19 January, 2010

Another thought produced by the tragedy in Haita

A brother priest sent me the following in response to a comment from 'Martin' in the threads of the Haiti post. It contains a wisdom that expresses better than I had via a vis Christ's relationship with us and we with him.

Fr. Tim

H/T to Fr. MS
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I was particularly struck by Martin’s point about God not lifting any stones to rescue the victims.

In the Living with Christ missalette, the introductory blurb for this coming Sunday takes Martin’s point and turns it on its head. The author, Teresa Whalen Lux, quotes St. Teresa of Avila: “Christ has no body now on earth but yours, no hands, no feet but yours.”

In the Incarnation, God gave up the use of omnipotence to take on the limitations of human flesh. Because of this, we are saved THROUGH our humanity, not FROM it. We also become God’s instruments in saving the world. An incarnate God without human agency is a contradiction in terms.

13 comments:

  1. Hi Tim,

    I appreciate your need rationalize an event that:

    a) is inconsistent with a just and compassionate god;
    b) excuses the fact that god is totally and completely absent in any way in the relief efforts;

    I will remind you that according to your own belief system, jesus is said to have a resurrected body. Why have a physical body, if not to interact with the creatures that god so claims to love and wishes to have an enduring relationship with?

    The Christian god is utterly absent.

    According to news reports, the main cathedral in Port au Price was struck down and its prelate and papal nuncio tragically perished. Simultanteously, the prison walls came down and many evil people escaped to wreak more havoc on the shell shocked population. Where is the justice here? Where is the compassion? Where is the strength of your god?

    The only relief efforts I see are being carried out by living men and women.

    This is a serious challenge to the faithful and I so no rationale defence.

    Cheers...Martin

    ReplyDelete
  2. ...I see no rational defence to the points I have raised.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Tim writes:

    "In the Incarnation, God gave up the use of omnipotence to take on the limitations of human flesh. Because of this, we are saved THROUGH our humanity, not FROM it. We also become God’s instruments in saving the world. An incarnate God without human agency is a contradiction in terms."

    If I had the power to save thousands of people from agony and suffering - yet I refused to use it - how moral would you judge me to be?

    If I gave someone a loaded gun, who I knew was deranged and had an established hitory of shotting innocent people, how moral would you judge me to be?

    God has done both of these things. In the first instance when god gave up the use of omnipotence, and in the second instance when god created satan and gave him power over nature.

    You asked in an earlier post what such actions/inactions tell us about this god? Well I think it tells us plenty. Just as you would judge me to be a psychopath, so must I conclude the same of any other being who would act in a similar manner.

    Cheers...Martin

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  4. Martin: What? Where can you find anywhere where I have judged you as a psychopath? Forgive me for being dense but I don't get what your trying to say.

    On the one hand, you seem to imply that God does not exist as proven by the acts of malice and suffering in the world. Then you speak as if God is the agent of evil things.

    Let's start with getting some assumptions out of the way. Do you believe in the existence of God? From there we can begin to work out towards his intent, plans and effects.

    Tim

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  5. Anonymous: You write "...I see no rational defense to the points I have raised."

    Sorry, but I am not sure which points you are referring to as there a number of anonymous comments in these threads.

    Fr. Tim

    ReplyDelete
  6. Martin: If I granted you the absolute gift of free will, and you used that gift for ill and not for good, would I not have to revoke the initial gift if I were to deal with the mess you created? Thus, how can God revoke his gift of free will given to humanity (a necessary step to achieve the goal of eliminating the ill effects of our sinfulness) and we still remain who and what we are?

    Unless you are saying that free will is equated to a loaded gun - that's the only way that your analogy makes sense.

    Tim

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  7. Umm Tim...I did not actually do the things I cited above. I used the conditional "IF".

    I was trying to make the point that IF I did such things, then how would you judge me? Most folks would rightly conclude that I was a psychopath.

    I in no way implied that you personally called me a psychopath.

    I think my examples and the following comments are fairly clear (except for the odd typo).

    As to what my personal beliefs are is irrelevant to the points I am making. I am content to examine Christian beliefs for internal consistency and consistency with the natural order.

    To quote St. Thomas Aquinas:

    "A man has free choice to the extent that he is rational."

    So in that spirit I invite you to a rational discussion.

    Cheers...Martin

    ReplyDelete
  8. Hi Tim,

    I guess I needed to be clearer in my second analogy:

    loaded gun = ability to inflict harm
    deranged individual = satan

    Not sure why "free will" is at issue here.

    I look forward to your answers.

    Hope this helps.

    Cheers...Martin

    ReplyDelete
  9. Martin: slowly does the fog lift from my brain today... sorry. I did not connect "you would judge me to be a psychopath" with the conditional "if" of the previous paragraph.

    OK - if I understand your analogy, you are searching for a coherent and consistent understanding of how the existence of evil (Satan) is compatible with or fits within Christian belief. Correct?

    Further, you are very "doc"ovian in your quote from Thomas, but I would suggest that rationality is not the preeminent quality of faith - for to quote Fred Henry, rationality can bring us to the riverbank that divides belief and unbelief, it cannot carry us over the river. Wanting to know which bank you are standing on would make my task easier, however, I will endeavor to do the best I can.

    All I ask is that you confirm for me that I am addressing the correct question before I start typing, and typing, and.... You get the picture.

    Tim

    ReplyDelete
  10. Fr. Tim. It is obvious that you are an intelligent, well educated priest. You do adhere to the Holy Roman Catholic Church. That is good.
    Even though, I heard you did go public with your views and questioned and challenged this local Diocese Bishop's at times. For all I know it could be easily portrayed as you guys playing that role: "bad cop, good cop scenario".
    I just hope a pray it is not a deflection from this Diocese real problems with the still unknown criminal cover-ups. That only time will tell. I do not remember where I read this but somebody once said it in a newspaper last year. "There is something rotten in the Diocese of Pembroke".
    You have very interesting topics/blog here. I find it for me(I barely made it through high school) your website is just an information overload. That is MY problem. Not yours.
    Father Tim Moyle I say goodbye. Who knows one day you be a priest at my parish?
    Blessings,
    Lina

    ReplyDelete
  11. Hello Lina,

    Thank you for your kind words. As to my intentions with this blog, they are exactly as I have advertized them. I do not have the permission of the Bishop to write in these pages (I don't need it) and I can assure you that I am not engaged in any form of "good/bad cop".

    As to the state of the Diocese, you are correct in saying that something is "rotten"... the cases of Prince & Borne prove that to be the case (assuming the latter is convicted). Are there others? I have no idea. But I pray that there are not.

    Best wishes to you.

    Fr. Tim

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  12. Fr.Tim... I know I said goodbye already but out of respect for your reply to my post...I will say this, I will keep you in my prayers and all other priests/clergy and the religious.
    You are one brave priest. I may be so bold to say, you may be a maverick.
    I believe that many priests are feeling the burden and stress in all in what is expected from them. The parishioners need to be reminded that the priesthood now days is very different from years back. I mean many poor priest are stretch to the limit. Not enough priests.
    'My personal opinion here', I am worried about my own parish priest he seems to be headed for some kind of meltdown or sickness will take him.
    I pray if I cannot lighten my priest's burden at least do not had more on him.
    As for the issue if there will be more cases like Prince & Borne? I hope not. But my gut instinct tells me it is not over and yet I will not be surprise if the next name in the news I will read or hear is a Bishop. The priesthood is under attack. Not only here but around the globe. Do you think these abuses cases are caught up in the third world countries? I don't think so! Especially, when it comes to the track records of human rights?
    I believe the priesthood is in deep trouble. I want to believe GOD is still in controlled. I pray for more Hope, Faith and Love.
    God Bless you Fr.Tim and may evil and sickness stay far away from you.
    It was great visiting this blog. I need to move on now.
    Sincerely,
    Lina

    ReplyDelete

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