermore, any and all false accusations should be treated as a felony.

Maybe if this kind of hard approach was taken, there would be a deterrent from such stuff.

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More on the Controversial Dubia Subject:

I finished this material some time ago and have been debating with myself as to the best time to post it. I suppose there is no better time than the start of Holy Week, so I have decided to post it today. For those who have not seen the previous note on this subject, I recommend they read it first as it provides both some context as well as material for what is to follow.

To start with, I want to make it clear for any who object to the stance taken in the previous note that its not a requirement of the pope to respond to the four cardinals on their terms and whose “Dubia” is arguably worded in a somewhat disingenuous fashion. The reason I say this is simple: the answers are more complex than simple black and white yes and no answers. To illustrate that point in greater detail, I will touch on each question after posting them in their entirety first. Without further ado, let us get to it!

1. It is asked whether, following the affirmations of Amoris Laetitia (300-305), it has now become possible to grant absolution in the sacrament of penance and thus to admit to holy Communion a person who, while bound by a valid marital bond, lives together with a different person more uxorio without fulfilling the conditions provided for by Familiaris Consortio, 84, and subsequently reaffirmed by Reconciliatio et Paenitentia, 34, and Sacramentum Caritatis, 29. Can the expression “in certain cases” found in Note 351 (305) of the exhortation Amoris Laetitia be applied to divorced persons who are in a new union and who continue to live more uxorio?

My response to Question #1:

Question #1 as phrased above involves certain presuppositions and drastically over-simplifies the situations of the divorced and remarried.{1} It cannot for those reasons be answered in a one word yes or no format; therefore, to ask for an answer in that form as the four cardinals do comes off to these eyes as rather questionable viz their motives for reasons I specified in the previous note{2}.

2. After the publication of the post-synodal exhortation Amoris Laetitia (304), does one still need to regard as valid the teaching of St. John Paul II’s encyclical Veritatis Splendor, 79, based on sacred Scripture and on the Tradition of the Church, on the existence of absolute moral norms that prohibit intrinsically evil acts and that are binding without exceptions?


My response to Question #2: 

Question #2 suffers from the same kind of presuppositional flaws as Question #1 does above. The Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia (AL) acknowledges that objective mortal sin is not always in individual circumstances actual mortal sin. How is that a denial of Veritatis Splendor's teaching on the existence of intrinsically grave sins? Simple, its not. But again, that cannot be explained with a simple yes or no answer and the cardinals who issued this “Dubia” should know this as its a pretty fundamental Catholic moral theology issue.

3. After Amoris Laetitia (301) is it still possible to affirm that a person who habitually lives in contradiction to a commandment of God’s law, as for instance the one that prohibits adultery (Matthew 19:3-9), finds him or herself in an objective situation of grave habitual sin (Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts, “Declaration,” June 24, 2000)?

My response to Question #3: 

Question #3 is asking if the prohibition against adultery is still in force. Obviously it is. The assumption behind the question from all appearances is that any “objective situation of grave habitual sin” (“Dubia”) must ipso facto involve actual mortal sin. I touched on this in my prior note{3} but again, the attempt with the question to try and force a one word answer is at the very least suspicious.{4}

4. After the affirmations of Amoris Laetitia (302) on “circumstances which mitigate moral responsibility,” does one still need to regard as valid the teaching of St. John Paul II’s encyclical Veritatis Splendor, 81, based on sacred Scripture and on the Tradition of the Church, according to which “circumstances or intentions can never transform an act intrinsically evil by virtue of its object into an act ‘subjectively’ good or defensible as a choice”?

My response to Question #4: 

Question #4 proposes a false dichotomy in the form of an argument which strives to make "circumstances which mitigate moral responsibility” incompatible with a condemnation of acts which are objectively intrinsically evil. This is a false dichotomy disingenuously masquerading as a question. Furthermore, it cannot be answered accurately with a single word yes or no so again, the cardinals who pushed this publicly contrary to the manner in which the Magisterium has said such issues should be handled{5} are for that reason at least deserving of a rebuke. I for one consider Pope Francis’ refusal to even acknowledge them on this to be an adequate rebuke but that is neither here nor there. Onto the final question.

5. After Amoris Laetitia (303) does one still need to regard as valid the teaching of St. John Paul II’s encyclical Veritatis Splendor, 56, based on sacred Scripture and on the Tradition of the Church, that excludes a creative interpretation of the role of conscience and that emphasizes that conscience can never be authorized to legitimate exceptions to absolute moral norms that prohibit intrinsically evil acts by virtue of their object?

My response to Question #5: 

Question #5 is essentially a form of Neo-Feeneyism as it by logical extension treats every objectively grave act as automatically an actual mortal sin. In that sense, it is more or less a rehashing of Question #4. Like its predecessor question, this question involves presuppositions that fly in the face of Magisterial teaching (pre-Francis), the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC){6}, and Doctors of the Church such as St Alphonsis Ligouri and St Thomas Aquinas. And like the prior questions, it cannot be accurately responded to in a one word answer which again, the drafters of the “Dubia” have to have known. We are not talking about ordinary Catholics in the pew here as for them this might not be so evident. No, these are Cardinals of the Roman Church so what is their excuse for either not knowing this or (if they did) disingenuously pretending they did not in issuing this purported “Dubia” to Pope Francis?

In summary, while I have my own issues with some of what Pope Francis has said and done -and even in some minor ways with this Apostolic Exhortation{7}; nonetheless, the Pope’s choosing to leave these four Cardinals hanging by not responding to their "Dubia" is hardly one of them.


Notes:

{1} In essence, the divorced and remarried can go to Confession and then receive Communion if they are striving to live chastely but nonetheless fall into sin of a grave nature. And as often as they continue to strive to live chastely and yet fail, as long as their repentance is sincere, God will forgive them in Confession and they can receive Communion. This is why discretion and the aid of a Confessor on these matters is of no small importance and is emphasized a number of times in AL.

{2} "[I]t is not by seeking to exert the pressure of public opinion that one contributes to the clarification of doctrinal issues and renders servite to the truth" (CDF: Instruction Donum Veritatis). By any objective observation, these Cardinals ran afoul of this Joseph Ratzinger penned and John Paul II approved Instruction by taking their issue public as they did.” [Excerpt from the Facebook Note Very Briefly On the Dubia (circa March 13, 2017) as posted to Rerum Novarum (circa April 9, 2017)]

{3} “The bottom line is this: the principle that every objectively grave act or situation is not automatically mortally sinful is not new.”  [Excerpt from the Facebook Note Very Briefly On the Dubia (circa March 13, 2017) as posted to Rerum Novarum (circa April 9, 2017)]

{4} See footnote two.

{5} "[I]t is not by seeking to exert the pressure of public opinion that one contributes to the clarification of doctrinal issues and renders servite to the truth" (CDF: Instruction Donum Veritatis as cited in the Facebook Note Very Briefly On the Dubia as posted to Rerum Novarum (circa April 9, 2017)]

{6} “The circumstances, including the consequences, are secondary elements of a moral act. They contribute to increasing or diminishing the moral goodness or evil of human acts (for example, the amount of a theft). They can also diminish or increase the agent's responsibility (such as acting out of a fear of death). Circumstances of themselves cannot change the moral quality of acts themselves; they can make neither good nor right an action that is in itself evil.” [Excerpt from the Catechism of the Catholic Church Part III, Section I, Chapter I, Article IV The Morality of Human Acts Section 1754 (circa October 11, 1992)]

{7} Sticking only to ecclesial matters here, I do believe that a greater emphasis on repentance and the Sacrament of Reconciliation as well as the importance of regularly receiving it for those who intend to receive Communion at mass would have been a worthwhile inclusion in AL. Also worth including could have been a recommended timeline of reception for folks who intend to continue receiving Communion on at least a weekly basis. (Say once every 3 months at least!) But that’s a subject for another time perhaps.

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Sunday, April 09, 2017

Very Briefly on the Dubia Subject...

As it is Lent and I am frankly beyond sick and tired of seeing the issue in question here be flogged in the feeds like a proverbial dead horse by the usual suspects, I am posting at this time with a few minor tweaks a note I wrote back in January which has been in draft form until now.{1} My words will be in regular font.

He should as the Roman Pontiff, answer [the] dubia

Why? To start with, the CDF has made it eminently clear in past instructions that "it is not by seeking to exert the pressure of public opinion that one contributes to the clarification of doctrinal issues and renders servite to the truth" (CDF: Instruction Donum Veritatis). By any objective observation, these Cardinals ran afoul of this Joseph Ratzinger penned and John Paul II approved Instruction by taking their issue public as they did.

Also, the deliberate obtuseness involved here frankly does not do those prelates any credit. This is not that hard to figure out really and here is a hint: it involves the ethical methodology of casuistry or case based reasoning seeking to resolve moral problems by applying abstract rules to concrete or particular instances. Here is an article on the subject for your consideration:

LINK

The bottom line is this: the principle that every objectively grave act or situation is not automatically mortally sinful is not new. St. Alphonsus Ligouri wrote on this in the seventeenth century, heck St. Thomas Aquinas wrote on it in the thirteenth century. Heck, St. John Paul II noted in 1984 that "[c]learly there can occur situations which are very complex and obscure from a psychological viewpoint and which have an influence on the sinner's subjective culpability" (Ap. Ex Reconciliato et Paenitentia). All Pope Francis has done is take that principle and apply it to the subject of divorce and remarriage. The argument is not that the latter is not wrong or seriously sinful of course but instead that "[i]t can no longer simply be said that all those living in any ‘irregular situation’ are living in a state of mortal sin" (Ap. Ex. Amoris Laetitia). Discernment of individual cases is needed and that is for penitents and their confessors to do, not those outside the specific situation, be they folks on Facebook, folks who write for periodicals, or even Cardinals of the Church. This is really not all that difficult for those who are not determined to be obtuse about it.

Oh and before anyone gets mad at me, hey I am just "speaking hard truths in love" here folks. Most notably the hard truths that individual situations are not as black and white as many may wish. I realize this frustrates the desire of many folks to play the roles of James and John and ask Jesus if they can call down fire from heaven on all the sinners and heathens but I digress.

Note:

{1} I have a sequel to this note that addresses various objections that were posted when this material was originally posted in comment form a while back. It will be published to this weblog and elsewhere soon.

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