Saturday 30th July 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.

Pence: Trump and I will send Roe v. Wade “to the ash heap of history”

Indiana Governor and Republican vice-presidential nominee Mike Pence claimed on Thursday that if he and Donald Trump reach the White House, “We’ll see Roe vs. Wade consigned to the ash heap of history where it belongs.” “I’m pro-life and I…Continue Reading

Trump Is Driving Catholic Voters Toward Clinton

Donald Trump has held onto the support of evangelical Christians even as he has screwed up the name of a book of the Bible, said he doesn’t feel he needs forgiveness for anything, and struggled to answer the question that…Continue Reading

Catholic Tim Kaine Now Supports Taxpayer-Funded Abortion

Well, of course, the media thinks that Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA), Hillary Clinton’s choice for vice president, is the most Catholic of Catholics. The Washington Post gushed over him, calling the senator the “Pope Francis Catholic” due to Kaine’s work…Continue Reading

Pro-abort VP candidate Tim Kaine gets standing O at Mass, bishop mum on denying Communion

RICHMOND, Virginia, July 26, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – Pro-abortion Democratic Vice Presidential candidate Senator Tim Kaine received a standing ovation at his parish on Sunday and several Catholic priests praised his nomination. Meanwhile, as Catholics call for Kaine to be denied…Continue Reading

Anti-abortion duo behind Planned Parenthood videos cleared

HOUSTON (AP) — A Texas judge on Tuesday dismissed the last remaining charge against two California anti-abortion activists who made undercover videos of themselves trying to buy fetal tissue from Planned Parenthood. District Judge Brock Thomas dismissed the tampering with…Continue Reading

Cardinal Burke: Islam is ‘fundamentally a form of government’

Cardinal Raymond Burke said in a telephone interview that Islam is “fundamentally a form of government.” Speaking with Religion News Service, the patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta said that “when they (Muslims) become the majority in any…Continue Reading

Nienstedt: misconduct allegations retribution for opposition to gay marriage

In other words, he’s the real victim here. Marino Eccher of the PiPress says, “John Nienstedt, the former archbishop of the Archdiocese of Minneapolis and St. Paul, said accusations of sexual misconduct against him were part of a false smear campaign in response…Continue Reading

5 faith facts on Mike Pence: A ‘born-again, evangelical Catholic’

(RNS) While an official announcement has not yet been made, IndyStar and other media outlets are reporting that Indiana Gov. Mike Pence will be presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s running mate. Pence became governor of the Hoosier State in…Continue Reading

Trump In Tatters As Catholic Voters Shift Their Support To Hillary Clinton

A new Pew poll on religion and the 2016 campaign revealed devastating news for Republicans as Catholic voters have shifted their support to Hillary Clinton. A new Pew poll on religion and the 2016 campaign revealed devastating news for Republicans…Continue Reading

St. Anne Catholic Church prepares for 136th annual novena

There used to be a steady flow of stories, tales of miracle cures. They were covered in the Daily Journal, the Chicago Tribune and other newspapers, in the early 1900s. The Catholic church in St. Anne, a village of 1,239,…Continue Reading

More deception in the war on Card. Sarah

Speaking at a liturgy conference in London, Card. Sarah, clearly not acting in his role as Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship, made a personal appeal to priests to say Mass ad orientem and the world is coming down on his head.…Continue Reading

Cardinal Caffarra on Marriage, Family, Amoris Laetitia, & Confusion in the Church

cardc

Editor’s note: the following is an exclusive interview with Cardinal Carlo Caffara, conducted by OnePeterFive’s Dr. Maike Hickson. Cardinal Caffarra is Archbishop emeritus of Bologna and former member of the Pontifical Council for the Family. It was in a letter to Cardinal…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 . . .

The Catholic Paths of Pence and Kaine

pk

Two vice-presidential candidates handled disagreeing with the church differently. The dinner reception celebrating my ordination as a priest 27 years ago brought together friends and family, some of whom I had not seen for a long time. While I was speaking with my brother, an aunt came by and remarked to him, “You didn’t go up for Communion at your brother’s first Mass? What’s that about?” My brother, who hadn’t practiced his faith for years,…Continue Reading

Did Tim Kaine Truly Get a Catholic Education?

During his speech at the Democratic National Convention Wednesday night, vice presidential candidate Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia emphasized that his “faith became something vital” during his studies at a Jesuit high school. And Kaine has mentioned the importance of his Jesuit education a number of times recently in campaign speeches. But from his time in high school until now, it doesn’t seem Kaine has ever learned to embrace the fullness of the Catholic faith.…Continue Reading

Catholics urged to fast, pray for peace; group plans novena for nation

By Catholic News Service • Posted July 27, 2016 MANCHESTER, N.H. (CNS) — Bishop Peter A. Libasci of Manchester is urging Catholics to pray and fast for peace in response to the ongoing violence in the U.S. and around the world. “The current civil unrest in our country, the acts of unspeakable violence in Orlando, Dallas, Baton Rouge, and in Nice, France, the violence and political instability in Turkey, and the ongoing suffering in the…Continue Reading

Pope Francis on his way to Poland

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis is on his way to Poland for his 15th Apostolic Journey aborad and where he will also be participating in World Youth Day events. The Alitalia Airbus A321 on which he is travelling is scheduled to land in Krakow at 16.00. He is accompanied on board the plane by a Pontifical Delegation and some 70 members of the press. Before setting off for the airport a group of young refugees of…Continue Reading

An eighty-four year old priest brutally murdered by Islamic terrorists during Mass in a Church in Normandy – The seed of hate

2016-07-26 L’Osservatore Romano Paris, 26. Shock and horror at the “absurd violence”, radical condemnation for “every form of hatred” and prayer for the victims. These were the first sentiments expressed by Pope Francis – through the Director of the Holy See Press Office, Fr Federico Lombardi – at yet another episode of jihadist terror in Francis, barely two weeks from the attack in Nice of 14 July. Two men armed with knives broke into a…Continue Reading

Will Putin Get A Pulitzer?

By PATRICK J. BUCHANAN Waving off the clerics who had come to administer last rites, Voltaire said: “All my life I have ever made but one prayer to God, a very short one: ‘O Lord, make my enemies look ridiculous.’ And God granted it.” The tale of the thieved emails at the Democratic National Committee…Continue Reading

Restoring The Sacred . . . The Indissolubility Of Marriage, As Affirmed By The Liturgy

By JAMES MONTI Later this year, as you may have already read, a revised edition of the Order of Celebrating Matrimony is going to be promulgated in the United States, featuring notably a new, more accurate translation of the Latin text revised according to the principles of the Holy See’s 2001 instruction Liturgiam Authenticam. Additionally,…Continue Reading

James Patrick: The Loss Of A Child

By DONALD DeMARCO We had five healthy and happy children. “God giveth and God taketh away.” And so, in His inscrutable wisdom, He called our sixth child to His home the day after he was born. It would have been far more difficult for us if we had lost our first child. And it would…Continue Reading

Companions Of Jesus

By JAMES DRUMMEY Part 1 (Editor’s Note: Below is a talk given by James Drummey, editor of the Catholic Replies column, at a retreat in Vermont, June 11, 2016. We are publishing his talk in two parts because of its length.) + + + Of all the 73 books in the Bible, only one —…Continue Reading

Restoring The Sacred . . . The Indissolubility Of Marriage, As Affirmed By The Liturgy

By JAMES MONTI Later this year, as you may have already read, a revised edition of the Order of Celebrating Matrimony is going to be promulgated in the United States, featuring notably a new, more accurate translation of the Latin text revised according to the principles of the Holy See’s 2001 instruction Liturgiam Authenticam. Additionally,…Continue Reading

Advertisement

Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

The Sacraments Of Christian Initiation

By DON FIER Two key features have been always present in the Church’s liturgy, dating back to apostolic times: There is one and the same Paschal Mystery and it is celebrated in a variety of forms. There is “one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of us all, who is above all and through all and in…Continue Reading

Catholic Replies

Q. I recall thinking that when I was younger I understood that G.K. Chesterton alluded to the Church’s cultural diversity when noting that Christianity would be externally different for us had Christ been born in China or elsewhere. The many Christian symbols, such as the dove, the fish, the lamb, and the ship, would have been supplanted by others. The…Continue Reading

Have Trust In God’s Promises

By FR. ROBERT ALTIER Nineteenth Sunday In Ordinary Time (YR C) Readings: Wisdom 18:6-9 Heb. 11:1-2, 8-19 Luke 12:32-48 In the first reading today we are told that the ancient Jews knew the night of the Passover beforehand so that they would have courage through the sure oaths that had been made to them. It seems to us to be…Continue Reading

From Casuistry To Mercy… Toward A New Art Of Pleasing?

By MSGR. MICHEL SCHOOYANS Part 2 (Editor’s Note: Msgr. Michel Schooyans wrote the following essay for LifeSiteNews, which graciously granted reprint permission to The Wanderer. The essay is appearing in two parts because of its length; part one appeared in last week’s issue. (John-Henry Westen, editor-in-chief of LifeSiteNews, provided this background information about the essay: (“Msgr. Michel Schooyans, a top…Continue Reading

A Leaven In The World… Profile Of A “Saturday Vigil Commando”

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK Meet the Saturday vigil commando: She will go to Mass any day of the week, at practically any time of the day, except Sunday. She is a veritable fixture at the Saturday vigil Mass and will even return to the parish on Sundays faithfully once per month to help count the offertory collection, but will…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . St. Olaf

By CAROLE BRESLIN The Vikings! The word Viking comes from a Scandinavian word vik meaning bay or creek, with the extended word meaning pirate. The images the word brings to mind are amazing ships landing around Europe, even on the northeastern fringes of North America, to raid, pillage, and destroy. Although this did happen to some extent, the Vikings also…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . St. John Cassian

By CAROLE BRESLIN Frequently, the lives of the saints demonstrate that God calls us to go in directions that we would never consider unless it became clear that it is God’s will. St. Francis Xavier went to the Far East, St. Damien died in Hawaii on the opposite side of the world from his native Belgium, and St. John Cassian…Continue Reading

COMPLETE 3 PART Interview With Cardinal Burke . . . Insights On The State Of The Church In The Aftermath Of The Ordinary Synod On The Family

Cburke3

By DON FIER Part 1 (Editor’s Note: His Eminence Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke, Patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, recently traveled from Rome to the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in La Crosse, Wis., a magnificent place of worship which he founded and dedicated. (His Eminence graciously granted an extensive interview to The Wanderer during which he…Continue Reading