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Author Topic: Legalizing prostitution on St. Augustine's and St. Thomas' authority  (Read 12445 times)

beng

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I've been thinking about these quotes:

Summa Theologica: Part II of book II, question 10, article 11

I answer that, Human government is derived from the Divine government, and should imitate it. Now although God is all-powerful and supremely good, nevertheless He allows certain evils to take place in the universe, which He might prevent, lest, without them, greater goods might be forfeited, or greater evils ensue. Accordingly in human government also, those who are in authority, rightly tolerate certain evils, lest certain goods be lost, or certain greater evils be incurred: thus Augustine says (De Ordine ii, 4): "If you do away with harlots, the world will be convulsed with lust." Hence, though unbelievers sin in their rites, they may be tolerated, either on account of some good that ensues therefrom, or because of some evil avoided. Thus from the fact that the Jews observe their rites, which, of old, foreshadowed the truth of the faith which we hold, there follows this good--that our very enemies bear witness to our faith, and that our faith is represented in a figure, so to speak. For this reason they are tolerated in the observance of their rites.

Divine Providence and The Problem of Evil - St. Augustine
What can be mentioned more sordid, more bereft of decency, or more full of turpitude than prostitutes, procurers, and the other pests of that sort? Remove prostitutes from human affairs, and you will unsettle everything because of lusts; place them in the position of matrons, and you will dishonor these latter by disgrace and ignominy. This class of people is, therefore, by its own mode of life most unchaste in its morals; by the law of order, it is most vile in social condition.



Is both doctors saying that they don't mind the state legalizing prostitution?


I'm inclined to say, "no." They're just saying that it's ok for state to tolerate certain sin but not legalizing them.
« Last Edit: February 14, 2010, 09:32:pm by beng »

SCG

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Well, I hope I don't get clobbered for saying this, but both St. Thomas and St. Augustine had a problem with lust. Perhaps they are saying prostitution is a necessary evil. Is there such a thing as a necessary evil?
Not all those who wander are lost. -- J.R.R. Tolkien

SCG

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I couldn't read the text in your post (without highlighting) so I'm assuming others can't either. I'm reposting it with black "ink."

Summa Theologica: Part II of book II, question 10, article 11
I answer that, Human government is derived from the Divine government, and should imitate it. Now although God is all-powerful and supremely good, nevertheless He allows certain evils to take place in the universe, which He might prevent, lest, without them, greater goods might be forfeited, or greater evils ensue. Accordingly in human government also, those who are in authority, rightly tolerate certain evils, lest certain goods be lost, or certain greater evils be incurred: thus Augustine says (De Ordine ii, 4): "If you do away with harlots, the world will be convulsed with lust." Hence, though unbelievers sin in their rites, they may be tolerated, either on account of some good that ensues therefrom, or because of some evil avoided. Thus from the fact that the Jews observe their rites, which, of old, foreshadowed the truth of the faith which we hold, there follows this good--that our very enemies bear witness to our faith, and that our faith is represented in a figure, so to speak. For this reason they are tolerated in the observance of their rites.

Divine Providence and The Problem of Evil - St. Augustine
What can be mentioned more sordid, more bereft of decency, or more full of turpitude than prostitutes, procurers, and the other pests of that sort? Remove prostitutes from human affairs, and you will unsettle everything because of lusts; place them in the position of matrons, and you will dishonor these latter by disgrace and ignominy. This class of people is, therefore, by its own mode of life most unchaste in its morals; by the law of order, it is most vile in social condition.
Not all those who wander are lost. -- J.R.R. Tolkien

Rosarium

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Re: Legalizing prostitution on St. Augustine's and St. Thomas' authority
« Reply #3 on: February 14, 2010, 09:12:pm »
I think that there is
Quote
I answer that, Human government is derived from the Divine government, and should imitate it. Now although God is all-powerful and supremely good, nevertheless He allows certain evils to take place in the universe, which He might prevent, lest, without them, greater goods might be forfeited, or greater evils ensue. Accordingly in human government also, those who are in authority, rightly tolerate certain evils, lest certain goods be lost, or certain greater evils be incurred: thus Augustine says (De Ordine ii, 4): "If you do away with harlots, the world will be convulsed with lust." Hence, though unbelievers sin in their rites, they may be tolerated, either on account of some good that ensues therefrom, or because of some evil avoided. Thus from the fact that the Jews observe their rites, which, of old, foreshadowed the truth of the faith which we hold, there follows this good--that our very enemies bear witness to our faith, and that our faith is represented in a figure, so to speak. For this reason they are tolerated in the observance of their rites.

On the other hand, the rites of other unbelievers, which are neither truthful nor profitable are by no means to be tolerated, except perchance in order to avoid an evil, e.g. the scandal or disturbance that might ensue, or some hindrance to the salvation of those who if they were unmolested might gradually be converted to the faith. For this reason the Church, at times, has tolerated the rites even of heretics and pagans, when unbelievers were very numerous.

I think this is saying that evil will exist, and only the evils which will endanger others need to be forcefully suppressed. Prostitution usually involves people who chose it. The logic makes sense. God tolerates our evils unless it risks destroying
everything. Free will exists. So, for things which are evil but are not a danger, it is pointless to surpress it. It just makes one act correctly, instead of being correct. People who would do such things would do something else if one manifestation of it were cut off. In this case, not tolerating such things would not fix anything, but just move it elsewhere. The solution is to make itself go away by choice. Converting the harlots. Converting the johns (I have no idea what they'd call people who go to prostitutes...I'm pretty sure it wasn't "john", but it works).

Rosarium

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Re: Legalizing prostitution on St. Augustine's and St. Thomas' authority
« Reply #4 on: February 14, 2010, 09:14:pm »
He isn't saying legalising it is at all right. It is not a matter of making something legal, but what one should tolerate. "Legalising" means "to make legal". I do not think either saint would disapprove of laws condemning prostitution. I do think they'd possible find it prudent to not outlaw it, depending on the situation.

For example, I am very against drugs, but I think the outlawing of alcoholic drinks for public sale would not be a good move (for several reasons) although I will not drink or approve of them. I would not normally support a law removing such a restriction though.
« Last Edit: February 14, 2010, 09:16:pm by Herr_Mannelig »


Bonifacius

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Well, I hope I don't get clobbered for saying this, but both St. Thomas and St. Augustine had a problem with lust. Perhaps they are saying prostitution is a necessary evil. Is there such a thing as a necessary evil?


Gustaaf Cardinal Joos -- a Belgian cardinal raised to the purple by Pope John Paul II! -- is on record saying that if a man is vexed by lust it is better for him to sleep with a prostitute than seduce a virgin (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gustaaf_Joos).  Today almost every virgin is seduced/corrupted before marriage, yet prostitution is illegal.  I'd much rather have a system where most women remained chaste and those men who fornicated did so with paid whores.  It's not perfect, but it is better than the alternative.  In such a system, public shame is preserved to a greater extent than when fornication is accepted as natural.  And if that cultural shift required the legal tolerance of prostitution, so be it.  Better 10 open prostitutes in a city than 10,000 girls corrupted on prom night.  And yes, there are situations in which this would be preferable, if only because we are *not* going to have a perfect world. 

« Last Edit: February 14, 2010, 09:34:pm by Bonifacius »
Being partly of Norwegian extraction, I enjoy lutefisk.  Now there's some stinky fish.  Hence my high stink factor. 

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SCG

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He isn't saying legalising it is at all right. It is not a matter of making something legal, but what one should tolerate. "Legalising" means "to make legal". I do not think either saint would disapprove of laws condemning prostitution. I do think they'd possible find it prudent to not outlaw it, depending on the situation.

Oh, no.. I don't think they want to legalize it either. But I have a hard time thinking it should be tolerated. "Oldest profession" or not, prostitution is a social evil as well as a personal sin. There are dangers involved, at least in modern society. I'm not so sure about ancient times. But I bet there were.
Not all those who wander are lost. -- J.R.R. Tolkien

Rosarium

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Re: Legalizing prostitution on St. Augustine's and St. Thomas' authority
« Reply #7 on: February 14, 2010, 09:24:pm »
here are dangers involved, at least in modern society. I'm not so sure about ancient times. But I bet there were.

The dangers would be the same. Maybe due to lack of travel, there would be fewer diseases, but still.

Rosarium

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Re: Legalizing prostitution on St. Augustine's and St. Thomas' authority
« Reply #8 on: February 14, 2010, 09:27:pm »
As for Herr_Mannelig's refusal to approve of alcoholic drinks, I say BOOO!!!  Where does a Catholic tea-totaler even come from?  I can understand if you're a recovering alcoholic, but to take the position as one that, "Alcohol is wrong," is ridiculous. 

If you want to know about my choices and positions, you can ask instead of booing and calling my thoughts ridiculous. I never said alcohol is wrong. Please do not misrepresent my statements.


Bonifacius

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Deleted for everyone's good. 
« Last Edit: February 14, 2010, 09:35:pm by Bonifacius »
Being partly of Norwegian extraction, I enjoy lutefisk.  Now there's some stinky fish.  Hence my high stink factor. 

http://www.cornellsociety.org