Saturday, December 5, 2015

Faith, hope, and charity, but not without patience

     "Dear brethren, we must endure and persevere if we are to attain the truth and freedom we have been allowed to hope for; faith and hope are the very meaning of our being Christians, but if faith and hope are to bear their fruit, patience is necessary."

And "charity can be steadfast and persevering because it has learned how to endure all things."

     St. Cyprian, On the value of patience 13 and 15, as translated in Liturgy of the hours 1, pp. 192-193 (Office of readings, Saturday, First week of Advent).  Cf. Thornton, LF 3 (139), pp. 257 and 259 (250-265); Wallis, ANL 5, 484-491/ANF 5, 484-491; Conway, FC 36 (1958), pp. 275 and 278 (263-287); etc.  Wallis:

"We must endure and persevere, beloved brethren, in order that, being admitted to the hope of truth and liberty, we may attain to the truth and liberty itself; for that very fact that we are Christians is the substance of faith and hope. But that hope and faith may attain to their result, there is need of patience."

"it [(charity)] can tenaciously persevere, because it knows how to endure all things."


"We must endure and persevere, beloved brethren, so that, having been admitted to the hope of truth and liberty, we can finally attain that same truth and liberty, because the very fact that we are Christians is a source of faith and hope.  However, in order that hope and faith may reach their fruition, there is need of patience."

"charity can persevere steadfastly because it has learned how to endure all things."

"tolerandum est et perseuerandum, fratres dilectissimi, ut ad spem ueritatis et libertatis admissi ad ueritatem et libertatem ipsam peruenire possimus, quia hoc ipsum quod christiani sumus fidei et spei res est.  ut autem peruenire spes et fides ad fructum possint sui patientia opus est."

"ostendit inde illam [(caritas)] perseuerare tenaciter posse, quod nouerit omnia sustinere."

     St. Cyprian, De bono patientiae 13 and 15 (CSEL 3.1, pp. 406 and 408).

Passive euthanasia

Euthanasiecentrum Hadamar
"Stargardt describes how one German doctor in 1939 tipped off the families of mentally handicapped patients in his sanatorium that their loved ones were destined for extermination, and urged their removal.  Few took advantage of his warning.  Are we sure, absolutely sure, that in the same circumstances American or British people would have displayed greater compassion?"

     Max Hastings, "How the Germans closed ranks around Hitler," a review of The German war:  a nation under arms, 1939-1945, by Nicholas Stargardt (New York:  Basic Books, 2015), among other titles.  The New York review of books 62, no. 16 (October 22, 2015):  30 (28-31).

Why we name our children

"These two words, 'Faith,' and 'Elijah,' they point to all my husband had to say to this world: 'Put your faith in the Lord.'"

     Rachel Swasey, at a memorial service for her husband Garrett Swasey in Colorado Springs, 4 December 2015.  Rachel got only one thing wrong:  Elijah means not just "The Lord is God," but rather "The Lord is my God."

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

"absolute pacifism is unsustainable"

Wikimedia Commons
"We give thanks at this hour that that indeed happened, and it is not only the countries that were occupied by the German troops and delivered from Nazi terror that give thanks.  We Germans, too, give thanks that liberty and law were restored to us through that military operation.  If ever in history there was a just war, this was it:  the Allied intervention ultimately benefited also those against whose country the war was waged.  Such an observation, it seems to me, is important, because it demonstrates on the basis of a historical event that absolute pacifism is unsustainable.  This, of course, in no way diminishes the duty to ask very carefully whether and under what conditions something like a 'just war' is still possible today:  that is to say, a military intervention conducted in the interests of peace and according to moral criteria against unjust regimes."

     Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, "A conference given by Cardinal Ratzinger at the Church of Saint-Étienne in Caen, June 5, 2004" ("confé
rence intitulée «À la recherche de la paix», donnée à Saint Etienne de Caen, le 5 juin 2004"), in Europe today and tomorrow;  addressing the fundamental issues, 2nd ed., trans. Michael J. Miller (San Francisco:  Ignatius Press, 2007), 86 (85-100).  Communio:  revue catholique internationale 29, no. 4 =no. 174 (juillet-août 2004): 108 (107-118). I was put onto this by Timothy George, "After dinner, a beheading," First things, 30 November 2015:
The fact that the Normandy landings "also served the good of those against whose country war was waged. . . . shows, based on a historical event, the unsustainable character of an absolute pacifism."
"Une telle constatation me paraît importante, car elle montre, sur la base d'un événement historique, le caractère insoutenable d'un pacifisme absolu." 
p. 91 (111-112 in Communio):
"in defending the law against a force [(force)] that aims to destroy law, one can and in certain circumstances must make use of proportionate force [(force)] in order to protect it.  An absolute pacifism that denies the law any and all coercive [(coercitif)] measures would be a capitulation to injustice, would sanction its seizure of power, and would abandon the world to the dictates of violence [(violence)]. . . .  But in order to prevent the force of law itself from becoming injustice, it must be subjected to strict criteria that should be acknowledged as such by all.  It must inquire into the causes of terrorism, which very often is rooted in injustices that are not countered by effective measures.  Therefore it must strive by all means to remove the preexisting injustices.  Above all, it is important to offer forgiveness again and again in order to break the vicious circle of violence [(violence)]. . . .  In all these cases it is important that there not be just one political power that maintains law and order.  Particular interests then become too easily mixed up in the intervention and obscure the clear vision of justice.  A genuine ius gentium [international law] is urgently necessary, without hegemonic dominion and its accompanying interventions:  only in this way can it be evident that it is a matter of protecting the rights common to all, even those who find themselves, so to speak, on the opposite side."
Cf. An unprincipled pacifism