Mutterings



A note.

Musical

short, brief, writing
from me to you

Literary
perhaps bunched together
to form some history
of me and you. Stuffed
in a shoe box, shoved under
the bed.

Historical
Describing the passing
of us, from where we where to
where we are now. Then a
different when. Where

Metaphysical
bits and pieces of our beings
are frozen, outside of the time
that keeps passing; we write
our little notes.

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Humanae Vitae: a bold sign of contradiction

Humanae Vitae, the landmark encyclical of Pope Paul VI “became a sign of contradiction” because it upheld the Church’s traditional condemnation of contraception, Pope Benedict XVI told a …

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I can only say that it is the society at large who is in a state of contradiction, both with the natural and supernatural orders.  We live in a time where we have been offered a choice.  Choose Life!


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A Choice for Life

clipped from www.catholicnewsagency.com
Human cloning bans advance in “radically changed” stem cell field



.- In one of the first legislative actions involving embryonic cloning since the discovery of a breakthrough stem cell production technique, lawmakers in an Australian state have rejected legislation that would allow human cloning for research purposes, Cybercast News Service reports.

Advocates of bans on such cloning argued the new discovery has “radically changed” the field and helps justify the prohibition of research that destroys human embryos.

Last November, scientists in the U.S. and Japan reported the successful “direct reprogramming” of human adult skin cells into cells that behave like embryonic stem cells. These “induced pluripotent stem cells,” iPS cells, are considered to have significant research and therapeutic promise while avoiding the ethical problems involved in creating, manipulating, and destroying human embryos.

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The Life of Man – To Know and Love God

Catechism

Now this is eternal life, that they may know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.
John 17:3

The BIG questions. – Why am I here?, Is there purpose? What is my purpose? Is this all there is? – They seem almost cliche in our hyper-connected, post-modern, relativistic culture. But if we are honest with ourselves, if we allow ourselves just a moment of quiet in which to ponder, we will find at least the echoes of these questions. Of course finding a quiet moment is in itself a pilgrimage.

“I praise you, so wonderfully you made me; wonderful are your works.”
Psalm 139:14

We are wonderfully made. – We are complex biological machines, the result of an evolutionary process more complex and beautiful than we can comprehend – Yet, the “how” is mere mechanics; the true wonder is in the abstraction of complexity that defines our being. We have a mind, a consciousness of being, and a spark of immortality, or soul, the “breath of God” that sets us apart from our animal selves.

While this is all very inspiring, upon reflection the question of our being comes to the forefront. What does it mean for us to have being? Great thinkers throughout history have addressed this question. Metaphysics in general and ontology specifically are philosophy’s study of the question of being. The prime ontologist is Aristotle, who in response to the questions posed by existence, posited his Four Causes as a solution.

Aristotle’s Four Causes can be summarized, somewhat ignobly as follows:

  • Material cause – that from which a thing comes into existence. The parts, constituents, substratum, or materials that form the whole. The part-whole causation.
  • Formal cause – defines what a thing is, its archetype, form, or definition in terms of fundamental laws and principles. Describes simply how the thing comes about as a result of the system in which they exist. The whole-part causation.
  • Efficient cause – the agent of change, that from which the change first starts, that which causes change. The ’cause’ in ’cause and effect’.
  • Final cause – the sake for which a thing exists, both purposeful and instrumental. The purpose or end that something is supposed to serve. All of the things that give purpose to behavior and being.

So what does this mean in a reasoned, and reasonable approach to a search for truth? Let’s look at Aristotle’s material cause. We see in the material cause the idea of the whole being the sum of its parts. Science has made great strides in its exploration of particle physics, giving us insight into the building blocks of the universe, and as a result we know that the stuff of the universe is ultimately all cut of the same cloth. Matter and energy, one and the same, just different manifestations. And in some cases we cannot even tell if a thing is one or the other. Ask a physicist if Schrödinger’s cat is doing well, and you will get a polyphony of answers. But in the end, the existence of matter and energy – as explained by particle physics and subatomic theory – is simply the response of the universe to the Word of God.

Then God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.
Genesis 1:3

Now let us consider the formal cause. Here Aristotle is speaking of the form, or archetypal representation of a thing. As humans our form could contain the results of the biological processes that make us a being, as well as the results of the metaphysical formation that makes us human. We do not exist as spirit or animal alone, but as both, a fusion.

The specific biological and physical processes that bring about the complex biochemical state that defines a physical body, truly only develops the potential for humanness. It is the result of a systematic metaphysical formation that brings about a degree of humanness. This metaphysical formation is carried out by the cultural and religious structures that provide us instruction as we are raised (or transformed) from children to adults (Both physically and metaphysically). Our will, a gift of God in itself, allows us to react to the grace God extends to us during this formation, which in turn enables us to realize our human potential as members of the Body of Christ, our true archetype.

Then God said:”Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.”
Genesis 1:26

We are created in the image of God. We have as our ultimate archetype, Jesus Christ, and are adopted sons through Him.

Now the efficient cause. In this Aristotle limited himself to the physical realm, but we can look into his idea and expound on it, bringing to it the Light of Truth and find that what he ‘saw through a glass dimly’ we can see more clearly in the light of revelation. When we are looking for the cause for our existence, we can look locally and see a cause with direct effect. Each person is here as a result of their parents cooperation with God’s plan for creation. Taken to its extreme we are all here as a result of our archetypical parents, Adam and Eve. However if we take this even further, we see both in revelation, and reasoned conclusion that the prime cause was and continues to be God.

And finally, the final cause. The sake for which something exists, both purposeful and instrumental. It is here that we turn to God, our efficient cause. We exist because he holds us in existence.

For ‘In him we live and move and have our being,’ as even some of your poets have said, ‘For we too are his offspring.’

Acts 17:28

But, what does this say for our purpose, our reason for being. When we create, we do so for our purpose. The tool is created to its end. Form and function are informed by purpose. So with God, he creates, each one with a specific form and function, informed by our divine purpose. This purpose is more than our vocation, more than the sum of our needs, desires and wants, it defines the instrumentality of our being. Simply put, we exist to know and love God.

Now this is eternal life, that they may know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.
John 17:3

Real Hope

Pope Benedict XVI is the Pope of the virtues. Faith, Hope and Love. His faith shines for all to see, he has given us his message of love, Deus Caratis Est and now we have his message of hope.
clipped from www.zenit.org

Hope Is Real, Says Benedict XVI

Christ “Has Gone Before Us” to Heaven

VATICAN CITY, MAY 4, 2008 (Zenit.org).- Christian hope is not an illusion since in Christ, life has a firm anchor, says Benedict XVI.

The Pope affirmed this before praying the Regina Caeli today with thousands gathered in St. Peter’s Square.

“Today the solemnity of the Ascension of Christ into heaven is celebrated in Italy and in various other countries,” the Holy Father recalled. “After the Ascension the first disciples remain together in the cenacle around the Mother of Jesus in fervent expectation of the gift of the Holy Spirit promised by Jesus.

“On this first Sunday of May, the month of Mary, we too relive this experience, more intensely feeling Mary’s spiritual presence.”

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A Primer on the theological virtues:
“Sanctifying grace infuses in us the theological (Greek: theos, to God) virtues of faith, hope and charity. They enter our soul as permanent habits or dispositions. They are not acquired by repetition of an act; God pours them directly into our soul. These virtues adapt our human faculties for participation in the divine nature.”

Latin Mass

Another development in the encouragement of the Extraordinary Rite.
clipped from www.zenit.org
LONDON, APRIL 30, 2008 (Zenit.org).- The Vatican clarified the celebration of holy days of obligation when celebrating the extraordinary form of the Roman rite according to the 1962 Missal, reported the bishops’ conference of England and Wales.
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Welcome

Welcome to Compendium.

The purpose of this blog is twofold, first to provide me with a place to write about topics of interest to me in the areas of faith, science, philosophy, mathematics, history and the arts, and the second purpose is to provide a place for a reasoned and reasonable discussion of these topics.

I intend to post weekly. I also intend the posts and discussions to be of substance, which will require much reading and research on my part. Hopefully those who participate will be rewarded with a thought provoking experience. I do not expect that everyone will agree with my opinions or my world view, and I invite all to participate, but I do ask that respect and fairness guide all responses.  Ideas may be debated, but ad hominem attacks are not welcome.

Since the subject matter will reflect my particular understanding of the topics discussed, which I admit may be lacking in many areas, I ask for the understanding of those whose professional and academic pursuits lie in these areas. I write as a student, and look to those whose mastery is tested by time.  I will provide references with each entry for those who would like to check my sources.

For guidance in all things I look to the Master, Jesus Christ, and His Church.

Pax Christi