Thursday, June 30, 2011

A Rescued Four-Year-Old, Rules About Children, and Assumptions

The kid's okay, physically, now that doctors got about 500 cactus spines out of him.

Carlos Rico, the four-year-old's father, is in jail. Understandably, I think, under the circumstances. The boy was found on Interstate 20 near Sweetwater, where he'd been thrown from his father's car. Allegedly, as we say.

It gets worse.
"...Rico told Saginaw investigators that God told him to choke the boy and expel him from the car, [Sweetwater police Chief Jim] Kelley said. There was bruising on the boy's throat, he said...."
(Associated Press, via
But, like I said, the kid's okay, physically. My guess is that he's old enough to understand what happened - and has a very great deal to think about now.

Texas authorities are treating what was done to the boy as a crime - a serious one - and legal processes have started. The boy's stepmother came to Lubbock, where he'd been taken, to be with him. Texas officials don't know where his biological mother is. There's a custody hearing set for July 7.

'It's [not so] Obvious'

I could claim that what happened to four-year-old Angel Flores was 'proof' that you just can't trust:
  • Texans
  • Hispanics*
  • Men
  • Americans
  • Catholics*
  • Motorists
  • Police
  • Doctors
  • Social Workers
  • The CIA*
I might even convince some folks that I was right.

That's not gonna happen.

Thinking or feeling that anybody in that list was responsible for what happened to Angel Flores requires assumptions.

* The ones marked with an asterisk* in particular.

My guess is that a man named Carlos Rico, whose son is Angel Flores, is Hispanic. But this is America: He could be 'Hispanic' the way I'm a Scotsman. Assuming that the boy, his father, or his Mother, are Catholic assumes that they're Hispanic - plus assuming that all Hispanics are Catholic.

As for the CIA being involved? That'd take a really dedicated conspiracy theory buff. I don't think space aliens or Elvis are connected to this crime, either.

Job One - The Boy's Safety

Generally, I think it's a good idea for children to be raised by their parents. (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2201-2211) Provided, of course, that one of the parents doesn't decide that God told him (her) to kill the kid.

Children are not property. (Catechism, 2378) Children are persons:
"In creating man and woman, God instituted the human family and endowed it with its fundamental constitution. Its members are persons equal in dignity. For the common good of its members and of society, the family necessarily has manifold responsibilities, rights, and duties."
(Catechism, 2203)

"Parents must regard their children as children of God and respect them as human persons. Showing themselves obedient to the will of the Father in heaven, they educate their children to fulfill God's law."
(Catechism, 2222
We're not supposed to kill our children. The same goes for people who are old, ugly, sick, or 'in the way.' (Catechism, 2258-2317)

This is just a suggestion - but I think it couldn't hurt to pray for Angel Flores. He's got some rough times ahead of him, I think, not matter what happens. While you're at it, Carlos Rico could use prayer, too.

WHAT?! Pray for someone who choked his son and threw him out of a car?

Yes: Although I think that, at least in the short term, Angel Flores must be protected from his father - his father is also a human being. And, from the sounds of it, one whose mind is not in good working order. Regarding Carols Rico as a human being does not mean that I think he should not be sanctioned and restrained. And that's almost another topic.

Life is Sacred

But what about war? Isn't the Catholic Church all about waging war and killing people and stuff like that?

No. As a Catholic, I have to believe that war is a bad idea, and should be avoided. If possible. But it's not something to be avoided at any cost. We're not strict pacifists. (Catechism, 2307-2317) I've posted about 'just war' before.

Bottom line? Human life is sacred:
" 'Human life is sacred because from its beginning it involves the creative action of God and it remains for ever in a special relationship with the Creator, who is its sole end. God alone is the Lord of life from its beginning until its end: no one can under any circumstance claim for himself the right directly to destroy an innocent human being.'56"
(Catechism, 2258)
Maybe you knew someone who was Catholic, and oozed hatred. There are more than 1,000,000,000 of us alive just now. Some of us aren't very good advertisements for our faith.

What the Catholic Church teaches is that we should not - must not - hate other people. Or, for that matter, ourselves. (Catechism, 1033, 1765, 2262) It may sound corny, but the idea is to 'hate the sin, love the sinner.' (John 8:1-11; Catechism, 1465, 1846) I've posted about that before, too. (, January 28, 2009)

Getting a Grip

I think everybody makes assumptions. Some assumptions are fairly harmless - like assuming that broccoli won't taste good. Others, not so much.

Like the person who's convinced that the Catholic Church is behind 'domestic terrorism' directed at a family member. I'm not making that up.1 Sadly, quite a few folks have a distorted view of what the Catholic Church is - including some Catholics.

I don't expect to change the mind of a zealot - but my conversion to Catholicism came partly from my curiosity about wild claims against the Church. Maybe telling what we're really like will help someone else.

In the news:

1 See "Pro-Life? You May be a Dangerous Domestic Terrorist! MIAC Says So" (March 23, 2009) - comment by Anonymous (June 28, 2011 7:40 p.m.)


Brigid said...

There's an extra word in this sentence: "There's a custody hearing is set for July 7."

The Friendly Neighborhood Proofreader

Brian Gill said...


Oops. Found, fixed, and thanks!

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From time to time, a service that I use will display links to - odd - services and retailers.

I block a few of the more obvious dubious advertisers.

For example: psychic anything, numerology, mediums, and related practices are on the no-no list for Catholics. It has to do with the Church's stand on divination. I try to block those ads.

Sometime regrettable advertisements get through, anyway.

Bottom line? What that service displays reflects the local culture's norms, - not Catholic teaching.