We are not just material beings, but spiritual persons with a need for meaning, purpose, and fulfillment that transcends the visible confines of this world. This longing for transcendence is a longing for truth, goodness, and beauty. Truth, goodness, and beauty are called the transcendentals of being, because they are aspects of being. Everything in existence has these transcendentals to some extent. God, of course, as the source of all truth, goodness, and beauty, has these transcendentals to an infinite degree. Oftentimes, he draws us to himself primarily through one of these transcendentals. St. Augustine, who was drawn to beauty in all its creaturely forms, found the ultimate beauty he was seeking in God, his creator, the beauty “ever ancient, ever new.”―Sister Gabriella Yi, O.P.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Rome. Flirting with danger? A rhapsody on Rome's roaming.

Be careful, Rome. The social sciences are not all they are cracked up to be.

The Church followed the lead of the psychology gurus in the 1980s and '90s regarding the treatment of serial pedophiles, ephebophiles and hebephiles. Look where that got us. Decades of abuse, because abusers were "treated" and released back into the general population, so-to-speak. The terms used to describe various "attractions" or "orientations" were not even part of a common diagnostic vocabulary.

Several generations of children were exposed and exploited by men and women who were diagnosed and pronounced by psychologists as reformed. Psychologists who, to be fair, operated under the illusion that certain conditions could be treated. A deadly illusion or naiveté that sacrificed the innocence of untold children upon the altar of ignorance. And, perhaps, the altar of pride? At the time, psycho-babble replaced common sense. If there is a temptation among psychologists, might that be the temptation to play God?

The preceding criticism does not exclude that there were present in those dark days individual psychologists and psychiatrists who demonstrated clear headed thinking and who saw the limitations of their knowledge concerning the reformability of certain adult abusers. The problem was that no one listened to the advice of the reliable professionals because, in many cases, the voices of popular psychology drowned out the sages. The blind led the blind.
Even to this day, debates rage on concerning the identification, impact and treatment of various conditions that any rational person, especially parents eager to protect their children, would consider grievously disordered and a threat to the well being of children. Voices of reason struggle to be heard in a hedonistic culture which, because it exalts sexual satisfaction beyond healthy and moral limit, permits the ascendency of perversion cloaked in the language of self fulfillment and tolerance.

Witness the following conversation between opinions captured in a 2013 article in The Guardian. Notice the use of slippery language that clouds the obvious conclusion.
Debate still rages, too, about the clinical definition of paedophilia. Down the years, the American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders – "the psychiatrist's bible" – has variously classified it as a sexual deviation, a sociopathic condition and a non-psychotic medical disorder. And few agree about what causes it. Is paedophilia innate or acquired? Research at the sexual behaviours clinic of Canada's Centre for Addiction and Mental Health suggests paedophiles' IQs are, on average, 10% lower than those of sex offenders who had abused adults, and that paedophiles are significantly less likely to be right-handed than the rest of the population, suggesting a link to brain development. MRI scans reveal a possible issue with paedophiles' "white matter": the signals connecting different areas of the brain. Paedophiles may be wired differently. (Emphasis added.)

This is radical stuff. But there is a growing conviction, notably in Canada, that paedophilia should probably be classified as a distinct sexual orientation, like heterosexuality or homosexuality. Two eminent researchers testified to that effect to a Canadian parliamentary commission last year, and the Harvard Mental Health Letter of July 2010 stated baldly that paedophilia "is a sexual orientation" and therefore "unlikely to change". (Emphasis added.)
Child protection agencies and many who work with sex offenders dislike this. "Broadly speaking, in the world of people who work with sex offenders here, [paedophilia] is learned behaviour," says Donald Findlater, director of research and development at the Lucy Faithfull Foundation, a charity dedicated to preventing child sexual abuse, and, before it closed, manager of leading treatment centre the Wolvercote Clinic. "There may be some vulnerabilities that could be genetic, but normally there are some significant events in a person's life, a sexually abusive event, a bullying environment … I believe it is learned, and can be unlearned."—Jon Henley, Paedophilia: bringing dark desires to light (2013).
Do not think for a moment that certain "enlightened" folk, given the labelling of paedophilia as a mere sexual orientation, wouldn't further sanitize a family of disordered behaviours and misuse the data to make those behaviours seem neutral and therefore no different than morally acceptable behaviour. Those seeking to have their behaviour blessed by the academy in order to achieve societal acceptance will exploit every loophole in their quest to normalize perversion.

The shenanigans at the Synod on the Family should be a sobering reminder that the social sciences can be used or misused to undermine the logic of the Gospel, to steer the Church into new and exciting times, as least to the minds of those belonging to a cadre of "progressivists" whose brains have been turned to mush by half-baked theories about human relationships. The wisdom of the saints is lost on those hell bent on obscuring or emptying the Gospel of its authority with regards to marriage and Holy Communion.

There is a fine line between gradualism, the gradual and continuing conversion of the sinner to more closely conform to the will of God, and the gradualness of the law.
The “gradualness of the law,” according to Pope John Paul II, is the false idea that there are “different degrees or forms of precept in God’s law for different individuals and situations.” This approach would say to a cohabiting couple afraid of marriage that it’s OK — or even good — for them to live together, and perhaps the Church should have a rite of blessing for them. In other words, when the Church’s teaching is perceived by some as too hard, we need to “lower the bar” for these people. This is actually demeaning to the persons so identified because it denies their ability to grow in holiness and live the fullness of the Christian life.—John S. Grabowski.
Petri, quo vadis?

These days, Rome seems susceptible to every passing fad. Anthropomorphizing the environment by insisting we should show the natural world "mercy" is the latest goofy flirt by some in the Vatican who seek the approval of pop culture as a valid way to further the Gospel.

The natural world requires our responsible stewardship. Showing the environment "mercy" carries with it the expectation of reform. Are we now referring to the natural world as a person capable of receiving and reciprocating mercy? Is the environment capable of extending to man pleasant conditions if we show it mercy? Not polluting a lake or river, not dumping toxic waste in one's backyard—these are actions to avoid. Can we call that a merciful act on the part of the environment? No. Clean water, fresh air, fertile ground—man cooperating with the natural world can enjoy the natural benefits of good stewardship and, where industry and human residency is not present, an untamed and unspoiled environment.

No place on earth is entirely amenable to man. Communities that have experienced massive flooding or hurricane damage or drought can attest to the "unforgiving" nature of the natural world. The natural world is to be respected, not coddled nor feared through some misguided attempt to establish solidarity with planet Earth.

Of course, some would say anthropogenic global warming is a fact. Despite what some climate scientists might aggressive assert, man still lacks the necessary breadth of vision and span of knowledge to fully understand the massive forces responsible for variations in climate. Yet, those of the opinion that global warming can be mitigated by changing our energy consumption habits insist that every instance of intense weather is an affirmation of the AGW (anthropogenic global warming) climate change narrative. The blurring of the distinction between exceptional weather events and climate change is permitted to those who see every weather event as a confirmation of AGW. Yet, such a distinction is not permitted to anyone who challenges the assumptions of the AGW crowd.

Rome, like Constantinople, is greening its theology, lowering its theological carbon footprint, it seems.
Since human life itself and all that it entails naturally includes caring for creation, Francis proposed “a complement” to the two traditional sets of seven corporal and spiritual works of mercy.
“May the works of mercy also include care for our common home,” he said, explaining that as a spiritual work of mercy, care for creation “calls for a grateful contemplation of God’s world which allows us to discover in each thing a teaching which God wishes to hand on to us.”
As a corporal work of mercy, he said, it “requires simple daily gestures which break with the logic of violence, exploitation and selfishness and makes itself felt in every action that seeks to build a better world.”
Yes, the degradation of the environment has a spiritual origin—man's self degradation, man's sin. The fall of man began man's alienation from the natural world. Man, who became alienated from God, became alienated from God's creation.

Perhaps the Church should return to its greatest competence—the dissemination of the Holy Gospel and the salvation of souls. Unless a direct connection between the ever greying use of the word 'mercy' and salvation can be affirmed, perhaps the Holy See might relinquish its hold on the tactic to promote effective stewardship of the environment to lay Catholics working in governments and industries that can approach the subject with appropriate expertise. It would be enough for the Holy See to caution us on the misuse of the environment and the proper stewardship of God's green Earth.

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