Monday, December 17, 2012

Solidarity and Silly Ideas

Over the last two centuries, the English-speaking world swung from one silly idea to another:
  • Technology and science will solve all our problems
  • Technology and science cause all our problems
The idea that trouble isn't our fault, that it comes from something other than our own decisions, is hardly new:
"For mischief comes not out of the earth, nor does trouble spring out of the ground;

"2 But man himself begets mischief, as sparks fly upward."
(Job 5:6-7)

Ethics Matter

No matter what sort of technology we have, we can't get away from natural law. And that's another topic. The idea that at least some human beings are "beyond good and evil" may still be attractive: but it's not the way things work. (March 9, 2012)

Science and technology:
  • Are
    • Precious resources
      • When placed at the service of humanity
      • Promoting humanity's development
        • All humanity
    • Related to humanity
      • Made by humanity
      • Used by humanity
  • Can't
    • Show the meaning of
      • Existence
      • Human progress
    (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2293)
There's more, about ethics and research. (Catechism, 2294-2295)

On a related point, organ transplants are okay: but killing someone to get parts for someone else isn't. (Catechism, 2296)

What the Catholic Church says isn't "science is evil," or "technology kills." We're told that ethics matter, whether we use old-fashioned tech or the latest gadgets.

Environmental Issues and the Pope

The coming ice age gave way to global warming as the crisis du jure, and we didn't die in global disasters that didn't happen. (October 30, 2009)

I'm as concerned about environmental issues as I was on the first Earth Day: but I've learned to take what 'experts' say with a grain of salt. Sometimes the whole container.

I might not have taken this seriously, if it had come from another source:
"Questions linked to the care and preservation of the environment today need to give due consideration to the energy problem...."
("Caritas in Veritate," 49)
Benedict XVI is Pope, so I need to pay attention to what he says. Besides, he's got a track record for making sense. Infallibility, by the way, doesn't mean that a Pope can't make mistakes. John Paul II talked about that. (March 24, 1993)

I kept reading.


"Solidarity" shows up quite a bit in documents coming from the Vatican. The word means several things, depending on context:
  1. The integration shown by a society or group with people and their neighbors
    • The degree and type of integration
    • Ties in a society that bind people to one another
    • Generally employed in sociology and other social sciences
  2. The name of a socialist newspaper
  3. A political movement in Poland
    • Began in the labor unions
    • Contributed to the fall of Communism in Poland
  4. A union of interests or purposes or sympathies among members of a group
    (Princeton's WordNet)
  5. A moral and social attitude
    • Recognizing interdependence as a "virtue"
    ("Sollicitudo rei socialis," John Paul II)
In "Caritas in Veritate," I'm pretty sure that "solidarity" is a moral and social attitude that recognizes interdependence as a "virtue."

For me, recognizing interdependence isn't so much "virtuous," as obvious. I also recognize that we need oxygen: and that's almost another topic.

"...A Pressing Moral Need for Renewed Solidarity..."

"...On this front too, there is a pressing moral need for renewed solidarity, especially in relationships between developing countries and those that are highly industrialized [118]. The technologically advanced societies can and must lower their domestic energy consumption, either through an evolution in manufacturing methods or through greater ecological sensitivity among their citizens...."
("Caritas in Veritate," 49)
I live in one of those "technologically advanced societies," and acknowledge that as a group we waste an awful lot of power and resources. I'm not sure about pushing "greater ecological sensitivity:" quite a few of us seem to be too overwrought.

I'd settle for folks learning to turn off equipment we're not using. Keeping doors closed during winter would help, too.

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.