Wednesday, October 21, 2009

And how about thoughts on this one?

Reprinted from Front Porch Republic:


There is no doubt that the Catholic Church supports the idea of a just social order, and has expounded on that order in the great Social Encyclicals. However, and despite more than 100 years of constant Papal teaching on this subject, the average Catholic—indeed, the average Bishop—is confused about it meaning or even unaware of its existence. Most preaching concerns personal sin without ever considering the social implications or connecting sin to a violation of a just social order. And yet, this is strange, since what makes a sin sinful is that it violates what the right order between a person and his neighbor and his God. Without a violation of this order, a thing cannot be sinful. This is expressed [...] read the rest here.


Marie said...

I wonder what the theological leanings of Keynes were? I need to read this again more carefully, but it seems the argument is sort of like saying atheists are always bad scientists or agnostic architects design buildings that fall down.

Suzanne said...

I don't think that's what he's saying. He asserts that the Church "lays down the criteria by which any social or economic system is to be judged" in the social encyclicals. So, a "good" government/social theory is one that matches up to the Church's teaching. That's how we judge whether it works, whether the building is standing -- that's where we find our criteria. There was a problem (I was not the first nor the only to remark it) in Chicago that some of the pastors seemed to run their parishes like businesses -- as if they were the CEO of a business. There are reasons for this, but here's my point -- a pastor could run his parish as a business, and the business could be deemed "good" -- the building is standing and we have money in the bank! But a "good" parish is not the same thing as a "good" business (though of course, a parish needs to manage money well). So, a society is like a parish for a Catholic -- to describe it one needs to look to the Church's standards. I think this is what the author is getting at.

Dumbstruck by the Mystery

...our temptation is always to impose our prejudices or our measure on reality -- except when we are faced with a fact that leaves us dumbstruck, and instead of dominating the fact ourselves, we are dominated, overcome by it. If there were no moments of this kind, the Mystery could do anything, but in the end, we would reduce everything to the usual explanation. But not even a Nobel Prize winner can stop himself from being dumbstruck before an absolutely gratuitous gesture. If there were not these moments, we would find answers, explanations, and interpretations to avoid being struck by anything. It is good that some things happen that we cannot dominate, then we have to take them seriously, and this is the great question of philosophy. If the conditions for the possibility of knowledge (see Kant) impose themselves on reality or if there is something that is so powerfully disproportionate that it does not let itself be "grasped" by the conditions of possibility, then the horizon opens. If this were not the case, then we could dominate everything and be in peace, or at least without drama. Instead, not even the intelligence of a Nobel Prize winner could prevent him from coming face-to-face with a fact that made him dumbstruck -- instead of dominating, it was he who was dominated. Here begins the drama, because I am called to answer. It is the drama that unfolds between us and the Mystery, through certain facts, certain moments, in which the Mystery imposes itself with this evidence. These are facts that we cannot put in our pocket, which we cannot reduce to antecedent factors.
-- Julian Carron in "Friends, that is, Witnesses."