Sunday, January 15, 2012

Today I was thinking about certain teachers of moral theology at a certain NE college. Should we surprised that when rationalism has affected theology, that dissenters within and without academia now judge the moral precepts given in Sacred Tradition in accordance with their own moral "reasonings," rejecting those that don't comply? Hello, the Syllabus of Errors? The Rule of Faith? What? What "prudential reasons" can our bishops give for failing to deal with the problem in the College colleges and universities within their jurisdictions?

The Language of Politics

Alasdair MacIntyre uses an allegory to explain the state of contemporary moral discourse, claiming that our language of morality has been retained from the past, but it has lost its meaning because we no longer subscribe to the theoretical basis (i.e. teleology) that informed it. Although he does not make a similar assertion with respect to political language (community, friendship, and the common good) I am thinking that this may be the case, at least with respect to the United States and modern nation-states. The use of such language reinforces the illusion that we live in a real community, rather than living in an area inhabited by other individuals and with whom we have very little shared social life, and disinclining us from questioning our judgments of our fundamental political reality.

As I've mentioned before, Fr. Cessario made the apt observation that we talk about community so much because we don't have it, while the medievals didn't discuss it in such detail in their treatises because they did. While only some American philosophers realize that it is missing or present only weakly, it seems to be that the majority of us continue to debate or "deliberate" in public as if we do live in a community. (Even communitarians may start off with the wrong beginnings when it comes to the discussion of practical matters.) If we realized that we don't, would we be willing to question our assumptions about economics and the "free market" in looking for what prevents the development of communal life?

We may say we believe in the common good but how many of us weigh the outcome of possible legislation based on how it affects us personally and vote accordingly? How can we make appeals to solidarity when such fellowship exists only in our imaginations?