Wednesday, November 14, 2012

I could not care less what the Pope says from day to day

because what he says from day to day does not have relevance to my day to day life.

Catholic blogs are commonly discussing the latest papal pronouncement, but why do it?

The Church does not change, and what I and most Catholics who blog online need to know, we already do know. I already do know the Church's teachings on salvation, the sacraments, and the moral issues I have some control over such as usury, contraception and similar. Those teachings will never change.

The Pope's pronouncements are typically on world events or issues that do not effect me, or teach me what I need to know. In the scheme of life, his pronouncements and such are little more than trivia. Or worse, those pronouncements can cause us to loose a sense of proportion.

Please note, the post is being written, read at your own risk.

The Pope's pronouncements are often at a scale completely out of proportion to our own which can in turn have the effect of causing Catholics to loose a sense of their own scale in relation to the world about us. For instance, the other day I read a blog comment where it was argued that we as Catholics have solidarity with billions of complete strangers in the same manner and extent as we have solidarity with our own neighbors.

Of course the concept of us having equal solidarity with complete strangers as we do with our neighbors is obviously disproportionate, but the extremeness of the argument demonstrates just how far off we can drift from a common sense of proportion by taking universal pronouncements as if they should be incorporated at the local level.

Which makes it the same problem that plagues us politically where the national government is now incorporated into the local level to the extent where the local is virtually not even a consideration.

In contrast, as with politics, I could not care less about national events, let alone world events, for the same reason that voyeurism has zero appeal to me, I much prefer to live my own life because I can live it as more than a spectator.

One of my favorite passages in Aristotle is where he says a sovereign state should not be larger than a man can see across, or walk across in a day because to all things there is a limit. Perhaps it's one of my favorites because as an a architect I spend my days intentionally designing to human scale in all its various aspects.

I don't design entire societies, but I do spend my days designing small social environments and so over the years I have not only become acutely aware of human scale, but have likewise a fair amount of experience of how to actually construct an environment that is at human scale.

Those in mass media advertisement, and those who design shopping malls and similar are also very knowledgeable of human scale, but as opposed to designing to human scale, they use their knowledge to frustrate our stability so as to agitate us to seek stability in consumerism. They subvert their knowledge for an improper end not unlike the doctor who uses his knowledge of the human body to create toxins to kill.

Mass media, mass marketing and similar are toxins because as opposed to causing stability, they cause instability which is in turn contrary to our nature because like all of nature we too seek stability and rest.

Papal pronouncements are of course not designed to cause instability, but they too can have that effect especially because they too become incorporated into and part of the overall social direction.

Men by nature desire to leave an everlasting mark on the world.

But even more locally, I don't leave footprints on the city concrete sidewalks, my passage goes unmarked.

I do have a few houses I've designed that will last a few years, and there is a certain pleasure in that, but for the most part it is through my children that I leave my mark.

God created us so that every man can leave his mark by raising children who are immortal and who will spend their eternity in blissful heaven. In his mercy he created a world where we can leave an everlasting mark.

The Church's teaching will never change, and what we need to know to raise our children is simple.

More to come . . .

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