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It seems Pope Francis needs to brush up on his Tertullian!

It has been reported (in The ChristLast Media, I must note) that the current Pope does not like the phrase "lead us not into temptation...

"Let no freedom be allowed to novelty, because it is not fitting that any addition should be made to antiquity. Let not the clear faith and belief of our forefathers be fouled by any muddy admixture." -- Pope Sixtus III

Friday, February 10, 2006

Caveat emptor. (Netflix Division)

Manuel Villanueva realizes he has been getting a pretty good deal since he signed up for Netflix Inc.'s online DVD rental service 2 1/2 years ago, but he still feels shortchanged. That's because the $17.99 monthly fee that he pays to rent up to three DVDs at a time would amount to an even bigger bargain if the company didn't penalize him for returning his movies so quickly.

Netflix typically sends about 13 movies per month to Villanueva's home in Warren, Mich. — down from the 18 to 22 DVDs he once received before the company's automated system identified him as a heavy renter and began delaying his shipments to protect its profits.

The same Netflix formula also shoves Villanueva to the back of the line for the most-wanted DVDs, so the service can send those popular flicks to new subscribers and infrequent renters.

The little-known practice, called "throttling" by critics, means Netflix customers who pay the same price for the same service are often treated differently, depending on their rental patterns.

"I wouldn't have a problem with it if they didn't advertise `unlimited rentals,'" Villanueva said. "The fact is that they go out of their way to make sure you don't go over whatever secret limit they have set up for your account."

Los Gatos, Calif.-based Netflix didn't publicly acknowledge it differentiates among customers until revising its "terms of use" in January 2005 — four months after a San Francisco subscriber filed a class-action lawsuit alleging that the company had deceptively promised one-day delivery of most DVDs.

"In determining priority for shipping and inventory allocation, we give priority to those members who receive the fewest DVDs through our service," Netflix's revised policy now reads. The statement specifically warns that heavy renters are more likely to encounter shipping delays and less likely to immediately be sent their top choices.

Few customers have complained about this "fairness algorithm," according to Netflix CEO Reed Hastings.

"We have unbelievably high customer satisfaction ratings," Hastings said during a recent interview. "Most of our customers feel like Netflix is an incredible value."

The service's rapid growth supports his thesis. Netflix added nearly 1.6 million customers last year, giving it 4.2 million subscribers through December. During the final three months of 2005, just 4 percent of its customers canceled the service, the lowest rate in the company's six-year history.

The Theology of the Body: 28. A Fundamental Disquiet in All Human Existence

In his General Audience of 2 June 1980, the Holy Father continued his catechesis on Theology of the Body. The shame experienced by man after his fall expressed a deeper shame, called "cosmic," reflecting a new disorder in his nature, by which not only was the relationship between man and woman affected, but the relationship between body and spirit.

A Fundamental Disquiet in All Human Existence

At the General Audience on Wednesday, 28 May, the Holy Father delivered the following address.

1. We are reading again the first chapters of Genesis, to understand how—with original sin—the "man of lust" took the place of the "man of original innocence." The words of Genesis 3:10, "I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself," provide evidence of the first experience of man's shame with regard to his Creator—a shame that could also be called "cosmic".

However, this "cosmic shame"—if it is possible to perceive its features in man's total situation after original sin—makes way in the biblical text for another form of shame. It is the shame produced in humanity itself. It is caused by the deep disorder in that reality on account of which man, in the mystery of creation, was God's image. He was God's image both in his personal "ego" and in the interpersonal relationship, through the original communion of persons, constituted by the man and the woman together.

That shame, the cause of which is in humanity itself, is at once immanent and relative. It is manifested in the dimension of human interiority and at the same time refers to the "other." This is the woman's shame with regard to the man, and also the man's with regard to the woman. This mutual shame obliges them to cover their own nakedness, to hide their own bodies, to remove from the man's sight what is the visible sign of femininity, and from the woman's sight what is the visible sign of masculinity.

The shame of both was turned in this direction after original sin, when they realized that they were naked, as Genesis 3:7 bears witness. The Yahwist text seems to indicate explicitly the sexual character of this shame. "They sewed fig leaves together and made themselves aprons." However, we may wonder if the sexual aspect has only a relative character, in other words, if it is a question of shame of one's own sexuality only in reference to a person of the other sex.

Relative character of original shame

2. Although in the light of that one decisive sentence of Genesis 3:7, the answer to the question seems to support especially the relative character of original shame, nevertheless reflection on the whole immediate context makes it possible to discover its more immanent background. That shame, which is certainly manifested in the "sexual" order, reveals a specific difficulty in perceiving the human essentiality of one's own body. Man had not experienced this difficulty in the state of original innocence. The words, "I was afraid, because I was naked," can be understood in this way. They show clearly the consequences in the human heart of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

Through these words a certain constitutive break within the human person is revealed, which is almost a rupture of man's original spiritual and somatic unity. He realizes for the first time that his body has ceased drawing upon the power of the spirit, which raised him to the level of the image of God. His original shame bears within it the signs of a specific humiliation mediated by the body. It conceals the germ of that contradiction, which will accompany historical man in his whole earthly path, as St. Paul writes: "For I delight in the law of God, in my inmost self, but I see in my members another law at war with the law of my mind" (Rom 7:22-23).

Centre of resistance

3. In this way, that shame is immanent. It contains such a cognitive acuteness as to create a fundamental disquiet in all human existence. This is not only in face of the prospect of death, but also before that on which the value and dignity of the person in his ethical significance depends. In this sense the original shame of the body ("I am naked") is already fear ("I was afraid"), and announces the uneasiness of conscience connected with lust.

The body is not subordinated to the spirit as in the state of original innocence. It bears within it a constant center of resistance to the spirit. It threatens, in a way, the unity of the person, that is, of the moral nature, which is firmly rooted in the constitution of the person. Lust, especially the lust of the body, is a specific threat to the structure of self-control and self-mastery, through which the human person is formed. It also constitutes a specific challenge for it. In any case, the man of lust does not control his own body in the same way, with equal simplicity and naturalness, as the man of original innocence did. The structure of self-mastery, essential for the person, is shaken to the very foundations in him. He again identifies himself with it in that he is continually ready to win it.

Interior imbalance

4. Immanent shame is connected with this interior imbalance. It has a "sexual" character, because the very sphere of human sexuality seems to highlight especially that imbalance, which springs from lust and especially from the lust of the body. From this point of view, that first impulse which Genesis 3:7 speaks of is very eloquent: "They knew that they were naked, and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves aprons." It is as if the "man of lust" (man and woman "in the act of knowledge of good and evil") felt that he had just stopped, also through his own body and sex, being above the world of living beings or animalia. It is as if he felt a specific break of the personal integrity of his own body, especially in what determines its sexuality and is directly connected with the call to that unity in which man and woman "become one flesh" (Gn 2:24).

Therefore, that immanent and at the same time sexual shame is always, at least indirectly, relative. It is the shame of his own sexuality with regard to the other human being. Shame is manifested in this way in the narrative of Genesis 3. As a result of it we are, in a certain sense, witnesses of the birth of human lust. Also the motivation to go back from Christ's words about the man who "looks at a woman lustfully" (Mt 5:27-28), to that first moment in which shame is explained by means of lust, and lust by means of shame, is therefore sufficiently clear. In this way we understand better why and in what sense Christ speaks of desire as adultery committed in the heart, because he addresses the human "heart".

Desire and shame

5. The human heart keeps within it simultaneously desire and shame. The birth of shame directs us toward that moment in which the inner man, "the heart," closing himself to what "comes from the Father," opens to what "comes from the world." The birth of shame in the human heart keeps pace with the beginning of lust—of the threefold concupiscence according to Johannine theology (cf. 1 Jn 2:16), and in particular the concupiscence of the body.

Man is ashamed of his body because of lust. In fact, he is ashamed not so much of his body as precisely of lust. He is ashamed of his body owing to lust. He is ashamed of his body owing to that state of his spirit to which theology and psychology give the same name: desire or lust, although with a meaning that is not quite the same.

The biblical and theological meaning of desire and lust is different from that used in psychology. For the latter, desire comes from lack or necessity, which the value desired must satisfy. As we can deduce from 1 Jn 2:16, biblical lust indicates the state of the human spirit removed from the original simplicity and the fullness of values that man and the world possess in the dimensions of God. This simplicity and fullness of the value of the human body in the first experience of its masculinity-femininity, which Genesis 2:23-25 speaks of, has subsequently undergone, in the dimensions of the world, a radical transformation. Then, together with the lust of the body, shame was born.

Double meaning

6. Shame has a double meaning. It indicates the threat to the value and at the same time preserves this value interiorly.(1) The human heart, from the moment when the lust of the body was born in it, also keeps shame within itself. This fact indicates that it is possible and necessary to appeal to the heart when it is a question of guaranteeing those values from which lust takes away their original and full dimension. If we keep that in mind, we can understand better why Christ, speaking of lust, appeals to the human "heart".


1) Cf. Karol Wojtyla, Amore e responsabilità (Turin: 1978), chap. "Metafisica del pudore," pp. 161-178.

The Theology of the Body: 27. Real Significance of Original Nakedness

In his General Audience of 14 May 1980, the Holy Father continued his series on Theology of the Body, explaining the nakedness of man after the fall as not merely physical. "...this man was deprived of the supernatural and preternatural gifts which were part of his endowment before sin. Furthermore, he suffered a loss in what belongs to his nature itself, to humanity in the original fullness of the image of God.

Real Significance of Original Nakedness

The following is the text of the Pope's General Audience address on 14 May, which was delivered in St. Peter's Basilica because of the bad weather.

1. We have already spoken of the shame which arose in the heart of the first man, male and female, together with sin. The first sentence of the biblical narrative concerning this runs as follows: "Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked, and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves aprons" (Gn 3:7). This passage, which speaks of the mutual shame of the man and the woman as a symptom of the fall (status naturae lapsae), must be considered in its context. At that moment shame reaches its deepest level and seems to shake the foundations of their existence. "And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden" (Gn 3:8).

The necessity of hiding themselves indicates that in the depths of the shame they both feel before each other, as the immediate fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, a sense of fear before God has matured, a fear previously unknown. The "Lord God called to the man, and said to him, 'Where are you?' And he said, 'I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself'" (Gn 3:9-10).

A certain fear always belongs to the essence of shame. Nevertheless, original shame reveals its character in a particular way: "I was afraid, because I was naked." We realize that something deeper than physical shame, bound up with a recent consciousness of his own nakedness, is in action here. Man tries to cover the real origin of fear with the shame of his own nakedness. Thus he indicates its effect, in order not to call its cause by name. Then God-Yahweh says in his turn: "Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?" (Gn 3:11).

Man alienated from love

2. The precision of that dialogue is overwhelming; the precision of the whole narrative is overwhelming. It manifests the surface of man's emotions in living the events, in such a way as to reveal their depth at the same time. In all this, nakedness does not have solely a literal meaning. It does not refer only to the body; it is not the origin of a shame related only to the body. Actually, through nakedness, man deprived of participation in the gift is manifested, man alienated from that love which had been the source of the original gift, the source of the fullness of the good intended for the creature.

According to the formulas of the theological teaching of the Church,(1) this man was deprived of the supernatural and preternatural gifts which were part of his endowment before sin. Furthermore, he suffered a loss in what belongs to his nature itself, to humanity in the original fullness of the image of God. The three forms of lust do not correspond to the fullness of that image, but precisely to the loss, the deficiencies, the limitations that appeared with sin.

Lust is explained as a lack which has its roots in the original depth of the human spirit. If we wish to study this phenomenon in its origins, that is, at the threshold of the experiences of historical man, we must consider all the words that God-Yahweh addressed to the woman (Gn 3:16) and to the man (Gn 3:17-19). Furthermore, we must examine the state of their consciousness. The Yahwist text expressly enables us to do so. We have already called attention to the literary specificity of the text in this connection.

A radical change

3. What state of consciousness can be manifested in the words: "I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself"? What interior truth do they correspond to? What meaning of the body do they testify to? Certainly this new state differs a great deal from the original one. The words of Genesis 3:10 witness directly to a radical change of the meaning of original nakedness. As we pointed out previously, in the state of original innocence nakedness did not express a lack. Rather, it represented full acceptance of the body in all its human and therefore personal truth.

The body, as the expression of the person, was the first sign of man's presence in the visible world. In that world, right from the beginning, man was able to distinguish himself, almost to be individualized—that is, confirm himself as a person—through his own body. It had been marked as a visible factor of the transcendence in virtue of which man, as a person, surpasses the visible world of living beings (animalia). In this sense, the human body was from the beginning a faithful witness and a tangible verification of man's original solitude in the world. At the same time, by means of his masculinity and femininity, it became a limpid element of mutual donation in the communion of persons.

In this way, the human body bore in itself, in the mystery of creation, an unquestionable sign of the image of God. It also constituted the specific source of the certainty of that image, present in the whole human being. In a way, original acceptance of the body was the basis of the acceptance of the whole visible world. In its turn it was for man a guarantee of his dominion over the world, over the earth, which he was to subdue (cf. Gn 1:28).

Loss of God's image

4. The words "I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself" (Gn 3:10), witness to a radical change in this relationship. In a way, man loses the original certainty of the image of God, expressed in his body. He also loses to some extent the sense of his right to participate in the perception of the world, which he enjoyed in the mystery of creation. This right had its foundation in man's inner self, in the fact that he himself participated in the divine vision of the world and of his own humanity. This gave him deep peace and joy in living the truth and value of his own body, in all its simplicity, transmitted to him by the Creator: "God saw [that] it was very good" (Gn 1:31).

The words of Genesis 3:10, "I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself," confirm the collapse of the original acceptance of the body as a sign of the person in the visible world. At the same time, the acceptance of the material world in relation to man also seems to be shaken. The words of God-Yahweh forewarn the hostility of the world, the resistance of nature with regard to man and his tasks. They forewarn the fatigue that the human body was to feel in contact with the earth subdued by him: "Cursed is the ground because of you; in toil you shall eat of it all the days of your life; thorns and thistles it shall bring forth to you, and you shall eat the plants of the field. In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken" (Gn 3:17-19). Death is the end of this toil, of this struggle of man with the earth: "You are dust, and to dust you shall return" (Gn 3:19).

In this context, or rather in this perspective, Adam's words in Genesis 3:10, "I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself," seem to express the awareness of being defenseless. They express the sense of insecurity of his bodily structure before the processes of nature, operating with inevitable determinism. Perhaps in this overwhelming statement a certain "cosmic shame" is implicit. In it, man's being created in the image of God and called to subdue the earth and dominate it (cf. Gn 1:28) expresses his own self. This happens precisely when, at the beginning of his historical experiences and in a manner so explicit, he is subjected to the earth, especially in the "part" of his transcendent constitution represented precisely by the body.

It is necessary to interrupt here our reflections on the meaning of original shame, in the book of Genesis. We will resume them in a week's time.


1) The Magisterium of the Church dealt more closely with these problems, in three periods, according to the needs of the age.The declarations of the period of the controversies with the Pelagians (V-VI centuries) affirm that the first man, by virtue of divine grace, possessed "naturalem possibilitatem et innocentiam" (DS 239), also called "freedom" ("libertas," "libertas arbitrii"), (DS 371, 242, 383, 622). He remained in a state which the Synod of Orange (in the year 529) calls "integritas": "Natura humana, etiamsi in illa integritate, in qua condita est, permaneret, nullo modo se ipsam, Creatore suo non adiuvante, servaret..." (DS 389).

The concepts of integritas and, in particular, that of libertas, presuppose freedom from concupiscence, although the ecclesiastical documents of this age do not mention it explicitly.

The first man was furthermore free from the necessity of death (cf. DS 222, 372, 1511).

The Council of Trent defines the state of the first man, prior to sin, as "holiness and justice" ("sanctitas et iustitia"—DS 1511, 1512) or as "innocence" ("innocentia"—DS 1521).

Further declarations on this matter defend the absolute gratuitousness of the original gift of grace, against the affirmations of the Jansenists. The "integritas primae creationis" was an unmerited elevation of human nature ("indebita humanae naturae exaltatio") and not "the state due to him by nature" ("naturalis eius condicio"—DS 1926). God, therefore, could have created man without these graces and gifts (cf. DS 1955); that would not have shattered the essence of human nature and would not have deprived it of its fundamental privileges (cf. DS 1903-1907, 1909, 1921, 1923, 1924, 1926, 1955, 2434, 2437, 2616, 2617).

In analogy with the anti-Pelagian Synod, the Council of Trent deals above all with the dogma of original sin, integrating in its teaching preceding declarations in this connection. Here, however, a certain clarification was introduced, which partly changed the content comprised in the concept of liberum arbitrium. The "freedom" or "free will" of the anti-Pelagian documents did not mean the possibility of choice, connected with human nature, and therefore constant, but referred only to the possibility of carrying out meritorious acts, the freedom that springs from grace and that man may lose.

Because of sin, Adam lost what did not belong to human nature in the strict sense of the word, that is integritas, sanctitas, innocentia, iustitia. Liberum arbitrium, free will, was not taken away, but became weaker:"

...liberum arbitrium minime exstinctum...viribus licet attenuatum et inclinatum... (DS 1521--Trid. Sess. VI, Decr. de Justificatione, C. 1).

Together with sin appears concupiscence and the inevitability of death:

"...primum hominem...cum mandatum Dei...fuisset transgressus, statim sanctitatem et iustitiam, in qua constitutus fuerat, amisisse incurrisseque per offensam praevaricationis huismodi iram et indignationem Dei atque ideo mortem...et cum morte captivatatem sub eius potestate, qui 'mortis' deinde 'habuit imperium'...'totumque Adam per illam praevaricationis offensam secumdum corpous et animam in deterius commutatum fuisse...'" (DS 1511, Trid. Sess. V, Decr. de Pecc. Orig. 1).

Cf. Mysterium Salutis, II, Einsiedeln-Zuirch-Köln 1967, pp. 827-828; W. Seibel, "Der Mensch als Gottes übernatürliches Ebenbild und der Urstand des Menschen

The Theology of the Body: 26. Lust is the Fruit of the Breach of the Covenant With God

In his General Audience of 30 April 1980, the Holy Father continued his catechesis on Theology of the Body. He examined the three-fold lust, of the flesh, of the eyes, and the pride of life, by which man broke God's original covenant.

Lust is the Fruit of the Breach of the Covenant With God

Continuing with the cycle of catechesis on the subject of adultery, the Holy Father delivered the following address to the faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square for the General Audience on Wednesday, 30 April.

1. During our last reflection, we said that the words of Christ in the Sermon on the Mount directly refer to the lust that arises immediately in the human heart. Indirectly, however, those words guide us to understanding a truth about man, which is of universal importance.

The words of Christ, taken from Matthew 5:27-28, direct us toward this truth about "historical" man, of universal importance. It seems to be expressed in the biblical doctrine on the three forms of lust. We are referring here to the concise statement in 1 John 2:16-17: "For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the pride of life, is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world passes away, and the lust of it, but he who does the will of God abides forever."

To understand these words, obviously it is necessary to carefully consider the context in which they appear, that is, the context of the whole Johannine theology.(1) However, the same words are inserted, at the same time, in the context of the whole Bible. They belong to the whole revealed truth about man, and are important for the theology of the body. They do not explain lust itself in its threefold form, since they seem to assume that "the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the pride of life," are, in some way, a clear and known concept. However, they explain the genesis of lust in its threefold form, indicating its origin which is "not of the Father," but "of the world."

2. The lust of the flesh and, together with it, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life, is "in the world." At the same time it "is of the world," not as the fruit of the mystery of creation, but as the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil in man's heart (cf. Gn 2:17). What fructifies in the three forms of lust is not the "world" God created for man, the fundamental "goodness" of which we have read several times in Genesis 1: "God saw that it was good.... It was very good." On the contrary, in the three forms of lust there fructifies the breaking of the first covenant with the Creator, with God-Elohim, with God-Yahweh. This covenant was broken in man's heart. It would be necessary to make here a careful analysis of the events described in Genesis 3:1-6. However, we are referring only in general to the mystery of sin, to the beginnings of human history. The "world" of Genesis has become the "world" of the Johannine words (cf. 1 Jn 2:15-16), the place and source of lust, only as the consequence of sin, as the fruit of the breaking of the covenant with God in the human heart, in the inner recesses of man.

In this way, therefore, the statement that lust "is not of the Father but is of the world," seems to direct us once more to the biblical beginning. The genesis of lust in its three forms presented by John finds in this beginning its first and fundamental elucidation. This explanation is essential for the theology of the body. To understand that truth of universal importance about historical man, contained in Christ's words in the Sermon on the Mount (Mt 5:27-28), we must return once more to Genesis. We must linger once more at the threshold of the revelation of historical man. This is all the more necessary, since this threshold of the history of salvation proves to be at the same time the threshold of authentic human experiences, as we will see in the following analyses. The same fundamental meanings that we drew from the preceding analyses will come to life in them again, as essential elements of a fitting anthropology and the deep substratum of the theology of the body.

3. The question may arise again whether it is permissible to transport the content typical of the Johannine theology, contained in the entire First Letter (especially in 1 Jn 2:15-16), to the ground of the Sermon on the Mount according to Matthew, and precisely of Christ's statement in Matthew 5:27-28. ("You have heard that it was said, 'You shall not commit adultery.' But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.") We will come back to this matter several times. Nevertheless, we are referring straightway to the general biblical context, to the whole truth about man revealed and expressed in it. Precisely in the name of this truth, we are trying to understand completely the man that Christ indicates in the text of Matthew 5:27-28, that is, the man who looks at a woman lustfully.

Is not this look to be explained by the fact that man is precisely a "man of lust," in the sense of the First Letter of St. John? Both the man who looks lustfully and the woman who is the object of this look are in the dimension of lust in its three forms, which "is not of the Father but is of the world." It is necessary to understand what that lust is, or rather who that "lustful man" of the Bible is. This is necessary in order to discover the depths of Christ's words according to Matthew 5:27-28, and to explain the significance of their reference to the human heart, so important for the theology of the body.

4. Let us return again to the Yahwist narrative. In it, the same man, male and female, appears at the beginning as a man of original innocence before original sin. Then he appears as the one who lost innocence, by breaking the original covenant with his Creator. We do not intend here to make a complete analysis of temptation and sin, according to the same text of Genesis 3:1-5, the doctrine of the Church in this connection and theology. It should merely be observed that the biblical description itself seems to highlight especially the key moment, in which the gift is questioned in man's heart. The man who gathers the fruit of the "tree of the knowledge of good and evil" makes, at the same time, a fundamental choice. He carries it out against the will of the Creator, God-Yahweh, accepting the motivation suggested by the tempter: "You will not die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil." According to old translations: "You will be like gods, who know good and evil.(2)

This motivation clearly includes questioning the gift and the love from which creation has its origin as donation. As regards man, he receives the "world" as a gift and at the same time the image of God that is, humanity itself in all the truth of its male and female duality. It is enough to read carefully the whole passage of Genesis 3:1-5, to detect in it the mystery of man who turns his back on the Father (even if we do not find this name applied to God in the narrative). Questioning in his heart the deepest meaning of the donation, that is, love as the specific motive of the creation and of the original covenant (cf. Gn 3:5), man turns his back on God-Love, on the Father. In a way he casts God out of his heart. At the same time, he detaches his heart and almost cuts it off from what "is of the Father." Thus, there remains in him what "is of the world."

5. "Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked, and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves aprons" (Gn 3:7). This is the first sentence of the Yahwist narrative, which refers to man's situation after sin and shows the new state of human nature. Does not this sentence also suggest the beginning of lust in man's heart? To answer this question more thoroughly, we cannot stop at that first sentence, but must read the whole text again. However, it is worth recalling here what was said in the first analyses on the subject of shame as the experience "of the limit."(3)

Genesis refers to this experience to show the "frontier" between the state of original innocence (cf. Gn 2:25, to which we devoted a great deal of attention in the preceding analyses) and man's sinfulness at the very "beginning." Genesis 2:25 emphasizes that they "were both naked, and were not ashamed." But Genesis 3:6 speaks explicitly of shame in connection with sin. That shame is almost the first source of the manifestation in both man and woman of what "is not of the Father, but of the world."


1) Cf. e.g.; J. Bonsirven, Epitres de Saint Jean (Paris: Beauchesne, 1954), pp. 113-119; E. Brooke, Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Johannine Epistles, International Critical Commentary (Edinburgh: Clark, 1912), pp. 47-49; P. De Ambroggi, Le Epistole Cattoliche (Torino: Marietti, 1947), pp. 216-217; C. H. Dodd, The Johannine Epistles, Moffatt New Testament Commentary (London: 1946), pp. 41-42; J. Houlden, A Commentary on the Johannine Epistles (London: Black, 1973), pp. 73-74; B. Prete, Lettere di Giovanni (Roma: Ed. Paoline, 1970), p. 61; R. Schnackenburg, Die Johannesbriefe, Herders Theologischer Kommentar zum Neuen Testament (Freiburg: 1953), pp. 112-115; J. R. W. Stott, Epistles of John, Tyndale New Testament Commentaries (London: 1969), pp. 99-101.

On the subject of John's theology, see in particular A. Feuillet, Le mystère de l'amour divin dans la théologie johannique (Paris: Gabalda, 1972).

2) The Hebrew text can have both meanings, because it runs: "ELOHIM knows that when you eat of it [the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil] your eyes will be opened, and you will be like ELOHIM, knowing good and evil." The term elohim is the plural of eloah (pluralis excellentiae).

In relation to Yahweh, it has a singular meaning, but it may indicate the plural of other heavenly beings or pagan divinities (e.g. Ps 8:6; Ex 12:12; Jgs 10:16; Hos 31:1 and others).

Here are some translations:

—English: "you will be like God, knowing good and evil" (Revised Standard Version, 1966).

—French: "vous serez comme des dieux, qui connaissent le bien et le mal" (Bible de Jérusalem, 1973).

—Italian: "diverreste come Dio, conoscendo il bene e il male" (Pont. Istit. Biblico, 1961).

—Spanish: "seréis como dioses, conocedores del bien y del mal" (S. Ausejo Barcelona 1964).

seréis como Dios en el conocimiento del bien y del mal (A. Alonso-Schökel, Madrid 1970).

3) Cf. general audience of December 12, 1979 (L'Osservatore Romano, English edition, December 17, 1979).

SEX IS DEATH. (Privates' privacy)

I came to Carthage, where I found myself in the midst of a hissing cauldron of lusts. I had not yet fallen in love, but I was in love with the idea of it, and this feeling that something was missing made me despise myself for not being more anxious to satisfy the need. I began to look around for some object for my love, since I badly wanted to love something. —St. Augustine, Confessions

Judge: No credible evidence underage sex always harmful

My guess is Judge Marten doesn't get out much and doesn't read the papers.

Or maybe he doesn't have kids.

Or maybe he does and just doesn't give a damn.

A federal judge hearing a constitutional challenge to a Kansas law requiring doctors, teachers and others to report underage sex between consenting youths said the state presented no credible evidence that underage sex is always harmful.

U.S. District Judge J. Thomas Marten stopped short of issuing a decision from the bench, but he repeatedly interrupted Thursday's closing arguments by Assistant Attorney General Steve Alexander to challenge his assertions.

"Motives are irrelevant - I want to deal with facts," Marten said. "Where is the clear, credible evidence that underage sex is always injurious? If you tell me because it is illegal - I reject that," Marten said.

A judge rejecting the relevance of Positive Law. Now there is ground for impeachment.

The lawsuit filed by The Center for Reproductive Rights, a New York advocacy group, stems from a 2003 opinion issued by Kansas Attorney General Phill Kline's opinion requiring health care providers and others to tell authorities about consensual sex by underage youths.

The group contends that forced reporting discourages adolescents from seeking counseling and medical treatment and violates their rights to informational privacy.

Let us ponder the endarkened concept known as "informational privacy"...Now, don't overdue it, kiddies. Your ears may begin to bleed.

The Attorney General's Office contends the statute requires mandatory reporting because sex is inherently harmful to underage children. In Kansas, the age of consent is 16.

At issue in the Kansas case is what the Legislature meant when it wrote the statute to say that doctors and others must have a "suspicion of injury" caused by abuse and neglect to trigger mandatory reporting.

Marten has repeatedly asserted during the two-week trial that wording appears to indicate that the Legislature meant to vest some discretion. On Thursday, he said he would extend that same discretion not only to health care providers but also to teachers, social workers, firefighters and others required by law to report child abuse.

Bonnie Scott Jones, the attorney representing the Center for Reproductive Rights, said in closing arguments that before Kline issued his 2003 opinion, health care providers and others could exercise judgment about what to report. She said they have never been offered assurances they would not be prosecuted if they failed to report consensual sex among minors.

"The Kline opinion has very much changed the legal landscape in Kansas," Jones said.

She urged the court to issue a permanent injunction to eliminate that threat of prosecution.

See how Big Babykilling works to protect its profit margin through its mouthpiece, B.S. Jones. (Some parents are truly inspired when it comes to naming the offspring they allow to live.)

During closing arguments by Alexander, the judge questioned the credibility of the state's expert witnesses who testified that underage sex should always be reported, but acknowledged under questioning they themselves were qualified to decide in their own practices whether it was appropriate to report it.

Marten told the state's attorneys they presented no credible evidence because he did not buy that "holier than thou" approach by their witnesses, saying he questioned their credibility because they don't adhere to the same standards they are espousing.

It does not take a whole lot of holiness to be holier than thou, Judge Marten.

While the Kline opinion may have had no legal effect on how county attorneys prosecute their cases, the judge said, it was nonetheless the "catalyst" that raised serious questions among health care providers and others in Kansas about what consensual sexual activities between same-age minors needed to be reported.

"People who are affected by this statute absolutely have a right to know," Marten said.

The judge also noted that Kline and Sedgwick County District Attorney Nola Foulston, both named defendants in the lawsuit, had different interpretations of what sexual activities must be reported.

Some people do not believe "pulling a Clinton" is sex. Like Bill himself.

Kline testified that only significant penetrative sexual acts, such as sexual intercourse, needed to be reported. He even said on the stand that an underage girl performing oral sex on a boy need not be reported, but that a boy performing oral sex on a girl may need to be reported.

Gene Simmons, call your office.

Foulston testified that any underage sexual contact between minors, such as the fondling of a girl's breasts, needs to reported.

Alexander told the judge that he couldn't respond to what was "seemingly in the eyes of the court a huge hypocrisy" by the witnesses. But he told the judge that the plaintiffs can't claim informational privacy where there is illegal sex among underage minors, and rejected claims that the state's reporting law was vague.

What if somebody serves one of those kids a highball in front of me? Am I obligated to call a cop?

"They just don't like it. There is no evidence they don't understand it," Alexander said.

Assistant Attorney General Scott Hesse, who is representing Foulston in the lawsuit, said in his closing arguments that Kansas is looking out for the health of its children through the statute, which falls under its child protection laws.

"It is a crime to have sex with minors and it is a crime for minors under 16 to have sex. ... Since it is a crime, it is also a cause for mandatory reporters to report the crime," Hesse said.

That makes too much sense. His law school must not have been Ivy League.

The judge said he would try to issue his written opinion early next week.

Part 1: SEX IS DEATH. (Stories for Boys) is here.
Part 2: SEX IS DEATH. (Distaff Death) is here.
Part 3: SEX IS DEATH. (Joyously dispensing death) is here.
Part 4: SEX IS DEATH. (Sex is depression) is here.
Part 5: SEX IS DEATH. (When self-pleasuring becomes self-destruction) is here.
Part 6: SEX IS DEATH. (Sex is theft) is
Part 7: SEX IS DEATH. (A review of Bareback Mountain) is
Part 8: SEX IS DEATH. (What is the ultimate penalty?) is
Part 9: SEX IS DEATH. (Haven from reality) is
Part 10: SEX IS DEATH. (Sin-redemption-reasons-reason) is
Part 11: SEX IS DEATH. (Mommy loves you) is
Part 12: SEX IS DEATH. (George Gilder offers a clue) is
Part 13: SEX IS DEATH. (Post-killem depression) is
Part 14: SEX IS DEATH. (Whither womanhood) is
Part 15: SEX IS DEATH. (Saving psychology 1) is
Part 16: SEX IS DEATH. (Saving psychology 2) is
Part 17: SEX IS DEATH. (Fear of the boomers) is
Part 18: SEX IS DEATH. (The battle continues apace) is
Part 19: SEX IS DEATH. (Hot for teacher) is
Part 20: SEX IS DEATH. (Kids do the darndest things) is here.
Part 21: SEX IS DEATH. (Defects) is here.

SEX IS DEATH. (Defects)

I came to Carthage, where I found myself in the midst of a hissing cauldron of lusts. I had not yet fallen in love, but I was in love with the idea of it, and this feeling that something was missing made me despise myself for not being more anxious to satisfy the need. I began to look around for some object for my love, since I badly wanted to love something. —St. Augustine, Confessions

Birth defect is plaguing children in FLDS towns
Fumarase Deficiency afflicts 20, is linked to marriages of close kin

May God have mercy on the souls of these poor children and on the souls of their parents.

It's one of the darkest secrets of the Warren Jeffs polygamist community.

An especially severe form of birth defect is on the rise and may mushroom in coming generations.

"I don't want to describe it in too much detail," said Isaac Wyler, who was related by marriage to some of the victims. "It's not a real pretty sight."

According to experts and former Jeffs followers, the cause of the birth defect is clear: Intermarriage among close relatives is producing children who have two copies of a recessive gene for a debilitating condition called Fumarase Deficiency.

They predict the scale of the problem will increase dramatically in the future. Wyler, who has lived in the polygamist community most of his life, said he expects residents to continue marrying close relatives.

"Around here," Wyler said, "you're pretty much related to everybody."

Fumarase Deficiency is an enzyme irregularity that causes severe mental retardation, epileptic seizures and other cruel effects that leave children nearly helpless and unable to take care of themselves.

Dr. Theodore Tarby has treated many of the children at clinics in Arizona under contracts with the state. All are retarded. "In the severe category of mental retardation," the neurologist said, "which means an IQ down there around 25 or so."

Until a few years ago, scientists knew of only 13 cases of Fumarase Deficiency in the entire world. Tarby said he's now aware of 20 more victims, all within a few blocks of each other on the Utah-Arizona border. The children live in the polygamist community once known as Short Creek that is now incorporated as the twin towns of Hildale, Utah, and Colorado City, Ariz. Tarby believes the recessive gene for Fumarase Deficiency was introduced to the community by one of its early polygamist founders.

According to community historian Ben Bistline, most of the community's 8,000 residents are in two major families descended from a handful of founders who settled there in the 1930s to live a polygamist lifestyle.

"Ninety percent of the community is related to one side or the other," Bistline said.

For many years, Bistline was a member of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (FLDS), which today reveres fugitive polygamist Warren Jeffs as a prophet.

"They claim to be the chosen people, the chosen few," Bistline said. "And their claim is they marry closely to preserve the royal bloodline, so to speak."

Wyler, who says Jeffs kicked him out of the FLDS group two years ago, has observed some of the "Fumarase children" in their home environment.

"I've seen some children that can talk and communicate a little," Wyler said. "And I've seen others that are totally laid out. They have no movement. They can't do anything by themselves. Literally, if they're 8 years old, it's like taking care of a baby."

Tarby saw the first "Fumarase child" in the community 15 years ago. He said the oldest victim is now about 20 years old. In March 2000, Tarby co-authored an article in the medical journal "Annals of Neurology" describing eight new cases of Fumarase Deficiency in the Southwest. It has now grown to 20 known cases in the polygamist community on the Utah-Arizona border.

Tarby said children suffering from Fumarase Deficiency have unusual facial features and frequent "grand mal" epileptic seizures. The children require constant care from parents and close relatives. "In some ways, they are really kind of remarkable people," Tarby said. "They do treat these kids pretty well."

Wyler agreed that the parents and close relatives are loving caregivers. He said it's partly because they believe it's a calling from God. "They would just assume they've been given a test and they need to pass this test," Wyler said. "And it's their lot in life to take care of a child like this. And they'll give it everything they've got. And they'll do a good job. Very good job."

One ray of light in a world of man-made darkness. I cannot bring myself to comment on this madness except to say this: This is indeed a SEX IS DEATH story. If you don't think so, you don't know enough about polygamy.

Tarby said the early founder who brought the recessive gene into the community had numerous children, so copies of the gene were passed on to children and grandchildren. When cousins or other close relatives marry, two copies of the gene can be passed on to a single child, triggering the disease.

In the FLDS community, marriages with cousins and even closer relatives are common, according to Bistline. "There are people that have married their nieces," Bistline said. "People who have married their aunts."

It's all part of the community's religious system, according to Wyler. "Well, around here, of course, when you get married, you're told who to marry and when to get married and things like that. So, that's really not going to change, I don't believe."

"As long as they've got the leadership they've got," Bistline said, "they'll never change."

It's believed that more than half the residents carry the recessive gene. That means the number of cases will likely grow. Tarby said there could be hundreds of victims in coming generations. "No, it wouldn't surprise me," Tarby said. "Wouldn't surprise me."

Wyler hopes FLDS leaders will change their marriage practices. "Now that they know there's a problem," Wyler said, "they need to quit sweeping it under the rug and pretend there's not a problem. And (they should) say, 'OK, now you know when you cross these certain lines together, then this happens.' And they need fresh blood."

Tarby has suggested to community residents that they undergo genetic screening before marriage. They've ignored the suggestion, Tarby said. "I really doubt that if we could tell them, you know, 'This male has the condition and this female has the condition; you shouldn't mate,' that wouldn't stop them."

On one occasion at an Arizona clinic, Tarby explained to one of the fathers the reason he had a Fumarase child. "You and your wife are related," Tarby said he told the man.

The father replied, "Up there we're all related." Tarby said he was not sure if the man meant "up there in Colorado City or up there in heaven."

Part 1: SEX IS DEATH. (Stories for Boys) is here.
Part 2: SEX IS DEATH. (Distaff Death) is
Part 3: SEX IS DEATH. (Joyously dispensing death) is
Part 4: SEX IS DEATH. (Sex is depression) is
Part 5: SEX IS DEATH. (When self-pleasuring becomes self-destruction) is
Part 6: SEX IS DEATH. (Sex is theft) is
Part 7: SEX IS DEATH. (A review of Bareback Mountain) is
Part 8: SEX IS DEATH. (What is the ultimate penalty?) is
Part 9: SEX IS DEATH. (Haven from reality) is
Part 10: SEX IS DEATH. (Sin-redemption-reasons-reason) is
Part 11: SEX IS DEATH. (Mommy loves you) is
Part 12: SEX IS DEATH. (George Gilder offers a clue) is
Part 13: SEX IS DEATH. (Post-killem depression) is
Part 14: SEX IS DEATH. (Whither womanhood) is
Part 15: SEX IS DEATH. (Saving psychology 1) is
Part 16: SEX IS DEATH. (Saving psychology 2) is
Part 17: SEX IS DEATH. (Fear of the boomers) is
Part 18: SEX IS DEATH. (The battle continues apace) is
Part 19: SEX IS DEATH. (Hot for teacher) is
Part 20: SEX IS DEATH. (Kids do the darndest things) is here.

Shoot for the stars, you wild-eyed dreamers...

...or, Spock, can you loan me any of that money ALEVE paid you?

From Ananova:

A Star Trek fan has gone bankrupt after spending £12,000 turning his home into the Starship Voyager.

Tony Alleyne's flat in Hinckley, Leics, has moulded walls, touch-panel blue lighting and a life-size model of the show's transporter room.

He even built a command console, reshaped windows to look like portholes and set up vertical lights so he can pretend to be "beamed up".
He hoped his pad would tempt other Trekkies to pay him to convert their homes too.

He took out two huge loans and ran up debts of over £100,000 on 14 credit cards marketing his idea and paying for the merchandise and has filed for bankruptcy.

Tony, who split from his wife Georgina after he replaced their fridge with a "warp coil" said: "I was convinced Trekkies all over the world would want a house like mine and pay me to do it.

"But I was wrong and just overstretched. Building it in my apartment was the enjoyable and easy bit. But then I got hooked up with marketing and merchandise people here and in America and it all got out of hand.

"I'm still proud of what I created but it's been a financial disaster."

More from an article entitled Star Trek fanatic boldly bankrupt in The Australian:

The former club DJ hopes to get out of the red by selling the exclusive residence. With one estimated sale price of £850,000 ($2.01 million Australian dollars), he may have some to spare.

He said: "I did not set out with the intention of selling it, I enjoy science fiction interiors.

"I set up a business, it did not work and I tried to finance it with credit cards, which was daft really."

Someone at the San Francisco Chronicle has a sense of humor?

Hard to believe, eh kiddies? Even more improbably, the humor comes at the expense of the type of PC nimrod who reads a rag like the Chronicle. All this in a review of the new animated kids movie "Curious George" by Joe Garofoli.

For the politically correct Bay Area parent, the "Curious George" children's books are a minefield of cultural horrors through which to tiptoe.
Imperialism. Animal abuse. Bad parenting.

Puh-leeeeze, George's defenders say. They're children's books, whose charm has not dimmed -- 25 million books and countless swag sold -- even if ideas about political correctness have evolved since the first George adventure was published in 1941. Sometimes a speechless, mischievous monkey is just that -- a monkey, not a metaphor. Besides, George's tales are no more un-PC than those of that royalist warmonger, Babar.

Both camps are wondering how "Curious George," the animated movie that debuts today, will translate details of the popular series of children's books for the more heightened sensitivities of 2006.

The Curious George oeuvre was the work of the husband-and-wife team of H.A. and Margaret Rey, German Jews who escaped France with the first book's manuscript as the Nazis invaded. Most of the seven stories they wrote feature the antics of a monkey whose sweet curiosity gets him in trouble until he's rescued by the nameless Man with the Yellow Hat, George's keeper/parental figure/pal with bail money.

To some, that's the core of an unhealthy relationship.

"The books are really irresponsible to me. It's sickening, really," said Robin Roth, managing editor of http://www.arkonline.com/, an animal welfare Web site.

I can't imagine being able to spend two minutes with someone this ignorant. How did weirdos like Roth find each other before Al Gore invented the internet?

Start with the Caucasian, gun-carrying Man with the Yellow Hat venturing to Africa (imperialism alert!) to harvest wildlife for a zoo (animal repression alert!). Continue with George being unsupervised and allowed to smoke a pipe and huff ether (bad parenting alert!), and it's a wonder there aren't pickets already forming around movie theaters.

That's funny.

Roth, a high school English teacher in Los Angeles, writes on her animal rights Web site that "Curious George" reveals "the sinister side of a corrupt wildlife trade with perilous roots in Western imperialism." When the mischievous George is sent to jail, "the picture of the forlorn little primate alone in his cell conjures haunting images of countless monkeys lingering in laboratories, suffering silently and alone."

That's funnier.

That's a bit of a stretch, say the book's defenders, such as Frederick Meekins of www.theconservativevoice.com.

"It's not like George ends up being used in laboratory experimentation," Meekins writes on his site. "From what's depicted in the storybooks, it always looked like he had a pretty good life, as do many other zoo animals."

The filmmakers steer a middle ground in the G-rated film, scrubbing up some of the books' more politically incorrect tones while keeping the old-school animation and simple story line.

While George still doesn't talk, the Man with the Yellow Hat -- goofily voiced by comic actor Will Ferrell -- now has a name (Ted) and a more palatable backstory than being a game hunter. Sort of. He's trying to save the museum he works for by retrieving an African idol and making it the centerpiece of a new exhibition. (Third World plundering alert!)

Ted in the film is more of George's buddy, while the Man with the Yellow Hat in the books was more of a parental figure -- and an absentee one, at that. He'd leave George in the morning, making him just another latchkey monkey with no discernible supervision.

The film's director, Matthew O'Callaghan, told The Chronicle this week that the script's few changes from the books were made in the name of story-telling and character development.

Wrong. His job is to make money. Any changes made to the books were for the sake of higher profits.

"You can't just have the Man with the Yellow Hat go over there (to Africa) and stuff George into a bag and bring him to a zoo like in the book," O'Callaghan said. "That just wouldn't work."

Meekins' take on www.theconservativevoice.com:

"If we are to carry this perspective of Western man as world exploiter to its ultimate conclusion, isn't it just as offensive for the Man in the Yellow Hat to be an archaeologist despoiling the material culture of spiritually enlightened primitives? After all, isn't it inherently worse to take someone else's property than some monkey that doesn't even belong to anyone?"

The movie sidesteps these questions with an old-fashioned man-monkey friendship. George becomes enamored of Ted when the yellow-clad curator shows him a bit of attention that the parents of his other jungle pals don't; George's parents aren't seen. So the monkey stows away on Ted's ship and follows him home to New York City. (Plausibility alert!)

"It was a likeability thing for me," said the 44-year-old O'Callaghan, who read the books as a child and has enjoyed them with his three children. "You wouldn't like (the Man with the Yellow Hat) if he was mean to George."

Like, say, by stuffing him in a bag and transporting him across the Atlantic to a zoo, as the Man with the Yellow Hat does in the first book. As the monkey is whisked away from the jungle, the authors write, "George was sad, but he was still a little curious."

Unlike the literary George, the celluloid George doesn't smoke from a pipe or take a hit of ether. While T-shirts depicting George laid out next to an ether bottle (from "Curious George Takes a Job") have been a popular seller in Haight Street novelty shops for years, O'Callaghan was leery of including the scene in a G-rated movie.

"You don't want to give kids the idea to sniff stuff and pass out," he said.
A couple of parents who attended a San Francisco preview of the film -- both of whom enjoyed the movie with their elementary-school-age kids -- said they noticed that the celluloid George isn't punished for his mischief-making in the film; in the book, he's jailed.

Hollywood George doesn't even spend time in a zoo -- where his print counterpart ends up at the end of the first book -- aside from popping by to stir up some playful chaos.

I may be way out of line here, but


I haven't read a Curious George book in a couple of days, but I'm pretty sure THEY AREN'T REALLY ABOUT THE MONKEY. Like all good children's books THEY'RE ABOUT THE KIDS who read them.

First, they are meant to entertain the kiddies. I know this is going to offend modern sensibilities, but it is FUN to watch the monkey get into trouble. Kids like to IMAGINE what it would be like to do the things George does.

Second, the books teach kids not to do what George does by showing them the CONSEQUENCES OF HIS ACTIONS. George gets RESCUED AND PUNISHED by the Man with the Yellow Hat.

Maybe we should all just shut up, forget what we think we know about rearing children, and let our kids just be kids.

And, in a sad coincidence from yesterday:

CNN.com: 2 charged in 'Curious George' slaying
(AP) -- Two South Florida men have surrendered and confessed to killing Alan Shalleck, who collaborated on bringing the beloved children's story of the mischievous monkey "Curious George" to television, police said Thursday.

Sobran: Only Mozart

(Note: The link above will take you to Joe's current on-line column. The archive is here. Not all of his past columns are available in the archive.)

Joe Sobran discusses the music that is beyond music.

Some guys have it and some guys don’t. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, now exactly 250 years old, obviously had it. By age eight he was already writing symphonies you can still hear on the radio. And there is no sign that the Mozart fad will blow over very soon.

A couple of years later he was writing operas, which culminated, for me, in The Magic Flute toward the end of his short life. To my mind the saddest fact in musical history is that he died at 35. Nobody can imagine what his inexhaustible imagination would have produced if he’d been granted another five years. If he’d lived to threescore and ten, there would have been no need for Beethoven, whom I also adore.

Actually, if the two men’s lives had overlapped more, each might have inspired the other to new heights in a sort of divine rivalry. I can just imagine Mozart’s reaction to the Eroica symphony: “Not bad, kid! Not bad at all! But watch this!” And then he would have written an even better symphony under the influence of his younger rival, who, not to be outdone, would have come back with his own miracle, and so on, until all our lives were so full of astonishing sounds that the enraptured world would never go to war again.

You can argue that Mozart’s music alone should have had this effect, and I can’t quarrel with that. Franz Josef Haydn’s long life enveloped his, and these two geniuses did, in fact, inspire each other. The sweetest anecdote I know of is that when the excellent composer Cherubini heard that Haydn had died, he wrote a symphony in his honor; but the report was false, and old Haydn was so moved that he journeyed to thank Cherubini in person. The two men embraced. Now and then life does play wonderful jokes on us.

My own formal musical education ended, to my eternal regret, when I drove my piano teacher insane at the age when Mozart was probably improvising cute little fugues. My own first opera remains unfinished; it seems in retrospect a rather conventional sort of opera, with a lot of Italians stabbing each other, and that’s about as far as it got when I ran out of ideas. I am still convinced of my untapped potential, however, and I shouldn’t have let myself get discouraged when I discovered that my plot had been anticipated by Verdi.

Verdi is another composer who is hard to top. Though he has unfortunately contributed to the impression that Italians are always stabbing each other, he wrote melodies as simple, lovely, and unforgettable as primary colors. He shared this rare gift with Mozart and few others. Even those who do it once may never do it again. Mozart seemed to toss them off at will, as in the all-too-brief wedding march in The Marriage of Figaro, which, like the composer’s life, should have gone on forever.

Wagner’s legacy is more complex and ambiguous. He was undoubtedly a musical genius, but he did much to strengthen the stereotype of Germans as people who just never know when to shut up. (The philosopher Hegel must also bear some of the blame for this.)


Neither Verdi nor Wagner, then, can be said to have contributed much to the cause of world peace. But if we ever achieve it, Mozart will certainly deserve some of the credit. Beethoven did his bit, too, with the Choral Symphony, but nobody wrote for voices the way Mozart did. I never knew how beautiful a tenor voice — or any other human sound — could be until I heard Fritz Wunderlich sing Mozart; it takes a superb soprano to sing the Queen of the Night’s arias at all, but a surprising number have done so, and Mozart’s religious music is enough to shake any atheist’s self-confidence: If there is no God, how can there be harmonies like these? (“Survival of the fittest” doesn’t seem to explain them.)

None of Mozart’s contemporaries heard more than a fraction of his work. Thanks to modern recording, you and I can hear nearly all of it without leaving home. More than two centuries after his early death, he is still bringing out the best in the human race.

The free market battles the weather. (Finally, somebody is doing something about it.)

Behold the genius of free people making free choices!

First came temperature futures, then frost-day futures. Now - futures involving how much snow falls at Logan Airport in Boston or New York's Central Park.

In the latest evidence that almost anything goes in the marketplace, meteorologically speaking, the Chicago Mercantile Exchange said Thursday it will begin trading snowfall futures and options contracts later this month.

The world's largest derivatives exchange said the new product, which will trade electronically starting Feb. 26, should help cities manage risk associated with snow accumulation. Insurance companies, retailers and other businesses with a lot riding on the weather also can use the futures to hedge their risk.

"The impact of weather can influence regional and local markets, playing a critical role in the overall economy," said Rick Redding, the exchange's managing director of products and services. "CME weather futures provide the safety and soundness investors are seeking to manage their weather-related risk."

Here's how it will work.

Snowfall futures and options are geared to a snowfall index focusing initially on Boston and New York. The index will change based on official daily snowfall totals.

Investors can buy and sell contracts trading on a monthly basis from October through April. A trader makes money on a contract when the index rises after it is purchased and loses money when it falls.

It all may make little financial sense to a small retail investor, but the Merc is counting on it succeeding with large companies just as temperature-index or weather futures have since they were introduced in 1999. More than 889,000 weather contracts were traded last year and the pace is picking up in 2006, with 108,000 traded last month, the exchange said.

Senator Social Moderate took a moderate number of bribes from Jack Abramoff.

Well, well, well...

Abramoff Team and Reid's Office Had Frequent Contact, Records Show

Besides once again proving that Howie Spleen lies first and then lies again later, this provides the Democrasses an excellent opportunity to put their leadership where their rhetoric is.

But don't hold your breath waiting for the old Social Moderate himself to be treated like Tom DeLay, either in congress or the press.

Senate Minority Leader Harry M. Reid wrote at least four letters helpful to Indian tribes represented by Jack Abramoff, and Reid's staff had frequent contact with the disgraced lobbyist's team about legislation.

The activities -- detailed in previously unreported billing records and correspondence -- occurred over three years as Reid (D-Nev.) collected nearly $68,000 in political donations from Abramoff's firm, lobbying partners and clients.

Reid's office yesterday acknowledged having "routine contacts" with Abramoff's lobbying partners. Reid intervened on government matters in ways that Abramoff's tribal clients might have deemed helpful, once opposing legislation on the Senate floor and four times sending letters pressing the Bush administration on tribal issues. Reid collected donations around the time of each action.

Abramoff's firm also hired one of Reid's top legislative aides as a lobbyist. The aide later helped throw a fundraiser for Reid at Abramoff's firm that raised money from several of Abramoff's lobbying partners.

A Reid spokesman said none of the senator's actions were affected by donations or done for Abramoff. "All the actions that Senator Reid took were consistent with his long-held beliefs, such as not letting tribal casinos expand beyond reservations, and were taken to defend the interests of Nevada constituents," spokesman Jim Manley said. (Thanks to Washington's other newspaper for the heads up.)

Apparently, no one can hear you scream in Australia, either.

Australia in abortion pill vote

Australia's Senate has voted to take control of a controversial abortion pill away from the government.

The current system means the RU486 pill is effectively banned in Australia.

Under proposed legislation, which now passes to the House of Representatives, the state medical regulatory body would decide when the pill can be used.

Proponents believe that body, the Therapeutic Goods Administration, will follow the lead of other regulatory bodies around the world and allow it.
The TGA approves or denies the use of all other drugs in Australia, but Parliament voted in 1996 to transfer the power of approval for RU-486 to the health minister.

The present minister, Tony Abbot, is a Catholic strongly opposed to abortion.

The Senate, or upper house, passed the legislation by 45 votes to 28.
Supporters of the drug argue that it is a cheaper and less invasive method of abortion than surgery.

But critics of the drug, which is already in use in 35 countries to terminate a pregnancy of up to 49 days, say it is unsafe and an elected official should be in charge of it.

The new legislation provoked fierce debate.

Lyn Allison, leader of the minority Australian Democrats, told the Senate she wanted RU486 to be available because she knew what it was like to experience a surgical abortion.

"An estimated one in three women have had an abortion, and I am one of those," she told parliament.

"It is galling listening to the men - and it is mostly men - who have such contempt for women who terminate unwanted pregnancies, who have neither the compassion nor the understanding of the huge and, for many, daunting task of taking an embryo the size of a grain of rice to adulthood."

And yet you have spent most of your adult life making sure other women have themselves mutilated in the same way. Are you insane, madam, or just sadistic?

But Finance Minister Nick Minchin said he could not support the drug after his own experience with abortion.

"I bring to this debate personal experience in that a former girlfriend of mine had an abortion when we were in a monogamous relationship," he told parliament.

"I cannot divorce that experience in my life from this consideration."
No date has been set for the House of Representatives vote, which is expected to be much closer, following Prime Minister John Howard's opposition.

Say it ain't so, Wayne.

Canadian Press: Wayne Gretzky denies placing bets with illegal gambling ring

Wayne Gretzky was recorded on a wiretap talking to the alleged financier of a gambling ring, discussing how the hockey great's wife could avoid being connected to the operation, a person with knowledge of the investigation told The Associated Press on Thursday.

If Wayne Gretzky knew his assistant coach was running a gambling operation and did nothing about it, he will have to leave hockey forever.

I find it hard to believe a man who so carefully protected his image throughout his entire career could screw everything up this way. But stranger things have happened.

Saint of the Day and daily Mass readings.

Today is the Feast of St. Scholastica, sister of St. Benedict and foundress of a monastery of nuns. Pray for us, all you angels and saints.

Today's reading for the Feast of St. Scholastica is
Canticle of Canticles 8:6-7.
Today's Gospel reading is
Luke 10:38-42.

[Links to the readings will be from the NAB until I can find another chapter and verse searchable Douay-Rheims Bible on-line.]

Everyday links:

The Blessed Virgin Mary
The Rosary
Our Mother of Perpetual Help
Prayers from EWTN
National Coalition of Clergy and Laity (dedicated to action for a genuine Catholic Restoration)
The Catholic Calendar Page for Today

Just in case you are wondering what exactly Catholics believe, here is

The Apostles Creed

I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Creator of Heaven and earth; and in Jesus Christ, His only Son Our Lord, Who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried.He descended into Hell; the third day He rose again from the dead; He ascended into Heaven, and sitteth at the right hand of God, the Father almighty; from thence He shall come to judge the living and the dead.I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy Catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body and life everlasting. Amen.


Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that any one who fled to thy protection, implored thy help or sought thy intercession,was left unaided.Inspired with this confidence, I fly unto thee, O Virgin of virgins my Mother; to thee do I come, before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful; O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in thy clemency hear and answer me. Amen.

St. Joseph, her most chaste spouse, pray for us.

Prayer to St. Anthony, Martyr of Desire

Dear St. Anthony, you became a Franciscan with the hope of shedding your blood for Christ. In God's plan for you, your thirst for martyrdom was never to be satisfied. St. Anthony, Martyr of Desire, pray that I may become less afraid to stand up and be counted as a follower of the Lord Jesus. Intercede also for my other intentions. (Name them.)


St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle, be our defense against the wickedness and snares of the devil; may God rebuke him, we humbly pray, and do thou O Prince of the heavenly hosts, by the divine power, thrust into hell Satan and all the evil spirits who prowl about the world seeking the ruin of souls. Amen.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

The Theology of the Body: 25. Ethical and Anthropological Content of the Commandment: You Shall Not Commit Adultery

At his General Audience of 23 April 1980, the Holy Father continued his series on Theology of the Body. He examined the meaning of adultery, which is a breach in the unity of husband and wife, even if only by an interior act ("adultery in the heart"). He cited the case of David and Bathsheba.

Ethical and Anthropological Content of the Commandment: You Shall Not Commit Adultery

At the General Audience in St. Peter's Square on 23 April, Pope John Paul II gave the following address.

1. Let us recall the words of the Sermon on the Mount, to which we are referring in this cycle of our Wednesday reflections. "You have heard — the Lord says — that it was said: 'You shall not commit adultery.' But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart" (Mt 5:27-28).

The man to whom Jesus refers here is precisely "historical" man, the one whose "beginning" and "theological prehistory" we traced in the preceding series of analyses. Directly, it is the one who hears with his own ears the Sermon on the Mount. But together with him, there is also every other man, set before that moment of history, both in the immense space of the past, and in the equally vast one of the future. To this "future," confronted with the Sermon on the Mount, our present, our contemporary age also belongs.

This man is, in a way, "every" man, each of us. Both the man of the past and also the man of the future can be the one who knows the positive commandment, "You shall not commit adultery" as "contained in the Law" (cf. Rom 2:22-23). But he can equally be the one who, according to the Letter to the Romans, has this commandment only "written on his heart" (cf. Rom 2:15).(1) In the light of the previous reflections, he is the man who from his beginning has acquired a precise sense of the meaning of the body. He has acquired it even before crossing the threshold of his historical experiences, in the mystery of creation, since he emerged from it as "male and female" (cf. Gn 1:27). He is the historical man, who, at the beginning of his earthly vicissitudes, found himself "inside" the knowledge of good and evil, breaking the covenant with his Creator. He is the man who knew (the woman), his wife, and knew her several times. She "conceived and bore" (cf. Gn 4:1-2) according to the Creator's plan, which went back to the state of original innocence (cf. Gn 1:28; 2:24).

Entering into his full image

2. In his Sermon on the Mount, especially in the words of Matthew 5:27-28, Christ addresses precisely that man. He addresses the man of a given moment of history and, at the same time, all men belonging to the same human history. As we have already seen, he addresses the "interior" man. Christ's words have an explicit anthropological content. They concern those perennial meanings through which an "adequate" anthropology is constituted.

By means of their ethical content, these words simultaneously constitute such an anthropology. They demand that man should enter into his full image. The man who is "flesh," as a male remains in relationship with woman through his body and sex. (The expression "You shall not commit adultery" indicates this.) In the light of these words of Christ, this man must find himself again interiorly, in his heart.(2) The heart is this dimension of humanity with which the sense of the meaning of the human body, and the order of this sense, is directly linked. Here it is a question both of the meaning which, in the preceding analyses, we called nuptial, and of that which we called generative. What order are we treating of?

Meaning of adultery

3. This part of our considerations must give an answer precisely to this question—an answer that reaches not only the ethical reasons, but also the anthropological; they remain, in fact, in a mutual relationship. For the time being, as a preliminary it is necessary to establish the meaning of Matthew 5:27-28, the meaning of the expressions used in it and their mutual relationship.

Adultery, to which the aforesaid commandment refers, means a breach of the unity by means of which man and woman, only as husband and wife, can unite so closely as to be "one flesh" (Gn 2:24). Man commits adultery if he unites in this way with a woman who is not his wife. The woman likewise commits adultery if she unites in this way with a man who is not her husband. It must be deduced from this that the "adultery in the heart," committed by the man when he "looks at a woman lustfully," means a quite definite interior act. It concerns a desire directed, in this case, by the man toward a woman who is not his wife, in order to unite with her as if she were, that is — using once more the words of Genesis 2:24 — in such a way that "they become one flesh." This desire, as an interior act, is expressed by means of the sense of sight, that is, with looks. This was the case of David and Bathsheba, to use an example taken from the Bible (cf. 2 Sm 11:2).(3) The connection of lust with the sense of sight has been highlighted especially in Christ's words.

Man's interior act

4. These words do not say clearly whether the woman—the object of lust—is the wife of another or whether simply she is not the wife of the man who looks at her in this way. She may be the wife of another, or even not bound by marriage. Rather, it is necessary to intuit it, especially on the basis of the expression which precisely defines as adultery what man has committed in his heart with his look. It must be correctly deduced that this lustful look, if addressed to his own wife, is not adultery "in his heart." This is precisely because the man's interior act refers to the woman who is his wife, with regard to whom adultery cannot take place. The conjugal act as an exterior act, in which "they become one flesh," is lawful in the relationship of the man in question with the woman who is his wife. In like manner, the interior act in the same relationship is in conformity with morality.

Clarifying the text

5. Nevertheless, that desire, indicated by the expression "everyone who looks at a woman lustfully," has a biblical and theological dimension of its own, which we must clarify here. Even if this dimension is not manifested directly in this one concrete expression of Matthew 5:27-28, it is deeply rooted in the global context, which refers to the revelation of the body. We must go back to this context, so that Christ's appeal to the heart, to the interior man, may ring out in all the fullness of its truth.

This statement of the Sermon on the Mount (Mt 5:27-28) fundamentally has an indicative character. The fact that Christ directly addresses man as the one "who looks at a woman lustfully," does not mean that his words, in their ethical meaning, do not refer also to woman. Christ expresses himself in this way to illustrate with a concrete example how the fulfillment of the law must be understood, according to the meaning that God the legislator gave to it. Furthermore, it is to show how that "superabounding of justice" in the man who observes the sixth commandment of the Decalogue must be understood.

Speaking in this way, Christ wants us not to dwell on the example in itself, but to penetrate the full ethical and anthropological meaning of the statement. If it has an indicative character, this means that, following its traces, we can arrive at understanding the general truth about historical man. This is valid also for the theology of the body. The further stages of our reflections will have the purpose of bringing us closer to understanding this truth.


1) In this way, the content of our reflections shifts, in a way, to the field of natural law. The words quoted from the Letter to the Romans (2:15) have always been considered, in revelation, as a source of confirmation for the existence of natural law. Thus the concept of natural law also acquires a theological meaning.

Cf. among others, D. Composta, Teologia del diritto naturale, status quaestionis (Brescia: Ed. Civilta, 1972), pp. 7-22, 41-53; J. Fuchs, S.J., Lex naturae. Zur Theologie des Naturrechts (Dusseldorf: 1955), pp. 22-30; E. Hamel, S.J., Loi naturelle et loi du Christ (Bruges-Paris: Desclée de Brouwer, 1964), p. 18; A. Sacchi, "La legge naturale nella Bibbia," La legge naturale. Le relazioni del Convegno dei teologi moralisti dell'Italia settentrionale, September 11-13, 1969 (Bologna: Ed. Dehoniane, 1970), p. 53; F. Böckle, "La legge naturale e la legge cristiana," ibid., pp. 214-215; A. Feuillet, "Le fondement de la morale ancienne et chrétienne d'apres l'Epitre aux Romains," Revue Thomiste 78 (1970), pp. 357-386; Th. Herr, Naturrecht aus der kritischen Sicht des Neuen Testaments (München: Schönig, 1976), pp. 155-164.

2) "The typically Hebraic usage reflected in the New Testament implies an understanding of man as unity of thought, will and feeling.... It depicts man as a whole, viewed from his intentionality; the heart as the center of man is thought of as source of will, emotion, thoughts and affections.

This traditional Judaic conception was related by Paul to Hellenistic categories, such as "mind", "attitude", "thoughts" and "desires". Such a coordination between the Judaic and Hellenistic categories is found in Phil 1:7, 4:7; Rom 1:21-24, where "heart" is thought of as the center from which these things flow (R. Jewett, Paul's Anthropological Terms, A Study of Their Use in Conflict Settings [Leiden: Brill, 1971], p. 448).

"Das Herz...ist die verborgene, inwendige Mitte und Wurzel des Menschen und damit seiner Welt...der unergründliche Grund und die lebendige Kraft aller Daseinserfahrung und—entscheidung" (H. Schlier, "Das Menschenherz nach dem Apostel Paulus," Lebendiges Zeugnis, 1965, p. 123).

Cf. also F. Baumgärtel and J. Behm, "Kardia," Theologisches Wörterbuch zum Neuen Testament, II [Stuttgart: Kohlhammer, 1933], pp. 609-616.

3) This is perhaps the best-known one, but other similar examples can be found in the Bible (cf. Gn 34:2; Jgs 14:1, 16:1).

About Me

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First of all, the word is SEX, not GENDER. If you are ever tempted to use the word GENDER, don't. The word is SEX! SEX! SEX! SEX! For example: "My sex is male." is correct. "My gender is male." means nothing. Look it up. What kind of sick neo-Puritan nonsense is this? Idiot left-fascists, get your blood-soaked paws off the English language. Hence I am choosing "male" under protest.


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