Friday, December 29, 2017

Did Mary and Joseph enjoy a specifically conjugal intimacy?

". . . Mary has a higher allegiance. . . . And yet, in his trust in God, Joseph reveals he has a higher allegiance too.  Their shared higher allegiance, exchanged over the sharing of the most intimate secrets proper only to husband and wife
[(for example 1) the virginal conception and 2) that 'renunciation of' the sex that would have 'begun their own private family' and 'decrease[d] the scope of [a] married life' that had been 'completely turned outward toward all people equally', the sex that would have prevented their conjugal intimacy from being 'a loving preservation of [however still fallen sex] for the rest of us'; and perhaps even 3) an intimation, on Joseph's part, of the fact that the woman to whom he was married had been immaculately conceived)],
define them as husband and wife[,] and in their shared love and trust the 'secrets' hidden from all eternity remain hidden, precisely as marital intimacy. . . .
"Did Mary and Joseph have sex?
"Did they have the specifically sexual intimacy proper to man and wife, a 'sex life,' as we so unfelicitously call it sometimes?

     John Cavadini, "The sex life of Joseph and Mary," Church life journal, 18 December 2007, italics mine.  Cf. Buccellati.  Their marriage was "for the life of the world".  And yet they kept some secrets proper to their married life and for that reason known only to the two of them, though proclaimed later by the Church (the Evangelists and the Church).

Capital punishment as a form of respect

"The act of judicial execution is one of respect toward persons; it honors the fact that they can do things worthy of punishment by execution. . . . Not to execute a murderer is to fail the murderer. . . ."

    Paul J. Griffiths, summarizing Kant, not his own position, in "Against capital punishment," First things no. 278 (December 2017):  61 (58-63). See Kant's The science of right II.49.E.1, "The right of punishing", but surely elsewhere (with more to the point), too.

"Liberalism brings about the very thing, a universal civil war, from which it initially promised deliverance."

     Phillip Blond, "Politics after liberalism" a review of The politics of virtue:  post-liberalism and the human future, by John Milbank and Adrian Pabst, First things no. 278 (December 2017):  51 (51-54).  "None of the goods claimed for liberalism emerged with, or belong to, it" (52).

"We promote the good of the world most fully in prayer and worship, reminding our fellow citizens that they too are meant to enjoy the heavenly peace of the city of God."

     "The Christian way:  a statement by Evangelicals and Catholics Together," First things no. 278 (December 2017):  46 (43-49), italics mine.

"The dominion of sin is another cruel idol toppled by the risen Lord."

     "The Christian way:  a statement by Evangelicals and Catholics Together," First things no. 278 (December 2017):  44 (43-49).

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

"opinion trusteeship"

Columbia Journalism School
"we live in a state of opinion trusteeship. None of us have the time and few of us the ability to do our own research on all the complex, problematic issues of our day."

     Victor Navasky, "The Rosenberg variations," The nation, 27 October 2010.  I was put onto this by Max Holland, "Much ado about nothing:  almost a third of Americans believe there was a wider conspiracy to kill Jack Kennedy.  They're wrong," The weekly standard 23, no 15 (December 18, 2017):  30 (26-34):
'We live in a state of opinion trusteeship,' Victor Navasky observed in 2010.  'None of us have the time and few of us the ability to do our own research' on historically problematic cases such as the Sacco-Vanzetti affair, the Rosenberg espionage case, J. Robert Oppenheimer's security clearance, or the Kennedy assassination.  As citizens, we depend on historians and investigative journalists to be our proxies and make sense of these complex events.  Specialized knowledge is hard-won, and expertise on one subject rarely transferable to another.  For the media, however, too often any historian will do as a commentator on a controversy so long as he cooperates in ratcheting up the rhetoric and suggesting a story where none really exists.
     "any historian" is of course too generous.  Would that the media were that conscientious!
     One thing we can do, however, it seems to me, is "do our own research" on selected topics in areas in which we are relatively well-qualified, so as to acquire and retain a sharp sense of what it might be like for a real specialist to do so in others.

Two equally requisite forms of the love of neighbor: admonition and prayer

"Our king, despite his exalted majesty, came in humility for our sake; yet he did not come empty-handed. He brought his soldiers a great gift that not only enriched them but also made them unconquerable in battle, for it was the gift of love [(donum caritatis)], which was to bring men to share in his divinity. He gave of his bounty, yet without any loss to himself. In a marvelous way he changed into wealth the poverty of his faithful followers while remaining in full possession of his own inexhaustible riches.
"And so the love that brought Christ from heaven to earth raised Stephen from earth to heaven; shown first in the king, it later shone forth in his soldier. Love was Stephen’s weapon by which he gained every battle, and so won the crown signified by his name. His love of God kept him from yielding to the ferocious mob; his love for his neighbor made him pray for those who were stoning him. Love inspired [Stephen] to reprove [(arguebat)] those who erred, to make them amend [(corrigerentur)]; love led him to pray for those who stoned him, to save them from punishment. Strengthened by the power of his love, he overcame the raging cruelty of Saul and won his persecutor on earth as his companion in heaven. In his holy and tireless love he longed to gain by prayer those whom he could not convert by admonition [(Ipsa sancta et indefessa caritas desideravit orando acquirere quos nequivit monendo convertere)].
"Now at last, Paul rejoices with Stephen, with Stephen he delights in the glory of Christ, with Stephen he exalts, with Stephen he reigns. Stephen went first, slain by the stones thrown by Paul, but Paul followed after, helped by the prayer of Stephen. This, surely, is the true life, my brothers, a life in which Paul feels no shame because of Stephen’s death, and Stephen delights in Paul’s companionship, for love fills them both with joy. It was Stephen’s love that prevailed over the cruelty of the mob, and it was Paul’s love that covered the multitude of his sins; it was love that won for both of them the kingdom of heaven."

    St. Fulgentius of Ruspe, Sermon no. 3 secs. 2-3 and 5, as translated in the Office of Readings for 26 December, Liturgy of the hours (vol. 1, p. 1247).  CCSL 91A, [905-909]; PL 65, cols. 730C, 731A, and 732B.  I am not aware of a translation of the sermons of Fulgentius into English in book form.