The Dis-Proprotionate Burden of Lockdowns

Human life is much about prudence, the virtue by which we see the true good in every circumstance, and to choose the right means of achieving it. It is a perfection of practical reason, which should take into account ideals, even if we may never fully attain them.

Everyone of right mind wants to preserve and protect life, but with the realization that illness and death, along with the risk of either, are inevitable, and must be tolerated, ‘baked in’, if you will, to keep society functioning. Taking risks – as in Reinhold Messner’s numerous mountain ascents – or minimizing risks – staying at home to avoid illness – are both decisions made with prudence, and can only be assessed as morally good or bad in the concrete conditions in which they are made.

One sign of a ‘right decision’ is that it is made in due proportion between the good sought, and the means to attain it. Disproportion between these is a sign of imprudence: Paying too much for a used car. Climbing a mountain when ill-prepared to do so. Marrying someone out from physical attraction, when you are clearly incompatible. And, to the point of this reflection, interminably locking down an entire population to prevent the spread of an airborne illness.

Spread the love

Read the Whole Article at https://catholicinsight.com/

Newman and His Fierce, Unchanging Religion

I will not shrink from uttering my firm conviction, that it would be a gain to this country, were it vastly more superstitious, more bigoted, more gloomy, more fierce in its religion, than at present it shows itself to be.[1] Saint John Henry Newman

Newman’s point in this startling statement is that superstition and religion have something in common, viz., a belief in a spiritual realm that is accessible to human beings. We know that our prayers and rites are pleasing to God and open our hearts to the influence of his grace. The error of superstition, therefore, is not in its recognition of a transcendent reality. Rather is it mistaken in the conviction that by certain formulae and practices it can control these supernatural powers. Many of its practices have become harmless over time, such as knocking on wood to cancel the dangers occasioned by an act of hubris, but some remain harmful, even evil, such as a belief the evil eye or voodoo.

Newman noted that when religion goes wrong it degenerates into superstition. It follows, then, that the purification of superstition will lead back to authentic religion in which prayers and ceremonies will be offered to God in humble submission to his providential care. In other words, superstition lends itself to correction when the element of magic is eliminated. The opposite of superstition is religious scepticism, and it too is the corruption of something good, namely, man’s power of reasoning. Just as, when religion goes wrong, it moves into superstition, so reason degenerates into scepticism when it claims that reality is limited to what human intelligence can discover about the physical world. And as the superstitious person is too gullible, so is the sceptic too dismissive of anything he cannot prove by experiment and in the hard court of logic.

Spread the love

Read the Whole Article at https://catholicinsight.com/

Saint John of Avila, Apostle of Andalusia

Today’s optional memorial commemorates Saint John of Avila (1499 – 1569), a contemporary of his fellow Spaniards, saints and correspondents, Teresa of Avila, Ignatius of Loyola and John of God. Like them, he was one of the primary instruments in what is inaptly termed the Catholic ‘counter-reformation’, but was in fact the reinvigoration of the Catholic Church in the face of Protestant opposition. Nothing like a few good heresies and schisms to make the Church stronger.

John had mystical leanings from his youth, one of those souls chosen by God. At first he studied law, but left without finishing, and began his formation for the priesthood, ordained in 1526, and saying his first Mass in the church where his parents were buried, they having died during his time away at university. Spiritually-minded Catholics have always had a healthy and realistic view of the inevitability of death, realizing that we are only separated for a time, and there is never much distance in Christ’s Mystical Body.

Father Juan at first desired to go to Mexico as a missionary, but was persuaded to stay and evangelize Andalusia – of which he is known as ‘the Apostle’ – the southernmost portion of Spain, jutting out in the Atlantic and Mediterranean Seas, where the Faith had been severely compromised by centuries of Islamic domination and persecution (the Muslims had been driven out not that long before, in 1492, by Ferdinand and Isabella).

Spread the love

Read the Whole Article at https://catholicinsight.com/