Pope Pius XII on voting
#21
So please help me understand, how is not voting going to help send Obama packing?
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#22
(10-17-2012, 01:31 PM)Old Salt Wrote: So please help me understand, how is not voting going to help send Obama packing?

I don't think anyone is claiming that it will do that. Speaking for myself only, to "send Obama packing" is not my highest priority. Replacing Obama with Romney accomplishes nothing -- Romney is just as bad or worse in my opinion. As Rosarium said in another thread, the choice is basically between Baal and Dagon. Neither is an acceptable choice. That's why I'm not voting (or writing in someone if I do vote).
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#23
(10-17-2012, 04:54 AM)Crusading Philologist Wrote: The whole idea that the individual has "natural rights," including a natural right to life, is inherently liberal. 

As can be easily seen by searching papalencyclicals.net, Popes have used the phrase "natural right" to refer even to rights that are far less fundamental than the right to life.  E.g.
"Pope Pius XI On Christian Education" Wrote:32. The family therefore holds directly from the Creator the mission and hence the right to educate the offspring, a right inalienable because inseparably joined to the strict obligation, a right anterior to any right whatever of civil society and of the State, and therefore inviolable on the part of any power on earth.

33. That this right is inviolable St. Thomas proves as follows:

The child is naturally something of the father . . . so by natural right the child, before reaching the use of reason, is under the father's care. Hence it would be contrary to natural justice if the child, before the use of reason, were removed from the care of its parents, or if any disposition were made concerning him against the will of the parents.[21] And as this duty on the part of the parents continues up to the time when the child is in a position to provide for itself, this same inviolable parental right of education also endures. "Nature intends not merely the generation of the offspring, but also its development and advance to the perfection of man considered as man, that is, to the state of virtue"[22] says the same St. Thomas.

This is not the only instance of the phrase "natural right" used by Popes and others who are far from liberal. Don't discard a phrase that when rightly used expresses an important truth, even if liberals corrupt its meaning.
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#24
I grant you that I am not American and certainly not in tune with all the "issues" but as severely flawed and imperfect as Romney is, could voting for him not be seen as a kind of "self-defence". No other person will possibly unseat Obama. Failing to vote Romney is a vote for Obama. Now Obama is surely if anyone is, the devil incarnate, the very embodiment of evil. He is the sworn enemy of all that is good, true, holy and just. He ranks with Hitler, Stalin, Idi Amin and Pol Pot. Failing to fight him with every weapon at ones disposal is siding with Satan himself. He is a blood-thirsty murderer,above all, apart from a revolutionary socialist Hell bent on destroying society, the family, marriage, and waging war on Christ and His Church. He intends to crucify Our Lord anew,and is already doing so. Even if the "weapon" is a vote for Romney,surely, morally one has a duty to pick it up and wield if?
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#25
I like hyperbole, too.
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#26
(10-17-2012, 11:07 AM)Cordobes Wrote: I think CP makes a good point here, one that is not often made. The extent to which 'human rights' talk has been baptized and marked out as the superior way of understanding human society in postconciliar Catholic thought is disturbing to say the least. It binds the Church to liberal democracy, with rights and freedom of the individual as the primary organizing principle, with broad-ranging effects. Consider the absurd spectacle of the Catholic bishops of Zambia strenuously opposing any language in their new constitution that would define it as a "Christian nation." While the support of the Catholic bishops for the new Hungarian constitution was slightly more encouraging, in practice the Church has not presented any substantive critique or alternative to liberal democracy since 25 years of human rights talk under John Paul II.

Exactly. It might seem like a minor point, but the use of rights talk makes it much more difficult for Christians to launch a coherent critique of the modern West, and it ultimately reenforces liberal hegemony.

(10-17-2012, 11:25 AM)rbjmartin Wrote: The language of "rights" is not exclusive to the Enlightenment. St. Robert Bellarmine used this language in his political writings.

Quote: “Political right is immediately from God and necessarily inherent in the nature of man” (“De Laicis,” c. 6, note 1).

Without seeing the context, it seems that St. Robert is referring to the right to rule, which is granted by God and rooted in the nature of man as a political animal. In that case, he isn't really using "right" in the sense in which someone like Locke used it.

(10-17-2012, 12:27 PM)Walty Wrote: THAT is your big problem with the pro-life movement?  They protect the biggest persecuted minority of innocents today but their language isn't as philosophically precise as you'd like?  Come on, CP.

God's creation ought to be respected because it is made by God.  Human life is sacred and murder, especially of those who are completely innocent, is thus one of the gravest evils imaginable.

That's a summarization of the pro-life movement.  Yes, many Protestants have muddled the language, but their intentions and their desired end is substantially good and just.  For you to criticize the entire movement because of accidental semantics is really quite scandalous, I think.

But I think part of the problem is that the basing one's argument on the idea of "natural rights" is isn't all that effective, anyway. At that point, you are saying that the child's right to life is in conflict with the mother's right to self-ownership. According to liberal logic, it only seems sensible to favor the right of the mother here.

It also moves us away from a Christian vision of morality and society, which I think is the major problem. These sorts of single-issue movements don't work because the the whole outlook of the dominant culture is completely opposed to what they believe. If pro-lifers want to be successful, they need to move the whole culture in a Christian direction. Just arguing this one issue isn't going to do it. We should also have some concern for truth of an argument.

(10-17-2012, 02:14 PM)Doce Me Wrote:
(10-17-2012, 04:54 AM)Crusading Philologist Wrote: The whole idea that the individual has "natural rights," including a natural right to life, is inherently liberal. 

As can be easily seen by searching papalencyclicals.net, Popes have used the phrase "natural right" to refer even to rights that are far less fundamental than the right to life.  E.g.
"Pope Pius XI On Christian Education" Wrote:32. The family therefore holds directly from the Creator the mission and hence the right to educate the offspring, a right inalienable because inseparably joined to the strict obligation, a right anterior to any right whatever of civil society and of the State, and therefore inviolable on the part of any power on earth.

33. That this right is inviolable St. Thomas proves as follows:

The child is naturally something of the father . . . so by natural right the child, before reaching the use of reason, is under the father's care. Hence it would be contrary to natural justice if the child, before the use of reason, were removed from the care of its parents, or if any disposition were made concerning him against the will of the parents.[21] And as this duty on the part of the parents continues up to the time when the child is in a position to provide for itself, this same inviolable parental right of education also endures. "Nature intends not merely the generation of the offspring, but also its development and advance to the perfection of man considered as man, that is, to the state of virtue"[22] says the same St. Thomas.

This is not the only instance of the phrase "natural right" used by Popes and others who are far from liberal. Don't discard a phrase that when rightly used expresses an important truth, even if liberals corrupt its meaning.

In this particular case, I think one could read Pius XI as referring more to the idea of ius naturale. St. Thomas explains this when he says:
ST II-II q57 a2 Wrote:Now a thing can be adjusted to a man in two ways: first by its very nature, as when a man gives so much that he may receive equal value in return, and this is called "natural right."

In this case, natural right is something that exists external to the individual. It is the result of the nature of a particular kind of relationship, so it is not the same as an individual having a natural right. You are right to say that some of the recent popes use the term in a more problematic sense, however. I think we can say that this was an apologetical strategy that did not sufficiently take account of the problems inherent in the use of this sort of language. Its use is understandable, especially when we remember that the popes were being confronted with the new threat of Marxist socialism, but I'm not sure that we should necessarily follow them in it. Now that Marxism is no longer a threat and liberalism is the dominant ideology of the modern world, it is more important to maintain some distance between liberalism and the Church and present an alternative, Christian vision of society. You could say that we might possibly "redeem" the language, but even if this is possible, it makes it seem as if one has accepted apparently unchallengeable liberal assumptions. Why not just reject rights talk and attempt to express Christian belief in more suitable language?
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#27
That was an amazing twisting of words, but I remain unconvinced.

Doce Me noted that the example he gave was one of many, but it illustrated his point. Since you have rebuffed that example, let's see if you can somehow interpret these away, as well.

Pope Leo XIII in "Diuturnum" Wrote:"3. These perils to commonwealth, which are before Our eyes, fill Us with grave anxiety, when We behold the security of rulers and the tranquillity of empires, together with the safety of nations, put in peril almost from hour to hour. Nevertheless, the divine power of the Christian religion has given birth to excellent principles of stability and order for the State, while at the same time it has penetrated into the customs and institutions of States. And of this power not the least nor last fruit is a just and wise proportion of mutual rights and duties in both princes and peoples....

"22. But from the time when the civil society of men, raised from the ruins of the Roman Empire, gave hope of its future Christian greatness, the Roman Pontiffs, by the institution of the Holy Empire, consecrated the political power in a wonderful manner. Greatly, indeed, was the authority of rulers ennobled; and it is not to be doubted that what was then instituted would always have been a very great gain, both to ecclesiastical and civil society, if princes and peoples had ever looked to the same object as the Church. And, indeed, tranquillity and a sufficient prosperity lasted so long as there was a friendly agreement between these two powers. If the people were turbulent, the Church was at once the mediator for peace. Recalling all to their duty, she subdued the more lawless passions partly by kindness and partly by authority. So, if, in ruling, princes erred in their government, she went to them and, putting before them the rights, needs, and lawful wants of their people, urged them to equity, mercy, and kindness. Whence it was often brought about that the dangers of civil wars and popular tumults were stayed."
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#28
(10-17-2012, 02:52 PM)Crusading Philologist Wrote: But I think part of the problem is that the basing one's argument on the idea of "natural rights" is isn't all that effective, anyway. At that point, you are saying that the child's right to life is in conflict with the mother's right to self-ownership. According to liberal logic, it only seems sensible to favor the right of the mother here.

It also moves us away from a Christian vision of morality and society, which I think is the major problem. These sorts of single-issue movements don't work because the the whole outlook of the dominant culture is completely opposed to what they believe. If pro-lifers want to be successful, they need to move the whole culture in a Christian direction.

You are grossly misrepresenting the pro-life movement, here.

When a pro-lifer speaks of a "right to life," he does not mean it necessarily in the way you say he means it, at least not in most cases. He means a right in the sense of "every man has the right to peace in his own home;" there's no philosophical nuance to the phrase. And, again, politics is the art of the practical, so what you're doing is absolutely a nitpick.

But in any case, a "right to life" is NOT the centerpiece of the pro-life movement. The focus is on the fact that abortion is murder. So you see pro-lifers display gruesome pictures of murdered babies, to drive home the reality of what abortion is. A secondary, but very nearly equally important, focus is the effect on abortion on the mother, and how abortion is in fact often not a "choice," but something desperate women turn to when they perceive they have no choice. The phrase "Abortion: one heart stops, another one breaks" is representative.

It should also be noted that the pro-life movement has two arms: the political activists, and those who work directly with women. The latter pray in front of abortion clinics, counsel women over the phone and in person, and work in crisis emergency centers where women can get free pregnancy tests, ultrasounds, and most importantly, support.

Charging the pro-life movement with focusing on the pro-life issue is another nitpick. I will grant that Catholics should take care not to over-emphasize abortion, but the pro-life movement has to do what it has to do.
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#29
(10-17-2012, 04:28 PM)rbjmartin Wrote: That was an amazing twisting of words, but I remain unconvinced.

Doce Me noted that the example he gave was one of many, but it illustrated his point. Since you have rebuffed that example, let's see if you can somehow interpret these away, as well.

Pope Leo XIII in "Diuturnum" Wrote:"3. These perils to commonwealth, which are before Our eyes, fill Us with grave anxiety, when We behold the security of rulers and the tranquillity of empires, together with the safety of nations, put in peril almost from hour to hour. Nevertheless, the divine power of the Christian religion has given birth to excellent principles of stability and order for the State, while at the same time it has penetrated into the customs and institutions of States. And of this power not the least nor last fruit is a just and wise proportion of mutual rights and duties in both princes and peoples....

"22. But from the time when the civil society of men, raised from the ruins of the Roman Empire, gave hope of its future Christian greatness, the Roman Pontiffs, by the institution of the Holy Empire, consecrated the political power in a wonderful manner. Greatly, indeed, was the authority of rulers ennobled; and it is not to be doubted that what was then instituted would always have been a very great gain, both to ecclesiastical and civil society, if princes and peoples had ever looked to the same object as the Church. And, indeed, tranquillity and a sufficient prosperity lasted so long as there was a friendly agreement between these two powers. If the people were turbulent, the Church was at once the mediator for peace. Recalling all to their duty, she subdued the more lawless passions partly by kindness and partly by authority. So, if, in ruling, princes erred in their government, she went to them and, putting before them the rights, needs, and lawful wants of their people, urged them to equity, mercy, and kindness. Whence it was often brought about that the dangers of civil wars and popular tumults were stayed."

Well, the fact that Pope Leo refers to "mutual rights and duties in both princes and peoples" would seem to show that he was not talking about natural rights in the liberal sense, which belong to asocial individuals and are not linked to duties or any sort of reciprocity. So, I think this quotation is fine. As I said above, though, there are cases in which recent popes have used the term "right" in a more problematic sense. In these cases, I think it is best to remember that the popes were attempting to explain Christian teaching to the modern world while also combatting socialism. This is perfectly understandable, but it is now obvious that attempting to use liberal language to express a Christian message comes along with too many difficulties to be very successful.
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