Monday, September 5, 2011

Notes: Wednesday, August 24-Monday, September 5, 2011 (part 2 of 2)

8. Dr. Soutphommasane on Federal funding of State school chaplains

I'm logging that opinion piece because of this excerpt:
What is really at issue is the state's neutrality. As American legal philosopher Ronald Dworkin wrote, liberalism says "political decisions must be, so far as possible, independent of any particular conception of the good life".

This isn't an argument about whether religion is good or bad; it is about the proper limits of government power. The liberal state should generally aim to be neutral on matters of the good life.
The problem is that Dr. Soutphommasane describes himself as "one who believes in a value of national solidarity based on the common good" (source), and the importance to him of the common good has been evident in his previous "Ask the Philosopher" columns, such as when he wrote that a "politics of a common good, conducted by enlightened representatives and citizens, is unimpeachable in theory" (source). The common good is indeed the end, or purpose, of the State, but how can a State form the right understanding of the common good of its populace when the common good of a society is to that society none other than what the proper good of an individual--his corporal and spiritual well-being--is to that individual, yet we are, so liberals would have us believe, supposed to refrain from taking "any particular conception of the good life" as normative?

Labels: liberalism, morality, political science

9. Earliest Papal reference to 'healthy secularity'?

As you know, I'm no fan of talk of 'healthy secularity/secularism'; leave secularity and secularism to the secularists, I say. So it dismays me whenever I see that diction coming from the Holy Father, whose fullest treatment of the notion/s of secularity and secularism can be found, to the best of my knowledge, in his "Address to the participants in the 56th National Study Congress organized by the Union of Italian Catholic Jurists (December 9, 2006)", available in English here and in what I presume is its original Italian (since it was given to an Italian audience, though I can't find it in the A.A.S.; if any of you can find it there please let me know) here. (That Address came to my attention via this AQ post.) Now I had thought that Papal use of the term 'healthy secularity' only began with the present Pope, or perhaps with one of His Holiness's Conciliar/post-Conciliar predecessors, but reading Msgr. Lefebvre's They Have Uncrowned Him the other week I was surprised to learn that Pius XII. had spoken of 'the legitimate and healthy secularity of the State' in His late Holiness's Allocution to the inhabitants of the Marches, March 23, 1958. The text of that Allocution is available in AAS 50 [1958], p. 216, here and also here, and in both those sources we see, in the fourth-last paragraph, the words "la legittima sana laicità dello Stato"; perhaps it was with that very expression of Pius XII. in mind that the present Pope put the words "sana laicità" in quotation marks in that December 9, 2006 Address. But while the teaching of Benedict XVI. on the distinction between Church and State seems to be the same as that of Pius XII., distinction does not mean, and should not imply, separation, and whereas Pius XII. spoke approvingly, on at least two occasions before that Allocution, of the kind of union which existed between the Church and history's Catholic Confessional States, Benedict XVI. has, to the best of my knowledge, never done so, and indeed seems to favour the kind of 'union' in which Church and State co-operate but without any priviliging of the Catholic Church over non-Catholic sects; see item 6.2 here, for instance.

Anyhow, is the Allocution to the inhabitants of the Marches the earliest Papal use of the term 'healthy secularity' (or any equivalent expression), or are there earlier ones? If the latter, then what and when were they, and which is the earliest?

Labels: Benedict XVI. Ratzinger, Church and State, morality, Pius XII. Pacelli, political science, secularism

10. Leo XIII. on, among other things, the formal cause, analogically speaking, of the State

This is a quotation from Libertas, praestantissimum as found in the on-line version of ASS 20 [1887], p. 604 (the text of that Encyclical begins on p. 593) (there is at least one, quite obvious, typographical error in the quotation, as in the proximate source from which I quoted it):
... Etenim dubitari non potest quin sit Dei voluntate inter homines coniuncta societas, sive partes, sive forma eius spectetur quae est auctoritas, sive caussa, sive earum, quas homini parit, magnarum utilitati! m copia. ...
The Vatican website's English version of that sentence is as follows:
21. ... For it cannot be doubted but that, by the will of God, men are united in civil society; whether its component parts be considered; or its form, which implies authority; or the object of its existence; or the abundance of the vast services which it renders to man. ...
But in the translation in Msgr. Lefebvre's They Have Uncrowned Him, the section corresponding to "which implies authority" is give as "which is authority" (my emphasis in both quotations). I don't speak Latin, but judging by a critical use of Google Translate, the latter translation would seem to be the more accurate one. Would any Latinists reading this be so kind as to suggest their own translation?

Labels: Leo XIII. Pecci, morality, political science

11. Yet more evidence of the Sodomites' League's success in diverting public discourse on homosexuality away from a focus on behaviour and towards a focus on 'identity'

These are excerpts from a letter by Josie (no surname given) of Andrews Farm which was published under the heading "Live and love" on page thirty of the Sydney Daily Telegraph of Thursday, August 25, 2011:
To deny humans the right of identity and companionship is inhuman. ...
... We cannot stop biology/chemistry, we can only control behaviour and mutual consent.
[...] Marriage is for people who seek to share family identity in the formal bounds that marriage gives.

[I include the second paragraph excerpt there solely in order to avoid being accused of implying that the letter contained no reference at all to behaviour; clearly Josie does mention behaviour, but she fails to show any understanding of its significance to marriage.]
But marriage is not just about sharing 'identity'; it is about sharing a certain kind of behaviour; it is not merely some kind of Platonic relationship, but a conjugal relationship. Hence any discrimination on the basis of sex or sexual disorientation involved in upholding the natural law's design for marriage is only indirect, since the direct discrimination is only against those who cannot consummate their respective putative marriages, and this discrimination applies equally to opposite-sex couples in which one (or both) prospective spouse(s) is (are) absolutely or relatively impotent and to same-sex couples.

Labels: G.L.B.T., marriage, morality

12. "Almost 20,000 of South Australia's 48,783 Catholic school students are not members of the church"

Labels: Catholic schools

13. Some recent AQ posts regarding the Russian Orthodox Church

Labels: R.O.C.

Reginaldvs Cantvar
Feast of St. Lawrence Justinian, Bishop, Confessor, A.D. 2011

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