Friday, December 2, 2011

My Take on the News: The San Jose Articles, Natural Law, International Law, and Getting a Grip

I haven't heard "I got rights!" used as catchphrase in stories for quite a while, and that's another topic. Folks have had odd notion about what sort of 'rights' they have.

Some Things Change

Some 'rights,' like the one defended by the Dred Scott v. Sandford decision, aren't fashionable any more. Not it today's America, at least. Others are hot news items. Or should be. Like this week's story:
  1. San Jose Articles: Pro-Life Manifesto
Like I said, some things change, like:
  • Fashions in clothing
  • What folks think is entertaining
  • The location of my hairline
    • On its relentless march down the back of my head
I've been having fun with what Elizabethan-era audiences liked, in my posts about Marlowe's "...Faustus." More topics.

Some Things Don't Change

Some things, on the other hand, don't change, like:
  • Human life
    • Is sacred
      (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2258)
    • "Human life must be respected and protected absolutely from the moment of conception...."
      (Catechism, 2270)
      • Even people who are
        • Sick
        • Handicapped
        (Catechism, 2276)
  • God
    • Transcends all creatures
      (Catechism, 42)
    • Lives
      (Catechism, 205)
    • Matters
      (Catechism, 268-274)
    (Not even close to a complete list)
  • Natural law
    (Catechism, 1952, 1954-1960)
How can I possibly say that those things don't change? If Congress passes a law making it legal to euthanize folks who are sick, or ugly, or have annoying habits, won't that make it okay?

Actually, no. I've discussed natural law, crime and/or evil and Chicken Man, before.

Some acts are always bad, including:

Natural Law?

I think most folks accept the idea that if you drop something, it will fall toward the center of the Earth. Unless something like buoyancy, inertial effects, electromagnets, or prestidigitation is involved.

Assuming that you're on Earth, of course. Some folk aren't, at the moment. I've written about the International Space Station in another blog. Good grief, more topics again.

Like I said, I think most folks accept the notion that physical laws like gravity aren't subject to legislation or protest petitions. Natural law isn't quite so widely accepted: maybe because the consequences aren't as immediately apparent as the ones of dropping a brick on your foot.

Basically, natural law is a set of rules that haven't changed, and won't. They were valid when Hammurabi had his laws carved into a block of black stone, a little over 37 centuries back.

They're valid today, whether we like them or not: and they'll be valid 37 centuries from now. Assuming that creation's clock doesn't run out before then.

Odds are pretty good that clothing styles will be different in the year 5711, when our time will be as far back as Hammurabi's is today. But natural law will be the same:
"The natural law is immutable and permanent throughout the variations of history;10 it subsists under the flux of ideas and customs and supports their progress. The rules that express it remain substantially valid. Even when it is rejected in its very principles, it cannot be destroyed or removed from the heart of man. It always rises again in the life of individuals and societies:
"Theft is surely punished by your law, O Lord, and by the law that is written in the human heart, the law that iniquity itself does not efface.11"
(Catechism, 1958)

Zoot Suit Theology and Getting a Grip

"Natural law" doesn't mean that we're never supposed to change any of our laws or customs. That would be as silly as thinking that Deuteronomy 22:5 means the way some Americans dressed in the 1940s was divinely ordained to be the dress code for all time. I've been over that before. (September 26, 2009)

Personally, I like some of the styles of the '40s and '50s. But I'm pretty sure that God the Almighty didn't ordain that man should for all time wear zoot suits.

Being Alive is Important

"Human life must be respected and protected absolutely from the moment of conception. From the first moment of his existence, a human being must be recognized as having the rights of a person—among which is the inviolable right of every innocent being to life...."
"Those whose lives are diminished or weakened deserve special respect. Sick or handicapped persons should be helped to lead lives as normal as possible."
I'm inclined to agree with that. Which is just as well, since as a practicing Catholic I have to accept the idea that human life must be respected. Even if it's the life of someone who's sick, ugly, or annoying.

Here's the news item that got me started:

1. San Jose Articles: Pro-Life Manifesto

Folks who don't want 'the wrong sort' to have 'too many' babies won't like this. I think it's good news:
"Pro-Life Manifesto Spreading"
ZENIT (November 28, 2011)

"A pro-life document by the name of the San Jose Articles is being publicized in many countries around the world. The most recent countries where it has been presented are Italy, Uruguay and the Philippines.

"The Articles contain a series of affirmations regarding the inviolability of human life and the fact that there is no international 'right' to abortion. It is meant to be an aid to counter affirmations by agencies and representatives of the United Nations who continue to insist such a right does exist.

"The document has been signed by leading academics, such as Robert George of Princeton, John Haldane of St. Andrews, and John Finnis of Oxford. It is also supported by prominent politicians, including Anna Zaborska of the European Parliament and former French Cabinet Minister Christine Boutin...."
What impressed me as much as the San Jose Articles spreading around the world, was that "leading academics" would risk sign the document. Maybe they're simply trying to salvage some credibility from the wreckage left by political correctness and other ideological storms in academia. I hope that Robert George, John Haldane, and John Finnis, signed the San Jose Articles because it was the right thing to do.

Back to that article:

Genetic Imperialism?

One of the oldest ways to deal with unwanted ethnic groups was to kill their young. (Exodus 1:7-9, 15-16) 'Ethnic cleansing' is a relatively new term. The basic idea is anything but.

The odd notion of sabotaging your own nation's birthrate seems to be a new wrinkle. It's fairly clear that the old idea of keeping foreign populations in check is still - - - is 'alive and well' appropriate in this context?
"...'The San Jose Articles are primarily meant to shut down the false claim of an international right to abortion; but they constitute one of the biggest boosts so far to our fight against foreign-dictated contraception and sterilization,' Tatad told the Friday Fax....

"...Earlier in November the Rome launch took place. Among the Italians present were Giuseppe Benagiano of La Sapienza University of Rome, who is also the secretary general of the International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics, and Luca Volonte, president of the European Popular Party group in the Council of Europe...."
That "foreign-dictated contraception and sterilization" sounds pretty bad. Sadly, it's not always 'the other guy' who's trying a variation on the Pharaoh gambit:No rants, just an observation. America has national elections coming up in a year. We've got an opportunity to swap out leaders who support lethal policies.

I haven't heard outcry from America's 'better sort' about the sort of 'genetic imperialism' we seem to be involved in. I think a possible reason is that they're the ones who are worried about Africans having too many babies, and I've been over that before, too. (May 6, 2010)

The trick will be to find out which candidates are against making a sort of ethnic cleansing a condition for American cooperation, and which like the status quo.

As for whether or not America should be involved with foreigners? That's another topic, probably for another blog. My ancestors were all 'foreigners,' not all that far back: so I'm biased.

This post would have been shorter: but it's been a hectic week, and I didn't have time to edit it properly.

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Background:Posts in this blog: In the news:

What's That Doing in a Nice Catholic Blog?

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.