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Showing posts with the label natural law

Changing Rules

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Today's tech and social norms aren't what they were in my youth. It's exciting. Or bewildering. Or unstable. Or dynamic. or any of a myriad other options.

Change happens, even if I don't approve. What matters is making good choices. More about that later.

These are the 'Good Old Days'
I'll indulge in nostalgia. Occasionally. Parts of my past are nice places to visit. But I wouldn't like living there.

Taking a stroll down memory lane lets me see the best times places, people and experiences. It's a 'best-of' selection.

But I certainly don't yearn for the days before social media, smart appliances, and online search software.

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

Off the Rails

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About 78 folks were on Amtrak Cascades passenger train 501 Monday morning. They'll be late. At best.

I'll be looking at what happened, new and old technology. Also how I see change and progress....

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

Love. And Science

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Pharisees and Sadducees had important roles in the Land of Israel for about two centuries by the time our Lord talked about love.

They agreed on quite a bit. Maybe more than they realized. But they didn't see assorted political, social, and philosophical points the same way.

Pharisees didn't like Helenization, adopting at least some foreign ideas. Sadducees thought Helenization was a generally good idea.

But Sadducees thought the written Torah was divine authority's only source.

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

Chasing Liberty, by Theresa Linden – Finding Authentic Freedom

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Chasing Liberty, by Theresa Linden, is the first in a dystopian trilogy of books centered around a young woman. Liberty resides in futuristic Aldonia; a city where authentic freedom, familial love and objective truth have been squashed by government forces aimed at controlling the population. Without the freedom to grow up in a family with a mother and father, Liberty tries to make her own way in a society that allows little choice.

As Liberty approaches adulthood, she is told by the government what her vocation will be: that of breeder. Apparently, she has exquisite genes and intelligence; so great, that the government decided that she would spend her fertile years giving birth to as many children as possible, via in vitro fertilization. She would never know if the children she carried were her own. In addition, she would be the nanny for groups of them for the first five years of their lives. Once the children reach the age of five, they relocate to another facility (like orphans) f…

Natural Law: What is It? What Role Does It Play? Inquiring Minds Want to Know.

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How is it that we innately always seem to know right from wrong, even when we freely choose to move in the direction of wrong? For example, how is it that I innately know that it is wrong to take a life of another? I don’t need to refer to the Fifth Commandment; nor do I need to have a civil law on the books to know that taking the life of another human being is just flat out wrong. The answer lies in God’s Natural Law, a law that is infused into the hearts of every man at birth.

Natural Law: What is it?
Natural law is the participation of man in the plan of God. It is the objective order established by God that determines the requirements for people to thrive and reach fulfillment, enabling man to ‘discern by reason the good and the evil, the truth and the lie.’1 God is all good. He wants only what is best for each of us. He has a plan and calls us to participate in His plan. God, as our Creator, established what is acceptable versus unacceptable behavior; what is good and what is ev…

"A Writer Who is Catholic"

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My #3 daughter has some of my qualities, and attitudes.

About four years back now, she vented frustration about writers, faith, and assumptions. She wasn't nearly as loud as I've often been during 'vents.'

When folks learned she's a writer, they'd often say something like 'oh, good: we need more Catholic writers.'

She'd say something like "I'm a writer who is Catholic, not a 'Catholic writer.'"

I know what she means. She isn't writing another 'lives of the Saints,' or book of prayers. She's a Catholic who writes....

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

Climate Change, Attitudes

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I'll be talking about Earth's climate, China's pollution problems, and icebergs: including one the size of Delaware. The big berg broke off from Antarctica this week.

The recent G20 meeting was mostly about economics, not climate change; but that didn't deter the usual colorful protestors.

I'm not complaining about folks at the fancy-dress street party in Hamburg. If nothing else, they added a touch of human interest to an otherwise-dry international business meeting....

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

We are Many, We are One

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One my favorite bits from the Bible is in this morning's readings....

...A "noise like a strong driving wind" in the sky had gotten their attention.

Maybe they'd also seen the "tongues as of fire," too. Or maybe that was visible only to the disciples inside. Now that I think of it, a loud 'whooshing' sound in the sky and descending fire might easily have started a stampede.

Anyway, folks outside were puzzled, since they had been hearing what the folks inside were saying.

That's not the puzzling part. I gather that Jerusalem in those days didn't provide nearly as much acoustic privacy as we're accustomed to. The decidedly odd part was that each person "heard them speaking in his own language." Hence the roll call of nationalities....

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

Natural Law, Our Rules

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Back in my 'good old days,' a half-century back, some claimed that science, technology, and a changing culture, made the 'outmoded morality' we'd been working with obsolete.

Others apparently believed that moral decay was caused by newfangled gadgets like the telephone and television: and, of course, 'Satanic' rock music....

...Folks who claimed that a changing world made 'conventional morality' obsolete were right: sort of.

That may seem odd, coming from a Catholic who agrees with Fulton Sheen....

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

Celebrating Mercy

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Here we go again. The headlines are accurate, as far as they go.
"Pope Francis Extends Priests' Ability to Forgive Abortion"
Elisabetta Povoledo, The New York Times (November 21, 2016)"Pope Francis extends Catholic priests' right to forgive abortion"
Tim Hume, Cristiana Moisescu, Lindsay Isaac; CNN (November 21, 2016) I'm pretty sure we'll see a replay of last year's sound and fury over the Pope's 'changing stand on abortion,' expressed in a letter dated September 1, 2015.1

The reality was nowhere near as horrific or hopeful as many folks apparently thought....

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

Stones, Sin, and Mercy

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(From Rembrandt, via Wikimedia Commons, used w/o permission.)
(Jesus and the Adulteress, Rembrandt.)

I figure you know what happens in John 8:1-11.

The scribes and Pharisees haul one of two folks who were committing adultery to the temple, tell Jesus what she'd done, and remind our Lord that it's a capital crime under their law....

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

Evil is Not Good

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On Wednesday, December 2, 2015, at about 6:59 p.m. UTC, 10:59 a.m. PST, two people killed 14 others at a holiday office party in San Bernardino, California.

The killers were located and stopped a few hours later, and died during an armed confrontation with law enforcement. I put names of the dead, and a few links, at the end of this post.1

I'm still experiencing anger, disgust, and several other emotions in connection with this latest mass murder. It's an unpleasant sensation, but I'd probably be more concerned if I didn't notice any emotional response.

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

Remembering the Armenian Genocide, Looking Ahead

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The Armenian genocide's start is rather arbitrarily set as April 24, 1915. That's when Ottoman authorities rounded up and arrested about 250 Armenian intellectuals and community leaders in Constantinople, and eventually got around to killing them.

Armenians had been rounded up and butchered in odd lots before that, though.

The Ottoman Empire 's 1915 ethnic cleansing wasn't limited to Armenians. The Ottoman government exterminated Assyrians and Greeks whose crime was living in Ottoman territory and having the 'wrong' ancestry or faith.

It wasn't called a genocide at the time. That word first showed up in Raphael Lemkin's book, "Axis Rule in Occupied Europe: Laws of Occupation - Analysis of Government - Proposals for Redress" (1944). He defined it as "the destruction of a nation or an ethnic group." (Wikipedia)

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

King Josiah, Consequences, and Love

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(From John Martin, via Wikimedia Commons, used w/o permission.)
(Detail from John Martin's "The Destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah." (1852))

By some standards, this isn't a particularly "Christian" blog. I don't rant about the unending fires of Hell, or dwell on cheerful thoughts like this:
"...The God that holds you over the pit of hell, much as one holds a spider or some loathsome insect over the fire, abhors you...."
(Sinners in the Hand of an Angry God," Jonathan Edwards (1741)) That's because it's not 1741 any more, and I'm Catholic. I've talked about the Great Awakening, Jonathan Edwards, and Mark Twain, before. (December 1, 2013)

As a Christian, I agree with Simon Peter....

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

Neighbors, Love, and Upping the Ante

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When a scholar of the law asked Jesus for the greatest Commandment, my Lord gave two....

...The Samaritan: An Unexpected 'Good Guy'
After two millennia, the shock of a Samaritan being the 'good guy' in this sort of story has worn off. Jews and Samaritans did not get along: at all.

These days, it'd be like telling a story in a redneck bar: where a coal miner, poor farmer, and truck driver wouldn't help the accident victim: but an east Asian immigrant did....

...Okay: I've had a cup of coffee, walked around a bit, and calmed down. Let's see, where was I? The greatest Commandment, the good Samaritan. Right.

The rules are simple, but not easy....

...I'd like to end world hunger, establish a lasting peace, and cure the common cold. That's not gonna happen. For starters, I don't have the connections or power to get any of that done.

Besides, things take time....

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

Morality isn't Just About "Morality"

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Where I grew up, on the Minnesota-North Dakota border, quite a few folks said "morality" when they were talking about about ethics and sex.

Their "morality" apparently focused on some zipper issues, plus a few cultural values. That myopic view of morality helped inspire stories of Chickenman's battle against "crime and/or evil," and that's almost another topic.

"Morality of the Passions" — Emotions, Ethics, and All That
The Catechism of the Catholic Church doesn't have particularly catchy titles for the different sections. For example — Part Three, Life in Christ; Section One, Man's Vocation Life in the Spirit; Chapter One, The Dignity of the Human Person; Article 5; is is called Morality of the Passions.

Some of these "passions" might involve sex: but what the word means here is "emotions:"...

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

Caesar, Civilization, Dealing With Change — and Building a Better World

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After nearly five hundred years, the Roman Republic had grown from a small city-state to a major world power: and it was a mess.

I'm not talking about the chronic SNAFUs perpetrated by America's Congress.

If America's government was like the Roman Republic's, we might see the House ways and means committee lead an armed assault on the Senate: while their assassins took care of a filibuster the hard way. Yes: things could be worse.

Run-ins like the Catilinarian Conspiracy and Second Catilinarian conspiracy made the worst Washington mudslinging seem like a sedate poetry reading.

The Roman Senate finally named one of their members "dictator perpetuo" ("dictator in perpetuity") — hoping that Julius Caesar would solve their problems.

A few Senators got nervous: cutting the term, and Caesar's life, short.

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

Regeneration: Getting Closer to Growing Lost Organs

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Too many folks die, waiting for a compatible donor organ. We can't coax a patient's body into growing a new heart or kidney: yet.

But we can build made-to-order bladders, and scientists have grown a new thymus: inside a mouse. It's a first step....

...If starfish and some mice can regenerate complete missing parts: why can't we?

Right now, we don't know. Not for sure. It probably has something to do with our immune system, and the way our bodies deal with injury....

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.