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Archive for August 25th, 2008

Sounds, bad doesn’t it. Isn’t lying a sin. But tell me, would you in order to prevent scandal? Is lying for a supposedly good cause considered a sin? And is this really a good cause?

http://articles.latimes.com/2007/mar/26/local/me-priest26

Catholic doctrine is cited in priest sex abuse cases

Note This article includes corrections to the original version.

An elderly nun, under questioning by a lawyer, recently said she could remember almost nothing about his client, a child who had been sexually molested by a Roman Catholic priest.

Lawyer Irwin Zalkin was puzzled because church records showed she had heard several complaints about the San Diego priest, and the file noted that she had reported them to higher authority.

Finally, Zalkin asked whether she was familiar with “mental reservation” – a 700-year-old doctrine by which clerics may avoid telling the truth to protect the Catholic Church.

She explained in her own way that it is ‘to protect the church from scandal.’ She said she subscribed to the doctrine,” Zalkin said. What are you going to do?”

Mental reservation is not sanctioned in canon law, experts say, and is infrequently invoked. But in litigation arising from clergy sex abuse cases in the Los Angeles Archdiocese, at least half a dozen lawyers representing victims report having encountered it.

When is a lie a lie? Some say, as long as someone does not speak the truth, then it is a lie. Others assume, that when a lie is told, there is always bad intentions involved, hence if a person lies with good intentions, it is no longer a lie. The problem is, some people always convince themselves to have good intentions. Some people live in a world of delusion and manage to rationalize that they are good when in actuality they are selfish and deceitful. In a world where the biggest religion preaches on love and puts little emphasis on truth, people will inevitably try to justify their actions by saying that they did it out of love. In the above case, lying may be justified by the person for the love of his religion and his God.

As said in the quoted article, ” Mental reservation is not sanctioned in canon law”. But exactly what is sanctioned by canon law and what is absolutely true? Some Catholics have stated “dogmas” are absolute, and others “doctrines”. And what are exactly the list of dogmas and doctrines? The status of mental reservation is thus in limbo, and yet its vague status has allowed a person to actually lie under oath as seen by the above quote. How many others have possibly lied and how many others will. Actually, if you believe in mental reservation, what can prevent you from lying when asked “do you follow the doctrine of mental reservation”. You could always lie again and say that you don’t.

To put a stop to all this nonsense, if the Catholics are indeed against this usage in a court of law, they should make an official appeal to all Catholics that lying under oath is a sin. Why don’t they?

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Patlabor 2 is a Japanese Anime (Cartoon) that waxes philosophical about war and peace themes. Here is a poignant dialogue between a policeman and government official that reflects upon these ideas. Also note the Japanese context portrayed here–their defeat in World War II and their position in the world then and now.

Is peace the absence of war? Or war the absence of peace? Is there such a thing as a just war or a unjust peace? What is civilisation if it is founded on the victims of war?

Next to religion, it is politics and its darker brother: war, that has moved society and civilisation towards various ends (sometimes folly).

Great insights from this cartoon. (Transcript of Arakawa’s monologue is below)

Arakawa:

You as a policeman, Gota, me as a self-defense force spook, what is it the two of us are actually trying to protect?

It’s fifty years since the end of world war two. We’ve lived our lives never having known war. Violence yes–but that’s recognized as criminal, never a time when the whole country was dedicated to legal violence.

Peace? Is it peace we’re working to protect?

What is peace meant for this country, for our city, for us?

All the effort and passion Japan put into the war ended in Hiroshima in defeat. Then the Americans came, bringing their nuclear deterrent, their cold war, their Hollywood chewing-gum war. And now all over the world there are bullet wars, civil wars, suffering, misery, death.

We’re a rich country. And what is our wealth built on? The bloody corpses in all these wars. They’re the foundation of our peace. We now put the same effort into indifference that our parents put into war. Other countries comfortably far away pay the price for our prosperous peace. We’ve learned very well how to ignore their suffering.

Gota:

No matter how repulsive the peace, it’s still vital to guard it. It may be an immoral peace, maybe an unjust peace, but an unjust peace is still better than a just war.

Arakawa:

I share your revulsion about “just” wars, if there ever was such a thing it was the war against the nazis, our allies Gota, our allies! But how many millions throughout history have died in the cause of what their lying leaders called “just” wars?

And yet it seems to me that the line between a just war and a unjust peace is very faint indeed. If the just war is a lie, is the unjust peace less of a lie? We are told there is peace but we look around us and even if we cannot give it words our lives tell us we cannot believe what we are being told.

In the end every war gives way to peace so-called, and every so-called peace is the dormant seed of war.

So it’s only a matter of time, til the hard reality of war sweeps away our illusion that the absence of war is peace. So I ask you again, what are we working to protect?

We enjoy peace on our T.V. screens while just outside the camera shot the war is raging. We forget we’re just a camera angle behind the battlelines. No, we don’t forget–we quite simply refuse to remember. That cannot go on. Sometime, somehow, we will be punished.

Gota:

Punished? By who? By God?

Arakawa:

Anyone in this world can be like God, most in a universe no bigger than their own minds, all-present, all-knowing, and yet impotent outside the confines of their heads. And what God cannot do, men will attempt. Unless. Unless we stop them.

They must be stopped. That is our task.

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