June 04, 2009

Thoughts 'n Quotes

I once relayed, approvingly, an anecdote to a family member about how one ex-Nazi - Rudolf Hess was it? - who confessed his crimes to a priest just before his death and how presumably he is on his way to Heaven now. This relative was not impressed with mercy here but provoked and even repulsed by it. Hess in Heaven? I like stories of mercy, selfishly figuring it gives me a better chance to go to Heaven, while my interlocuter favors justice. People are different.

Pope Benedict in Spe Salvi asserts that justice will happen: "In the end evildoers will not sit at table in the eternal banquet beside their victims without distinction, as if nothing happened."

Richard J. Neuhaus comments in American Babylon on the Pope's thought:
That would be another injustice, an intolerable one. And yet, the God of justice is also a God of love and mercy. It is not as though justice is "balanced" or "tempered" by mercy, as might be the case in a human court. Rather, the judgment of God - which infinitely surpasses but does not contradict our understanding of justice and mercy - does not only include both justice and mercy, but is both justice and mercy.

Admittedly this explanation does not answer all our questions. But that is the way it is with realities that surpass our human understanding. Despite centuries of arduous effort by the greatest of minds, there is finally no intellectually satisfying answer to the question of theodicy - the question of how to justify to man the ways of God.
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I'm really, really liking "Morning Joe", the MSNBC show. And Scarborough's really, really tired of presidents not making choices and how they are driven "by ideology and not arithmetic." They don't believe in math. Specifically, Bush & Obama have earned the ire of Joe S. by their failure to create a credible budget. Of course there are things I would like to say, such as "since when is out-year accounting ever a great yarn". But then aren't we entitled to a little truth-in-budgeting? Why should we be consistently lied to? I think it was Cheney who said that deficits don't matter, which I agree with up to a point. I often carry a small balance on my VISA as a (mostly imaginary) curb against further spending. The balance is small enough that it doesn't matter. But, as we all know, large balances matter. Big time. And anytime that merely paying the interest on a debt is a significant expense well, Houston we have a problem.

Jim Cramer said the GM takeover is a jobs program, something straight out of FDR's make-work New Deal. Mike Barnicle buys it. Someone else said that unions are all about collecting dues and not protecting workers. The government will choose inflation over high unemployment because the latter is more politically poisonous. "Name one successful unionized company," said Jim Cramer, and the crowd was silent. Which is disturbing since how can we recognize the legitimate value of unions when they end up routinely killing companies? Pope Paul VI once wrote (printed it off, forgot to save the link!):
The important role of union organizations must be admitted....Their activity, however, is not without its difficulties. Here and there the temptation can arise of profiting from a position of force to impose, particularly by strikes - the right to which as a final means of defense remains certainly recognized - conditions which are too burdensome for the overall economy and for the social body, or to desire to obtain in this way demands of a directly political nature.
And yet without unions how do workers protect their rights?
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Came across this private revelation passage in Mary of Agreda's "City of God" concerning the fifth Joyful mystery:

In order that thou mayest understand better this sacrament of the Lord, remember, that the Infinite Wisdom made men capable of His Eternal Felicity and placed them on the way to this happiness, but left them in doubt of its attainment, as long as they have not yet acquired it and thus filled them with joyful hope and sorrowful fear of its final acquisition. This anxiety engenders in men a lifelong fear and abhorrence of sin, by which alone they can be deprived of beatitude and thus prevent them from being ensnared and misled by the corporeal and visible things of this earth. This anxiety the Creator assists by adding to the natural reasoning powers, faith and hope, which are the spurs of their love toward seeking and finding their last end.

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