What’s Wrong with the World

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What’s Wrong with the World is dedicated to the defense of what remains of Christendom, the civilization made by the men of the Cross of Christ. Athwart two hostile Powers we stand: the Jihad and Liberalism...read more

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August 2018 Archives

August 4, 2018

The gift of cussedness

Several stories all came up around the same time in the "choice devours itself" department. Readers to whom this concept is new may need it explained. I coined the phrase "choice devours itself" over ten years ago while writing for a different blog. It doesn't describe merely in general the fact that the party of "consent" becomes increasingly coercive. Rather, it describes situations where the person who was supposed to benefit from having the option to "choose" something the left considers good (generally in the categories of sex, abortion, or euthanasia) is actually coerced into this alleged "choice."

So forced or high-pressure abortions to which the left turns a blind eye are cases of choice devouring itself. Perhaps the most common type of example comes from coercing or pressuring people into "consenting" to euthanasia, or euthanizing people who by definition cannot give mature and informed consent (those with dementia, children, etc.). In the most extreme cases, the victim is physically coerced, as in one of the stories in this post.

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August 5, 2018

Pope Outlaws the Death Penalty ... Or Does He?

Unless you live under a rock or do not read religious news at all, you have probably heard the news, to the effect (depending on the precision of the news source) that Pope Francis has done away with the death penalty (DP). He has issued a new version of paragraph 2267 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) which says that the DP is “inadmissible”.

But to be more careful, or at least more precise, it is not clear that what happened is that Francis has “done away” with the DP in calling it “inadmissible”. In order to get a fair estimate of what actually happened, let’s read the actual new text that replaces the old:

2267. Recourse to the death penalty on the part of legitimate authority, following a fair trial, was long considered an appropriate response to the gravity of certain crimes and an acceptable, albeit extreme, means of safeguarding the common good. Today, however, there is an increasing awareness that the dignity of the person is not lost even after the commission of very serious crimes. In addition, a new understanding has emerged of the significance of penal sanctions imposed by the state. Lastly, more effective systems of detention have been developed, which ensure the due protection of citizens but, at the same time, do not definitively deprive the guilty of the possibility of redemption. Consequently, the Church teaches, in the light of the Gospel, that “the death penalty is inadmissible because it is an attack on the inviolability and dignity of the person”,[1] and she works with determination for its abolition worldwide. [my emphasis] [1] FRANCIS, Address to Participants in the Meeting organized by the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization, 11 October 2017: L’Osservatore Romano, 13 October 2017, 5.

There are two major opinions about the meaning of the money quote in bold, and especially, about the import of “inadmissible” here. They are as follows: (1) “inadmissible” has the effect of saying that the DP is intrinsically evil, a per se immoral and disordered act, because that’s what happens if an act is, by its very nature an unjust attack on the inviolability and dignity of the person. (I insert “unjust” here, because if it was a JUST attack on the inviolability and dignity of the person, then it would not be inadmissible). If the character of “being an unjust attack” did not belong to the very nature of the DP, then the Pope could not have called it “inadmissible” simply, but could only have called it “inadmissible under certain conditions”.

This is the more coherent reading of the text, and of the intent of the Pope in setting it forth this way, (to the extent his intent is concrete enough to have ANY characterization at all).

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August 7, 2018

The myth of the sock puppet Jesus

There is a myth about the Gospel of John that keeps popping up. If you are interested in biblical studies and read this kind of thing much, even at a somewhat popular level, I'll wager you've heard this myth. It goes something like this: The voice of Jesus in John is so much like the voice of the narrator that it is often difficult to tell which one is supposed to be speaking.

This creates a picture of a narrator in John who is, at a minimum, careless about distinguishing his own words from those of Jesus himself. In such a Gospel of John, we are meant to think, the author frequently wanders heedlessly back and forth between his own thoughts and the thoughts of Jesus, not considering it important to distinguish what things were actually said by Jesus from his own glosses.

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