Year of Faith Catechism Study: CCC 2541-2547, 2555-2556 – Desires of the Spirit and Poverty of Heart

clock August 16, 2013 01:02 by author John |

Today’s Catechism sections continue the discussion on the Tenth Commandment, focusing on the desires of the spirit, and poverty of heart. Supporting material comes from the Dogmatic Constitution, “Lumen Gentium”.

II. The Desires of the Spirit

2541 The economy of law and grace turns men's hearts away from avarice and envy. It initiates them into desire for the Sovereign Good; it instructs them in the desires of the Holy Spirit who satisfies man's heart.
The God of the promises always warned man against seduction by what from the beginning has seemed "good for food . . . a delight to the eyes . . . to be desired to make one wise."329

2542 The Law entrusted to Israel never sufficed to justify those subject to it; it even became the instrument of "lust."330 The gap between wanting and doing points to the conflict between God's Law which is the "law of my mind," and another law "making me captive to the law of sin which dwells in my members."331

2543 "But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from law, although the law and the prophets bear witness to it, the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe."332 Henceforth, Christ's faithful "have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires"; they are led by the Spirit and follow the desires of the Spirit.333

III. Poverty of Heart

2544 Jesus enjoins his disciples to prefer him to everything and everyone, and bids them "renounce all that [they have]" for his sake and that of the Gospel.334 Shortly before his passion he gave them the example of the poor widow of Jerusalem who, out of her poverty, gave all that she had to live on.335 The precept of detachment from riches is obligatory for entrance into the Kingdom of heaven.

2545 All Christ's faithful are to "direct their affections rightly, lest they be hindered in their pursuit of perfect charity by the use of worldly things and by an adherence to riches which is contrary to the spirit of evangelical poverty."336

2546 "Blessed are the poor in spirit."337 The Beatitudes reveal an order of happiness and grace, of beauty and peace. Jesus celebrates the joy of the poor, to whom the Kingdom already belongs:338

The Word speaks of voluntary humility as "poverty in spirit"; the Apostle gives an example of God's poverty when he says: "For your sakes he became poor."339

2547 The Lord grieves over the rich, because they find their consolation in the abundance of goods.340 "Let the proud seek and love earthly kingdoms, but blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven."341 Abandonment to the providence of the Father in heaven frees us from anxiety about tomorrow.342 Trust in God is a preparation for the blessedness of the poor. They shall see God.

IN BRIEF

2555 Christ's faithful "have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires" (⇒ Gal 5:24); they are led by the Spirit and follow his desires.

2556 Detachment from riches is necessary for entering the Kingdom of heaven. "Blessed are the poor in spirit."

The Dogmatic Constitution, “Lumen Gentium” (42) discusses the proper ordering of the desires.

Likewise, the holiness of the Church is fostered in a special way by the observance of the counsels proposed in the Gospel by Our Lord to His disciples.(13*) An eminent position among these is held by virginity or the celibate state.(231) This is a precious gift of divine grace given by the Father to certain souls,(232) whereby they may devote themselves to God alone the more easily, due to an undivided heart. (14*) This perfect continency, out of desire for the kingdom of heaven, has always been held in particular honor in the Church. The reason for this was and is that perfect continency for the love of God is an incentive to charity, and is certainly a particular source of spiritual fecundity in the world.

Footnotes

329 ⇒ Gen 3:6.
330 Cf. ⇒ Rom 7:7.
331 ⇒ Rom 7:23; cf. ⇒ 7:10.
332 ⇒ Rom 3:21-22.
333 ⇒ Gal 5:24; cf. ⇒ Rom 8:14, 27.
334 ⇒ Lk 14:33; cf. ⇒ Mk 8:35.
335 Cf. ⇒ Lk 21:4.
336 LG 42 # 3.
337 ⇒ Mt 5:3[ETML:C/].
338 Cf. ⇒ Lk 6:20.
339 St. Gregory of Nyssa, De beatitudinibus 1: PG 44, 1200D; cf. ⇒ 2 Cor 8:9.
340 ⇒ Lk 6:24.
341 St. Augustine, De serm. Dom. in monte 1, 1, 3: PL 34, 1232.
342 Cf. ⇒ Mt 6:25-34.



Year of Faith Catechism Study: CCC 2534-2540, 2551-2554 – The Tenth Commandment

clock August 15, 2013 01:00 by author John |

Today’s Catechism sections begin the discussion on the Tenth Commandment. Supporting material comes from the “Summa Theologica”.

Article 10

THE TENTH COMMANDMENT

You shall not covet ... anything that is your neighbor's....

You shall not desire your neighbor's house, his field, or his manservant, or his maidservant,, or his ox, or his ass, or anything that is your neighbor's.316

For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.317

2534 The tenth commandment unfolds and completes the ninth, which is concerned with concupiscence of the flesh. It forbids coveting the goods of another, as the root of theft, robbery, and fraud, which the seventh commandment forbids. "Lust of the eyes" leads to the violence and injustice forbidden by the fifth commandment.318 Avarice, like fornication, originates in the idolatry prohibited by the first three prescriptions of the Law.319 The tenth commandment concerns the intentions of the heart; with the ninth, it summarizes all the precepts of the Law.

I. The Disorder of Covetous Desires

2535 The sensitive appetite leads us to desire pleasant things we do not have, e.g., the desire to eat when we are hungry or to warm ourselves when we are cold. These desires are good in themselves; but often they exceed the limits of reason and drive us to covet unjustly what is not ours and belongs to another or is owed to him.

2536 The tenth commandment forbids greed and the desire to amass earthly goods without limit. It forbids avarice arising from a passion for riches and their attendant power. It also forbids the desire to commit injustice by harming our neighbor in his temporal goods:

When the Law says, "You shall not covet," these words mean that we should banish our desires for whatever does not belong to us. Our thirst for another's goods is immense, infinite, never quenched. Thus it is written: "He who loves money never has money enough."320

2537 It is not a violation of this commandment to desire to obtain things that belong to one's neighbor, provided this is done by just means. Traditional catechesis realistically mentions "those who have a harder struggle against their criminal desires" and so who "must be urged the more to keep this commandment":

. . . merchants who desire scarcity and rising prices, who cannot bear not to be the only ones buying and selling so that they themselves can sell more dearly and buy more cheaply; those who hope that their peers will be impoverished, in order to realize a profit either by selling to them or buying from them . . . physicians who wish disease to spread; lawyers who are eager for many important cases and trials.321

2538 The tenth commandment requires that envy be banished from the human heart. When the prophet Nathan wanted to spur King David to repentance, he told him the story about the poor man who had only one ewe lamb that he treated like his own daughter and the rich man who, despite the great number of his flocks, envied the poor man and ended by stealing his lamb.322 Envy can lead to the worst crimes.323 "Through the devil's envy death entered the world":324

We fight one another, and envy arms us against one another.... If everyone strives to unsettle the Body of Christ, where shall we end up? We are engaged in making Christ's Body a corpse.... We declare ourselves members of one and the same organism, yet we devour one another like beasts.325

2539 Envy is a capital sin. It refers to the sadness at the sight of another's goods and the immoderate desire to acquire them for oneself, even unjustly. When it wishes grave harm to a neighbor it is a mortal sin:

St. Augustine saw envy as "the diabolical sin."326 "From envy are born hatred, detraction, calumny, joy caused by the misfortune of a neighbor, and displeasure caused by his prosperity."327

2540 Envy represents a form of sadness and therefore a refusal of charity; the baptized person should struggle against it by exercising good will. Envy often comes from pride; the baptized person should train himself to live in humility:

Would you like to see God glorified by you? Then rejoice in your brother's progress and you will immediately give glory to God. Because his servant could conquer envy by rejoicing in the merits of others, God will be praised.328

IN BRIEF

2551 "Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also" (⇒ Mt 6:21).

2552 The tenth commandment forbids avarice arising from a passion for riches and their attendant power.

2553 Envy is sadness at the sight of another's goods and the immoderate desire to have them for oneself. It is a capital sin.

2554 The baptized person combats envy through good-will, humility, and abandonment to the providence of God.

In the “Summa Theologica”, (Secunda Secundæ Partis, 36, 2), St. Thomas Aquinas discusses the sin of envy.

Article 2. Whether envy is a sin?

Objection 1. It would seem that envy is not a sin. For Jerome says to Laeta about the education of her daughter (Ep. cvii): "Let her have companions, so that she may learn together with them, envy them, and be nettled when they are praised." But no one should be advised to commit a sin. Therefore envy is not a sin.

Objection 2. Further, "Envy is sorrow for another's good," as Damascene says (De Fide Orth. ii, 14). But this is sometimes praiseworthy: for it is written (Proverbs 29:2): "When the wicked shall bear rule, the people shall mourn." Therefore envy is not always a sin.

Objection 3. Further, envy denotes a kind of zeal. But there is a good zeal, according to Psalm 68:10: "The zeal of Thy house hath eaten me up." Therefore envy is not always a sin.

Objection 4. Further, punishment is condivided with fault. But envy is a kind of punishment: for Gregory says (Moral. v, 46): "When the foul sore of envy corrupts the vanquished heart, the very exterior itself shows how forcibly the mind is urged by madness. For paleness seizes the complexion, the eyes are weighed down, the spirit is inflamed, while the limbs are chilled, there is frenzy in the heart, there is gnashing with the teeth." Therefore envy is not a sin.

On the contrary, It is written (Galatians 5:26): "Let us not be made desirous of vainglory, provoking one another, envying one another."

I answer that, As stated above (Article 1), envy is sorrow for another's good. Now this sorrow may come about in four ways. First, when a man grieves for another's good, through fear that it may cause harm either to himself, or to some other goods. This sorrow is not envy, as stated above (Article 1), and may be void of sin. Hence Gregory says (Moral. xxii, 11): "It very often happens that without charity being lost, both the destruction of an enemy rejoices us, and again his glory, without any sin of envy, saddens us, since, when he falls, we believe that some are deservedly set up, and when he prospers, we dread lest many suffer unjustly."

Secondly, we may grieve over another's good, not because he has it, but because the good which he has, we have not: and this, properly speaking, is zeal, as the Philosopher says (Rhet. ii, 9). And if this zeal be about virtuous goods, it is praiseworthy, according to 1 Corinthians 14:1: "Be zealous for spiritual gifts": while, if it be about temporal goods, it may be either sinful or sinless. Thirdly, one may grieve over another's good, because he who happens to have that good is unworthy of it. Such sorrow as this cannot be occasioned by virtuous goods, which make a man righteous, but, as the Philosopher states, is about riches, and those things which can accrue to the worthy and the unworthy; and he calls this sorrow nemesis [The nearest equivalent is "indignation." The use of the word "nemesis" to signify "revenge" does not represent the original Greek.], saying that it belongs to good morals. But he says this because he considered temporal goods in themselves, in so far as they may seem great to those who look not to eternal goods: whereas, according to the teaching of faith, temporal goods that accrue to those who are unworthy, are so disposed according to God's just ordinance, either for the correction of those men, or for their condemnation, and such goods are as nothing in comparison with the goods to come, which are prepared for good men. Wherefore sorrow of this kind is forbidden in Holy Writ, according to Psalm 36:1: "Be not emulous of evil doers, nor envy them that work iniquity," and elsewhere (Psalm 72:2-3): "My steps had well nigh slipped, for I was envious of the wicked, when I saw the prosperity of sinners [Douay: 'because I had a zeal on occasion of the wicked, seeing the prosperity of sinners']." Fourthly, we grieve over a man's good, in so far as his good surpasses ours; this is envy properly speaking, and is always sinful, as also the Philosopher states (Rhet. ii, 10), because to do so is to grieve over what should make us rejoice, viz. over our neighbor's good.

Reply to Objection 1. Envy there denotes the zeal with which we ought to strive to progress with those who are better than we are.

Reply to Objection 2. This argument considers sorrow for another's good in the first sense given above.

Reply to Objection 3. Envy differs from zeal, as stated above. Hence a certain zeal may be good, whereas envy is always evil.

Reply to Objection 4. Nothing hinders a sin from being penal accidentally, as stated above (I-II, 87, 2) when we were treating of sins.

Footnotes

316 ⇒ EX 20:17; ⇒ Deut 5:21.
317 ⇒ Mt 6:21.
318 Cf. 1 ⇒ Jn 2:16; ⇒ Mic 2:2.
319 Cf. ⇒ Wis 14:12.
320 Roman Catechism, III, 37; cf. ⇒ Sir 5:8.
321 Roman Catechism, III, 37.
322 Cf. ⇒ 2 Sam 12:14.
323 Cf. ⇒ Gen 4:3-7; ⇒ 1 Kings 21:1-29.
324 ⇒ Wis 2:24.
325 St. John Chrysostom, Hom. in 2 Cor. 27, 3-4 PG 61, 588.
326 Cf. St. Augustine, De catechizandis rudibus 4, 8 PL 40, 315-316.
327 St. Gregory the Great Moralia in Job 31, 45: PL 76, 621.
328 St. John Chrysostom, Hom. in Rom. 71, 5: PG 60, 448.



Year of Faith Catechism Study: CCC 2520-2527, 2532-2533 – Purity

clock August 14, 2013 01:02 by author John |

Today’s Catechism sections discuss purity. Supporting material comes from the “Summa Theologica”.

II. The Battle for Purity

2520 Baptism confers on its recipient the grace of purification from all sins. But the baptized must continue to struggle against concupiscence of the flesh and disordered desires. With God's grace he will prevail
- by the virtue and gift of chastity, for chastity lets us love with upright and undivided heart;
- by purity of intention which consists in seeking the true end of man: with simplicity of vision, the baptized person seeks to find and to fulfill God's will in everything;312
- by purity of vision, external and internal; by discipline of feelings and imagination; by refusing all complicity in impure thoughts that incline us to turn aside from the path of God's commandments: "Appearance arouses yearning in fools";313
- by prayer:

I thought that continence arose from one's own powers, which I did not recognize in myself. I was foolish enough not to know . . . that no one can be continent unless you grant it. For you would surely have granted it if my inner groaning had reached your ears and I with firm faith had cast my cares on you.314

2521 Purity requires modesty, an integral part of temperance. Modesty protects the intimate center of the person. It means refusing to unveil what should remain hidden. It is ordered to chastity to whose sensitivity it bears witness. It guides how one looks at others and behaves toward them in conformity with the dignity of persons and their solidarity.

2522 Modesty protects the mystery of persons and their love. It encourages patience and moderation in loving relationships; it requires that the conditions for the definitive giving and commitment of man and woman to one another be fulfilled. Modesty is decency. It inspires one's choice of clothing. It keeps silence or reserve where there is evident risk of unhealthy curiosity. It is discreet.

2523 There is a modesty of the feelings as well as of the body. It protests, for example, against the voyeuristic explorations of the human body in certain advertisements, or against the solicitations of certain media that go too far in the exhibition of intimate things. Modesty inspires a way of life which makes it possible to resist the allurements of fashion and the pressures of prevailing ideologies.

2524 The forms taken by modesty vary from one culture to another. Everywhere, however, modesty exists as an intuition of the spiritual dignity proper to man. It is born with the awakening consciousness of being a subject. Teaching modesty to children and adolescents means awakening in them respect for the human person.

2525 Christian purity requires a purification of the social climate. It requires of the communications media that their presentations show concern for respect and restraint. Purity of heart brings freedom from widespread eroticism and avoids entertainment inclined to voyeurism and illusion.

2526 So called moral permissiveness rests on an erroneous conception of human freedom; the necessary precondition for the development of true freedom is to let oneself be educated in the moral law. Those in charge of education can reasonably be expected to give young people instruction respectful of the truth, the qualities of the heart, and the moral and spiritual dignity of man.

2527 "The Good News of Christ continually renews the life and culture of fallen man; it combats and removes the error and evil which flow from the ever-present attraction of sin. It never ceases to purify and elevate the morality of peoples. It takes the spiritual qualities and endowments of every age and nation, and with supernatural riches it causes them to blossom, as it were, from within; it fortifies, completes, and restores them in Christ."315

IN BRIEF

2532 Purification of the heart demands prayer, the practice of chastity, purity of intention and of vision.

2533 Purity of heart requires the modesty which is patience, decency, and discretion. Modesty protects the intimate center of the person.

In the “Summa Theologica”, (Secunda Secundæ Partis, 151, 4), St. Thomas Aquinas discusses the relationship between purity and chastity.

Article 4. Whether purity belongs especially to chastity?

Objection 1. It would seem that purity does not belong especially to chastity. For Augustine says (De Civ. Dei i, 18) that "purity is a virtue of the soul." Therefore it is not something belonging to chastity, but is of itself a virtue distinct from chastity.

Objection 2. Further, "pudicitia" [purity] is derived from "pudor," which is equivalent to shame. Now shame, according to Damascene [De Fide Orth. ii, 15, is about a disgraceful act, and this is common to all sinful acts. Therefore purity belongs no more to chastity than to the other virtues.

Objection 3. Further, the Philosopher says (Ethic. iii, 12) that "every kind of intemperance is most deserving of reproach." Now it would seem to belong to purity to avoid all that is deserving of reproach. Therefore purity belongs to all the parts of temperance, and not especially to chastity.

On the contrary, Augustine says (De Perseverantia xx): "We must give praise to purity, that he who has ears to hear, may put to none but a lawful use the organs intended for procreation." Now the use of these organs is the proper matter of chastity. Therefore purity belongs properly to chastity.

I answer that, As stated above (Objection 2), "pudicitia" [purity] takes its name from "pudor," which signifies shame. Hence purity must needs be properly about the things of which man is most ashamed. Now men are most ashamed of venereal acts, as Augustine remarks (De Civ. Dei xiv, 18), so much so that even the conjugal act, which is adorned by the honesty [Cf. 145] of marriage, is not devoid of shame: and this because the movement of the organs of generation is not subject to the command of reason, as are the movements of the other external members. Now man is ashamed not only of this sexual union but also of all the signs thereof, as the Philosopher observes (Rhet. ii, 6). Consequently purity regards venereal matters properly, and especially the signs thereof, such as impure looks, kisses, and touches. And since the latter are more wont to be observed, purity regards rather these external signs, while chastity regards rather sexual union. Therefore purity is directed to chastity, not as a virtue distinct therefrom, but as expressing a circumstance of chastity. Nevertheless the one is sometimes used to designate the other.

Reply to Objection 1. Augustine is here speaking of purity as designating chastity.

Reply to Objection 2. Although every vice has a certain disgrace, the vices of intemperance are especially disgraceful, as stated above (Question 142, Article 4).

Reply to Objection 3. Among the vices of intemperance, venereal sins are most deserving of reproach, both on account of the insubordination of the genital organs, and because by these sins especially, the reason is absorbed.

Footnotes

312 Cf. ⇒ Rom 12:2; ⇒ Col 1:10.
313 ⇒ Wis 15:5.
314 St. Augustine, Conf. 6, 11, 20: PL 32, 729-730.
315 GS 58 # 4.



Year of Faith Catechism Study: CCC 2514-2519, 2528-2531 – The Ninth Commandment

clock August 13, 2013 01:02 by author John |

Today’s Catechism sections begin the discussion on the Ninth Commandment. Supporting material comes from the encyclical, “Dominum et Vivificantem”.

Article 9

THE NINTH COMMANDMENT

You shall not covet your neighbor's house; you shall not covet your neighbor's wife, or his manservant, or his maidservant, or his ox, or his ass, or anything that is your neighbor's.298

Every one who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.299

2514 St. John distinguishes three kinds of covetousness or concupiscence: lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes, and pride of life.300 In the Catholic catechetical tradition, the ninth commandment forbids carnal concupiscence; the tenth forbids coveting another's goods.

2515 Etymologically, "concupiscence" can refer to any intense form of human desire. Christian theology has given it a particular meaning: the movement of the sensitive appetite contrary to the operation of the human reason. The apostle St. Paul identifies it with the rebellion of the "flesh" against the "spirit."301 Concupiscence stems from the disobedience of the first sin. It unsettles man's moral faculties and, without being in itself an offense, inclines man to commit sins.302

2516 Because man is a composite being, spirit and body, there already exists a certain tension in him; a certain struggle of tendencies between "spirit" and "flesh" develops. But in fact this struggle belongs to the heritage of sin. It is a consequence of sin and at the same time a confirmation of it. It is part of the daily experience of the spiritual battle:

For the Apostle it is not a matter of despising and condemning the body which with the spiritual soul constitutes man's nature and personal subjectivity. Rather, he is concerned with the morally good or bad works, or better, the permanent dispositions - virtues and vices - which are the fruit of submission (in the first case) or of resistance (in the second case) to the saving action of the Holy Spirit. For this reason the Apostle writes: "If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit."303

I. Purification of the Heart

2517 The heart is the seat of moral personality: "Out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, fornication...."304 The struggle against carnal covetousness entails purifying the heart and practicing temperance:

Remain simple and innocent, and you will be like little children who do not know the evil that destroys man's life.305

2518 The sixth beatitude proclaims, "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God."306 "Pure in heart" refers to those who have attuned their intellects and wills to the demands of God's holiness, chiefly in three areas: charity;307 chastity or sexual rectitude;308 love of truth and orthodoxy of faith.309 There is a connection between purity of heart, of body, and of faith:

The faithful must believe the articles of the Creed "so that by believing they may obey God, by obeying may live well, by living well may purify their hearts, and with pure hearts may understand what they believe."310

2519 The "pure in heart" are promised that they will see God face to face and be like him.311 Purity of heart is the precondition of the vision of God. Even now it enables us to see according to God, to accept others as "neighbors"; it lets us perceive the human body - ours and our neighbor's - as a temple of the Holy Spirit, a manifestation of divine beauty.

IN BRIEF

2528 "Everyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart" (⇒ Mt 5:28).

2529 The ninth commandment warns against lust or carnal concupiscence.

2530 The struggle against carnal lust involves purifying the heart and practicing temperance.

2531 Purity of heart will enable us to see God: it enables us even now to see things according to God.

In the Encyclical, “Dominum et Vivificantem”, Pope John Paul II discusses the struggle between the spirit and the flesh.

55. Unfortunately, the history of salvation shows that God's coming close and making himself present to man and the world, that marvelous "condescension" of the Spirit, meets with resistance and opposition in our human reality. How eloquent from this point of view are the prophetic words of the old man Simeon who, inspired by the Spirit, came to the Temple in Jerusalem, in order to foretell in the presence of the new-born Babe of Bethlehem that he "is set for the fall and rising of many in Israel, for a sign of contradiction."232 Opposition to God, who is an invisible Spirit, to a certain degree originates in the very fact of the radical difference of the world from God, that is to say in the world's "visibility" and "materiality" in contrast to him who is "invisible" and "absolute Spirit"; from the world's essential and inevitable imperfection in contrast to him, the perfect being. But this opposition becomes conflict and rebellion on the ethical plane by reason of that sin which takes possession of the human heart, wherein "the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh."233 Concerning this sin, the Holy Spirit must "convince the world," as we have already said.

It is St. Paul who describes in a particularly eloquent way the tension and struggle that trouble the human heart. We read in the Letter to the Galatians: "But I say, walk by the Spirit, and do not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh; for these are opposed to each other, to prevent you from doing what you would."234 There already exists in man, as a being made up of body and spirit, a certain tension, a certain struggle of tendencies between the "spirit" and the "flesh." But this struggle in fact belongs to the heritage of sin, is a consequence of sin and at the same time a confirmation of it. This is part of everyday experience. As the Apostle writes: "Now the works of the flesh are plain: fornication, impurity, licentiousness... drunkenness, carousing and the like." These are the sins that could be called "carnal." But he also adds others: "enmity, strife, jealousy, anger, selfishness, dissension, party spirit, envy."235 All of this constitutes the "works of the flesh."

But with these works, which are undoubtedly evil, Paul contrasts "the fruit of the Spirit," such as "love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control."236 From the context it is clear that for the Apostle it is not a question of discriminating against and condemning the body, which with the spiritual soul constitutes man's nature and personal subjectivity. Rather, he is concerned with the morally good or bad works, or better the permanent dispositions-virtues and vices-which are the fruit of submission to (in the first case) or of resistance to (in the second case) the saving action of the Holy Spirit. Consequently the Apostle writes: "If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit."237 And in other passages: "For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit"; "You are in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you."238 The contrast that St. Paul makes between life "according to the Spirit" and life "according to the flesh" gives rise to a further contrast: that between "life" and "death." "To set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace"; hence the warning: "For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body you will live."239

Footnotes

298 ⇒ Ex 20:17.
299 ⇒ Mt 5:28.
300 Cf. ⇒ 1 Jn 2:16.
301 Cf. ⇒ Gal 5:16, ⇒ 17, ⇒ 24; ⇒ Eph 2:3.
302 Cf. ⇒ Gen 3:11; Council of Trent: DS 1515.
303 John Paul II, DeV 55; cf. ⇒ Gal 5:25.
304 ⇒ Mt 15:19.
305 Pastor Hermae, Mandate 2, 1: PG 2, 916.
306 ⇒ Mt 5:8[ETML:C/].
307 Cf. ⇒ 1 Tim 4:3-9; ⇒ 2 Tim 2:22.
308 Cf. ⇒ 1 Thess 4:7; ⇒ Col 3:5; ⇒ Eph 4:19.
309 Cf. ⇒ Titus 1:15; ⇒ 1 Tim 1:3-4; ⇒ 2 Tim 2:23-26.
310 St. Augustine, Defide et symbolo 10, 25: PL 40, 196.
311 Cf. ⇒ 1 Cor 13:12; 1 ⇒ Jn 3:2[ETML:C/].



Year of Faith Catechism Study: CCC 2500-2501, 2513 – Truth, Beauty, and Sacred Art

clock August 12, 2013 01:02 by author John |

Today’s Catechism section discuss truth, beauty, and sacred art. Supporting material comes from the constitution on the sacred liturgy, “Sacrosanctum Concilium”.

VI. Truth, Beauty, and Sacred Art

2500 The practice of goodness is accompanied by spontaneous spiritual joy and moral beauty. Likewise, truth carries with it the joy and splendor of spiritual beauty. Truth is beautiful in itself. Truth in words, the rational expression of the knowledge of created and uncreated reality, is necessary to man, who is endowed with intellect. But truth can also find other complementary forms of human expression, above all when it is a matter of evoking what is beyond words: the depths of the human heart, the exaltations of the soul, the mystery of God. Even before revealing himself to man in words of truth, God reveals himself to him through the universal language of creation, the work of his Word, of his wisdom: the order and harmony of the cosmos - which both the child and the scientist discover - "from the greatness and beauty of created things comes a corresponding perception of their Creator," "for the author of beauty created them."289

[Wisdom] is a breath of the power of God, and a pure emanation of the glory of the Almighty; therefore nothing defiled gains entrance into her. For she is a reflection of eternal light, a spotless mirror of the working of God, and an image of his goodness.290 For [wisdom] is more beautiful than the sun, and excels every constellation of the stars. Compared with the light she is found to be superior, for it is succeeded by the night, but against wisdom evil does not prevail.291 I became enamored of her beauty.292

2501 Created "in the image of God,"293 man also expresses the truth of his relationship with God the Creator by the beauty of his artistic works. Indeed, art is a distinctively human form of expression; beyond the search for the necessities of life which is common to all living creatures, art is a freely given superabundance of the human being's inner riches. Arising from talent given by the Creator and from man's own effort, art is a form of practical wisdom, uniting knowledge and skill,294 to give form to the truth of reality in a language accessible to sight or hearing. To the extent that it is inspired by truth and love of beings, art bears a certain likeness to God's activity in what he has created. Like any other human activity, art is not an absolute end in itself, but is ordered to and ennobled by the ultimate end of man.295

2502 Sacred art is true and beautiful when its form corresponds to its particular vocation: evoking and glorifying, in faith and adoration, the transcendent mystery of God - the surpassing invisible beauty of truth and love visible in Christ, who "reflects the glory of God and bears the very stamp of his nature," in whom "the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily."296 This spiritual beauty of God is reflected in the most holy Virgin Mother of God, the angels, and saints. Genuine sacred art draws man to adoration, to prayer, and to the love of God, Creator and Savior, the Holy One and Sanctifier.

2503 For this reason bishops, personally or through delegates, should see to the promotion of sacred art, old and new, in all its forms and, with the same religious care, remove from the liturgy and from places of worship everything which is not in conformity with the truth of faith and the authentic beauty of sacred art.297

IN BRIEF

2513 The fine arts, but above all sacred art, "of their nature are directed toward expressing in some way the infinite beauty of God in works made by human hands. Their dedication to the increase of God's praise and of his glory is more complete, the more exclusively they are devoted to turning men's minds devoutly toward God" (SC 122).

The Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, “Sacrosanctum Concilium” discusses sacred art and beauty.

124. Ordinaries, by the encouragement and favor they show to art which is truly sacred, should strive after noble beauty rather than mere sumptuous display. This principle is to apply also in the matter of sacred vestments and ornaments.

Let bishops carefully remove from the house of God and from other sacred places those works of artists which are repugnant to faith, morals, and Christian piety, and which offend true religious sense either by depraved forms or by lack of artistic worth, mediocrity and pretense.

And when churches are to be built, let great care be taken that they be suitable for the celebration of liturgical services and for the active participation of the faithful.

Footnotes

289 ⇒ Wis 13:3, 5.
290 ⇒ Wis 7:25-26.
291 ⇒ Wis 7:29-30.
292 ⇒ Wis 8:2.
293 ⇒ Gen 1:26.
294 Cf. ⇒ Wis 7:16-17
295 Cf. Pius XII, Musicae sacrae disciplina; Discourses of September 3 and December 25, 1950.
296 ⇒ Heb 1:3; ⇒ Col 2:9.
297 Cf. SC 122-127.



Year of Faith Catechism Study: CCC 2493-2499, 2512 – The Use of Social Communications

clock August 11, 2013 01:02 by author John |

Today’s Catechism sections discuss the use of social communications. Supporting material comes from the decree, “Inter Mirifica”.

V. The Use of the Social Communications Media

2493 Within modern society the communications media play a major role in information, cultural promotion, and formation. This role is increasing, as a result of technological progress, the extent and diversity of the news transmitted, and the influence exercised on public opinion.

2494 The information provided by the media is at the service of the common good.284 Society has a right to information based on truth, freedom, justice, and solidarity:

The proper exercise of this right demands that the content of the communication be true and - within the limits set by justice and charity - complete. Further, it should be communicated honestly and properly. This means that in the gathering and in the publication of news, the moral law and the legitimate rights and dignity of man should be upheld.285

2495 "It is necessary that all members of society meet the demands of justice and charity in this domain. They should help, through the means of social communication, in the formation and diffusion of sound public opinion."286 Solidarity is a consequence of genuine and right communication and the free circulation of ideas that further knowledge and respect for others.

2496 The means of social communication (especially the mass media) can give rise to a certain passivity among users, making them less than vigilant consumers of what is said or shown. Users should practice moderation and discipline in their approach to the mass media. They will want to form enlightened and correct consciences the more easily to resist unwholesome influences.

2497 By the very nature of their profession, journalists have an obligation to serve the truth and not offend against charity in disseminating information. They should strive to respect, with equal care, the nature of the facts and the limits of critical judgment concerning individuals. They should not stoop to defamation.

2498 "Civil authorities have particular responsibilities in this field because of the common good.... It is for the civil authority ... to defend and safeguard a true and just freedom of information."287 By promulgating laws and overseeing their application, public authorities should ensure that "public morality and social progress are not gravely endangered" through misuse of the media.288 Civil authorities should punish any violation of the rights of individuals to their reputation and privacy. They should give timely and reliable reports concerning the general good or respond to the well-founded concerns of the people. Nothing can justify recourse to disinformation for manipulating public opinion through the media. Interventions by public authority should avoid injuring the freedom of individuals or groups.

2499 Moral judgment must condemn the plague of totalitarian states which systematically falsify the truth, exercise political control of opinion through the media, manipulate defendants and witnesses at public trials, and imagine that they secure their tyranny by strangling and repressing everything they consider "thought crimes."

IN BRIEF

2512 Society has a right to information based on truth, freedom, and justice. One should practice moderation and discipline in the use of the social communications media.

The Decree, “Inter Mirifica” discusses the use of Social Communications.

11. The principle moral responsibility for the proper use of the media of social communication falls on newsmen, writers, actors, designers, producers, displayers, distributors, operators and sellers, as well as critics and all others who play any part in the production and transmission of mass presentations. It is quite evident what gravely important responsibilities they have in the present day when they are in a position to lead the human race to good or to evil by informing or arousing mankind.

Thus, they must adjust their economic, political or artistic and technical aspects so as never to oppose the common good. For the purpose of better achieving this goal, they are to be commended when they join professional associations, which-even under a code, if necessary, of sound moral practice-oblige their members to show respect for morality in the duties and tasks of their craft.

They ought always to be mindful, however, that a great many of their readers and audiences are young people, who need a press and entertainment that offer them decent amusement and cultural uplift. In addition, they should see to it that communications or presentations concerning religious matters are entrusted to worthy and experienced hands and are carried out with fitting reverence.

12. The public authority, in these matters, is bound by special responsibilities in view of the common good, to which these media are ordered. The same authority has, in virtue of its office, the duty of protecting and safeguarding true and just freedom of information, a freedom that is totally necessary for the welfare of contemporary society, especially when it is a question of freedom of the press. It ought also to encourage spiritual values, culture and the fine arts and guarantee the rights of those who wish to use the media. Moreover, public authority has the duty of helping those projects which, though they are certainly most beneficial for young people, cannot otherwise be undertaken.

Lastly, the same public authority, which legitimately concerns itself with the health of the citizenry, is obliged, through the promulgation and careful enforcement of laws, to exercise a fitting and careful watch lest grave damage befall public morals and the welfare of society through the base use of these media. Such vigilance in no wise restricts the freedom of individuals or groups, especially where there is a lack of adequate precaution on the part of those who are professionally engaged in using these media.

Special care should be taken to safeguard young people from printed matter and performances which may be harmful at their age.

Footnotes

284 Cf. IM 11.
285 IM 5 # 2.
286 IM 8.
287 IM 12.
288 IM 12 # 2.



Year of Faith Catechism Study: CCC 2488-2492, 2510-2511 – Respect for the Truth

clock August 10, 2013 01:02 by author John |

Today’s Catechism sections discuss respect for the truth. Supporting material comes from St. Augustine’s “On Lying”.

IV. Respect for the Truth

2488 The right to the communication of the truth is not unconditional. Everyone must conform his life to the Gospel precept of fraternal love. This requires us in concrete situations to judge whether or not it is appropriate to reveal the truth to someone who asks for it.

2489 Charity and respect for the truth should dictate the response to every request for information or communication. The good and safety of others, respect for privacy, and the common good are sufficient reasons for being silent about what ought not be known or for making use of a discreet language. The duty to avoid scandal often commands strict discretion. No one is bound to reveal the truth to someone who does not have the right to know it.282

2490 The secret of the sacrament of reconciliation is sacred, and cannot be violated under any pretext. "The sacramental seal is inviolable; therefore, it is a crime for a confessor in any way to betray a penitent by word or in any other manner or for any reason."283

2491 Professional secrets - for example, those of political office holders, soldiers, physicians, and lawyers - or confidential information given under the seal of secrecy must be kept, save in exceptional cases where keeping the secret is bound to cause very grave harm to the one who confided it, to the one who received it or to a third party, and where the very grave harm can be avoided only by divulging the truth. Even if not confided under the seal of secrecy, private information prejudicial to another is not to be divulged without a grave and proportionate reason.

2492 Everyone should observe an appropriate reserve concerning persons' private lives. Those in charge of communications should maintain a fair balance between the requirements of the common good and respect for individual rights. Interference by the media in the private lives of persons engaged in political or public activity is to be condemned to the extent that it infringes upon their privacy and freedom.

IN BRIEF

2510 The golden rule helps one discern, in concrete situations, whether or not it would be appropriate to reveal the truth to someone who asks for it.

2511 "The sacramental seal is inviolable" (⇒ CIC, can. 983 # 1). Professional secrets must be kept. Confidences prejudicial to another are not to be divulged.

In “On Lying”, St. Augustine discusses whether there are circumstance where it is allowable to lie for a good purpose.

5. But whether a lie be at some times useful, is a much greater and more concerning question. Whether, as above, it be a lie, when a person has no will to deceive, or even makes it his business that the person to whom he says a thing shall not be deceived although he did wish the thing itself which he uttered to be false, but this on purpose that he might cause a truth to be believed; whether, again, it be a lie when a person willingly utters even a truth for the purpose of deceiving; this may be doubted. But none doubts that it is a lie when a person willingly utters a falsehood for the purpose of deceiving: wherefore a false utterance put forth with will to deceive is manifestly a lie. But whether this alone be a lie, is another question. Meanwhile, taking this kind of lie, in which all agree, let us inquire, whether it be sometimes useful to utter a falsehood with will to deceive. They who think it is, advance testimonies to their opinion, by alleging the case of Sarah, who, when she had laughed, denied to the Angels that she laughed: of Jacob questioned by his father, and answering that he was the elder son Esau: likewise that of the Egyptian midwives, who to save the Hebrew infants from being slain at their birth, told a lie, and that with God's approbation and reward: and many such like instances they pick out, of lies told by persons whom you would not dare to blame, and so must own that it may sometimes be not only not blameworthy, but even praiseworthy to tell a lie. They add also a case with which to urge not only those who are devoted to the Divine Books, but all men and common sense, saying, Suppose a man should take refuge with you, who by your lie might be saved from death, would you not tell it? If a sick man should ask a question which it is not expedient that he should know, and might be more grievously afflicted even by your returning him no answer, will you venture either to tell the truth to the destruction of the man's life, or rather to hold your peace, than by a virtuous and merciful lie to be serviceable to his weak health? By these and such like arguments they think they most plentifully prove, that if occasion of doing good require, we may sometimes tell a lie.

6. On the other hand, those who say that we must never lie, plead much more strongly, using first the Divine authority, because in the very Decalogue it is written You shall not bear false witness; under which general term it comprises all lying: for whoso utters any thing bears witness to his own mind. But lest any should contend that not every lie is to be called false witness, what will he say to that which is written, The mouth that lies slays the soul: and lest any should suppose that this may be understood with the exception of some liars, let him read in another place, You will destroy all that speak leasing. Whence with His own lips the Lord says, Let your communication be yea, yea; nay, nay; for whatsoever is more than these comes of evil. Hence the Apostle also in giving precept for the putting off of the old man, under which name all sins are understood, says straightway, Wherefore putting away lying, speak ye truth.

Footnotes

282 Cf. ⇒ Sir 27:16; ⇒ Prov 25:9-10.
283 ⇒ CIC, Can. 983 # 1.



Year of Faith Catechism Study: CCC 2482 – 2487, 2508-2509 – Lying

clock August 9, 2013 01:02 by author John |

Today’s Catechism sections discuss lying. Supporting material comes from the “Summa Theologica”.

2482 "A lie consists in speaking a falsehood with the intention of deceiving."280 The Lord denounces lying as the work of the devil: "You are of your father the devil, . . . there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks according to his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies."281

2483 Lying is the most direct offense against the truth. To lie is to speak or act against the truth in order to lead into error someone who has the right to know the truth. By injuring man's relation to truth and to his neighbor, a lie offends against the fundamental relation of man and of his word to the Lord.

2484 The gravity of a lie is measured against the nature of the truth it deforms, the circumstances, the intentions of the one who lies, and the harm suffered by its victims. If a lie in itself only constitutes a venial sin, it becomes mortal when it does grave injury to the virtues of justice and charity.

2485 By its very nature, lying is to be condemned. It is a profanation of speech, whereas the purpose of speech is to communicate known truth to others. The deliberate intention of leading a neighbor into error by saying things contrary to the truth constitutes a failure in justice and charity. The culpability is greater when the intention of deceiving entails the risk of deadly consequences for those who are led astray.

2486 Since it violates the virtue of truthfulness, a lie does real violence to another. It affects his ability to know, which is a condition of every judgment and decision. It contains the seed of discord and all consequent evils. Lying is destructive of society; it undermines trust among men and tears apart the fabric of social relationships.

2487 Every offense committed against justice and truth entails the duty of reparation, even if its author has been forgiven. When it is impossible publicly to make reparation for a wrong, it must be made secretly. If someone who has suffered harm cannot be directly compensated, he must be given moral satisfaction in the name of charity. This duty of reparation also concerns offenses against another's reputation. This reparation, moral and sometimes material, must be evaluated in terms of the extent of the damage inflicted. It obliges in conscience.

IN BRIEF

2508 Lying consists in saying what is false with the intention of deceiving the neighbor who has the right to the truth.

2509 An offense committed against the truth requires reparation.

In the “Summa Theologica”, (Secunda Secundæ Partis, 110, 1), St. Thomas Aquinas discusses lying.

Article 1. Whether lying is always opposed to truth?

Objection 1. It seems that lying is not always opposed to truth. For opposites are incompatible with one another. But lying is compatible with truth, since that speaks the truth, thinking it to be false, lies, according to Augustine (Lib. De Mendac. iii). Therefore lying is not opposed to truth.

Objection 2. Further, the virtue of truth applies not only to words but also to deeds, since according to the Philosopher (Ethic. iv, 7) by this virtue one tells the truth both in one's speech and in one's life. But lying applies only to words, for Augustine says (Contra Mend. xii) that "a lie is a false signification by words." Accordingly, it seems that lying is not directly opposed to the virtue of truth.

Objection 3. Further, Augustine says (Lib. De Mendac. iii) that the "liar's sin is the desire to deceive." But this is not opposed to truth, but rather to benevolence or justice. Therefore lying is not opposed to truth.

On the contrary, Augustine says (Contra Mend. x): "Let no one doubt that it is a lie to tell a falsehood in order to deceive. Wherefore a false statement uttered with intent to deceive is a manifest lie." But this is opposed to truth. Therefore lying is opposed to truth.

I answer that, A moral act takes its species from two things, its object, and its end: for the end is the object of the will, which is the first mover in moral acts. And the power moved by the will has its own object, which is the proximate object of the voluntary act, and stands in relation to the will's act towards the end, as material to formal, as stated above (I-II, 18, 6,7).

Now it has been said above (109, 1, ad 3) that the virtue of truth--and consequently the opposite vices--regards a manifestation made by certain signs: and this manifestation or statement is an act of reason comparing sign with the thing signified; because every representation consists in comparison, which is the proper act of the reason. Wherefore though dumb animals manifest something, yet they do not intend to manifest anything: but they do something by natural instinct, and a manifestation is the result. But when this manifestation or statement is a moral act, it must needs be voluntary, and dependent on the intention of the will. Now the proper object of a manifestation or statement is the true or the false. And the intention of a bad will may bear on two things: one of which is that a falsehood may be told; while the other is the proper effect of a false statement, namely, that someone may be deceived.

Accordingly if these three things concur, namely, falsehood of what is said, the will to tell a falsehood, and finally the intention to deceive, then there is falsehood--materially, since what is said is false, formally, on account of the will to tell an untruth, and effectively, on account of the will to impart a falsehood.

However, the essential notion of a lie is taken from formal falsehood, from the fact namely, that a person intends to say what is false; wherefore also the word "mendacium" [lie] is derived from its being in opposition to the "mind." Consequently if one says what is false, thinking it to be true, it is false materially, but not formally, because the falseness is beside the intention of the speaker so that it is not a perfect lie, since what is beside the speaker's intention is accidental for which reason it cannot be a specific difference. If, on the other hand, one utters' falsehood formally, through having the will to deceive, even if what one says be true, yet inasmuch as this is a voluntary and moral act, it contains falseness essentially and truth accidentally, and attains the specific nature of a lie.

That a person intends to cause another to have a false opinion, by deceiving him, does not belong to the species of lying, but to perfection thereof, even as in the physical order, a thing acquires its species if it has its form, even though the form's effect be lacking; for instance a heavy body which is held up aloft by force, lest it come down in accordance with the exigency of its form. Therefore it is evident that lying is directly an formally opposed to the virtue of truth.

Reply to Objection 1. We judge of a thing according to what is in it formally and essentially rather than according to what is in it materially and accidentally. Hence it is more in opposition to truth, considered as a moral virtue, to tell the truth with the intention of telling a falsehood than to tell a falsehood with the intention of telling the truth.

Reply to Objection 2. As Augustine says (De Doctr. Christ. ii), words hold the chief place among other signs. And so when it is said that "a lie is a false signification by words," the term "words" denotes every kind of sign. Wherefore if a person intended to signify something false by means of signs, he would not be excused from lying.

Reply to Objection 3. The desire to deceive belongs to the perfection of lying, but not to its species, as neither does any effect belong to the species of its cause.

Footnotes

280 St. Augustine, De mendacio 4, 5: PL 40: 491.
281 ⇒ Jn 8:44.



Year of Faith Catechism Study: CCC 2475-2481, 2507 – Offenses Against Truth

clock August 8, 2013 01:02 by author John |

Today’s Catechism sections discuss sins against the Eighth Commandment. Supporting material comes from the “Summa Theologica”.

III. Offenses Against Truth

2475 Christ's disciples have "put on the new man, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness."273 By "putting away falsehood," they are to "put away all malice and all guile and insincerity and envy and all slander."274

2476 False witness and perjury. When it is made publicly, a statement contrary to the truth takes on a particular gravity. In court it becomes false witness.275 When it is under oath, it is perjury. Acts such as these contribute to condemnation of the innocent, exoneration of the guilty, or the increased punishment of the accused.276 They gravely compromise the exercise of justice and the fairness of judicial decisions.

2477 Respect for the reputation of persons forbids every attitude and word likely to cause them unjust injury.277 He becomes guilty:
- of rash judgment who, even tacitly, assumes as true, without sufficient foundation, the moral fault of a neighbor;
- of detraction who, without objectively valid reason, discloses another's faults and failings to persons who did not know them;278
- of calumny who, by remarks contrary to the truth, harms the reputation of others and gives occasion for false judgments concerning them.

2478 To avoid rash judgment, everyone should be careful to interpret insofar as possible his neighbor's thoughts, words, and deeds in a favorable way:

Every good Christian ought to be more ready to give a favorable interpretation to another's statement than to condemn it. But if he cannot do so, let him ask how the other understands it. And if the latter understands it badly, let the former correct him with love. If that does not suffice, let the Christian try all suitable ways to bring the other to a correct interpretation so that he may be saved.279

2479 Detraction and calumny destroy the reputation and honor of one's neighbor. Honor is the social witness given to human dignity, and everyone enjoys a natural right to the honor of his name and reputation and to respect. Thus, detraction and calumny offend against the virtues of justice and charity.

2480 Every word or attitude is forbidden which by flattery, adulation, or complaisance encourages and confirms another in malicious acts and perverse conduct. Adulation is a grave fault if it makes one an accomplice in another's vices or grave sins. Neither the desire to be of service nor friendship justifies duplicitous speech. Adulation is a venial sin when it only seeks to be agreeable, to avoid evil, to meet a need, or to obtain legitimate advantages.

2481 Boasting or bragging is an offense against truth. So is irony aimed at disparaging someone by maliciously caricaturing some aspect of his behavior.

IN BRIEF

2507 Respect for the reputation and honor of persons forbids all detraction and calumny in word or attitude.

In the “Summa Theologica” (Secunda Secundæ Partis, 115, 1), St. Thomas Aquinas discusses the sinfulness of flattery.

Article 1. Whether flattery is a sin?

Objection 1. It seems that flattery is not a sin. For flattery consists in words of praise offered to another in order to please him. But it is not a sin to praise a person, according to Proverbs 31:28, "Her children rose up and called her blessed: her husband, and he praised her." Moreover, there is no evil in wishing to please others, according to 1 Corinthians 10:33, "I . . . in all things please all men." Therefore flattery is not a sin.

Objection 2. Further, evil is contrary to good, and blame to praise. But it is not a sin to blame evil. Neither, then, is it a sin to praise good, which seems to belong to flattery. Therefore flattery is not a sin.

Objection 3. Further, detraction is contrary to flattery. Wherefore Gregory says (Moral. xxii, 5) that detraction is a remedy against flattery. "It must be observed," says he, "that by the wonderful moderation of our Ruler, we are often allowed to be rent by detractions but are uplifted by immoderate praise, so that whom the voice of the flatterer upraises, the tongue of the detractor may humble." But detraction is an evil, as stated above (73, 2,3). Therefore flattery is a good.

On the contrary, A gloss on Ezekiel 13:18, "Woe to them that sew cushions under every elbow," says, "that is to say, sweet flattery." Therefore flattery is a sin.

I answer that, As stated above (114, 1, ad 3), although the friendship of which we have been speaking, or affability, intends chiefly the pleasure of those among whom one lives, yet it does not fear to displease when it is a question of obtaining a certain good, or of avoiding a certain evil. Accordingly, if a man were to wish always to speak pleasantly to others, he would exceed the mode of pleasing, and would therefore sin by excess. If he do this with the mere intention of pleasing he is said to be "complaisant," according to the Philosopher (Ethic. iv, 6): whereas if he do it with the intention of making some gain out of it, he is called a "flatterer" or "adulator." As a rule, however, the term "flattery" is wont to be applied to all who wish to exceed the mode of virtue in pleasing others by words or deeds in their ordinary behavior towards their fellows.

Reply to Objection 1. One may praise a person both well and ill, according as one observes or omits the due circumstances. For if while observing other due circumstances one were to wish to please a person by praising him, in order thereby to console him, or that he may strive to make progress in good, this will belong to the aforesaid virtue of friendship. But it would belong to flattery, if one wished to praise a person for things in which he ought not to be praised; since perhaps they are evil, according to Psalm 9:24, "The sinner is praised in the desires of his soul"; or they may be uncertain, according to Sirach 27:8, "Praise not a man before he speaketh," and again (Sirach 11:2), "Praise not a man for his beauty"; or because there may be fear lest human praise should incite him to vainglory, wherefore it is written, (Sirach 11:30), "Praise not any man before death." Again, in like manner it is right to wish to please a man in order to foster charity, so that he may make spiritual progress therein. But it would be sinful to wish to please men for the sake of vainglory or gain, or to please them in something evil, according to Psalm 52:6, "God hath scattered the bones of them that please men," and according to the words of the Apostle (Galatians 1:10), "If I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ."

Reply to Objection 2. Even to blame evil is sinful, if due circumstances be not observed; and so too is it to praise good.

Reply to Objection 3. Nothing hinders two vices being contrary to one another. Wherefore even as detraction is evil, so is flattery, which is contrary thereto as regards what is said, but not directly as regards the end. Because flattery seeks to please the person flattered, whereas the detractor seeks not the displeasure of the person defamed, since at times he defames him in secret, but seeks rather his defamation.

Footnotes

273 ? Eph 4:24.
274 ? Eph 4:25; ? 1 Pet 2:1.
275 Cf. ? Prov 19:9.
276 Cf. ? Prov 18:5.
277 Cf. ? CIC, can. 220.
278 Cf. ? Sir 21:28.
279 St. Ignatius of Loyola, Spiritual Exercises, 22.



Year of Faith Catechism Study: CCC 2471-2474, 2506 – Bearing Witness to the Truth

clock August 7, 2013 01:02 by author John |

Today’s Catechism sections discuss witnessing to the truth. Supporting material comes from the “Epistle to the Romans” by St. Ignatius.

II. To Bear Witness to the Truth

2471 Before Pilate, Christ proclaims that he "has come into the world, to bear witness to the truth."265 The Christian is not to "be ashamed then of testifying to our Lord."266 In situations that require witness to the faith, the Christian must profess it without equivocation, after the example of St. Paul before his judges. We must keep "a clear conscience toward God and toward men."267

2472 The duty of Christians to take part in the life of the Church impels them to act as witnesses of the Gospel and of the obligations that flow from it. This witness is a transmission of the faith in words and deeds. Witness is an act of justice that establishes the truth or makes it known.268
All Christians by the example of their lives and the witness of their word, wherever they live, have an obligation to manifest the new man which they have put on in Baptism and to reveal the power of the Holy Spirit by whom they were strengthened at Confirmation.

2473 Martyrdom is the supreme witness given to the truth of the faith: it means bearing witness even unto death. The martyr bears witness to Christ who died and rose, to whom he is united by charity. He bears witness to the truth of the faith and of Christian doctrine. He endures death through an act of fortitude. "Let me become the food of the beasts, through whom it will be given me to reach God."270

2474 The Church has painstakingly collected the records of those who persevered to the end in witnessing to their faith. These are the acts of the Martyrs. They form the archives of truth written in letters of blood:

Neither the pleasures of the world nor the kingdoms of this age will be of any use to me.

It is better for me to die [in order to unite myself] to Christ Jesus than to reign over the ends of the earth. I seek him who died for us; I desire him who rose for us. My birth is approaching. . .271 I bless you for having judged me worthy from this day and this hour to be counted among your martyrs.... You have kept your promise, God of faithfulness and truth. For this reason and for everything, I praise you, I bless you, I glorify you through the eternal and heavenly High Priest, Jesus Christ, your beloved Son. Through him, who is with you and the Holy Spirit, may glory be given to you, now and in the ages to come. Amen.272

IN BRIEF

2506 The Christian is not to "be ashamed of testifying to our Lord" (⇒ 2 Tim 1:8) in deed and word. Martyrdom is the supreme witness given to the truth of the faith.

In his “Epistle to the Romans” (4), St. Ignatius of Antioch explains his desire to give his life in witness to the truth.

Chapter 4. Allow me to fall a prey to the wild beasts

I write to the Churches, and impress on them all, that I shall willingly die for God, unless you hinder me. I beseech of you not to show an unseasonable good-will towards me. Allow me to become food for the wild beasts, through whose instrumentality it will be granted me to attain to God. I am the wheat of God, and let me be ground by the teeth of the wild beasts, that I may be found the pure bread of Christ. Rather entice the wild beasts, that they may become my tomb, and may leave nothing of my body; so that when I have fallen asleep [in death], I may be no trouble to any one. Then shall I truly be a disciple of Christ, when the world shall not see so much as my body. Entreat Christ for me, that by these instruments I may be found a sacrifice [to God]. I do not, as Peter and Paul, issue commandments unto you. They were apostles; I am but a condemned man: they were free, while I am, even until now, a servant. But when I suffer, I shall be the freed-man of Jesus, and shall rise again emancipated in Him. And now, being a prisoner, I learn not to desire anything worldly or vain.

Footnotes

265 ⇒ Jn 18:37.
266 ⇒ 2 Tim 1:8.
267 ⇒ Acts 24:16.
268 Cf. ⇒ Mt 18:16.
270 St. Ignatius of Antioch, Ad Rom. 4, 1 SCh 10, 110.
271 St. Ignatius of Antioch, Ad Rom. 6, 1-2 SCh 10, 114.
272 Martyrium Polycarpi 14,2-3 PG 5,1040; SCh 10,228.



Solemn Charge | Year of Faith Catechism Study: CCC 2807-2815, 2858 – Hallowed be Thy Name

Year of Faith Catechism Study: CCC 2807-2815, 2858 – Hallowed be Thy Name

clock September 18, 2013 01:02 by author John |

Today’s Catechism sections discuss the second petition in the Lord’s Prayer, “Hallowed be Thy Name”. Supporting material comes from “On Prayer” by Tertullian.

I. "Hallowed be Thy Name"

2807 The term "to hallow" is to be understood here not primarily in its causative sense (only God hallows, makes holy), but above all in an evaluative sense: to recognize as holy, to treat in a holy way. And so, in adoration, this invocation is sometimes understood as praise and thanksgiving.66 But this petition is here taught to us by Jesus as an optative: a petition, a desire, and an expectation in which God and man are involved. Beginning with this first petition to our Father, we are immersed in the innermost mystery of his Godhead and the drama of the salvation of our humanity. Asking the Father that his name be made holy draws us into his plan of loving kindness for the fullness of time, "according to his purpose which he set forth in Christ," that we might "be holy and blameless before him in love."67

2808 In the decisive moments of his economy God reveals his name, but he does so by accomplishing his work. This work, then, is realized for us and in us only if his name is hallowed by us and in us.

2809 The holiness of God is the inaccessible center of his eternal mystery. What is revealed of it in creation and history, Scripture calls "glory," the radiance of his majesty.68 In making man in his image and likeness, God "crowned him with glory and honor," but by sinning, man fell "short of the glory of God."69 From that time on, God was to manifest his holiness by revealing and giving his name, in order to restore man to the image of his Creator.70

2810 In the promise to Abraham and the oath that accompanied it,71 God commits himself but without disclosing his name. He begins to reveal it to Moses and makes it known clearly before the eyes of the whole people when he saves them from the Egyptians: "he has triumphed gloriously."72 From the covenant of Sinai onwards, this people is "his own" and it is to be a "holy (or "consecrated": the same word is used for both in Hebrew) nation,"73 because the name of God dwells in it.

2811 In spite of the holy Law that again and again their Holy God gives them - "You shall be holy, for I the LORD your God am holy" - and although the Lord shows patience for the sake of his name, the people turn away from the Holy One of Israel and profane his name among the nations.74 For this reason the just ones of the old covenant, the poor survivors returned from exile, and the prophets burned with passion for the name.

2812 Finally, in Jesus the name of the Holy God is revealed and given to us, in the flesh, as Savior, revealed by what he is, by his word, and by his sacrifice.75 This is the heart of his priestly prayer: "Holy Father . . . for their sake I consecrate myself, that they also may be consecrated in truth."76 Because he "sanctifies" his own name, Jesus reveals to us the name of the Father.77 At the end of Christ's Passover, the Father gives him the name that is above all names: "Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father."78

2813 In the waters of Baptism, we have been "washed . . . sanctified . . . justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God."79 Our Father calls us to holiness in the whole of our life, and since "he is the source of (our) life in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God, and… sanctification,"80 both his glory and our life depend on the hallowing of his name in us and by us. Such is the urgency of our first petition.

By whom is God hallowed, since he is the one who hallows? But since he said, "You shall be holy to me; for I the LORD am holy," we seek and ask that we who were sanctified in Baptism may persevere in what we have begun to be. And we ask this daily, for we need sanctification daily, so that we who fail daily may cleanse away our sins by being sanctified continually.... We pray that this sanctification may remain in us.81

2814 The sanctification of his name among the nations depends inseparably on our life and our prayer:

We ask God to hallow his name, which by its own holiness saves and makes holy all creation .... It is this name that gives salvation to a lost world. But we ask that this name of God should be hallowed in us through our actions. For God's name is blessed when we live well, but is blasphemed when we live wickedly. As the Apostle says: "The name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you." We ask then that, just as the name of God is holy, so we may obtain his holiness in our souls.82
When we say "hallowed be thy name," we ask that it should be hallowed in us, who are in him; but also in others whom God's grace still awaits, that we may obey the precept that obliges us to pray for everyone, even our enemies. That is why we do not say expressly "hallowed be thy name 'in us,"' for we ask that it be so in all men.83

2815 This petition embodies all the others. Like the six petitions that follow, it is fulfilled by the prayer of Christ. Prayer to our Father is our prayer, if it is prayed in the name of Jesus.84 In his priestly prayer, Jesus asks: "Holy Father, protect in your name those whom you have given me."85

IN BRIEF

2858 By asking "hallowed be thy name" we enter into God's plan, the sanctification of his name - revealed first to Moses and then in Jesus - by us and in us, in every nation and in each man.

Tertullian discusses the second petition of the Lord’s Prayer in “On Prayer”.

Chapter 3. The Second Clause

The name of God the Father had been published to none. Even Moses, who had interrogated Him on that very point, had heard a different name. Exodus 3:13-16 To us it has been revealed in the Son, for the Son is now the Father's new name. I have come, says He, in the Father's name; John 5:43 and again, Father, glorify Your name; John 12:28 and more openly, I have manifested Your name to men. John 17:6 That name, therefore, we pray may be hallowed. Not that it is becoming for men to wish God well, as if there were any other by whom He may be wished well, or as if He would suffer unless we do so wish. Plainly, it is universally becoming for God to be blessed in every place and time, on account of the memory of His benefits ever due from every man. But this petition also serves the turn of a blessing. Otherwise, when is the name of God not holy, and hallowed through Himself, seeing that of Himself He sanctifies all others— He to whom that surrounding circle of angels cease not to say, Holy, holy, holy? In like wise, therefore, we too, candidates for angelhood, if we succeed in deserving it, begin even here on earth to learn by heart that strain hereafter to be raised unto God, and the function of future glory. So far, for the glory of God. On the other hand, for our own petition, when we say, Hallowed be Your name, we pray this; that it may be hallowed in us who are in Him, as well in all others for whom the grace of God is still waiting; Isaiah 30:18 that we may obey this precept, too, in praying for all, 1 Timothy 2:1 even for our personal enemies. Matthew 5:44 And therefore with suspended utterance, not saying, Hallowed be it in us, we say— in all.

Footnotes

66 Cf. ⇒ Ps 111:9; ⇒ Lk 1:49.
67 ⇒ Eph 1:9, 4.
68 Cf. ⇒ Ps 8; ⇒ Isa 6:3.
69 ⇒ Ps 8:5; ⇒ Rom 3:23; cf. ⇒ Gen 1:26.
70 ⇒ Col 3:10.
71 Cf. ⇒ Heb 6:13.
72 ⇒ Ex 15:1 cf. ⇒ 3:14.
73 Cf. ⇒ Ex 19:5-6.
74 ⇒ Ezek 20:9, ⇒ 14, ⇒ 22, ⇒ 39; cf. ⇒ Lev 19:2.
75 Cf. ⇒ Mt 1:21; ⇒ Lk 1:31, ⇒ Jn 8:28; ⇒ 17:8; ⇒ 17:17-19.
76 ⇒ Jn 17:11, ⇒ 19.
77 Cf. ⇒ Ezek 20:39; ⇒ 36:20-21; ⇒ Jn 17:6.
78 ⇒ Phil 2:9-11.
79 ⇒ 2 Cor 6:11.
80 ⇒ 1 Cor 1:30; cf. ⇒ 1 Thess 4:7.
81 St. Cyprian De Dom. orat. 12: PL 4, 527A; ⇒ Lev 20:26.
82 St. Peter Chrysologus, Sermo 71, 4: PL 52:402A; cf. ⇒ Rom 2:24; ⇒ Ezek 36:20-22.
83 Tertullian, De orat. 3: PL 1:1157A.
84 Cf. ⇒ Jn 14:13; ⇒ 15:16; ⇒ 16:24, ⇒ 26.
85 ⇒ Jn 17:11.

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John is a Roman Catholic husband, father of 4 and a big fan of human life, traditional marriage, objective truth, and common sense. View all posts by John →


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