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Saturday, June 25, 2016

A Call For the Voice of Reason

  My good friend and Franciscan confrere, Fr. Philip O'Shea, OFM, PhD, a wonderful friar and a brilliant philosopher, often cited the not well known motto of Catholic education--esse quam videri, loosely translated what is rather than what appears to be.  Catholic education, in spite of some evidence to the contrary, when at its best has led the student to look beyond the surface appearances and make decisions based on the deeper truth which lies behind those experiences.  In other words it called on people to use reason, as well as faith, to make decisions. It called on people to go beyond surface emotions, to analyze the facts, and then to decide.

   It seems to me that this motto applies in today's world, be it in the Church or in politics.  I was distressed by the recent Brexit vote where people of the UK voted to leave the EU.  I am not British and there may indeed be solid ground for doing this, but it seems that appeals to fear and anger fueled this decision, and that is troubling.

  Here in the US the political atmosphere is an emotional reaction to things that we fear.   CAn we have rational discussions about things like immigration reform or assault weapons control rather than just yelling at those who disagree.

   Part of the problem is not just the variety of left and right politicians who play on fear and anger.  A big part of it is the breakdown of the US educational system.  This is not to deny that there are many bright and wonderful students, many of them doing wonderful things.  It is rather the fact that our curricula have become weaker and weaker on the study of the humanities--literature, history, philosophy.  Yes, science and math are vitally important.  They were my strong suit in my younger days, but it is these other disciplines that train our minds to think, to look at the deeper truth, and come to wise decisions.

   There is legitimate reason to fear many things in our world today.  There is much about which to be angry.  Let us not, however, let fear and anger consume us.  Let us not let any politician, of any persuasion, manipulate us because of our emotions. Let us pray for wisdom and faith and use the God given gift of reason with which we are endowed.

3 comments:

  1. Wonderful words. I just read an op-ed about how we are being manipulated by media,politicians, etc through our fears. If I can find it I'll send it to you. Headed to Boston on Tuesday. Will see if we can connect with Michael and Laureen.

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  2. Wonderful words. I just read an op-ed about how we are being manipulated by media,politicians, etc through our fears. If I can find it I'll send it to you. Headed to Boston on Tuesday. Will see if we can connect with Michael and Laureen.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Don't like your setup - my post disappeared. Anyway on Brexit - you are wrong - all that needs to go away or be changed so that they can be held accountable to the people. Now if we can just get some weapons back into the hands of the folks over there - Maybe - just maybe they can convince their gov to behave. Why do you think so many agree with da Trump and Sanders? We are NOT happy with our non responsive gov. You can color me a gun toting member of Holy Apostles Catholic Church in C/S, CO

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