Wednesday 28th September 2016

Home » Frontpage » Currently Reading:

Why Not Slavery? And Other Matters

May 1, 2014 Frontpage No Comments

By GEORGE A. KENDALL

Regarding the Pelletier case (see Stephen Krason, “The Justina Pelletier Case and the Abusive Child Protective System,” The Wanderer, April 17, 2014, p. 8B), some are arguing that there must be more to the case than we are hearing, that the authorities in Massachusetts must have information that they are not sharing with us, which, if made public, would justify the apparent atrocity they are committing against Justina and her family.     But if that is the case, it is incumbent on them to make this information public — immediately. As long as they do not, it is legitimate for us to ask: What are they hiding? It reminds me of the way both Presidents Johnson and Nixon used to tell us they had information which showed that they were right in prosecuting the Vietnam War, but of course couldn’t share this information because it was classified, so we just had to trust them.
My guess is that the people at Children’s Hospital, the DCF, and the juvenile court got into this situation thinking they could easily get away with it (given the arrogance so endemic to our elites), and eventually found themselves mired in a situation from which they can’t extricate themselves by just backing off, because 1) governments, being, in their own view, infallible, cannot acknowledge mistakes or wrongdoing, and 2) to do so now would be comparable to letting go of the tiger you’ve got by the tail, with possible serious, consequences, such as civil suits and even criminal prosecution (I do think everyone involved in this should be prosecuted, including the judge).
The rationale for taking Justina away from her parents was that they were the cause of her health problems, so that, once separated from them, she would get better. Instead she’s gotten worse. She is Catholic and is not being allowed to go to Mass, receive the sacraments, or see a priest. This alone is criminal, a classic case of the mentality that says, “We’re the government, and we can do anything we want!” These are the kind of people who tend to believe that Christianity, especially in its Catholic form, is a principal cause of mental illness.
If Justina’s parents are guilty of abuse, why aren’t they being prosecuted? I suspect this is not happening because there is no evidence, and they would be acquitted.
The parents have been accused of verbally abusing the staff at Children’s Hospital. How very shocking! If I were Justina’s father, I would be tempted to do a great deal more than verbally abuse the people who were destroying my child. Any good father would be.

+    +    +

Why not slavery? If that isn’t a politically incorrect question, nothing is, and yet it makes sense to ask it. Through most of human history, slavery was the default setting when it came to the organization of work — it was just part of the taken-for-granted background of life. Someone a few years back made the claim that the Church had changed her teaching on slavery — that, having at one time taught that it was morally acceptable, indeed, in accord with the natural law, she, in modern times, came to condemn it. That is at most a half-truth. The early Church’s failure to condemn slavery had something to do with the fact that, in the Roman Empire, it was, again, just part of everyone’s world taken for granted. It never really occurred to anyone to start a movement to abolish slavery, especially when such a movement would have had zero chance of success.
The Church had more pressing and immediate problems to deal with. And, of course, Christians were so conscious of having been, on a deep level, set free by the truth of Christ, that the accident of having the status of a slave probably seemed comparatively unimportant. But while many theologians may have held slavery to be acceptable, there was never, to the best of my knowledge, any formal magisterial teaching to that effect. It was just left on the back burner for centuries.
Yet, for Christians, there was always cognitive dissonance about the idea that a creature made in the image and likeness of God could be someone’s property, a feeling that “there is something wrong with this picture.” If I am the image and likeness of God, then I have a certain dignity, a certain inviolability, which makes it inappropriate for me to be treated merely as a means to someone else’s ends. A person has intrinsic goodness and value which cannot be reduced to utility. As the Church came to reflect on this more and more, it became clear that an institution which made the human person a commodity was incompatible with the Christian understanding of the human person. Hence slavery had to go.
While there is universal agreement in the Western world, though not so much so in the Third World (especially where Islam is dominant), that slavery is an evil, yet it is hard to see any logical reason why this view should be upheld by our elites, which are today largely anti-Christian and atheistic. If there is no God, then man is not the image of God, and is not a person with intrinsic dignity and value. In that case, there is no particular reason why people should not be treated as mere things, to be used as tools or owned as property. B.F. Skinner at least saw this clearly in his book, Beyond Freedom and Dignity.
But our elites for the most part still condemn slavery while holding to a worldview which is perfectly compatible with slavery and perhaps even requires it. They are unconsciously still clinging to a Christian principle here, and sooner or later they will realize how incongruous this is, and will begin to say openly that freedom and dignity are, as Skinner taught, remnants of Christian dogma and overdue to be tossed into the dustbin of history. That will clear the way for a return to slavery.
And that is already happening. When wage labor is pretty much how most people earn a living, workers become to some degree the property of their employers. Only look at how our corporations increasingly assert the right to control even the private lives of their employees. Then there are things like embryonic stem-cell research which basically treat the embryo, a human person at an early stage of development, as no more than a commodity.
And of course when we proclaim the acceptability of abortion, we are doing something comparable, because in doing so we implicitly see the unborn child as a piece of property, to be kept or discarded based on utilitarian criteria. Right now, we are still more or less at the stage of seeing the child as the property of the mother, but sooner or later we will come to see it as the property of the state — as in China.
As Christianity erodes, there is less and less reason why anyone should think slavery is a bad thing.

+    +    +

I’ve been having problems for many years now with the New American Bible, used in the liturgy in America, and its habit of eviscerating the word of God. The latest offense to come to my attention is the passage in Luke 2, where Mary and Joseph find Jesus in the Temple. In the NAB version, Mary says to Jesus: “Son, why have you done this to us? Your father and I have been looking for you with great anxiety.” Both the Douay and King James translations render the second part of this passage as: “Thy father and I have sought thee, sorrowing.” The Greek word translated as “sorrowing” is “odynomenoi,” meaning suffering pain, being in agony, grieving, sorrowing. This word packs a much greater emotional wallop than “with great anxiety” suggests, though even “sorrowing” understates it.
Mary and Joseph must have gone through hell during the three days they looked for Jesus. Certainly, they had God’s promise that their Son was to be the Messiah, reigning on the throne of David forever, but then Abraham had God’s promise that a great nation would come from Isaac, but that didn’t prevent him from suffering horribly when told he had to sacrifice him. He didn’t have the certainty that God would give Isaac a last-minute reprieve. God’s ways are mysterious, after all.
Which brings me to the principal point here: When we look at what went on in the lives of the principal actors in the drama of salvation, we tend, in our imaginations, to over-spiritualize things. We imagine people like Joseph and Mary, not as the flesh and blood human beings they surely were, but as just kind of going through the motions of playing their roles, as if they were actors on the stage, knowing full well how the play is going to turn out, hence never disturbed by anything that is happening. But the fact is, they didn’t have that kind of foreknowledge. We tend to read into their lives what we know today long after the fact. But they were always in the midst of the action.
One example here would be St. Joseph’s situation in Matt. 1, when he learned of Mary’s pregnancy. In the history of the Church, there have been many interpretations of his initial decision to divorce Mary quietly rather than submit her to disgrace, maybe even stoning. These often involve the idea that Joseph never doubted Mary for even an instant, perhaps even that he knew already that the pregnancy was miraculous, and perhaps wanted to remove himself from the whole situation because he didn’t see himself as worthy to play a role.
But is there really anything wrong with at least considering the most obvious possibility: that Joseph reacted the way any normal man would react on learning that his fiancée was pregnant, while knowing the he himself was not responsible? Is it really out of the question that Joseph might have wondered if perhaps he was gravely mistaken about Mary?
At the very least, he would have felt hurt and confused. All this was later clarified for Joseph when an angel appeared to him in a dream, but the very fact that he needed this clarifying vision, this revelation, suggests that his initial response was most likely the all too human response of the natural man — because he was, indeed, a flesh and blood man, however holy, not some kind of icon.
Even Jesus, though knowing everything that was to come, nevertheless, having a human nature, experienced the natural human reactions to things. I have heard people say that, during the agony in the garden, Jesus experienced horror over the loss of so many souls in spite of His sacrifice, but did not experience fear of His own suffering and death. He was no coward. But I would suggest that, given that He was true man as well as true God, His human nature would of course recoil at suffering and death, especially violent death. Throughout the Gospels, He gets angry, He grieves over His rejection by those He came to save, and He even weeps.
Jesus was a flesh and blood human being. His life was not some kind of stately procession in which He simply recited his lines from a script that was already written. He genuinely lived it out.
And yet we always find this a little shocking. We still want to imagine the story of salvation as a kind of solemn pageant acted out by robots. When we look at it this way, we can keep the whole thing at a comfortable distance. We get nervous if it starts to seem too vividly real and alive, and we tend to start taking evasive maneuvers. That is why, throughout Christian history, people have looked for ways around the Incarnation. The Arian heresy was one of these, Islam another.
Even Christian piety that formally affirms the Incarnation often tends to put it on the back burner. It seems that there is always, even in the minds of quite devout Christians, a little voice whispering that there is something not quite respectable about God becoming man (I mean, what could He possibly have been thinking about when He did that?).

+    +    +

(© 2014 George A. Kendall)

Share Button

2016 The Wanderer Printing Co.

Donald Trump Names Rick Santorum and Other Top Pro-Life Catholics as Key Advisers

Fresh from announcing a list of pro-life leaders who are advising him on issues that matter to pro-life voters, Donald Trump has named a group of pro-life Catholic leaders as additional key advisers, including pro-life former presidential candidate Rick Santorum.…Continue Reading

Argentine bishop threatened with prosecution for condemning ‘culture of fornication’

September 20, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – The Catholic archbishop of the Argentinean city of La Plata is under investigation by the country’s “discrimination” police for condemning the modern acceptance of sexual promiscuity and “unnatural” unions, according to local media sources. Archbishop…Continue Reading

First minor killed by euthanasia in Belgium after child euthanasia legalized

BELGIUM, September 19, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) — Belgium’s federal euthanasia commission confirmed Saturday the country’s first instance of child euthanasia, which became legal in 2014. Belgian media suggested the minor killed via lethal injection was 17. Some media also suggested the…Continue Reading

Donald Trump commits to defunding abortion, Planned Parenthood if elected

WASHINGTON, D.C., September 16, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – Donald Trump has pledged to end taxpayer funding of abortion in the United States and to defund the nation’s leading abortion provider. In a new, personally signed letter, Mr. Trump attacked “Hillary Clinton’s…Continue Reading

Pope Francis issues motu proprio harmonizing Canon Law codes

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis issued an Apostolic Letter motu proprio on Thursday, in which he brings the basic legal instruments that govern the Latin Church and the Eastern Churches in communion with Rome more closely into accord with one another…Continue Reading

Another “Catholic” Politician trying to redefine the Catholic Faith . . . Devout Catholic™ Kaine breaks with his church on gay marriage, with media blessing

Tim Kaine has officially joined the ranks of Devout Catholic™. How do we know? Because he says he’s Catholic, yet criticizes the church. The Democratic vice presidential nominee played weekend prophet and theologian when he told activists in the Human…Continue Reading

Bishop Morlino’s Move to Ad Orientem Masses in Madison

This past weekend the Most Reverend Robert Morlino, Bishop of the Diocese of Madison, Wisconsin made an announcement of great liturgical importance. Going forward His Excellency will be offering all of his Masses at the Cathedral ad orientem. Make no…Continue Reading

Longtime conservative activist Phyllis Schlafly dead at 92

phillis

Phyllis Schlafly, the iconic pro-family activist who rose to fame in the 1970s when she campaigned against the Equal Rights Amendment, has died at age 92, according to the Eagle Forum, the conservative organization she founded. Schlafly had been an…Continue Reading

Soros’ Catholic useful idiots

By Robert A. Sirico – – Tuesday, August 30, 2016 A most remarkable set of documents was coughed up recently by WikiLeaks. George Soros‘ Open Society Policy Center, it turns out, made donations to two faith-based organizations to the tune…Continue Reading

Pope Francis “gratified” by UN goals that demand “universal access to sexual and reproductive health”

Pope Francis has said that he is “gratified” by UN goals that call on member states to “ensure universal access to sexual and reproductive health” by 2030. The term “sexual and reproductive health”, as generally defined, includes access to contraception, including abortifacient methods, and,…Continue Reading

Psychiatrist: The Vatican’s sex ed is the most dangerous threat to youth I’ve seen in 40 years

September 2, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) — In recent years, the Catholic Church has been going through one of her most severe crises as a result of the priestly abuse of youth. The primary victims have been adolescent males.1  This worldwide scandal was…Continue Reading

Catholics protest at Tim Kaine’s parish: If priest won’t ‘instruct parishioners’ on Church teaching, we will

RICHMOND, Virginia, August 29, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) — Roughly a dozen pro-life activists protested Sunday outside of pro-abortion, pro-homosexual Democratic Vice Presidential candidate Sen. Tim Kaine’s Catholic parish. “Sen. Kaine has failed in his duty as a Catholic public servant to…Continue Reading

Newsmax

Untitled 5 Untitled 2

Attention Readers:

  Welcome to our new website. Readers who are familiar with The Wanderer know we have been providing Catholic news and orthodox commentary for over 145 years in our weekly print edition. Now we are introducing the online daily version of our print journal.


  Our daily version offers only some of what we publish weekly in print. To take advantage of everything The Wanderer publishes, we encourage you to su
bscribe to our flagship weekly print edition, which is mailed every Friday or, if you want to view it in its entirety online, you can subscribe to the E-edition, which is a replica of the print edition.
 
  Our daily edition includes: a selection of material from recent issues of our print edition, news stories updated daily from renowned news sources, access to archives from The Wanderer from the past 10 years, available at a minimum charge (this will be expanded as time goes on). Also: regularly updated features where we go back in time and highlight various columns and news items covered in The Wanderer over the past 145 years. And: a comments section in which your remarks are encouraged, both good and bad, including suggestions.
 
  We encourage you to become a daily visitor to our site. If you appreciate our site, tell your friends. As Catholics we must band together to rediscover our faith and share it with the world if we are to effectively counter a society whose moral culture seems to have no boundaries and a government whose rapidly extending reach threatens to extinguish the rights of people of faith to practice their religion (witness the HHS mandate). Now more than ever, vehicles like The Wanderer are needed for clarification and guidance on the issues of the day.

Catholic, conservative, orthodox, and loyal to the Magisterium have been this journal’s hallmarks for five generations. God willing, our message will continue well into this century and beyond.

Joseph Matt
President, The Wanderer Printing Co.

Untitled 1

Enter Comments Below

This Weeks Comments And Letters . . .

Culture Of Life 101 . . . “An Introduction To The Problem Of Euthanasia”

By BRIAN CLOWES Part 2 (Editor’s Note: Brian Clowes has been director of research and training at Human Life International since 1995. For an electronic copy of chapter 23 of The Facts of Life, a 150-page treatise on all of the aspects of euthanasia, e-mail him at bclowes@hli.org.) + + + We have covered the definitions of the varieties of…Continue Reading

Today . . .

Benedict XVI Admits Qualms of Conscience about Vatican II

After the German publisher Droemer Verlag first released it on 9 September 2016, much has already been deeply discussed and variously reported about Benedict XVI’s new interview-book, Benedikt XVI. Letzte Gespräche (Benedict XVI – Last Conversations) which so far has only been published in the German language. It has been shown, for example, how the former pope supports whole-heartedly Pope Francis’ papacy and how he still defends his decision to leave his Petrine office, not…Continue Reading

">We May Not Have A Church To Go To . . .

Paul Likoudis (RIP)

Calling hours will at Vedder And Scott Funeral home on Tuesday September 27th from 4pm to 7pm. 122 N Genesee Street Montour Falls NY 14865 A Mass of Christian Burial Will Be held at 11am on Wednesday September 28 with a reception to be held immediately following at St. Mary’s of the Lake Church. 905 N. Decatur Street Watkins Glen NY 14891 Dear Friends, Paul Augustine Likoudis, age 61 of Caywood, NY, passed away due…Continue Reading

500 Catholic scholars lash back at Humanae Vitae critics

Washington D.C., Sep 20, 2016 / 03:53 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Nearly 50 years after the “prophetic” papal document Humanae Vitae, the Catholic Church’s longstanding teaching against contraception continues to promote the human good, said a group of Catholic thinkers on Tuesday. “We hold that Catholic teaching respects the true dignity of the human person and is conducive to happiness,” said hundreds of Catholic scholars in a Sept. 20 document. “Humanae Vitae speaks against the distorted…Continue Reading

“Catholic” Tim Kaine: “I Believe Women Should Be Able to” Have an Abortion

Yesterday on Meet the Press, Democratic Vice Presidential pick Tim Kaine, attempted to make his pitch to Millennials by saying that they agree with Hillary Clinton and the Democratic platform on the big issues. One of the big issues is obviously abortion. Part of what he said was: “Do you believe women should be able to make their own health care decisions, or don’t you? Millennials do, Hillary Clinton and I do, Donald Trump doesn’t.”…Continue Reading

Never Trump? . . . The Case Against “Sitting Out” The Presidential Election

By BRIAN CLOWES Conclusion (Editor’s Note: To receive an electronic copy of this four-part article with footnotes, e-mail Brian Clowes at bclowes@hli.org.) + + + “When you have a binary choice, you must make a decision. It’s frankly irresponsible to stay on the sidelines right now, given where the republic is heading” — Marjorie Dannenfelser,…Continue Reading

Bibi Backs Trump — On Putin

By PATRICK J. BUCHANAN Since Donald Trump said that if Vladimir Putin praises him, he would return the compliment, Republican outrage has not abated. Arriving on Capitol Hill to repair ties between Trump and party elites, Gov. Mike Pence was taken straight to the woodshed. John McCain told Pence that Putin was a “thug and…Continue Reading

Sex On The Brain

By DONALD DeMARCO The late Malcolm Muggeridge, who, in his later years, had some sensible things to say about human sexuality, lamented that people “have sex on the brain, and that’s an unhealthy place for it to be.” What he meant by this remark was based on his observation that sex, which is a natural…Continue Reading

Culture Of Life 101… The Bridge Between Abortion And Euthanasia

By BRIAN CLOWES Part 1 (Editor’s Note: Brian Clowes has been director of research and training at Human Life International since 1995. For an electronic copy of chapter 23 of The Facts of Life, “Euthanasia,” e-mail him at bclowes@hli.org.) + + + Speaking at a conference of the Hemlock Society — an organization whose primary…Continue Reading

Restoring The Sacred… At The Hour Of Our Death

By JAMES MONTI The onset of autumn has deeper lessons to offer than merely the return of students to their classrooms for another semester of studies. Our Lord Himself told us to derive spiritual instruction from even the change of seasons when He compared the budding of leaves on the fig tree that presage summer…Continue Reading

Advertisement

Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

A Leaven In The World . . . How Catholics End Up As Practical Protestants

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK The Church is in the business of making Catholics, of proclaiming and calling all to the fullness of saving truth in Jesus Christ our Lord. Our mission to those who doubt or refuse some of our teachings is to call them to that fullness, whether Catholics already in our pews or Protestant brothers and sisters…Continue Reading

What Is Faith?… Is Faith Necessary For Salvation?

By RAYMOND DE SOUZA, KM For most of us who are cradle Catholics, it is not difficult to believe, since we received the theological virtue of faith in Baptism and grew up with it. Our parents and/or teachers taught us all about the Bible stories, the catechism, the sacraments. We learned to pray the Creed from an early age, and…Continue Reading

The Necessity Of Baptism

By DON FIER The Church’s immemorial tradition of baptizing infants demonstrates in a particular way one of the great truths of our Catholic faith — that every human person is in need of salvation. Born into this world afflicted with original sin, “a sin which is the death of the soul” (Catechism of the Catholic Church [CCC], n. 403), even…Continue Reading

Catholic Replies

Editor’s Note: Following up on a recent question about how much money the U.S. bishops get from the federal government, an article in LifeSiteNews reported that the Obama Administration is pouring hundreds of million of dollars into Catholic institutions and charities. “We’ve got the most virulently anti-life administration in the history of the United States,” said international child rights advocate…Continue Reading

If It Delays, Wait For It

By FR. ROBERT ALTIER Twenty-Seventh Sunday In Ordinary Time (YR C) Readings: Hab. 1:2-3, 2:2-4 2 Tim. 1:6-8, 13-14 Luke 17:5-10 I have commented many times before on the last lines of the Gospel reading today where our Lord tells us to say: “We are unprofitable servants; we have done what we were obliged to do.” Tragically, I wish that…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. John Of Capistrano

By CAROLE BRESLIN In Texas there is an old building that is part of the Missions National Historical Park of the National Park Service near San Antonio, Texas. This restored mission was founded in 1731 on the San Antonio River by the Franciscans and named after the soldier saint, St. John of Capistrano. In San Juan Capistrano, Calif., the Franciscans…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… Blessed Bernardina Maria Jablonska

By CAROLE BRESLIN Some people look back on their lives and see how differently things turned out from what they had planned. A professor once told his business students that very few students work in the field they studied in college. If someone had told the young Bernardina Maria Jablonska that she would be the superior of a religious order…Continue Reading