|YOUR SCRIBE STANDING HAPPILY BEFORE SAINT PETER'S BASILICA IN 2009|
PLENTY OF EMOTION THERE
At the heart of Catholicism is Faith. Faith in the God Man Jesus Christ who died on the Cross to bring to everyone everywhere the chance of Salvation - if they choose it.For this reason He established his Church which, after only a few decades came to be called Catholic - that is universal.
The handmaid of that Faith, in authentic Catholicism ,has always been Reason.The relationship has been explicit since the time of Saint Augustine and Saint Thomas Aquinas later on.In more recent times it was thoroughly examined by Blessed Pope John Paul II ( soon to be Saint if media reports are true) in his Encyclical " Fides et Ratio" - Faith and Reason.
In the course of a casual exchange with friends to-day, it became clearer to me how very much this insistence on " Reason" has put the Catholic Church at odds with the modern world. At first blush, this might seem odd for an institution founded on Faith. For the modern world in its glibness, would inevitably assume Faith to be the antithesis of Reason.
But strangely enough, it is largely the modern world that has abandoned the use of Reason. Reason flourishes on truth - and the modern world is inclined to reject the very concept of absolute truth.
Instead we are increasingly experiencing a world run on Emotionalism.And this Emotionalism slides so easily past truths , whilst making "everyone" feel good in the process. This phenomenon frequently brings the modern world into direct confrontation with the Catholic Church. Furthermore it is often used as an instrument when the Catholic Church is singled out for attack.
And Emotionalism walks happily hand in hand with " Niceness" which is the adopted badge of the modern world .
Let us look at this phenomenon in action. The Catholic Church opposes in vitro fertilisation for the sound logical reason that in the process of its operation, very many "unwanted" fertilised human eggs are destroyed once the desired fertilised human egg has been implanted. These are true human lives - destroyed as " unwanted".The IVF Industry is a big one peopled by highly educated and remunerated professionals and its clients are emotion -stirring would-be but can't be parents.
The Industry and the Media employ the most primitive Emotionalism in defending and expanding their patch. The newly become parents and the IVF child are used most effectively to melt hearts and promote the trade. Who can resist a new born baby and loving parents? The deceased "unwanted" are not to be seen - flushed away in secrecy.Not present to the parents' minds. Emotionalism 10 Reason NIL in the public mind.
If we need another example let us look at the selling of "Homosexuality" in the Media. We all know that the Catholic Church teaches that Same Sex Attraction is not in itself sinful but that Homosexual Genital Activity is.It follows rationally that the promotion of an active Homosexual Lifestyle is immoral. But in the mainstream media an active Homosexual Lifestyle IS actively promoted in TV ,Film, print media etc. In the Media active Homosexuals are presented as happy, handsome, nice, clean, socially acceptable and entertaining. They are inevitably shown as "fun" people.Anything that would disturb the Happy Emotionalism is hidden in secrecy.
When recently a movie was made on the life of the late pianist Liberace and his homosexual partner, it was apparently quite graphic concerning their more intimate life. It was not accepted for distribution by any of the American distribution networks. Morals? No! They simply did not want people to see, or rather they knew the 97% of the population not Homosexual did not want to see, the ugly truth about Homosexual life. Nothing must disturb the " nice" Emotionalism within which its promoters thrive with warm and fuzzy talk of "rights" and "equality" etc. So the field is left clear for their campaign to hide the reality. Emotionalism 10 Reason NIL in the popular mind.
Again , let us consider the issue of Sexual Abuse. The Catholic Church is totally opposed to any form of sexual abuse by Clergy, Teachers or anybody for that matter. It is , nevertheless a fact that at any time it is possible that some cleric or teacher within the Church might abuse their position of trust in this matter. It is a patent fact that in the past, particularly in the 1960s, 70s and the early 80s the number of such offences rose to equal the level in the general population. Because of remedial action it has since fallen way back to its historical negligible level. ( So much so that in the USA where there are over 38,000 Catholic Priests, only 6 credible allegations were made according to an independent agency, in the last year.)
But these are horrendous offences and several decades of victims, well organised by fee for success lawyers and the delight of the media are used to keep the matters alive by Emotionalism. No number of apologies by Priests, Bishops, Archbishops, Cardinals and Popes satisfies the cameras. Did you apologise? - you were insincere. Did you pay compensation? - not enough. Did you follow legal advice like we do ? - Heartless!
Of course the real victims themselves are tragic figures and one can understand their emotion and perhaps passionate demands. But the media and the lawyers and the victims' organisers need to keep the thing going.Emotionalism is the means. Reason is nowhere welcome. Emotionalism 20 Reason Nil.
Sometimes the perverse influence of Emotionalism is more subtle. Take for instance, the bumper stickers which urge one to "Perform Random Acts of Kindness". But Christ's Catholic Church urges us to perform systematic acts of kindness, in fact to make our lives reflect God's Love at all times.The modern world's citizen is satisfied by Emotionalism's " niceness" and the quick fix of the idea of "random acts". None of that commitment stuff - " you can't expect me to change my life".
The more we reflect on it, the more it becomes apparent to what extent people are abandoning Reason and embracing Emotionalism. How often do we hear people (and even Government leaders) say " I feel that we need to..." Or " I feel it is time we....". It is so much easier to "feel" than to rationally argue why a thing ought to be done or to happen. And it is so much easier to hide unwelcome truths from people, or to act in a manner that cannot be justified, if one only has to tell them what one feels.
Emotion has its place. In fact it can often reflect a complex of ideas which we would find it difficult at the time to rationalise. But Emotionalism as a substitute for Reason is not only inadequate, it is mostly perverse.