Monday, May 28, 2012

Duns Scotus and the Forcible Baptism of Jewish Children

On a recent post regarding John Duns Scotus, Michael Sullivan--objecting vociferously to my criticisms of Scotus and preference for the thought of Thomas Aquinas--commented:
... perhaps you can understand that if I am over-zealous it is in defense of saints, doctors, and blesseds of the Church, and of their philosophy and theology, produced in faithful service to the Church, and of arguments and propositions none of which have ever been censured by the Magisterium or found to be incompatible with the orthodox faith, brought forward from the light of reason and in philosophical good faith; a defense against a constantly-repeated calumny grounded in misunderstanding and falsehood.
Interestingly, I found a passage from Aquinas that reads a bit like a commentary on that. It's from II-II, 10,12Whether the children of Jews and other unbelievers ought to be baptized against their parents' will?

On the contrary, injustice should be done to no man. Now it would be an injustice to Jews if their children were to be baptized against their will, since they would lose the rights of parental authority over their children as soon as these were Christians. Therefore these should not be baptized against their parents' will.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Cardinal Ratzinger On Europe's Crisis of Culture

A niece of mine recently brought this Ratzinger lecture to my attention.

On July 26, 2005, the day before John Paul II died after a prolonged death watch, Joseph Ratzinger—soon to be Benedict XVI—gave an address at Subiaco on Europe's cultural crisis. This address was in the nature of a campaign speech for the papacy, setting out Ratzinger's views on the position of the Church in the modern world. He was presenting himself as a man of vision with a clear idea of the problems facing the Church—the implication being that he was therefore the right man to lead the Church after the long pontificate of John Paul II. This address is thus a handy summary of Ratzinger/Benedict's views.

Ratzinger begins his address by providing something of a laundry list of important problems facing modern man—symptoms of the cultural crisis. These are, in his view, problems that have developed over the last century and are representative byproducts of a cultural change in the West. Among those problems are the threat of terrorism, including the possibility that terrorists may soon obtain biological and/or nuclear weapons; the reaction to terrorism on the part of “lawful states,” which have adopted internal security measures that rival those previously associated only with dictatorships; the development of bio-technology which casts doubt on the dignity of man as God's image; and the growing inequality in the “distribution of the goods of the earth.” Ratzinger concludes by characterizing this crisis as a crisis of moral strength:
All this shows that the growth of our possibilities has not been matched by a comparable development of our moral energy. Moral strength has not grown together with the development of science; rather, it has diminished, because the technical mentality relegates morality to the subjective realm, while we have need, precisely, of a public morality, a morality that is able to respond to the threats that weigh down on the existence of us all. The real and gravest danger in these times lies, precisely, in this imbalance between technical possibilities and moral energy.
Having stated his view of the problem in general terms, Ratzinger presents his analysis of the crisis under seven headings.