Friday, 10 January 2014

And the greatest of these is...

I was going over the Theological Virtues with Aileen today as part of her preparation for the sacrament of Confirmation and it struck me that Caritas can not accurately be translated into the English language!

I found it interesting that the most important of all the Virtues has no direct translation in the operating language of Western Society. People will either translate it as "love" which unfortunately has been over used to the point where "loving" can be used to refer to anything from watching garbage T.V shows to the emotion a mother feels towards a hew newborn infant.

At the other end of the spectrum it is limply translated into charity which for many has come to signify giving emotionless hand outs of unwanted things while turning a blind eye towards the real issues at hand. (How many of you "donated" that can of lentils at the back of your parents cupboard to the local food bank during the school food drive?)

 In reality, outside of the truth of the Gospel, what passes for charity these days is in reality simply activism. What is REALLY sad is that there are legions of "Catholics" who have jumped onto the social justice bandwagon without a single CLUE about the social justice teaching of the Church, most recently clarified in Caritas in Veritate.

I guess what bugs me most is that NO ONE seems to be talking about this obvious and deliberate attack from the Enemy to obscure and  distort the most important of all the virtues...without which ANY act of kindness, generosity, or Faith even, is effectively reduced to the level of fingernails screeching across chalkboard.

A person could tithe millions of dollars in their lifetime, but without Caritas, they are no better than the wealthy who were putting their spare change into the treasury. For those of you unfamiliar with tithing, tithing is the practice of giving 10% of the first fruits of your labor, usually that means money, to God and God's work, specifically by giving it to the church. By the way, you can't "tithe" to your local hospital or animal shelter...even though they are both honorable causes.

I know that someone out there in cyberville is going to come across this post and mildly, or not so mildly remark that some of my comments on this have perhaps not reflected Caritas, however, watching the growing number of professionals (ie teachers, chaplains and the like) promoting activism disguised as charity is like watching those who tried out for American Idol that could have used a singing lesson or two before being ridiculed on national television.

What the world really needs now is Caritas, sweet Caritas.

Tipsi Dad

3 comments:

  1. Firstly, congratulations to Aileen on her upcoming Confirmation. Secondly, thank you for linking directly to Caritas in Veritate. Thirdly, thank you for prompting a search on Google. After years of mondegreens, I learned that caritas is not used in the lyrics of Hotel California. Fourthly, I needed to put this comment into two separate posts, as this only allows a maximum of 4,096 characters.

    I almost decided against approaching this topic, knowing that my religious knowledge is like that of a 6th kyu against your shodan. And then I realized responding to your article as an uke/nage would not be the correct approach. Instead, I am seeking to understand and have questions. Also, several occurrences in the past few days were direct reminders that your article required a response.

    From the link to the Catholic Encyclopedia on virtues, there was writing about charity on page 10 that went over my head. "For charity is the principle of all good works referable to man's supernatural destiny .... Hence it is necessary that there be infused at the same time with charity all the moral virtues by which one performs the different kinds of good works."

    What does this mean? Does it mean that one can only be charitable if one is morally virtuous? Or am I misunderstanding this? Or taking something out of context?

    "At the other end of the spectrum it is limply translated into charity which for many has come to signify giving emotionless hand outs of unwanted things while turning a blind eye towards the real issues at hand."

    Donating unwanted things to the needy is still filling a need, and needs must be met. Why must there be emotion attached to the donation? Is the donor not still acting from a place of caritas, seeing how they are doing something knowing that it is for the good of the other? I would like to believe that the hungry person was happy to receive the lentils, even if the person who donated it wasn't thinking of anything in particular other than, "I don't like lentils, so let me give this away to someone who needs it".

    As to the part about turning a blind eye towards the real issues - I'm guessing this has to do with poverty and unemployment. Were there other issues that you meant? Perhaps what appears to be a blind eye is really a lack of ability to fix the underlying problems, and the donor is simply seeking solutions within their grasp (i.e. donating items).

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  2. "In reality, outside of the truth of the Gospel, what passes for charity these days is in reality simply activism."

    From Caritas in Veritate, "caritas — is an extraordinary force which leads people to opt for courageous and generous engagement in the field of justice and peace. It is a force that has its origin in God, Eternal Love and Absolute Truth." If activists are working in the field of justice and peace toward a common good, then are they not demonstrating caritas? And what do you mean by "outside of the truth of the Gospel"?

    "What is REALLY sad is that there are legions of "Catholics" who have jumped onto the social justice bandwagon without a single CLUE about the social justice teaching of the Church, most recently clarified in Caritas in Veritate."

    What do you hope to convey by placing quotes around the word, "Catholics"? Caritas in Veritate is a long document, and one likely not read by the majority. Is there a summary of the main points? Whose responsibility is it for the laity's knowledge of the Church's social justice
    teaching? Would the Priest teach this during Homily?

    "I guess what bugs me most is that NO ONE seems to be talking about this obvious and deliberate attack from the Enemy to obscure and distort the most important of all the virtues...without which ANY act of kindness, generosity, or Faith even, is effectively reduced to the level of fingernails screeching across chalkboard."

    From Caritas in Veritate, "All people feel the interior impulse to love authentically: love and truth never abandon them completely, because these are the vocation planted by God in the heart and mind of every human person." Therefore everyone has love and truth, even if in part. Therefore everyone's act of kindness or generosity has caritas at its heart. Therefore no fingernails screeching on chalkboard. We can see the external and only guess at the internal, so who are we to judge the value of one person's giving against another's?

    "By the way, you can't "tithe" to your local hospital or animal shelter...even though they are both honorable causes."

    Why not? What about tithing to charities that give homes to the homeless and food to the hungry? Don't those count?

    By the way, in case you were wondering about the direct reminders:
    a) Random, spontaneous imagination of fingernails screeching on chalkboard a couple of times in the past few days.
    b) The caption on someone's random photo posted today reflected the title of your post. This was most effective.

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  3. Hi Jen!

    Great questions! I am a bit short of time right now, but I will respond :)

    In the meantime, Caritas, as with all the Virtues (ie cardinal and theological) are not so much actions in of themselves, but the root from which those actions spring forth. The virtue of Faith give rise to the action of trust etc.

    more to come.....

    G

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