Some quotes from Ratzinger's Introduction to Christianity
If Christian belief in God is first of all an option in favor of the primacy of the logos, faith in the preexisting, world-supporting reality of the creative meaning, it is at the same time, as belief in the personal nature of that meaning, the belief that the original thought, whose being-thought is represented by the world, is not an anonymous, neutral consciousness but rather freedom, creative love, a person.
Accordingly, if the Christian option for the logos means an option for a personal, creative meaning, then it is at the same time an option for the primacy of the particular as against the universal. The highest is not the most universal but, precisely, the particular, and the Christian faith is thus above all also the option for man as the irreducible, infinity-oriented being. And here once again it is the option for the primacy of freedom as against the primacy of some cosmic necessity or natural law.
Thus the specific features of the Christian faith as opposed to other intellectual choices of the human mind now stand out in clear relief. The position occupied by a man who utters the Christian credo becomes unmistakably clear.
But if the logos of all being, the being that upholds and encompasses everything, is consciousness, freedom, and love, then it follows automatically that the supreme factor in the world is not cosmic necessity but freedom.
The implications of this are very extensive. ... this again means that one can only comprehend the world as incomprehensible ... Incalculability is an implication of freedom; the world can never--if this is the position--be completely reduced to mathematical logic. ... A world created and willed on the risk of freedom and love is no longer just mathematics.
As the arena of love it is also the playground of freedom and also incurs the risk of evil. It accepts the mystery of darkness for the sake of the greater light constituted by freedom and love.
Wednesday, March 16, 2011
Some quotes from Ratzinger's Introduction to Christianity
Saturday, March 12, 2011
POSITION PAPER ON THE REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH BILLS
Highest levels of scientific expertise to resolve issues of the highest importance
Principle: To resolve specialized technical issues of the highest importance, the State has the obligation to trust only the highest levels of scientific expertise.
The Reproductive Health Bills’ proposal for an enforced distribution of birth control devices has raised crucial issues in the realm of science: Does the pill kill children or not? Does it cause health or sickness of women? Does availability of contraceptives strengthen or destroy families? Do they improve quality of life or create more poverty? Do condoms prevent or promote AIDS at the country level? Is population control a solution to poverty or a misuse of limited funds?
These crucial national questions cannot be left to the opinion of just any expert.
Based on rational criteria, the State must choose science experts who possess:
(1) specialized expertise corresponding to the question,
(2) highest international prestige (e.g. Nobel Prize winners, peer-reviewed science journals of prominent science organizations),
(3) objectivity, i.e. the expert should not be influenced by ideology, religion, commercial interests, political advocacy, international pressures. Scientific findings that tend to go against their personal biases are more credible.
We, the undersigned scientists, academicians, scholars, and professionals, would like to share with the State the findings of specialized, internationally recognized and objective scientists on the questions raised by the Reproductive Health Bills.
1. The pill and the intrauterine device kill young human life. The pill has a secondary “postfertilization effect”, according to Walter Larimore and Joseph Stanford who performed a systematic review of 94 studies published at the peer-reviewed scientific journal of the American Medical Association, year 2000. The intrauterine device brings about the “destruction of the early embryo” (American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology).
The American Medical Association is the largest medical association in the United States. The main author is Walter Larimore, who begun the study in order to “disprove” claims that the pill has a postfertilization effect after having prescribed the pill since 1978 and used it with his wife. The American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology is the peer-reviewed journal of seven American medical associations.
Please take note that among the highest levels of scientific expertise in biology, genetics, embryology there is “overwhelming agreement” that fertilization is equal to conception and that this is the moment when human life begins. Among 57 international experts invited by the US Senate in 1981 (among whom were scientists from Harvard Medical School, Mayo Clinic and the Father of Modern Genetics, Jerome Lejeune), 56 overwhelmingly agreed to this point. The same thing happened (19/20) in the First International Conference on Abortion in 1967, a fact mentioned in the Records of the Constitutional Convention, to which the commissioners also agreed.
2. The pill causes cancer, stroke and heart attacks. The International Agency for Research on Cancer in 2007 reported that the pill causes cancer, giving it the highest level of carcinogenicity, the same as cigarettes and asbestos. This study was conducted by 21 scientists from 8 countries under the International Agency for Research on Cancer. The pill also “confers the risk of first schemic stroke” (Stroke, journal of the American Heart Association), and significantly increases the risk of heart attacks (Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism).
3. Wide use of contraceptives leads to the destruction of families, and indirectly to greater poverty. Nobel prize winner in behavioral economics, George Akerlof (a liberal) showed that the contraceptive pill was a “technology shock” that led to more premarital sex. And since the pill is not 100% effective or some women choose to have a baby, it also meant more fatherless children and single mothers, and thus greater female poverty. For women who choose not to have a baby, it has led to more abortions. Akerlof also showed that this new technology led to a decline in marriage, less domestication of men, increase in substance abuse, more arrests for violent crimes and for drinking. All these led indirectly to more social pathology and poverty.
4. Countrywide condom use is not effective in stemming the spread of HIV/AIDS, and can worsen it. The “best evidence” proves this conclusion, according to the Harvard Director for AIDS Prevention, Edward C. Green, an agnostic. Green said: "There is a consistent association shown by our best studies, including the U.S.-funded Demographic Health Surveys, between greater availability and use of condoms and higher (not lower) HIV-infection rates.” He explained that “this may be due in part” to the fact that availability of condoms provides a sense of security that makes people take wilder sexual risks, thus worsening the spread of the disease.
5. There is “no clear association” correlation between population growth and economic development. This is the conclusion of the studies of Simon Kuznets, Nobel Prize winner in the science of economics. Many later studies confirmed this. Indeed there are many other economists who say the contrary, like Jeffrey Sachs, Head of the Millennium Development Project. However, there are no Nobel Prize winners who have studied this issue and have established a correlation.
6. Population control is not one of the ingredients for high economic growth. 2008 Commission on Growth and Development headed by Nobel prize winner Michael Spence found five factors for growth: governance, openness to knowledge, stable finances, market allocation, investment and savings.
Because of the strength and validity of these findings, and the highest levels of scientific authority possessed by the experts and organizations who pronounced them, we submit that the State should abandon, once and for all, the Reproductive Health Bills.
Raul Nidoy et al
Science and Reason for Human Beings
Science and Reason for Human Beings is a group of scientists, economists, doctors, academicians, lawyers and other professionals who have united to protect and enhance the life of human beings with the use of science and rational discourse.
It is one of the blessings of old friends that you can afford to be stupid with them.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
The only way to have a friend is to be one.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
There is nothing on this earth more to be prized than true friendship.
Saint Thomas Aquinas
Friendship is a single soul dwelling in two bodies.
I don't need a friend who changes when I change and who nods when I nod; my shadow does that much better.
John Paul II - Ours is a time of continual movement which often leads to restlessness, with the risk of "doing for the sake of doing". We must resist this temptation by trying "to be" before trying "to do". In this regard we should recall how Jesus corrected Martha: "You are anxious and troubled about many things; one thing is needful" (Lk 10:41-42). It is important that what we propose, with the help of God, should be profoundly rooted in contemplation and prayer.
Benedict XVI - Time devoted to God in prayer not only does not detract from effective and loving service to our neighbour but is in fact the inexhaustible source of that service. It is time to reaffirm the importance of prayer in the face of the activism and the growing secularism of many Christians.
Benedict XVI - Anyone who wishes to give love must also receive love as a gift... Yet to become such a source, one must constantly drink anew from the original source, which is Jesus Christ, from whose pierced heart flows the love of God... Only in the way of contemplation will he be able to take upon himself the needs of others and make them his own.
Benedict XVI - Strange to say, I often think that prayer - the unum necessarium - is the one aspect of vocations work which we tend to forget or to undervalue! Nor am I speaking only of prayer for vocations. Prayer itself, born in Catholic families, nurtured by programs of Christian formation, strengthened by the grace of the sacraments, is the first means by which we come to know the Lord's will for our lives. To the extent that we teach young people to pray, and to pray well, we will be cooperating with God's call. Programs, plans and projects have their place; but the discernment of a vocation is above all the fruit of an intimate dialogue between the Lord and his disciples. Young people, if they know how to pray, can be trusted to know what to do with God's call.
Saturday, March 5, 2011
1) God is the end-goal of our lives. Better make sure we talk with him to keep focus on this ultimate goal. We do all our tasks for a goal, whether that task is reply to an email, prepare breakfast, or to sleep. All these goals end up contributing to one final goal. And the true goal of all human tasks is God.
2) We cannot reach God, nor any other goal, without God. Without me, he said, you can do nothing. And that is really true. We were made from nothing, and at every moment, we need God to continue existing and to continue doing anything.
to be continued....