Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Political Compromise and Unbending Religious Idealism

Dear Fred,

Thanks for your email.

We have probably gone down this road before...

Politics -- particularly in any give-and-take democratic system -- requires horse-trading.

Lots of horse-trading. 

I am at peace with horse-trading -- and the frequent "deception" that enables compromise between "sworn enemies."

I am at peace because I agree with Winston Churchill's appraisal: 

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Winnie was also right when he said:

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Raised in an idealistic parochial school-community, it took decades to realize that perfection is a curse.

Please bear with me through the following repetition of Merton, a quotation you've had ample occasion to review.

Merton's insight into the paradoxical relationship between "good" and "evil" is so spot-on that I propose it as the single most important psycho-spiritual insight of our time:

"The terrible thing about our time is precisely the ease with which theories can be put into practice.  The more perfect, the more idealistic the theories, the more dreadful is their realization.  We are at last beginning to rediscover what perhaps men knew better in very ancient times, in primitive times before utopias were thought of: that liberty is bound up with imperfection, and that limitations, imperfections, errors are not only unavoidable but also salutary. The best is not the ideal.  Where what is theoretically best is imposed on everyone as the norm, then there is no longer any room even to be good.  The best, imposed as a norm, becomes evil.”  
"Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander,” by Trappist monk, Father Thomas Merton

More Merton Quotes

"The best, imposed as a norm, becomes evil."

"Error and imperfection are not only unavoiable but salutary."

I have long championed Johann Tetzel, believing as I do that much of Catholicism's genius is its willingness to indulge.

Not only does "love cover a multitude of sins," it even forgives our fruitful errors.

"Charity is the soul of faith, it gives it life; without love, faith dies."
St. Anthony of Padua

"You can safely assume you’ve created God in your own image 
when it turns out God hates all the same people you do."
Tom Weston S. J.

Anyone who loves "the least of these" -- all the way down to "loving your enemies" -- "gets it."

Dorothy Day: “I really only love God as much as I love the person I love the least.”

But the pharisees of this generation -- no matter how many doctrines they punctiliously subscribe -- miss The Master's essential point.

Mercy Is Not Fair.
Be Merciful.

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Yeshua Excoriates Fellow Pharisees:
"The Woe Passages"

"Love Your Enemies. 
Do Good To Those Who Hate You" 
Luke 6: 27-42

"Do You Know What You're Doing To Me?"
Jesus of Nazareth

Which Do You Value More? Mercy? Or Justice?

Abraham Lincoln And Pope Francis Agree On The Roles Of Mercy And Justice

"The Man Born Blind": Jesus Overturns The Core Supposition Of The Ancient World

"I want mercy, not sacrifice."

Which Do You Value More? Mercy? Or Justice?

Abraham Lincoln And Pope Francis Agree On The Roles Of Mercy And Justice

"The Man Born Blind": Jesus Overturns The Core Supposition Of The Ancient World

"What Catholic Traditionalists And Other Christian Conservatives Don't Get."

Not a single person we know has the patience, the dedication, the fortitude and "the willingness to suffer fools" that are necessary to rise through the rough-and-tumble of our political pecking order.

Frankly, I am amazed that people like Hillary and Bill -- for all their shortcomings -- have managed to remain as soulful and kind as they are, even after decades of charring fire fight.


... although it is probably misattributed...

Pax tecum


PS The closest Burke came to expressing such a sentiment (more likely a modification of something John Stuart Mill said) was: "When bad men combine, the good must associate; else they will fall one by one..."

On Tue, Dec 29, 2015 at 4:48 PM, Fred Owens <> wrote:
Hillary has very strong and wide support, but she also has extremely high negatives. Even within myself, yes I support her, but almost as much I despise the two of them.

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