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Law, culture, and Catholicism...up in smoke!

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Another Rare Moment of Reflection

A couple of posts previously, Advocatus Militaris offered us A Rare Moment of Reflection by reminding us that Christ's commandment that we love our enemies dictates that when fighting against our enemies, we must fight for them. I wish to offer, as an exercise for the reader, a reflection on a corollary to that notion, that by fighting for our enemies, we must fight against them. In other words, we must prevent them from doing wrong, from committing error, and from embracing sin. The obvious conclusion of this principle, and the most important conclusion you will readily admit, is that when the object of your enemy's sin is your demise, it is an act of charity to stop him. Thus, just as charity toward others is our duty, self-defense is our duty as well (absent various extenuating circumstances that I am sure you are aware of, but that I have not the time to adequately elucidate, e.g., capital punishment). I understand that self-defense is most properly understood as a duty born not out of an obligation toward others, but out of an obligation toward what God has entrusted to us, viz., ourselves. Nonetheless, our obligation toward others is a secondary font from which the duty of self-defense flows, and it is the reason why self-defense is not contrary to the mandate of charity. Quite simply, it is good for our enemy that we stop him from doing what is wrong. By so stopping him, we love him.

With that in mind, I ask you to read this article about the stirrings of our most magnanimous Pontiff and the Vatican's "Quest for Reciprocity" from those who, although we choose to ignore their animosity, harbor it notwithstanding. An excerpt:

"Enough now with this turning the other cheek! It's our duty to protect ourselves." Thus spoke Monsignor Velasio De Paolis, secretary of the Vatican's supreme court, referring to Muslims. Explaining his apparent rejection of Jesus' admonition to his followers to "turn the other cheek," De Paolis noted that "The West has had relations with the Arab countries for half a century...and has not been able to get the slightest concession on human rights."

This all reminds me of a sage cleric of the Irish persuasion, whom I met in a darkened booth one Saturday afternoon in San Buenaventura while attending That Anonymous College. I was relating to him my lack of charity in dealing with a certain group of individuals, and my efforts to remedy my pass indiscretions. I told him that no matter how overt my overtures of peace, they seemed intent on displaying acrimony. After hearing my tale he inhaled once, held it for a brief moment, and then said in a thick brogue, "Laddy, sometimes you just got to tell 'em to go to hell." After the form and matter, I said, "Thank you Father." And, he said, "Now go in peace, to love and serve the Lord."