Recent Posts

Monday 20 January 2014

The Organist and Schola leader at our TLM

Follow up on "Pay the fine or bake the cake."

persecution time....

Can we just skip a generation, please?

Real Pacificism III

Wrapping up these posts on Just War Doctrine and pacifism, I want to point out the sad reality of the lack of understanding of duties of defense among so many "new men".

Too many men today do not think it is their duty to protect themselves, their families, wives, children, Church, country.  Part of this has been the brain-washing of the false pacifist position of the past 40 years, which is a view that states that all confrontation, including physical, is by definition "bad". This is, obviously, not the case.

But, that view of many men is that they do not have to learn how to defend, nor do they have a duty to do so.

God put women and children in family and clan units for their protection. Men have lost this sense of being protectors. They rationalize their stand by claiming a false pacifism, which is merely an excuse not to fight.

Many men do not know that patriotism is a virtue. Many men have fallen into the cynicism referred to yesterday and the day before in posts. Cynicism denies the need for protection. Fear also denies the traditional male role of protector.

Too many men will not fight, refuse to defend, the innocent, the weak. This fear or state of weakness is not real pacifism, like the men of the Anabaptists exhibit, but a denial of what it is to be a man. Our nation and other nations of the West have lost leadership because of these false ideals and fear.

The protectors are becoming an extinct species......

The ashikikomori

I had an article on men not dating in Japan several years ago. Two readers have contributed to this discussion. I cannot find the original interview of the young men in 2012, who said they would not get married and were not dating.

One reader wrote this in 2012

1. Japanese (men and women both) tend to fall into extremes of femininity or masculinity. There is never such a thing as "gender neutral". Much of this has to do with the language which differs strongly between feminine and masculine forms of speech. Kawaii culture is often simply an expression (or marketing) of that extreme femininity, while there is an equally prevalent Samurai culture of high speed trains, magnificent architecture, and competitiveness that expresses the extreme masculine. While Japan has a deep tradition of subtlety of social expression, it has a deeper tradition of profound emotion - it is not unusual to see a fistfight in parliament, or a man weeping in public. 

2. The Japanese are perfectly aware of this fact that they love the childish, and some contemporary Japanese popular art pokes fun at this. Once recent anime features an ingenious "Professor" who makes sentient robots. She is also about 8 years old and would live on snacks and read manga all day - were it not for the admonishments of one of her more sensible creations. The Professor is a critique of Japan - as brilliantly intelligent, magnificently creative, and absurdly infantile. 

3. Captain Tylor from the "Musekinin Kansho Tylor" which we watched is a similar critique. The Captain is a Japanese everyman - naturally cunning, innocent, good-hearted, yet completely irresponsible. He is contrasted with the old imperial Japanese ideal, Lt. Yamamoto, who is consumed by duty and has to find his heart. This sharp contrast between the not-so-past feudal Japan and modern democratic Japan is still a daily reality for many Japanese. 

4.. Japanese culture has from the earliest times has had what Fr. Isaac, (a teacher at the seminary) might call an "irrealist" mode of thinking and artistic expression. It is perhaps the first culture to attempt to depict nothingness. Traditional Japanese art is minimalist and ideological, like modern western art. Of course, the impressionist movement was heavily influenced by Japanese art. Similarly, western Realism has had a huge impact on Japanese society, which is radically apparent in the postwar anime and manga sphere, which is full of western "practical fantasy" such as princes, dragons, and faeries acting out morality plays. Kawaii is a polite derivative of Greek ideals - celebration of the physical form, a frank but positive view of humanity, and the benevolent leadership of fate (or grace!) - as much as it is an organic progression of Japanese ideals. 

Remember Ayu from Kanon, who uses "Boku" for "I", a masculine form - probably from talking with boys more than girls as a child. Yuuichi suggests she use "Atashi" which is feminine, or "Watashi" which is a more modern, gender-neutral construction. She says she doesn't like these and so Yuuichi teases her by suggesting she use "Ore" - a medieval super-masculine form used for oration and commands. She tries it and the combination of her using "Ore" with her petite size and high voice is so absurd that Yuuichi reels over in laughter. Ayu, like Japan, is outwardly cute and feminine, but inwardly tomboyish, independent, and assertive. 

And, another reader sent this:

Everything you need to know about Japan's population crisis
Japan's birthrate is plummeting. Why have so many young Japanese given up on getting married?

By Sarah Eberspacher | January 11, 2014

               There clearly is a subset of Japanese youth who have withdrawn from dating. Instead, they focus on online porn and games like Nintendo's Love Plus, in which players conduct a relationship with an anime girlfriend. Hundreds of thousands of young men are known ashikikomori, shut-ins who eschew human contact and spend their days playing video games and reading comics in their parents' homes. 

An epidemic of shut-ins 
For years, Takeshi hid from the world, playing video games all night and sleeping all day, eating from a tray his mother left outside his room. He was a hikikomori, one of an estimated 1 million Japanese teens and young men who have become shut-ins, with virtually no human contact beyond their parents. Some of the hikikomori first withdraw because of some social embarrassment — bad grades, or a romantic rejection. The longer they drop out, the more shame they feel in a society where one's status and reputation are paramount and hard to change. Parents, and especially mothers, often enable the withdrawal. "In Japan, mothers and sons often have a symbiotic, codependent relationship," says psychiatrist Tamaki Saito, who first identified the disorder in the 1990s. Takeshi re-entered society after four years, thanks to a government program that sends female outreach counselors known as "rental sisters" to coax the hikikomori out of the house. But that program doesn't always work. As one shut-in of 15 years said, "I missed my chance."   sekkusu shinai shokogun, or "celibacy syndrome,"

Real Pacifism II

From day one, I was against the preemptive strikes from America, the 2003 war in Iraq, because of the teachings of the Catholic Church on Just War.

I was teaching at the time and the head of the board had lunch with me and asked me to explain my position, as the entire faculty, but me supported the war. I explained, as I had in religion classes, that the Church did no support strikes which may stop a war as part of the Just War doctrine. Preemptive strikes are not part of the criteria for a just war.

The Catholic Church has been clear on the doctrine of Just War. Defense and means, as well as reason for such must follow real criteria. Sadly, too many Catholics have not understood the Church's position and either fall into false pacifism or false aggression. Here are some of the points Note, a summary of the CCC as to the necessary criteria for a Just War may be seen in a previous post.

Therefore, there are times when a Catholic can object to national aggression. Not all wars are just. One may be against a particular war and still uphold the Just War doctrine.

Here is another source

497. The Magisterium condemns "the savagery of war" [1032] and asks that war be considered in a new way.[1033] In fact, "it is hardly possible to imagine that in an atomic era, war could be used as an instrument of justice".[1034] War is a "scourge" [1035] and is never an appropriate way to resolve problems that arise between nations, "it has never been and it will never be",[1036] because it creates new and still more complicated conflicts.[1037] When it erupts, war becomes an "unnecessary massacre",[1038] an "adventure without return"[1039] that compromises humanity's present and threatens its future. "Nothing is lost by peace; everything may be lost by war".[1040] The damage caused by an armed conflict is not only material but also moral.[1041] In the end, war is "the failure of all true humanism",[1042] "it is always a defeat for humanity": [1043] "never again some peoples against others, never again! ... no more war, no more war!" [1044]
498. Seeking alternative solutions to war for resolving international conflicts has taken on tremendous urgency today, since "the terrifying power of the means of destruction - to which even medium and small-sized countries have access - and the ever closer links between the peoples of the whole world make it very difficult or practically impossible to limit the consequences of a conflict".[1045] It is therefore essential to seek out the causes underlying bellicose conflicts, especially those connected with structural situations of injustice, poverty and exploitation, which require intervention so that they may be removed. "For this reason, another name for peace is development. Just as there is a collective responsibility for avoiding war, so too there is a collective responsibility for promoting development".[1046]
499. States do not always possess adequate means to provide effectively for their own defence, from this derives the need and importance of international and regional organizations, which should be in a position to work together to resolve conflicts and promote peace, re-establishing relationships of mutual trust that make recourse to war unthinkable.[1047] "There is reason to hope ... that by meeting and negotiating, men may come to discover better the bonds that unite them together, deriving from the human nature which they have in common; and that they may also come to discover that one of the most profound requirements of their common nature is this: that between them and their respective peoples it is not fear which should reign but love, a love which tends to express itself in a collaboration that is loyal, manifold in form and productive of many benefits".[1048]
a. Legitimate defence
500. A war of aggression is intrinsically immoral. In the tragic case where such a war breaks out, leaders of the State that has been attacked have the right and the duty to organize a defence even using the force of arms.[1049] To be licit, the use of force must correspond to certain strict conditions: "the damage inflicted by the aggressor on the nation or community of nations must be lasting, grave and certain; all other means of putting an end to it must have been shown to be impractical or ineffective; there must be serious prospects of success; the use of arms must not produce evils and disorders graver than the evil to be eliminated. The power of modern means of destruction weighs very heavily in evaluating this condition. These are the traditional elements enumerated in what is called the 'just war' doctrine. The evaluation of these conditions for moral legitimacy belongs to the prudential judgment of those who have responsibility for the common good".[1050 ]
If this responsibility justifies the possession of sufficient means to exercise this right to defence, States still have the obligation to do everything possible "to ensure that the conditions of peace exist, not only within their own territory but throughout the world".[1051] It is important to remember that "it is one thing to wage a war of self-defence; it is quite another to seek to impose domination on another nation. The possession of war potential does not justify the use of force for political or military objectives. Nor does the mere fact that war has unfortunately broken out mean that all is fair between the warring parties".[1052]
501. The Charter of the United Nations, born from the tragedy of the Second World War with the intention of preserving future generations from the scourge of war, is based on a generalized prohibition of a recourse to force to resolve disputes between States, with the exception of two cases: legitimate defence and measures taken by the Security Council within the area of its responsibilities for maintaining peace. In every case, exercising the right to self-defence must respect "the traditional limits of necessity and proportionality".[1053]
Therefore, engaging in a preventive war without clear proof that an attack is imminent cannot fail to raise serious moral and juridical questions. International legitimacy for the use of armed force, on the basis of rigorous assessment and with well-founded motivations, can only be given by the decision of a competent body that identifies specific situations as threats to peace and authorizes an intrusion into the sphere of autonomy usually reserved to a State.
b. Defending peace
502. The requirements of legitimate defence justify the existence in States of armed forces, the activity of which should be at the service of peace. Those who defend the security and freedom of a country, in such a spirit, make an authentic contribution to peace.[1054] Everyone who serves in the armed forces is concretely called to defend good, truth and justice in the world. Many are those who, in such circumstances, have sacrificed their lives for these values and in defence of innocent lives. Very significant in this regard is the increasing number of military personnel serving in multinational forces on humanitarian or peace-keeping missions promoted by the United Nations.[1055]
503. Every member of the armed forces is morally obliged to resist orders that call for perpetrating crimes against the law of nations and the universal principles of this law.[1056] Military personnel remain fully responsible for the acts they commit in violation of the rights of individuals and peoples, or of the norms of international humanitarian law. Such acts cannot be justified by claiming obedience to the orders of superiors.
Conscientious objectors who, out of principle, refuse military service in those cases where it is obligatory because their conscience rejects any kind of recourse to the use of force or because they are opposed to the participation in a particular conflict, must be open to accepting alternative forms of service. "It seems just that laws should make humane provision for the case of conscientious objectors who refuse to carry arms, provided they accept some other form of community service".[1057]
c. The duty to protect the innocent
504. The right to use force for purposes of legitimate defence is associated with the duty to protect and help innocent victims who are not able to defend themselves from acts of aggression. In modern conflicts, which are often within a State, the precepts of international humanitarian law must be fully respected. Far too often, the civilian population is hit and at times even becomes a target of war. In some cases, they are brutally massacred or taken from their homes and land by forced transfers, under the guise of "ethnic cleansing",[1058] which is always unacceptable. In such tragic circumstances, humanitarian aid must reach the civilian population and must never be used to influence those receiving it; the good of the human person must take precedence over the interests of the parties to the conflict.
505. The principle of humanity inscribed in the conscience of every person and all peoples includes the obligation to protect civil populations from the effects of war. "That minimum protection of the dignity of every person, guaranteed by international humanitarian law, is all too often violated in the name of military or political demands which should never prevail over the value of the human person. Today we are aware of the need to find a new consensus on humanitarian principles and to reinforce their foundation to prevent the recurrence of atrocities and abuse".[1059]
A particular category of war victim is formed by refugees, forced by combat to flee the places where they habitually live and to seek refuge in foreign countries. The Church is close to them not only with her pastoral presence and material support, but also with her commitment to defend their human dignity: "Concern for refugees must lead us to reaffirm and highlight universally recognized human rights, and to ask that the effective recognition of these rights be guaranteed to refugees".[1060]
506. Attempts to eliminate entire national, ethnic, religious or linguistic groups are crimes against God and humanity itself, and those responsible for such crimes must answer for them before justice.[1061] The twentieth century bears the tragic mark of different genocides: from that of the Armenians to that of the Ukrainians, from that of the Cambodians to those perpetrated in Africa and in the Balkans. Among these, the Holocaust of the Jewish people, the Shoah, stands out: "the days of the Shoah marked a true night of history, with unimaginable crimes against God and humanity".[1062]
The international community as a whole has the moral obligation to intervene on behalf of those groups whose very survival is threatened or whose basic human rights are seriously violated. As members of an international community, States cannot remain indifferent; on the contrary, if all other available means should prove ineffective, it is "legitimate and even obligatory to take concrete measures to disarm the aggressor".[1063] The principle of national sovereignty cannot be claimed as a motive for preventing an intervention in defence of innocent victims.[1064] The measures adopted must be carried out in full respect of international law and the fundamental principle of equality among States.

Parents, pay attention

The False Pacifist vs.The True I

During the Viet Nam War, I knew several seminarians who chose to prove to their draft boards that Catholicism supported pacifism. Their numbers had come up and they either had to go to Nam or prove, that as pacifists, they would be willing to do alternative work. In fact, the official government rule is that conscientious objectors must support the war effort by alternative, non-combative duties or go to federal prison.

All won their hearings and went into offices, or did cleaning on bases and so on. Their stand was that the Catholic Church always had a history of pacifism alongside the Just War Theory. These young men did their homework, but part of their stand was that they would never fight in any war, not merely this particular was which they thought was unjust.

Today, in the Church there is a false pacifism. This pacifism is not founded on a philosophy of non-violence, but on the desire not to engage in any fighting or any kind for any reason because of....fear. The fear is the feat of confrontation of any kind, and there are two generations which seem to have an over-representation of youth and middle-aged people who simply will not fight, even to defend themselves or others

When the several young men, all who were at university with me and in theology classes with me, researched Catholic pacifism, they showed me their results, and, in fact, as a research theology student myself, I dived into the study with and for them. The pacifist stand of "satyagraha", held by Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr is not part of the Catholic historical position, as it came from the Hindu tradition. The idea of "conscientious objection" would have to be total and not specific to a war to be a valid stance before a draft board.

That the official teaching of the Catholic Church is Just War Legitimacy makes it difficult for Catholics who are true pacifists to find their heritage, but some did. 

The martyrs could be construed as pacifists, in that they did not fight or defend themselves. But, then most could not, were not in that position of armed resistance.

A true pacifist, as my friend discovered, could not pretend or be fearful of confrontation. Their stand was one of non-violence not non-confrontation.

Confrontation with peaceful, passive means, "passive resistance" is something I was taught, useful for pro-life work in antagonistic places. Again, passive resistance, being resistance, is not fearful.

Most Catholics agree with the Just War position of the Church, and here is the section from the CCC on this.

2302 By recalling the commandment, "You shall not kill," [Mt. 5:21] our Lord asked for peace of heart and denounced murderous anger and hatred as immoral.
Anger is a desire for revenge. "To desire vengeance in order to do evil to someone who should be punished is illicit," but it is praiseworthy to impose restitution "to correct vices and maintain justice." [St. Thomas Aquinas, ST II-II q158, a1 ad3] If anger reaches the point of a deliberate desire to kill or seriously wound a neighbor, it is gravely against charity; it is a mortal sin. The Lord says, "Everyone who is angry with his brother shall be liable to judgment." [Mt. 5:22]
2303 Deliberate hatred is contrary to charity. Hatred of the  neighbor is a sin when one deliberately wishes him evil. Hatred of the neighbor is a grave sin when one deliberately desires him grave harm.  "But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven." [Mt. 5:44-45]
2304 Respect for and development of human life require peace.  Peace is not merely the absence of war, and it is not limited to maintaining a balance of powers between adversaries. Peace cannot be attained on earth without safeguarding the goods of persons, free communication among men, respect for the dignity of persons and peoples, and the assiduous practice of fraternity. Peace is "the tranquility of order." [St. Augustine,City of God 19, 13,1]  Peace is the work of justice  and the effect of charity. [Cf. Is. 32:17; cf. Vatican II, Gaudium et spes #78, 1-2]
 2305 Earthly peace is the image and fruit of the peace of Christ, the messianic "Prince of Peace." [Is. 9:5] By the blood of his Cross, "in his own person he killed the hostility," [Eph. 2:16; cf. Col. 1:20-22] he reconciled men with God  and made his Church the sacrament of the unity of the human race and of its union with God. "He is our peace." [Eph. 2:14] He has declared: "Blessed are the peacemakers." [Mt. 5:9]
2306 Those who renounce violence and bloodshed and, in order to safeguard human rights, make use of those means of defense available to the weakest, bear witness to evangelical charity,  provided they do so without harming the rights and obligations of other men and societies. They bear legitimate witness to the gravity of the physical and moral risks of recourse to violence, with all its destruction and death. [Cf. Vatican II,Gaudium et spes 78, 5]
Avoiding war
2307 The fifth commandment forbids the intentional destruction of human life. Because of the evils and injustices that accompany all war, the Church insistently urges everyone to prayer and to action so that the divine Goodness may free us from the ancient bondage of war. [Cf. Vatican II, Gaudium et spes 81, 4] All citizens and all governments are obliged to work for the avoidance of war.
However, "as long as the danger of war persists and there is no international authority with the necessary competence and power, governments cannot be denied the right of lawful self-defense, once all peace efforts have failed." [Cf. Vatican II, Gaudium et spes79, 4]
2309 The strict conditions for legitimate defense by military force require rigorous consideration. The gravity of such a decision makes it subject to rigorous conditions of moral legitimacy. At one and the same time:
 - the damage inflicted by the aggressor on the nation or community of nations must be lasting, grave, and certain;
 - all other means of putting an end to it must have been shown to be impractical or ineffective;
 - there must be serious prospects of success;
 - the use of arms must not produce evils and disorders graver than the evil to be eliminated. The power of modern means of destruction weighs very heavily in evaluating this condition.

These are the traditional elements enumerated in what is called the "just war" doctrine. The evaluation of these conditions for moral legitimacy belongs to the prudential judgment of those who have responsibility for the common good.
2310 Public authorities, in this case, have the right and duty to impose on citizens the obligations necessary for national defense.
Those who are sworn to serve their country in the armed  forces are servants of the security and freedom of nations. If they  carry out their duty honorably, they truly contribute to the common good of the nation and the maintenance of peace.[Cf. Vatican II, Gaudium et spes 79, 5]
2311 Public authorities should make equitable provision for those who for reasons of conscience refuse to bear arms; these are nonetheless obliged to serve the human community in some other way. [Cf. Vatican II, Gaudium et spes 79, 3] 2312 The Church and human reason both assert the permanent validity of the moral law during armed conflict. "The mere fact that war has regrettably broken out does not mean that everything becomes licit between the warring parties." [Cf. Vatican II, Gaudium et spes79, 4]
2313 Non-combatants, wounded soldiers, and prisoners must be respected and treated humanely.
Actions deliberately contrary to the law of nations and to its universal principles are crimes, as are the orders that command such actions. Blind obedience does not suffice to excuse those who carry them out. Thus the extermination of a people, nation, or ethnic minority must be condemned as a mortal sin. One is morally  bound to resist orders that command genocide.
2314 "Every act of war directed to the indiscriminate destruction of whole cities or vast areas with their inhabitants is a crime against God and man, which merits firm and unequivocal condemnation." [Cf. Vatican II, Gaudium et spes 80, 3]A danger of modern warfare is that it provides the opportunity to those who possess modern scientific weapons - especially atomic, biological, or chemical weapons - to commit such crimes.
2315 The accumulation of arms strikes many as a paradoxically suitable way of deterring potential adversaries from war. They see it as the most effective means of ensuring peace among nations. This method of deterrence gives rise to strong moral reservations. The arms race does not ensure peace. Far from eliminating the causes of war, it risks aggravating them. Spending enormous sums to produce ever new types of weapons impedes efforts to aid needy populations; [Pope Paul VI, Populorum Progressio 53] it thwarts the development of peoples. Over- armament multiplies reasons for conflict and increases the danger of escalation.
2316 The production and the sale of arms affect the common  good of nations and of the international community. Hence public authorities have the right and duty to regulate them. The short-term pursuit of private or collective interests cannot legitimate undertakings that promote violence and conflict among nations and compromise the international juridical order.
2317 Injustice, excessive economic or social inequalities, envy,  distrust, and pride raging among men and nations constantly threaten peace and cause wars. Everything done to overcome these  disorders contributes to building up peace and avoiding war:
Insofar as men are sinners, the threat of war hangs over them and will so continue until Christ comes again; but insofar as they can vanquish sin by coming together in charity, violence itself will be vanquished and these words will be fulfilled: "they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more." [Cf. Vatican II, Gaudium et spes78, 6; cf. Is. 2:4]

To be continued..........

Yesterday, at the Chicago Right to Life March

The Roots of Cynicism

The main root of cynicism is negativity, which can be brought on by pride or hyper-criticism. The truly humble person is not prone to cynicism, as those who fall into cynicism judge that they are better than other people.

Pride causes negativity when people tend to blame others for their problems instead of taking responsibility for their own sins.

Pride cause judgement, the seeking of the mote in the other's eye instead of looking a the beam in one's own.

Negativity breeds cynicism. A person wants perfection, a utopian society, without work or effort. Negativity comes from the false expectations of others.

Cynicism is also idolatry. This idolatry worships comfort and hates suffering. One of the most cynical persons I know thinks that all people lie, because she does. She also wants to avoid suffering, and if she must, like being uncomfortable at work, she will blame others for the state of affairs and not want to suffer through difficulties.

The woman then complains, incessantly and falls into a martyr pattern. No one could possibly suffer as much as she does. Yet, she hates suffering and only wants comfort.

She sees suffering as masochism, never as a tool used by God for perfection.

Her cynicism infects her entire world, as she complains, judges, feels depressed. Yet, she refuses to look in the mirror and change herself.

The cynic is frequently self-centered and wants the world to revolve around her needs.This same cynic has no belief in God, or the efficacy of prayer, or grace.

To be a cynic is to choose to live in a grey shadow-land of unhappiness.

Ironically, this same cynic feels superior to all others, and therefore has the right to judge.

The road to perfection must start with a conversion away from cynicism to hope and the belief in change, the metanoia of self.