Friday, July 29, 2011

Consequential Ideas by Harvey mansfield
Exploring the subtle dangers of 'soft despotism' in democracies.

Rahe's work can be said to be an extended critique of the work of Skinner and Pocock, which has never resulted in a debate among the principals because Skinner and Pocock have never deigned to answer him. The issue between him and them is whether and how ideas influence history. Rahe believes that "ideas have consequences," that they have the power to guide and even make events, and therefore that they are not mainly caused by the conditions of their time or context but are, on the contrary, mainly the cause of these conditions.

More from James Chastek on De Koninck

What insight could Dekoninck give into being as opposed to the most indefinite concept?

Modern Epicureanism?

TED Blog: The importance of deep pleasure: Q&A with Paul Bloom

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

More Geoffrey West

“Why Cities Keep on Growing, Corporations Always Die, and Life Gets Faster”

See also: yesterday's post.
Sandro Magister, China. On the Powers of the Bishops, the Council Saw Far Ahead

It established that without the papal mandate, they cannot govern the dioceses. The young Ratzinger was against it at the time, but soon changed his mind. It is thanks to that norm that today, as pope, he is disarming the illegitimate bishops. And defusing the schism

The ordination of these "mandarin" bishops is sacramentally valid. Also sacramentally valid are the Masses celebrated by them. What they lack is hierarchical communion with the see of Peter. And it is this that renders them devoid of authority over their respective dioceses, over the clergy and the faithful.

They are in fact bishops, but devoid of that power of governance which only the pope can give. The declarations and instructions that the Holy See released following the latest illicit episcopal ordinations in China insist on this.

This is a point that saw a highly charged clash of positions at Vatican Council II.

There were in fact some who held the position according to which sacramental ordination is sufficient to confer on the new bishop the fullness of his powers, including that of governance, without the need for a further mandate from the pope: that is, precisely the position that is so agreeable to the Chinese authorities today.

An active part in that conciliar clash was also played by a young theologian named Joseph Ratzinger.

On which side of the fence did he stand?


To answer this question, one must go back to the middle of November 1964, to what has been called the "black week" of Vatican Council II.

That week began, on Monday, November 16, with the unexpected reading in the basilica of Saint Peter, on the part of the secretary general of the Council, Archbishop Pericle Felici, of a "Nota explicativa praevia" desired by the "highest authority," meaning Pope Paul VI.

At the behest of the pope, the note was to be received as "explanation and interpretation" of chapter three of the constitution on the Church "Lumen Gentium": the chapter dedicated to the role of the bishops, submitted for voting in those same days.

In point number 2, the note affirmed that one becomes a bishop by virtue of episcopal consecration. But in order that a bishop may exercise the "power" that has been conferred on him with sacred orders, he must receive the "iuridica determinatio" from the supreme authority of the Church.

The note raised protests from the progressives. Even the theologian who had drafted it, the Belgian Gérard Philips, was complaining two years later about its excessive "legalism," which ended up "suffocating and extinguishing the communion of charity."

Among the conciliar periti, one of the most determined in criticizing the note was the young Ratzinger, who was the trusted theologian of German cardinal Joseph Frings.

In an essay that will soon be published by Libreria Editrice Vaticana and has recently been previewed in issue number 61 of the Notiziario of the Paul VI Institute, the author, Belgian canon Leo Declerck, reconstructs Ratzinger's position at that juncture, on the basis of the diaries of other protagonists of the Council.

In order to clear the way for the note and its interpretation of the powers of the bishops, Ratzinger met with Professor Giuseppe Alberigo, a representative of Fr. Giuseppe Dossetti, who was the leader of the progressives. Together they wrote the draft of a speech by which Cardinal Frings would downgrade the note to a simple commission text and would ask that it be submitted for discussion in the assembly. At the same time, groups of bishops, including about a hundred Africans, would sign petitions to the pope. The objective was the removal of the entire third chapter of "Lumen Gentium."

But that's not what happened. The third chapter was approved by a large majority, and the note entered among the conciliar documents as a supplement to "Lumen Gentium."

Ratzinger recognized afterward that the note had had the merit of defeating the "maximalism" of the progressives and appeasing the Council's traditionalist minority, getting "Lumen Gentium" approved almost unanimously.

But he was careful to point out that the note did not bear the signature of the pope or of the Council fathers, but only that of Archbishop Felici.

And he wrote, shortly after the Council had ended, that in any case the note left "a bitter taste," both for the way in which it had been imposed and for its content, expressive "of a legal-systematic mindset that has as its standard the present-day juridical figure of the Church," in contrast with "an historical approach that would be based on the full extent of Christian revelation."

Today, a few decades later, having become pope, Joseph Ratzinger takes a more critical view of the conviction that "the Church should not be a Church of law, but a Church of love," free from juridical restraints. A new and welcome edition of Aquinas' "De Unione Verbi Incarnati" is now available

James Chastek, On a cause of corruption in popular governments.
NLM: Dr. Manfred Hauke on the “Basic Structure“ (Grundgestalt) of the Eucharistic Celebration According to Joseph Ratzinger

Face Development in the Womb - Inside the Human Body: Creation - BBC One

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Natural resources, again

And ownership...

How are natural resources common? (1) Intended for the benefit of all? (And therefore to be shared by all or apportioned to all.) Or (2) common in so far as they are not claimed by anyone? In which case they (a) belong in potency to everyone or anyone, or (b) belong in actuality to everyone until they are apportioned to someone through property claims/rights?

I'm thinking of not just fossil fuels, oil and coal, but other, more basic natural resources -- fresh water, [arable] land, plants and trees -- these do not appear to be uniformly distributed across the planet. Is it the case that how they are to be distributed should be left to the market, and to contracts between individuals or groups, and thus governed only by commutative justice, with property rights being given to those who have first possession? Or should distributive justice also play a role in determining property rights, with only labor for extraction and processing covered by commutative justice?

Or do fossil fuels differ from other natural resources because they are such immense stores of energy and more important/valuable in that respect?

How are claims of ownership to be adjudicated if not "first come, first have," or "finders, keepers"?

I could imagine these considerations being used to defend the need for a world government, in order for there to be an 'equitable' distribution of resources.

Something to reflect upon again: the right to refuse service and the right of association

More math...

The sameness of organisms, cities, and corporations: Q&A with Geoffrey West

Evidence of natural law and natural limits? I am doubting it.

Geoffrey West: The surprising math of cities and corporations
Professor Cua passed away earlier this year. I didn't know that. I wish I had had the opportunity to meet him while I was in the DC area.
Contemplans Aliis Tradere: An Article From the Summa on Liturgical Unity

Monday, July 25, 2011

Tony M. over at WWWTW has a post on authority: Political Authority and its Legitimacy.

Who is doing the designating? How so (and on what basis and rationale)? And how is this decision made known? How is authority transferred or conferred?

So, I am going to suggest that even within the context of assuming that all authority comes from God, it is a natural, essential feature of political authority in exercise that there be a public act or condition under which it is recognized, before the ruler can rightly and appropriately demand obedience.

Other than the sheerest direct intervention by miraculous sign, this public event or condition is at the hands of men: it is men, for example, who design and regulate the law of succession from one king to the next. In many cases, it is the oldest son, but in some cultures a group of elders select which son it is. Men can change the rule of succession without a revolution against the existing order. So, it seems to me correct to say that whatever we say about whether God puts the authority into the hands of the body politic as a whole for them to pass on, or not, it must be the case that God normally permits the designation of who shall hold authority as a matter for men to determine. (And this does not imply democracy.)
I have fixed the html for the problematic post.
It appears that it may have been the posts with the TED videos causing the problem. I will have to look at the html for those posts and see if I can learn what the problem is.
Still haven't figured what the problem is yet. This was a reason why I upgraded from the classic template to the new template, so I wouldn't have to figure out what was causing the page elements to be fouled up. Bah!
I don't know why the layout is not working properly, with the gadgets appearing at the bottom of the blog. Will try to figure it out, or I may be forced to scrap the template.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Thomas Tallis, Spem in alium

Taverner consort & choir/Andrew Parrott.