Monday, October 15, 2012

'I Love Humanity - - - '

'I love humanity, it's people I can't stand.' is a pretty good way of expressing a particular attitude. So is 'I love people, it's humanity I can't stand.'

There have been times when I've felt like embracing both views: not at the same time, though, and that's another topic.

"Never ... an Abstract Attitude"

The humor, or sarcasm, in 'I love humanity...' involves distinctions between the abstract idea of "humanity," and the anything-but-abstract reality of people we know. Or, for that matter, people we don't know.

I think it's okay to 'love humanity,' but I need to be concerned with people, too:
"... Social concern must never be an abstract attitude. ..."
("Caritas in Veritate," 47)


When "abstract" is used as an adjective, as it is in that sentence, it means:
  1. Existing only in the mind
    • Separated from embodiment
  2. Not representing or imitating
    • External reality
    • The objects of nature
  3. Dealing with a subject in the abstract
    • Without practical purpose or intention
    (Princeton's WordNet)
I think it's definition #3 that's particularly important in the context of "Caritas in Veritate." Thinking lovely thoughts about caring for "the underprivileged" doesn't do much good unless they lead to action.

Love, Neighbors, and Bureaucracies

Turning 'social concern' into practical action is important: Luke 10:30-37 and all that. I've been over this before. Often:
Thinking that individual people are important isn't the same as saying that all charity must be done by individuals, for individuals:
"...Development programmes, if they are to be adapted to individual situations, need to be flexible...."
("Caritas in Veritate," 47)
Benedict XVI doesn't try to micromanage by describing exactly how each development program should work. The Pope does say that the programs should be:
  • Flexible
  • Involve the people who benefit
    • Directly
    • In the programs'
      • Planning
      • Implementation
There's more - there always seems to be more - about development programs and people. Also why "bureaucratic and administrative machinery" needs to be watched: carefully. And that's almost another topic, for another post.
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.