What is Safety? Episode II



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Thomas Aquinas, who is a sure guide in understanding Natural Law. Thomas states there are basic human goods that are intrinsically flawed, because as humans we are born with into a double darkness of sin and ignorance. Our intellect is dimmed, and our will is weakened, and both are often ruled by unruly passions or emotions.

According to Aquinas these seven basic human goods can be listed as life, shun ignorance, seek God, reproduction, to live in society, avoid offense, and educate one’s offspring. The understanding from natural law these human goods help us to make ethical decisions responsive to the dignity of man.

Live in society and avoid offense are the human goods which tie directly to the idea of safety.

Justice = is giving to another that which is his due. According to natural law, there are just reasonable actions society can codify in law and customs to safeguard their populace.

OT & NT have numerous instances of such codification, i.e., Leviticus and Paul’s relaxation of the Levitical code to a few precepts. Paul in Rom 3:19-20 states that the purpose of the Law is to produce a consciousness of sin and holding the world accountable to God (all have sinned both Jew & Gentile). Paul further states this point that he would not have known what sin was without the Law (Rom 7:7).

Aquinas and all saints, safeguarding use of sacraments in order to guard & preserve us in this life and for world to come. No perfection here. Sacraments ‘safety net’. We need to be guarded by supernatural graces get us to heaven.

At the Council of Jerusalem circa 50 AD (Act 15:2-35), Paul will argue for the relaxation from the precepts of the Levitical Code with the life of grace given by Christ for new Christians. Though the ceremonial aspects of the Law are abrogated, the moral precepts are in effect and as Jesus teaches more demanding because the Advocate is given to those who follow Christ. More given, more expected.

However, the further a person, and hence society drifts from a virtuous life, a life of grace, the more onerous and burdensome the civil law becomes. Civil law tries to fill an impossible void that of sanctifying grace given apart from Christ. Society holds out an illusion of safety which ends up trampling upon man’s dignity.

NYC in 1990’s police on every corner, giving city security in the moment. Illusory and transitory. No one can afford police on every corner. Rely men of good will conform to sacramental life, more harmony in society. We need to rather rely on people doing the right thing.

A prevalent modern heresy of humanism, which many Popes have taught against, that humanity can create a utopia without God.[1] [2] One such clear denunciation is from Pius IX. Pius IX Syllabus of Errors, 1864 clearly states these humanistic errors,” 3. Human reason, without any reference whatsoever to God, is the sole arbiter of truth and falsehood, and of good and evil; it is law to itself, and suffices, by its natural force, to secure the welfare of men and of nations. — Ibid.

  1. All the truths of religion proceed from the innate strength of human reason; hence reason is the ultimate standard by which man can and ought to arrive at the knowledge of all truths of every kind. — Ibid. and Encyclical “Qui pluribus,” Nov. 9, 1846, etc.”[3]

The further a person and society drifts from a true relationship with God as revealed by Christ, the more oppressive those that weld power become. Law which is an ordinance of reason[4] becomes an ordinance of power. I have seen many a proposed good societal idea (straws, face masks, climate change) use fake science, instead of reason, to promote its propositions. With reason corrupted, discourse is impossible. Chaos and division are sure signs of the absence of grace.

Humanism which attempts to construct a moral code without Christ gives rise to fear, chaos, and attempts to satisfy with increasing constraints of genuine freedom. This is definitely unsafe.

Fr. Linux, securi, costodiat/secure and preserve

free from danger

God hugging us to Himself, intrinsic to being a Catholic, within the fold, wolves kill us when alone, separated

Sheep respond to the voice

2 flocks sheep when gate removed, hear the Shepherd’s voice joins the flock

One Shepherd, One Vine, One Flock

Be holy not safe, part of the whole, security of the flock

[1] https://karen-early.com/archive/faith-reason-11/ A connection of Epicureanism & humanism

[2] https://americanhumanist.org/what-is-humanism/definition-of-humanism/ accessed July, 13, 2020

[3] https://www.papalencyclicals.net/Pius09/p9syll.htm accessed July 13, 2020

[4] http://www.catholictheology.info/summa-theologica/summa-part2A.php?q=592  accessed July 10, 2020