Monday, April 9, 2012

The Center of "True Development"

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

I've posted this before. A lot:
My Lord's answer to 'what is the greatest commandment' sounds may sound like the feel-good platitudes you sometimes see in greeting cards or self-help books. It's anything but, since we're expected to actually do something about loving God and our neighbor.

That, basically, seems to be what Benedict XVI's "Caritas in Veritate" is about: applying "love your neighbor" in today's world.

Human Beings are People

Judging by the way television advertising keeps airing pictures of ragged children with big, sad eyes, I figure that quite a few folks realize that human beings who are big and strong enough to at least sit up on their own are people. Even if their immediate ancestors clearly didn't come from northwestern Europe.

That's an improvement over all-too-common attitudes of the 19th century in the Western world. I've been over that before, too:
"...'...We blowed out a cylinder-head.'

" 'Good gracious! anybody hurt?''

"No'm. Killed a [redacted].'

"' Well, it's lucky; because sometimes people do get hurt....'..."
(Mark Twain, "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" Part 2 (1885), Chapter XXXII., via Project Gutenberg)
(from June 24, 2011)
That's progress, although it took American more than a century, and a major war, to go from "Dred Scott v. Sandford" (1857) to the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Maybe we'll process some of today's ethical lapses faster, and more tidily.

Poverty, People, and the "Surplus Population"

Here's how today's section of "Caritas in Veritate" starts:
"One of the most striking aspects of development in the present day is the important question of respect for life, which cannot in any way be detached from questions concerning the development of peoples. It is an aspect which has acquired increasing prominence in recent times, obliging us to broaden our concept of poverty[66] and underdevelopment to include questions connected with the acceptance of life, especially in cases where it is impeded in a variety of ways...."
("Caritas in Veritte," 28)
What we're talking about here is a high infant mortality rate. Sometimes the kids die because their parents and community are poor. Sometimes they die because someone kills them.

I'd like to believe that generations of "Christmas Carol" remakes on television, with Scrooge's pre-melted crack about the "surplus population," have had some effect. And that's almost another topic.

All Human Beings are People

Since I'm a practicing Catholic, I have to believe that human beings are people. All human beings: even those who get in my way, or are too young, old, weak, or sick, to fight back.

That's not what my native culture tells me: but I've learned that the millennia-spanning outfit I joined knows what it's talking about. More topics.

The reasons that I can't say it's okay to kill people who haven't done anything wrong are tied up in what the Catholic Church says about human beings and life:

'Helping the Natives,' Culling the Herd

I might have been shocked at this:
"...Some non-governmental Organizations work actively to spread abortion, at times promoting the practice of sterilization in poor countries, in some cases not even informing the women concerned. Moreover, there is reason to suspect that development aid is sometimes linked to specific health-care policies which de facto involve the imposition of strong birth control measures. Further grounds for concern are laws permitting euthanasia as well as pressure from lobby groups, nationally and internationally, in favour of its juridical recognition...."
("Caritas in Veritte," 28)
As it is, I've known for years that 'civilized' countries have a 'spay and neuter' policy where the 'natives' in some parts of the world are concerned.

That's putting it rather bluntly: but it's an unpleasant situation. And one which I find profoundly distasteful. Particularly since I don't think answers to the problems of poverty should include killing the victims. Or sterilizing women who aren't of the 'proper sort.'

It would have been nice, if Western culture had learned from efforts to clean up Europe's gene pool. (April 8, 2012) As it is, we seem to have a reality check or two ahead.

Poverty, People, and Getting a Grip

Like I've said before, I recommend reading "Caritas in Veritate." I try to hit the main points - but there's a whole lot more in the document. Here's part of the last paragraph in section 28:
"...Openness to life is at the centre of true development. When a society moves towards the denial or suppression of life, it ends up no longer finding the necessary motivation and energy to strive for man's true good. ... By cultivating openness to life, wealthy peoples can better understand the needs of poor ones, ... they can promote virtuous action within the perspective of production that is morally sound and marked by solidarity, respecting the fundamental right to life of every people and every individual."
("Caritas in Veritte," 28)
I don't think it's too much of a stretch to say that poverty is a problem: but killing poor people isn't a good solution.

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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.