The Limits of the Moral Law

June 2012By Thomas Storck

Thomas Storck has written widely on Catholic social teaching, Catholic culture, and related topics. His most recent book is Christendom and the West: Essays on Culture, Society and History.

Father Joseph Rickaby, S.J., in a conference given to Catholic students at Cambridge University in England in 1897, while commenting on why the private interpretation of Scripture is wrong and why we are dependent upon the Church for the faith we have received, made the following observation:
God follows the great rule of His Providence, providing for man through man, not only in temporal matters, in which every good gift that we have becomes available to us as members of human society, and through the co-operation of our fellowmen, and not otherwise — but also in the needs of our soul and in matters of salvation.
Fr. Rickaby thus illuminated the simple truth that man is a social being, a truth perhaps first enunciated by Aristotle and seconded by St. Thomas Aquinas. Pope Leo XIII summed up this two-thousand-year-old conclusion of both sound philosophy and divine revelation in his 1885 encyclical Immortale Dei: “Hence it is divinely ordained that [man] should lead his life — be it family, social, or civil — with his fellow-men, amongst whom alone his several wants can be adequately supplied.”

In the Anglo-Saxon world, however, we are burdened with the Robinson Crusoe-type notion that man is primarily an individual, or at any rate shows himself at his best or most characteristic as such — that society is not essential, but is merely an adjunct or supplement to our humanity. This is not only historically untrue and philosophically false, it is a product of Protestant culture, of Calvinist individualism, and should be especially abhorrent to anyone possessed of a Catholic mind. That we are essentially social beings has important implications for morality — that is, for mankind’s right living.

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According to the Catholic Cathechism #1868 : Sin is a personal act. Moreover,we have a responsibility for the sins committed by others when we cooperate in them : by participating directly and voluntarily in them; By ordering ,advising ,praising,or approving them; by not disclosing or not hindering them when we have an obligation to do so; by protecting evil - doers.
According to the teaching of Jesus Ben Sira (ca250-ca175) Sirach or Ecclesiasticus (Sirach 37:16-18) " Every undertaking begins in discussion,and consultation precedes every action. Here you can trace the mind's variety. Four kinds of destiny are offered to them, good and evil,life and death ; and always it is the tongue that decides the issue."
Mind is the complex of cognitive faculties that able consciousness ,thinking,,reasoning,perception,and judgment - sometimes considered a particular characteristic of humans.
The Cerebral Cortex has a critical role in the abilities and activities that reach their highest level of development in humans. Obvious examples are language and abstract thinking.These are of course ,not the only functions of the Cerebral Cortex ; basic aspects of perception ,movement,and adaptive response to the outside world also depend on it.
The object of the intellect is Truth and Justice.
Posted by: laguerre12
June 13, 2012 02:29 PM EDT
The object of the Intellect is Truth and Justice. The Vatholic Cathechism teaching on Social Justice #1928-1933
I will Quote # 1930 " Respect for the human person entails respect for the rights that flow from his dignity as a creature. These rights are prior to society and must be recognized by it. They are the basis of the moral legitimacy of every authority : by flouting them,or refusing to recognize them in it's positive legislation, a society undermines it's own moral legitimacy. If it does not respect them, authority can rely only on force or violence to obtain obedience from it's subjects.It is the Church's role to remind men of good will of these rights and to distinguish them from unwarranted or false claims."
Truth: It has been established that Pythagoras,and Anaxagoras,Plato and Socrates and then schools,were the first of the natural philosophers to say that Mind and God are in control of the Universe .Anaxagoras' Mind later became identified with God ,and the distinction he drew between Mind and Matter becomes for the Neoplatonists the distinction between the realm of pure predicates and the realm of perceptible objects. The first Natural philosopher ( in the present sense of the term) whose name is known to us,whose system has been preserved , and whose fame as the founder of the Natural philosophy was celebrated throughout antiquity,was Anaxagoras.
Another Truth: The cerebral cortex is a sheet of neurons and their interconnections,about 1800cm2( 2 ft)2 in area; that plates the corrugated surface of the cerebral hemispheres in a layer just a few millimeters thick. This thin layer of gray matter accounts nearly half the weight of the brain and is estimated to contain about 25 billion neurons, interconnected by more than 100,000km of axons receiving an incredible 10 to the power of 14 synapses.The corrugation into gyro and sulci ,a mechanism for increasing the area of cortex, is reasonably constant in it's major features.
Dates: Pythagoras :570-495 BC; Anaxagoras :500-428BC; Socrates : 469-399BC; Plato:424-348BC

Posted by: laguerre12
June 22, 2012 03:00 PM EDT
Storck's hasty generalization of those who support "life issues" (read "abortion and euthanasia") while apparently falling off the wagon with respect to war and capital punishment, reminds me of my former pastor, who would say things to the same effect with the express aim of homogenizing all three issues in a Cardinal Georgesque "seamless garment" approach. The "peace and justice" left-wingers employ this lop-sided tactic as well.

The Church proscribes direct abortion under all circumstances. War and capital punishment may be allowed under certain--albeit exceptional--circumstances. Abortion, war and capital punishment are not morally equivalent as Storck, at least implicitly, suggests.

Romano Amerio offers some very well reasoned, traditional insights on the licit exceptions for just war and expiatory capital punishment in his excellent book Iota Unum.

Posted by: pataburd
July 02, 2012 04:33 PM EDT
Correction: Make that Cardinal Bernardinian--NOT Georgesque--with reference to the "seamless garment". Posted by: pataburd
July 02, 2012 08:11 PM EDT
Let us harmonize knowledge : The intellect and the affections, the highest part of human nature which will carry over from Biology to Social physics. Intellectual faculties of man: Particular faculties of the intellect ; know the physical qualities of objects,as configuration ,size ,weight and color. A particular faculty which cognizes analogy or difference,similitude or dissimilitude,and Identity,and establishes harmony; and another which appreciates the causes of objects and of phenomena " ( philosophical catechism 1875)
Betrad Russell ( 1872-1970) Logical Fiction : " Russel called items shown to be logical constructions out of other items; for example showing that numbers are logical constructions out of sets is not so much showing that numbers do not exist,as showing what it means to say that they do."
Bernoulli's Theorem ( 1654-1705) " Title used for the Law of large numbers in probability theory ,furthermore for any small. Number( e) the probability that the frequency of occurrence falls within the interval np+_e increases with n, and approaches 1 as n approaches infinity."
Hegel Science of Logic ( 1812-1816) Being - for - self differentiates ( The ONE, the many, repulsion and attraction)
There are two definitions of Nature: first: expresses Essence that which characterizes or constitutes a class of being or individuality; Second : It is used to signify the First Cause personified ,and may then be considered ad synonymous with God or Creator .
Etymology of Jehovah, Hebrew verb hawah ,to be ,exist
The Gospel to be preached and taught even as the Law : Mark 16:15" And he said unto them, go ye into all the world,and preach the gospel to every creature"
Jesus : first is an object of religion: demythologization ; El and y " merger" y absorbs El ,the younger God has no name but presumably identified as the Great Angel !Michael, Jesus or Enoch, Christ, and later on Metratron as well ( Harvard Theological Review volume 105:2 page 158,161)
Jesus as first century Judaism ( historical Jesus is Jesus Ben Sira ca250-ca175)
Posted by: laguerre12
July 09, 2012 02:52 PM EDT
The Historical Jesus ( Jesus Ben Sira) ca250-ca175
Reference : Anchor Yale Bible series ( The Wisdom of Ben Sira) page15 the works of Jesus Ben Sira ,the Greek Translation of Wisom of Ben Sira in Egypt after ca117
The Real : is whole independent being, dependent only on itself, Universal, it's being is logical, thought,mind, or intelligence is an abstract ,Universal, objective mind ,it has a logical and not a factual being, it is the First principle ,the Absolute which is the source of all things, from which the Universe must be explained,it holds logical priority over all things, it is not first in order of Time.
Appearance: depends on the Real
Existence: immediately presented to Consciousness may be either a material or a psychic entity, appearance ,factual
( The philosophy of Hegel)
The frontal lobe of the Cerebral Hemisphere has motor as a primary function and as a secondary function as Cognitive.One of the general functional area of the frontal lobe is the prefrontal cortex, is involved with what are often referred to as executive functions,which can generally be described as personality,insight,and foresight
Reference: The Human Brain
Posted by: laguerre12
July 09, 2012 04:40 PM EDT
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