Monogenism and the Giants

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The question of Monogenism or Polygenism has recently been under discussion at the Strange Notions site. Prof. Feser writes (I add a couple of links for clarity) that
How can the doctrine of original sin be reconciled with what contemporary biology says about human origins? For the doctrine requires descent from a single original ancestor, whereas contemporary biologists hold that the genetic evidence indicates that modern humans descended from a population of at least several thousand individuals....

The Flynn-Kemp proposal is this. Suppose evolutionary processes gave rise to a population of several thousand creatures of this non-rational but genetically and physiologically “human” sort. Suppose further that God infused rational souls into two of these creatures, thereby giving them our distinctive intellectual and volitional powers and making them truly human. Call this pair “Adam” and “Eve.” Adam and Eve have descendents, and God infuses into each of them rational souls of their own, so that they too are human in the strict metaphysical sense. Suppose that some of these descendents interbreed with creatures of the non-rational but genetically and physiologically “human” sort. The offspring that result would also have rational souls since they have Adam and Eve as ancestors (even if they also have non-rational creatures as ancestors). This interbreeding carries on for some time, but eventually the population of non-rational but genetically and physiologically “human” creatures dies out, leaving only those creatures who are human in the strict metaphysical sense.

Programming Note

My posting should be sporadic at beast for a while. I'm adjusting to being an Assistant Professor in Physics at a teaching university (heavy course load) which also expects research output (when and where I can find time for it). I don't get as much time as I'd like to do writing (or even simple reading) these days.

My output here has fallen well below once a month, but i do hope to get back to at least once a month. Some day it may even be weekly, but that looks a long ways off. In the meantime, I do still get my regular (~ once per month) posting at Ignitum Today, which I have managed to keep up I know not how.

Feel free to check back as often as you'd like, but I expect once per month is the upper limit of my posting frequency, at least for a while.

There has also been some behind-the-scenes debate about actually upgrading our site, both on my end (making posting easier...manually typing in every formatting command takes time, which I don't have) and in what you the readers see (some videos would be nice, or even pictures, and blockquotes).

On Doctrines and Disciplines

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A friend passed along a link to this interview with Cardinal Kasper, published by America magazine. It appears to be the latest (as of last week) salvo in a feud between Cardinal Kasper and Cardinal Burke (et al.) leading up to the synod on the family.

It seems to me that Cardinal Kasper's argument is as follows:

  1. Canon law says that Catholics who are divorced and remarried should be denied communion.
  2. Canon law consists of the disciplines of the Church, not her doctrines.
  3. Therefore, denial of communion to divorced and remarried Catholics is a discipline and not a doctrine
  4. While doctrines cannot be changed, disciplines can be and are changed.
  5. It is cruel to needlessly withold the sacraments in general and communion in particular from people, which is the effect of this discipline.
  6. Therefore the discipline should be dropped
  7. Those who says otherwise are theological fundamentalists and live in fear.

The Compromise

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Lenten Series: The Works of Mercy Part IX--Closing Thoughts

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One of the pillars of Lent is almsgiving (and by extension, almsdeeds). On the surface, almsgiving and almsdeeds mean only to give away money or goods to those in need. However, almsdeeds go beyond this: they are the works of mercy. I will be posting about the works of mercy each week during Lent, pairing one spiritual work of mercy with one corporal work of mercy and then offering my thoughts on the pair. I will bookcase these reflection with a short introductory essay about the nature of mercy, and a final essay considering some practical thoughts. Here is part IX, which discusses some final thoughts on the works of mercy.
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There is a certaininterconnectedness between the works of mercy. For example, if we intend to admonish sinners, we must be also prepared to instruct the ignorant (many sinners "know not what they do"), and equally prepared to bear wrongs patiently (many people lack the good graces to accept just admonishments with docility). Likewise, if we harbor the harborless in the sense of sheltering a refugee, we should be prepared to provide him with food and drink at the least.

Lenten Series:Works of Mercy Part VIII--Bury the Dead and Pray for the Living and the Dead

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One of the pillars of Lent is almsgiving (and by extension, almsdeeds). On the surface, almsgiving and almsdeeds mean only to give away money or goods to those in need. However, almsdeeds go beyond this: they are the works of mercy. I will be posting about the works of mercy each week during Lent, pairing one spiritual work of mercy with one corporal work of mercy and then offering my thoughts on the pair. I will bookcase these reflection with a short introductory essay about the nature of mercy, and a final essay considering some practical thoughts. Here is part VIII, which discusses the seventh pair of works of mercy.
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Burying the dead is the only of the Corporal Works of mercy not named in the parable of the sheep and the goats. It comes from the book of Tobit: "if I saw any of my nation dead, or cast around the walls of Nineveh, I buried him" (Tobit 1:17).

Lenten Series: The Works of Mercy Part VII--Ransom Captives and Admonish Sinners

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One of the pillars of Lent is almsgiving (and by extension, almsdeeds). On the surface, almsgiving and almsdeeds mean only to give away money or goods to those in need. However, almsdeeds go beyond this: they are the works of mercy. I will be posting about the works of mercy each week during Lent, pairing one spiritual work of mercy with one corporal work of mercy and then offering my thoughts on the pair. I will bookcase these reflection with a short introductory essay about the nature of mercy, and a final essay considering some practical thoughts. Here is part VII, which discusses the sixth pair of works of mercy.
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Ransoming captives may seem the strangest, the least necessary of the works of mercy today. Oh, it was surely necessary historically (and Christ does specifically mention it in the Parable of the Sheep and the Goats). There are indeed two different religious orders which were established to do this work historically. Both the Trinitarians and the Order of Our Lady of Ransom specifically had as there mission the rescuing of Christian captives from the ahdns of the infidels (which largely meant, Muhammedans). Members of the Order of Our Lady of Ransom took a fourth vow, which was to substitute themselves for other captives held be infidels, thereby ransoming those captives by becoming themselves captives: a very Christ-like approach to the problem of captivity.

Lenten Series: The Works of Mercy Part VI--Visit the Sick and Comfort the Afflicted

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One of the pillars of Lent is almsgiving (and by extension, almsdeeds). On the surface, almsgiving and almsdeeds mean only to give away money or goods to those in need. However, almsdeeds go beyond this: they are the works of mercy. I will be posting about the works of mercy each week during Lent, pairing one spiritual work of mercy with one corporal work of mercy and then offering my thoughts on the pair. I will bookcase these reflection with a short introductory essay about the nature of mercy, and a final essay considering some practical thoughts. Here is part VI, which discusses the fifth pair of works of mercy.
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When we hear of "the sick," we probably think immediately of those who are in the care of hospitals or hospices. Perhaps we think of our own families while they usffer through cold and flu season, or allergy season. These are, of course, sick in the conventional sens eof the word, and they need our assistance and our care.

Lenten Series:Works of Mercy Part V--Harbor the Harborless and Forgive Offenses Willingly

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One of the pillars of Lent is almsgiving (and by extension, almsdeeds). On the surface, almsgiving and almsdeeds mean only to give away money or goods to those in need. However, almsdeeds go beyond this: they are the works of mercy. I will be posting about the works of mercy each week during Lent, pairing one spiritual work of mercy with one corporal work of mercy and then offering my thoughts on the pair. I will bookcase these reflection with a short introductory essay about the nature of mercy, and a final essay considering some practical thoughts. Here is part V, which discusses the fourth pair of works of mercy.
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“Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.” (Luke 9:58).

RCIA Question Box: On Vatican II

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Question:
“A person called in to Relevant Radio and spoke against the Second Vatican Council. She said it was the worst thing to happen to the Church. Why is there such strong opposition to the council?”
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strong>Answer:

Actually, it is not that surprising that there is strong opposition to the council. Many of the Church’s ecumenical councils have historically faced some sort of opposition, including from previously or otherwise seemingly faithful Catholics. We need look no farther back that the First Vatican Council (in the mid 19th century—the last council before Vatican II) to see that this is so.

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