The Stigmata Stigmata

Many of you have probably seen the movie Stigmata.  It’s a good ole fashioned anti-Catholic love story between a priest who puts aside his vows for some sexual experiences with a young atheist who is having Stigmata.  Besides being a bad movie from an entertainment perspective, it is really just plain wrong in its assertions about what the Catholic Church “hides” from public knowledge.

The thing to know about the movie Stigmata is that it comes at the Catholic Church from an ancient paradigm.  Gnosticism was an early heretical movement within Christianity.  The basic premise of Gnosticism is that some people who are born of the “Spirit” have a secret knowledge of God’s will – all other people are just dumb.  From that basic premise comes all sorts of crazy delineations, like everything material is evil, and some people are better gnostics because they are directly descended from Jesus.  A lot of modernists, in an attempt to find some sort of purpose in their lives, have recycled Gnosticism because of recent documents that have been discovered and made available to the public.

The movie Stigmata claims that the Catholic Church kept the Gnostic Gospels of Mary, Thomas, etc “secret”.  The fact of the matter is you can google them and find them in about 2 minutes.  They are not secret, but they are dangerous because people ACTUALLY BELIEVE THEY ARE AUTHENTIC AND TRULY WRITTEN BY JESUS’ DISCIPLES.  Of course, this is not true.  That’s not to say there isn’t some authentic material in those Gospels, but most of those documents have been seized by ancient Gnostic sects and interpolated with their own material.  Sad.  I’d be happy to get into the weeds about this, but it’s pretty technical.

This goes into a modern trend that I see/hear a lot from Protestants, but it also has been catching on with the WEIRDS (Western, Educated, Industrialized, Rich, Democratic and Secular; kudos to 20committee blogger for, as the kids say, “nailing it”).  Their heart longs for a sinless, pure community (whose doesn’t?), so they seek it among the various “non-denominational churches (read Baptist)” that speckles the plains of these US of A.  When they don’t find their sinless community there, they go back to a time where “certainly existed a sinless community”, and lo and behold, they discover this “terribly oppressed community by the powerful Roman Catholic Church” the Gnostics.

Needless to say, there is no perfect, sinless community, so their search is in vain.  But there IS a Church founded by Jesus Himself, and I’ll give you one guess which Church that is, but that Church isn’t the secretive Gnostic Church, which is why it died out nearly 1000 years ago, in contradiction to Christ’s promise that “I will build a Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”

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Goings Ons in the World

It’s been a while blog world, a long while.  Surprisingly enough, I have actually had a pretty constant stream of views on this blog.  Thank you.

What is making me write again is some things that are distressing me.  Let’s not waste time.

1.  Caitlyn, don’t call me BRUCE, Jenner.  

I got nothing against Bruce…or Caitlyn.  If he wants to become a woman because he feels like it, fine.  This is America, after all.  But does he really need a national coming out party, and do we really have to label him as one of the bravest men of the past decade?  Someone may have to explain to me how a wealthy celebrity, in Hollywood, who wants to become a woman is somehow brave.

Courage or bravery, I thought, was overcoming some sort of evil or grave difficulty in order to accomplish a good and noble thing.  Maybe Bruce is doing a good thing for some people going through gender confusion…MAYBE.   But what was the difficulty?  Was Hollywood going to denounce him?  Was anybody?

I recently saw the point made on a facebook thread by some idiot that Bruce’s bravery was tantamount to the bravery soldiers show during war.  Possibility of getting your head blown off at any second by an RPG is less brave than a wealthy guy possibly getting made fun of by hicks on twitter.  Of course, we knew most people would accept his decision, be nice to him and treat him with dignity, which they should.  But c’mon America.  This is why few countries east and south of Germany like us.

Also let’s be clear here, what would have been brave is if Bruce would have said that he feels as though he’s a woman but instead realizes that he is biologically a man, and he is not going to run from that.  THAT would have been brave (not as brave as a soldier in battle, but you get the point).   What Bruce basically said is that he feels as though his “soul” is a woman, but his body is a man.  This is quite the conflict, and it’s not one that’s just going to go away, especially so that his greatest lifelong achievement was accomplished when he was publicly considered the archetypical man.  You just don’t get over that.

All that said, I hope Bruce, ehem, Caitlyn is happy and gets the psychological help that anybody with any sense could tell her that she needs.

NUMBER 2 – The Hits Keep Coming for the Archdiocese of St Paul and Minneapolis

The good news is that no new allegations of child sex abuse has arisen.  I said this when I came here from the Archdiocese of Milwaukee (which was horrible for sex abuse), that the Archdiocese of St Paul actually seemed to have their act together with sex abuse.  There were very few cases, and still are very few cases, of sex abuse compared to places like Milwaukee, LA, Philly and the Emerald Isle which seems to have been hit the hardest.

Now comes word that the Hennepin County DA is filing gross misdemeanor charges against the Archdiocese.  The charge?  The Archdiocese “knew” that the priest Curtis Wehmeyer was a pedophile?  How they knew, exactly, is sort of a mystery.  What they did know is that Fr. Wehmeyer was a gay drunk who liked to watch gay porn.  In the secular world this is pretty much completely acceptable, in the Catholic world this guy should have never become a priest to begin with, but it sure IS NOT A CRIME.  Knowing a priest hits on guys in a bookstore, sending him to counselling and still keeping him running a parish isn’t a crime.  It’s stupid as all hell, but not a crime.

As it is, I think the Asian DA (a culture not exactly known for its acceptance of homosexuals) is really teaching all institutions a lesson:  If you have an employee who is openly gay with access to kids, watch out, he’s coming for you.  Of course, the gay employee would have to abuse the kids first, but once they do, he’s coming for you.

3.  The Coming Storm

Jesus is going to come like a thief in the night.  And while there have definitely been worse times in the world, (see 9/11, Vietnam, WWII, WWI, Armenian Genocide, American Civil War, Thermidorian reaction, any day in Soviet Russia between 1930-1960, and about 100,000 time periods/days before that) we seem to be living in a unique time where there seems to be a gradual and steady decay of western culture.

We once built churches of great prominence with barely any men, money or knowledge, but we got it done.  Now that we have all that stuff, we build things like football stadiums and office buildings for similar costs.  Why?

It really is about values, and what our culture values more than anything is entertainment.  Just ask someone why they watch the Kardashians or any other mind-numbing show, the answer you will always get is, “It is entertaining.”  And that justifies it?!?!  So are Gladiator games, I’m sure, but let’s not go back to that!

The result of all this is a general malaise for any sort of noble pursuit.  The party anthem, “Everybody’s working for the weekend,” is actually and sadly turning out to be true.  There is no higher pursuit to work toward, and in the end, instead of money serving man, man serves money.  Hopefully I won’t have to explain why that is bad.  But in case I do, Fulton Sheen said it best when he described the future of our economic system, “Men will come to the feet of the powerful, begging ‘Make me your slave, but give me bread.'”

Yes, the Storm is Coming.

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Purpose

Anybody who has been around a four year old knows that human beings are naturally geared toward reason.  The incessant questions about the most basic things in human life eventually come down to the question of “why”.  “Why do people hurt other people?”  “Why are people starving in other countries?”  “Why do Mommy and Daddy have to go to work?”  

All answers seem simple enough to adults, but do we really take account of them and what the structure of the questions mean in our own lives?  How often do owe throw out the generic answer, “Because that is just the way it is.”?  Is that reasonable?  

So what is reason?  What is thought?  Let us, together, endeavor into thinking again.  Reason is good, and if we do not adhere to it, life as we know it devolves into a mass of unintelligible feeling, impulse and emotion.  Some of it is good as it signifies some sort of truth we have not yet reasoned, but when relying on important decisions, certain impulses contradict what is more intelligent.  

The man who has enlightened me and my journey toward reason has been dead for almost nine centuries. Yet it is my humble opinion that nobody has sufficiently refuted or surpassed his achievement.  

His name is Thomas Aquinas, and I am a Green Thomist.  

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Purpose

Anybody who has been around a four year old knows that human beings are naturally geared toward reason.  The incessant questions about the most basic things in human life eventually come down to the question of “why”.  “Why do people hurt other people?”  “Why are people starving in other countries?”  “Why do Mommy and Daddy have to go to work?”  

All answers seem simple enough to adults, but do we really take account of them and what the structure of the questions mean in our own lives?  How often do owe throw out the generic answer, “Because that is just the way it is.”?  Is that reasonable?  

So what is reason?  What is thought?  Let us, together, endeavor into thinking again.  Reason is good, and if we do not adhere to it, life as we know it devolves into a mass of unintelligible feeling, impulse and emotion.  Some of it is good as it signifies some sort of truth we have not yet reasoned, but when relying on important decisions, certain impulses contradict what is more intelligent.  

The man who has enlightened me and my journey toward reason has been dead for almost nine centuries. Yet it is my humble opinion that nobody has sufficiently refuted or surpassed his achievement.  

His name is Thomas Aquinas, and I am a Green Thomist.  

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Dear Community, I hate or love you

Dear “Community”,

 

I love you.  Your meaning gives solidarity to relationships.  With technology booming, now more than ever, we are all in this thing called the world together.  No person is left out.  Everybody’s well-being should truly be accounted for in our progress toward perfection.  Sure we all have sub-communities, so to speak.  I am Catholic, and I operate within a Catholic community.  But that Catholic community lives within another community; namely, the municipality, the state, the nation and the world.  At no point should a member of other communities not be loved for the dignity they possess by virtue of their existence.  Thank you “community” for opening my yes to this.  It surely helps bring me toward happiness. 

 

But I hate you “community”.  Your authority figures drive me into vice.  The people who expound on how special you are destroy you for the sake of their warped sociological beliefs.  Senators and Governors, ministers and priests, judges and chiefs all grow arrogant when in control of you.  I humble myself.  I search for the happy life, and I know it consists in becoming virtuous.  So why do your leaders, “community”, take away my property?  Why do you force me to pay for heinous things, like the murder of the innocent, the incentivizing of greed and the vicious’ nasty habits?  Why do you claim that freedom rests in you, but yet treat me like I’m a prisoner to 300 million despotic tyrants?   This isn’t consistent with virtue.  This isn’t what love means?  Why “community” do you drive me toward despair?

 

I don’t know what to make of you “community”.  When I begin to love you, I suddenly feel like the only young maiden among a throng of sailors on shore leave.  When I rebel against you, I feel like a lone wolf wondering the night of a new moon.  I’m either a whore or a savage.  A victim or a rake.  The lion or the zebra.  Whichever it is, neither fit my view of human perfection.  Neither brings me into a higher Kingdom. 

Do I denounce you?  Hardly, for that would lead to forsaking others, which is vicious since to be virtuous necessiates social relationships. 

But I can hardly accept you as you are.  I will mold you.   

 

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Keys to Having an Ethical Business Step 2: Define Your Business

We live in world where information of every kind can travel the globe almost instantaneously.  People can get almost anywhere in the world in less than a day, that is if they don’t like to skype into meetings held in far off places like Tokyo, Moscow, Dubai or London.  All these facts indicate a trend in society and the way in which we should perceive how our businesses should function. There is no doubt that we live in a broad community.  But that broad community isn’t just local, regional or national, it is in fact global.  From this fact, we can begin to define what a business actually is. 

Businesses fit into this global community in unique ways since they are the source of all wealth in the world.  Without profits from businesses, people wouldn’t be able to access items used for their most basic needs, much less those “luxury” items that give people comfort and a sense of peace.  Profit, however, is not the end of business.  No, a business must be extraordinarily cognizant of all people their operations affect.  Therefore, let’s list those people:

Employees are those people who are “on the bus” as Jim Collins would say.  Whether they are the owner, an executive, manager or janitor, they are all working together for some mutual benefit.  While they may act out of individual motivations such as financial gain which improves their quality of life, or happiness taken in producing a beneficial product/service, these benefits would be non-existant if it were not for the cooperation with other employees in the company.

Customers are those people who purchase your business’ products or services for their benefit.  Their motivation is simple.  For some reason they view your product or service as something which will bring them happiness.  Whether it be surgical devices, motor oil, computers, massages or crack cocaine, people purchase these goods/services because they believe that they will bring them happiness, even if it is for a short period of time.  (We’ll talk about the crack addict in step 3)

Investors/Shareholders allow their money to be used by your company for financial gain. The most common type of investor is the type that desires financial gain on their capital from your company’s operations. While some may view these people as greedy, motivations of investors can vary.  And even if the only motivation is financial gain, financial gain is sought for happiness, even wealth can bring unhappiness. (This will also be better explained in step 3)

The greater community are those who are affected by your business operations.  Environmental impact, for example, not only can affect wildlife, but it also may affect the natural aesthetic and air and water quality of the community your company operates in.  Certain business practices may lead to unjust market parameters whereby poor people are coerced into inhuman working conditions, for example. This type of impact can vary depending on the company’s operations, but your company should have policies in place that diminish if not completely abrogate any negative impacts business operations have on the global community (which of course includes the local community).   

So let’s try to boil this information down into a working definition of what a business is. 

A business is a 1. community of workers a.) working for their financial benefit b.) and/or for the benefit the goods/services produced by their combined work gives to their customers  (Both aspects are instrumental the happiness of the employee. )

2.  that produces profit (for investors and owners, which can be used to bring about their happiness and the happiness of others)

3.  while justly treating the local, regional, national and international community, which can be called the global community.

 

Although some may dislike the word “community”, there is little doubt that this is what a business most resembles.  As we have illustrated here. a business is people working together to make all whom are involved with the business happier – from investors to consumers to owners to business partners to people who have to live near operation sites.  It is important to take account of it all, for the well-being of all human beings, not just those integrally involved with the business.

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The Key to Having an Ethical Business: Step 1 Abandon the Bad Ethic

Perhaps in no time in recorded history outside the industrial revolution has the words “business ethics” or “business morality” been so widely used.  It’s funny (all you can do is laugh) because the words presume that there is a universally defined “ethic”.  There is not.  In fact, more than ever in the history of human civilization, ethics and morality has nearly become void of meaning.  One might know it when they see it, but when pressed the typical post-modern answer to the question “What is morality?” yields a typical post-Humean, Smith, Kantian, Cartesian response.   Do these sound familiar?

“Morality is a construct of society.  What society deems moral, is moral.”  – Hume held the view that morality was decided by the masses.

“Morality should be defined by what the market wants.  If the people want morality, their elected government will enforce the moral norms of those people.”  Adam Smith  a la “the invisible hand theory”.  Smith, unsurprisingly, was a student of Hume. 

“How can we know what morality is?  You just follow your gut and hope for the best.”  Rene Descartes held the view that one cannot really know anything, except that “I think.  I am.” (Which he changed from his original syllogism “I think.  Therefore, I am.”)  This ushered in a wave of skepticism that any moral truth at all existed.

“The end justify the means.”  Utilitarian philosophy used by the third reich and communist Russia. 

“Everybody has their own way of doing things.  Who am I to judge what they do?  They have their truth; I have mine.”  Kant supposed that reality was within the human being and that the human being had to impress their reality onto the world.  Hence, he formulated his categorical imperative – roughly, “act as though you will your action to be a universal law.”

Now when a company or the employees of that company take any of these thoughts as a proper basis to inform their ethical decision making, tragedy and immorality are bound to erupt.  Why?  All of these above ethics are subjective.  And when an ethic is subjective, it is bound to change on the whim of a person or persons.  Under these types of ethics, it would be deemed perfectly moral. 

“Society thinks slavery is moral.  Therefore, slavery is moral.”  Of course it’s not, but when plugged into Hume’s ethic, this would logically be true. 

“There is a market for child prostitutes.  Therefore, child prostitution is moral.”  Smith/Hume

“Some people say Wal-Mart doesn’t pay their employees enough.  But how are they to say what is moral and what is not?  How do they know what is moral?” – Descartes.

“Hey, as long as we’re making money, it really doesn’t matter that our cigarette is the most addicting.”  Utilitarianism

“If Whole Foods sells debeaked chickens, de-beaking chickens must be moral.  Who am I to judge Whole Foods?” Kantian.

 So this gives us step 1 on how to make your company ethical.  THROW OUT THE SUBJECTIVE ETHIC.  Morality is not inside the person nor inside a civilization.  Morality is objective.  It knows no national border, no government, no association.  It’s real and out there to be discovered.  Can you imagine if people actually thought whatever they did was moral?  Society would be chaotic.  Fortunately, people only say they believe in these subjective ethics, though they don’t actually follow through on them…for the most part.

If you hear managers and employees justifying behavior by using subjective types of arguments, challenge them because those types of ethics don’t yield morality.  All they give a company is a tool for their employees to justify immoral behavior.  And if you want to get rid of the bad fruit, you must chop the tree down.  Get rid of the subjective ethic!

In replacing the bad, subjective ethic, pray, meditate, think about how morality is objective and waiting to be discovered.  It’s out there in nature, in reality, and you must be the company to discover it!

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