Friday, April 10, 2020

Charles Taylor on Solidarity and Fairness

Church Life Journal

This is how the source of the deep cracks in modern capitalist societies presents itself. There are two contexts that justify our deeds; we can define them as the “democratic” and the “capitalist.” To be honest, we cannot reject either one. We cannot reject the democratic context, because it has become a central, inseparable element of our vision of legitimacy. We also cannot reject the capitalist context, because we have long ago passed the stage where we would be satisfied with a stagnant economy. Thus, we have to come to terms with them both. The first context is a great source of solidarity. When we manage to awaken and activate the feeling of our common citizenship we are capable of acting in often surprising ways by authentically devoting ourselves to others or in the name of the common good. This is especially apparent during times of war or during movements of national liberation—in a certain sense the Polish Solidarity movement was an important instance of such a movement. The second context demands that we put solidarity to the side and agree to bend or even break the rules of reciprocity in the name of effectiveness, which, it is apparent, we cannot renounce.

These are the two contradictory principles -both are illusionary and the illusions of "democracy" and "greater wealth" are used by the oligarchy to provide a cover of legitimacy. Does Taylor realize this, or has he drunk the Kool-aid as well? Being subject to the same state is insufficient to create "solidarity" and Taylor fails to recognize "civic nationalism" cannot overcome substantial differences in group identity or culture. Comparing Canada (or the U.S.) to a rather homogeneous ethnic state like Poland is comparing apples and oranges.

Solidarity is a solution but Taylor has no adequate means to promoting it because he doesn't acknowledge real divisions. Moreover, the state itself is opposed to solidarity and will not permit any true solidarity (as opposed to companionship in subjugation) to exist because solidarity is a threat to its power and existence.

N.T. Wright | The Cross

Holy Friday Lamentations

Holy Friday Burial Vespers

Service of the Twelve Passion Gospels

Good Friday special event: Arvo Pärt's Passio

David Bentley Hart - Death, Sacrifice, and Resurrection

Vénération de la Sainte Couronne d'épines à Notre-Dame de Paris

Great and Holy Friday - Passion Matins

When Does Divine Adoption Take Place?

In an otherwise decent piece from last year about Christ and the Beatitudes, making use of the works of Fr. Jacques Philippe, Jared Staudt writes in The goal of Lent: Conformity to Christ:

We are called to become Christ, embracing the adopted sonship bestowed on us at Baptism and entering into the love of the Father. Jesus offers us his own grace and virtues and calls us to live and love like him in the world.

"Traditional" Latin praxis forces him to write this, because of the separation of Baptism from Confirmation, so that Latin infants are not "baptized by water and Spirit" on the one same occasion, but at different points in their life, if at all. This despite the clear testimony of St. Paul that it is the by the Spirit, whom we have received [through the laying on of hands by the Apostles or their successors or by the ministering of blessed oil], that we are able to cry, 'Abba! Father!'" (Romans 8:15; cf. Galatians 4:4-7). Even if we say our adoption as sons of God begins with water Baptism, can we say it is completed without Confirmation? No. Does anyone wish to ponder what the [spiritual] consequences are for incomplete Christian initiation?

When do Protestants receive the Spirit of God, if they do not have the sacrament of "Confirmation"? And how do they know they have received the Spirit by the laying of hands if the one who is laying on hands simply claims he has received this power from God or from someone else? How do we know that they have the authority and power to pass the gift of the Holy Spirit, if they cannot show that they have received this authority from the Apostles?

Latins should not be seeking this dubious gift from Pentecostals or those imitating Pentecostals -- they should be receiving the sacrament of Confirmation. (And if they have doubts about the efficacy of the first time they received it because they were not properly subjectively prepared for it, should they ask for a conditional administering of the sacrament?)

The Weeping of Christ

One more follow up to this post. I definitely need to become more familiar with the writings of St. Maximos, so I can't write a response to his writings on this topic.

What of the difference between Christ and the mourners for Lazarus? Did the mourners, including Lazarus' sisters Mary and Martha, sin when they experienced grief, wept, and spoke and acted while in that condition, or was their sadness blameworthy?

It may be objected that Christ does not have any reason to weep for Lazarus as such, because of the knowledge that He possesses. He knows that Lazarus is not lost forever (but temporarily in Hades?). He knows that He will raise Lazarus from the dead (as a prefigurement of His own resurrection), and that Lazarus will be redeemed.

Is death an evil, something to be sad about, even if "everything will be ok in the end"? Even if we believe in the Resurrection of the righteous, when we grieve and weep for those who have passed away, is that a sin, a mark of imperfection or some sort? Can and did Christ feel sadness because someone has died, despite everything that He will do to remedy death? Christ knows as God that He saves; would it be objectionable to claim that Christ knows as man what he will do to redeem mankind ?

Does not Christ also know as man that He himself will be raised from the death on the third day? How could he make that prediction to His apostles if He did not know? And yet he nonetheless suffers in the garden before He is betrayed by Judas, and He has fear of death. How can such an emotion be justifiable (or sinless) if He knows that He will be triumphant over death? (And I know that St. Maximos at least does not claim that our Lord sinned in fearing His Passion and  His Death, though St. Maximos has his way of explaining it, something along the lines of His fear not affecting or swaying His will.)

It would seem that even for Christ, knowledge that Death does not have the last word, etc. does not exclude the possibility of associating emotions relating to death as an evil. So could it not be reasonable, then, for someone to be sad that a friend has death? And if it is reasonable, is it therefore sinless? And if sinless, could we not say that Christ did experience sadness that Lazarus had died, and not just out of compassion for the suffering of those who still live, not just sympathy, but a true sympathy, a suffering with others?

As I stated before, I hardly know the writings of St. Maximos, so I don't know if these objections are answered or deal with by him. I don't know if he (or St. Cyril of Alexandria) makes a mistake of applying a priori reasoning about human passion on Christ or the Theotokos. Perhaps the mourning of Martha and Mary was "imperfect," as their sadness lead to them being tempted to have doubts about Christ or to experience other disordered movements in the soul. We have their words at least to claim as evidence of this at least.

Is self-love bad? Disordered self-love that is so because of a rejection of God? Yes. But does that mean that everything that is done through disordered self-love is evil in itself? Is any passion associated with something perceived as evil necessarily blameworthy or sinful? Or only that which is motivated or left unchecked by disordered self-love? And would not passion motivated by a rightly-ordered love that is one with the Divine Agape be not blameworthy but praiseworthy? (If it is indeed possible to be righteous and yet experience the passions associated with evil or loss.) It seems that St. Maximos or St. Cyril of Alexandria might accept these distinctions, but need confirmation.