Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Happy Feast Day of St. Thomas Aquinas

St. Thomas Aquinas is probably one of my favorite saints. He wrote the Summa Theologiae (aka Theologica). He lived in the 13th century. You can easily find out more about him by googling him. It's passed midnight so technically yesterday was his feast day. His feast is dedicated not on his death as is the usual custom, but on the date he officially completed his most famous work, which I mentioned above.

I like the fact that Thomas addressed questions and answered various objections. It's still relevant today and many of the same objections are present. This method of argumentation is vastly superior to simply stating a fact and then declaring it is true without further explaining it and then forbidding questions.

Almost every topic that usually comes up was addressed by Thomas in some way. His work was three times larger than the entire Bible, which is an amazing feat, especially since it was done in a time before computers.

So let's ask St. Thomas for an extra prayer tonight.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Vatican has not sided with gun controllers

So as usual people are reporting that the "Vatican" has made a pronouncement about gun control and has lauded Obama's plans to increase these laws. This is false. Cardinal Federico Lombardi himself made statements in an editorial on Vatican Radio. The media always get this mixed up. When a Church official makes a statement somewhere in the Vatican and not even necessarily in their role as a bishop in the Church, the media reports that the Vatican released an official statement.

Even if somehow you could construe a statement by the Vatican as an "official statement", it wouldn't necessary hold any doctrinal power. In other words, it's not necessarily issued ex cathedra and all the other necessities to make it an infallible teaching.

The Catechism of the Church actually does speak about the use of firearms. It says:

Legitimate defense can be not only a right but a grave duty for one who is responsible for the lives of others. The defense of the common good requires that an unjust aggressor be rendered unable to cause harm. For this reason, those who legitimately hold authority also have the right to use arms to repel aggressors against the civil community entrusted to their responsibility. (CCC 2265) Source: http://www.vatican.va/archive/ccc_css/archive/catechism/p3s2c2a5.htm

Although it is a little ambiguous, the right to use arms to protect those under our care is granted in the Catechism. In fact, it says it can be grave duty, and not optional.

If a madman with a firearm threatens one's family, does it not seem just to repel this attacker with whatever means necessary? Allowing one's family to die because you will not protect them is not a Catholic value.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Catholics and Libertarianism

Catholics hold many different political opinions, everything from communism to libertarianism. In our Young Catholic group here in St. John's, there is one lady in particular who is very orthodox, has a Ph.D. in theology, and says she believes in a Marxist-Leninist system. I, however, differ markedly from her position and endorse a laissez-faire economic model. Many Catholics would say both of these extremes are impermissible by the Church, however I would beg to differ. I believe a free market economy is fully in line with Church teaching.

What prompted me to write this blog tonight was the high number of well-known libertarians who are practicing Catholics. I just finished watching a video made by Professor James Otteson. He has won awards worth tens of thousands of dollars for his work in economics, such as the Templeton Enterprise Award. He is an expert on Adam Smith and supports a laissez-faire economy. It seems 99% certain that he is a Catholic given things he has written on his blog.

Tom Woods, a historian and Austrian economist whom I admire greatly, has written very extensively free-market economics. He started Ron Paul's SuperPAC during the presidential elections. He frequently hosts the Peter Schiff Show where free market topics are discussed. Not only is he a well-known historian and economist, he has also written very extensively on the Catholic Church. He wrote the famous book "How the Catholic Church Build Western Civilization". He believes his faith and economic beliefs mesh very well.

A little while back I was listening to Lew Rockwell's radio program. He is the proprietor of an eponymous website which has become one of the most well known resources for libertarian information, and is himself a Catholic. He is the CEO and Chairman of the Ludwig Von Mises Foundation, one of the largest libertarian institutions in the world. On his program, he featured Professor Gerard Casey, an Irish professor. On the program, Dr. Casey was asked how a Catholic can be a libertarian, and he responded by saying he didn't know how a Catholic "couldn't" be a libertarian.

One of the founders of the Austrian school of economics, Frederic Von Hayek, was probably Catholic since he was from Austria, but I don't think he spoke about his religion much.

One last guy I want to mention is Fr. Robert Sirico. He is the founder of the Acton Institute, an educational institution located in Grand Rapids Michigan with the goal of promoting free trade and defending it from an ethical perspective, especially Catholicism. Fr. Sirico takes his role as a Catholic priest very seriously and  still defends the free market very vigorously.

My point is that very many well known libertarians are Catholic. I do not believe there is a conflict in these two positions and in very many instances I believe it is the most Catholic option. There is a popular trend nowadays to say that in order to be a good Catholic you have to be something of a socialist. Maybe not 100%, but to a large degree. Catholics often feel conflicted in elections when they are trying to decide between a candidate who is pro-abortion and anti-free trade versus a candidate who is pro-life and pro-free trade. They feel Catholics must vote for a politician who wants bigger government, higher taxes, more regulation, etc. which is normally the position of leftist groups who tend to support abortion as well.

In any event, a Catholic must first and foremost vote to defend life, economic issues come second. But when it comes to economic issues, I believe a freer market is a better market and many good Catholics agree with me.

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

Happy New Year to All My Readers

2012 was a big year for Catholicism. One of the biggest events was that Pope Benedict begin the year of faith. I personally experienced some great events including an Advent retreat.

I'm hoping this year I will be posting more on my blog. If there is a particular topic on which you would like me to write, please send me a comment and I will see what I can do.

I hope that this year you and I can grow closer to God.