Monday, March 5, 2012

Upset Applecarts: A Hopeful Sign

I posted about "glaring inequalities" last week, and what "Caritas in Veritate" says about them. What was in one paragraph, anyway: basically, 'it's complicated.'

"Equality" is one of those interesting terms. I'm a practicing Catholic, so the sort of 'equality' I'm concerned about isn't of the 'everybody should be like me' variety:
  • Human beings are equal
    (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1934-1935)
  • But we're not all alike
    (Catechism, 1936)
  • And this is okay
    (Catechism, 1937)
I've said this sort of thing before, but since I'll be doing quite a lot of paraphrasing in this post, it bears repeating: I've got the teaching authority of "some guy with a blog." I don't speak for the Church. And I recommend reading "Caritas in Veritate" yourself. I'll link to parts that I mention.

Economic and Technological Progress: It's Not Enough

The Church isn't 'against' science and technology, or making money. But that sort of thing isn't enough:
"...Yet it should be stressed that progress of a merely economic and technological kind is insufficient...."
("Caritas in Veritate," 23)
Quite a few folks seem convinced that religion is anti-science, and science is anti-God. That didn't seem any more sensible to me, after I learned about a snit involving some gentlemen in Victorian England: but I think I can see how folks arrived at that odd belief.

And that's another topic. Maybe I'll get back to it, again, in another post.

Bottom line, I'm a practicing Catholic. Among other things, that means I don't have to cultivate ignorance of this astonishing creation:
"The heavens declare the glory of God; the sky proclaims its builder's craft."
(Psalms 19:2)

"Beyond these, many things lie hid; only a few of his works have we seen.

"It is the LORD who has made all things, and to those who fear him he gives wisdom."
(Sirach 43:34-35)

"...the things of the world
and the things of faith
derive from the same God...
(Catechism of the Catholic Church, 159)

"...Science and technology are ordered to man, from whom they take their origin and development; hence they find in the person and in his moral values both evidence of their purpose and awareness of their limits."
(Catechism, 2293)

Science, Technology, and Rules

Science and technology are okay - but the Catholic Church says ethics still apply:
  • Faith and science are compatible
    (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 159)
  • Science and technology
    • Can help people
      • Provided ethics are not violated
        (Catechism, 2292-2294)
    • Scientific medical research is a good idea
      (Catechism, 2292-2296)
  • Health care
    • Concern for health is a good idea
      (Catechism, 2288-2291)
      • Within reason
        (Catechism, 2289)
    • Organ transplants are okay
      • Breaking down a living person for parts is wrong
        • Even if it helps someone else
      (Catechism, 2296)
I've used parts of that list before. Quite a lot.

Politics, Ideologies, and Moving Ahead

When the Soviet Union broke up, about two decades back, folks in old Communist bloc countries had a chance to recover from generations of a really bad idea. Communism is one of those things that, I think, looks good on paper. But simply won't work in a society that includes human beings.

The Catholic Church 'obviously' must be conservative, since Benedict XVI had this to say about problems with the Communist bloc countries:
"...politics withdrew resources from the economy and from the culture, and ideology inhibited freedom...."
("Caritas in Veritate," 23)
Or maybe the Catholic Church is 'obviously' liberal, since it the Pope also said the West should re-think the way we do things:
"Moreover, in 1991, after the events of 1989, he asked that, in view of the ending of the blocs, there should be a comprehensive new plan for development, not only in those countries, but also in the West and in those parts of the world that were in the process of evolving[58]...."
("Caritas in Veritate," 23)
And, yes: he said other parts of the world should get their act together.

It'd be odd if today's major political philosophies didn't include some common sense: so I'm not surprised that some Catholic teachings show up in conservative and liberal thinking. But the Catholic Church is - Catholic. And that's yet another topic. (March 13, 2010, November 3, 2008)

I don't think anybody's got 'the perfect plan' for economic development. But I do think we're a whole lot closer to developing a better plan than we were when I was growing up. That's partly because long-entrenched social, economic, and political, systems are being forced to deal with change - or collapse.

Putting it another way, there's a whole lot of applecarts getting upset: all over the world. I'd rather have seen change achieved through calm, orderly, reasoned, steps. But at least today quite a few folks seem to accept the idea that change will happen.

The trick will be to see to it that changes are improvements.

More posts about "Caritas in Veritate" (Charity in Truth)
"Caritas in Veritate"

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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.