Monday, April 4, 2011

Notes: Thursday, March 31-Monday, April 4, 2011

1. The Conciliar Church and the 'search for truth'


Excerpts from one of the Vatican Information Service daily e-mail bulletins of last week:

VATICAN CITY, 31 MAR 2011 (VIS) - Made public today was the annual Message to Buddhists for the Feast of Vesakh, issued by the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue. [...]

The message, which is entitled "Seeking Truth in Freedom: Christians and Buddhists live in Peace", Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran and Archbishop Pier Luigi Celata, respectively president and secretary of the pontifical council, note that "in the pursuit of authentic peace, a commitment to seek truth is a necessary condition. ... This human striving for truth offers a fruitful opportunity for the followers of the different religions to encounter one another in depth and to grow in appreciation of the gifts of each".

The English-language text continues: "[...] Wherever religious freedom is effectively acknowledged, the dignity of the human person is respected at its root; by the sincere search for what is true and good, moral conscience and civil institutions are strengthened; and justice and peace are firmly established". CON-DIR/ VIS 20110331 (270)

[my square-bracketed ellipses]
See also the discussion on that Message at AQ:

Labels: inter-religious dialogue, religious liberty, Roman Curia

1.2 Dr. Casey on how the shared 'search for truth' leads to social Nirvana

A question put to Dr. Michael Casey, who works for the Sydney Archdiocese, in an interview, followed by his answer:
But how can you possibly be tolerant if you believe in truth? Aren’t you thereby committed to discriminating against people who don’t accept “your truth”?

Casey: That view explains why relativism is regarded as the only form of moral philosophy safe for democracy. Given the abundance of conflicting views, values and desires, and the adamant insistence on our own supremacy, truth appears to be not only implausible but tyrannical. When truth prevails, so the standard line goes, it narrows existence, constrains the possibilities of knowledge, and limits freedom and autonomy. Its ideas of “good and evil”, “true and false” cause division and intolerance.

The way forward is to move from a stubborn insistence that there is no such thing as truth, or that truth is dangerous, to conceding that perhaps truth is possible and available to us after all, and that in our own way we are all seeking it.

Conceding the possibility of truth, and that we all share a desire to find the truth and to live in its light, changes the situation completely. Nothing is lost from diversity, disagreement, scepticism and dispute, but they are re-located within a common journey which makes trust, openness and respect for each other in our different moral commitments stronger and easier. This is what real tolerance means.

Truth is not an answer in a box and it is not a cudgel. It is the unfolding of reality in which each of us takes part. Wherever our own search for the truth might lead us, the shared acceptance that it is the truth we are all seeking changes the game. It takes us out of the dead end of intolerant tolerance.

In other words (at the risk of over-simplification): In order to bring about a Utopia of 'tolerance', relativism about the existence of truth is forbidden, but relativism (at least at the level of society) about the essence of truth is compulsory. So long as we agree that truth is, we can all live in harmony even though we disagree about what truth is. Yeah, right.

Labels: Michael Casey

2. "Vatican II coming to Orthodox churches?"

Labels: Eastern Schism

3. "Company Uses Fetal Cells From Abortions for [testing of] Artificial Flavors"

See also:

"Companies Stop Using Abortion Cells to Test Artificial Flavors"

Labels: abortion, Senomyx

4. Pius XII. on the death penalty

In this comment by a reader at Dr. Feser's blog, I found a link to the text of a speech which Pius XII. gave which dealt with the death penalty and for which I had previously looked unsuccessfully. (Though for lack of time I have not read the post in whose combox I found that comment, I did read Dr. Feser's subsequent post and it's worth reading, though not perfect (but, again for lack of time, I can't write a critique of it).) Here is the link to the text of that speech (in Italian):

Labels: death penalty, justice, morality, Pius XII. Pacelli

Reginaldvs Cantvar
Feast of St. Isidore, Bishop, Confessor, Doctor of the Church, A.D. 2011

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