A Little Bit o’ This and a Little Bit o’ That

Deacon Bob philosophizing at his best

I was thinking today as I was working around the house how untenable capital punishment is in today’s world. For all intents and purposes, it is immoral. Perhaps there is an extraordinary situation where it could be morally used, but I cannot imagine one. Can you? I began thinking about this when I read today that an American born terrorist was executed by a drone plane. ┬áPresidents Bush and Obama signed an order to execute certain people on lists without any recourse. Scary. No one should have the authority to execute someone without due process of law.

I was thinking last night and into today how prevalent idolatry is in our society. What I mean is this: so many people have bought into the idea that what is real is what they think. If you think it, it will be true. I’ll bet all of us slip into this way of thinking at times. The old philosopher, Descartes, started it all with his Cogito, ergo sum (I think, therefore I am). Why is it we keep coming back to philosophies that have been shown fallacious for so many centuries? Perhaps there is nothing new under the sun. By the way, the idolatry piece of this is the belief that I, by my thoughts and perceptions, create reality, i.e., I take over God’s place as creator of all. I for one don’t want God’s job. Too big for me. The truth of the matter is truth and reality are out there to be found. What our thoughts do is bring to life within us are our passions, our emotions. We also must be careful not to go too far in the other extreme and begin to think that I cannot know anything because reality is other than me. I did my senior philosophy paper on epistemology and tried to show that the only way we can really know anything is to become that which we desire to know, e.g., I can only know a chair by becoming a chair. Foolishness on my part, but a fun intellectual exercise for a then 21 year old philosopher.

All we are hearing about again is politics. Do any of us really understand what politics are? We talk about it all the time, but we don’t know what we are talking about. We either don’t like politics or we love it. Why? Because politics have to do with authority. We have problems with authority. Do you know what the Church teaches about political authority? The Church has always considered different ways of understanding authority, taking care to defend and propose a model of authority that is founded on the social nature of the person. Political authority is necessary because of the responsibilities assigned to it. The subject of political authority is the people considered in its entirety as those who have sovereignty. Authority must be guided by moral law. All of its dignity derives from the moral law, which in turn has God as its first source and final end.

We don’t like that part about moral law being the basis for political authority. Too messy, too personal, people say. So instead people want to think of politics as a matter of power, rather than authority. I don’t think this is just a play on words here. There is a difference even within a relationship. Authority first, power second.

Have you ever thought about how peaceful (and rich) life would be like without automobiles? I do. O well! Maybe in heaven.

Too many of us are narrow in our world view. Talked with a guy from Canada today and it made me realize how little of the world outside of the USA I really have known. I am always amazed at how much more people in Europe know about world affairs than I do. I wonder how this is reflected in our spirituality. You can bet your bottom dollar it does. Especially for us deacons.

Hope all of you have a blessed Sunday. Remember, God loves you.

About Deacon Bob

Moderator: Deacon Bob Yerhot of the Diocese of Winona-Rochester, Minnesota.
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