Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Justice and Humans Created Imago Dei

 We are reading Plato's Republic in my Honors class. When given a choice between the pursuit of justice and injustice, the figure Glaucon claims that we choose injustice because it profits us materially, with wealth and power and so on. Justice for its own sake brings us nothing. In fact, to carry on in the best way is to take on the appearance of justice while pursuing injustice.

Briefly, I think he assesses the human condition quite accurately, and he seems to understand the nature of concupiscence. But Glaucon seems to be perfectly at peace with a world in which justice for its own sake is reviled.

This brings me back to the nature of abortion, where in the name of justice, and with material benefit, we kill a human in the womb. I wonder if this argument is an underlying assumption in the argument for legalized abortion.

From St. Paul's Epistle to the Romans, chapter 12:
12 I appeal to you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. 2 Do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may prove what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
This is a Scriptural follow-on from my last post. It is known that we are created imago Dei, so that we might  know, love, and serve Him. Humans are the only creatures as such. According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, Man is "capable of self-knowledge, of self-possession and of freely giving himself and entering into communion with other persons... called by grace to a covenant with his Creator, to offer him a response of faith and love that no other creature can give in his stead."

At once, the body is spiritual and material, composed of the fleshly body and the invisible soul. The soul is the "form" of the body: without the soul, the body cannot be living and human. The body and soul's union forms one nature, not two combined.

What makes us human then, if not the body and soul's union? There are arguments for the soul's existence that do not rely on divine revelation. Among them are the transcendentals of Beauty, Goodness, Truth and Love.

One therefore is on an entirely different plane of argument if one argues for abortion, even if it's not intentional (Socrates would have a field day as people realized they don't clearly understand their own positions.). Is there anything inherently different between me and an unborn child which makes the latter's life less valuable? One cannot say this if they believe in the union of the body and the soul.

One also runs into trouble with the "it's my body" argument if the life is less valuable because of the unborn child's dependence on his or her mother. Is the mother's body a part of matter that is subject to manipulation at will? Is the child's part of the mother's body? Either way, it requires one to justify why the unborn child is able to be manipulated at will. Parts of matter are. The plastics and metals in the computer I am using are examples subject to human manipulation, with no negative moral consequences. But the animated human body is emphatically not subject to manipulation at will. I find that the modern world's moral controversies stem from a rejection of this teaching on the body and the soul. (I blame Descartes, Cajetans, and the Protestant revolters, in short.) And thanks to Drs. Asci and Hildebrand for getting the gears going in class these past two days!

 Instead of sacrificing ourselves in union with the Paschal Lamb, Who takes away the sins of the world, we allow the innocent to be slaughtered.

I find Romans 12 to be quite liturgical. It's reminiscent of the Roman Canon. At Holy Mass, we should offer ourselves body and soul with the spotless host ("host" is derived from Latin hostia, victim) to the our eternal Father, the living and true God for the forgiveness of sins and the outpouring of mercy upon the whole world. (The newer Offertory prayers do not express this as well as the Offertory prayers of the usus antiquior.)

Marchers and non-marchers, please pray the Holy Rosary and the Chaplet of Divine Mercy. Especially good for meditation is the "Eternal Father" prayer of the chaplet.

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