Preaching

“To try to preach without referring to the history one preaches in is not to preach the gospel. Many would like a preaching so spiritualistic that it leaves sinners unbothered and does not term idolaters those who kneel before money and power. A preaching that says nothing of the sinful environment in which the gospel is reflected upon is not the gospel.”

Oscar Romero

Tolkein on Evil

I sometimes feel appalled at the thought of the sum total of human misery all over the world at the present moment: The millions parted, fretting, wasting in unprofitable days – quite apart from torture, pain, death, bereavement, injustice. If anguish were visible, almost the whole of this benighted planet would be enveloped in a dense dark vapour, shrouded from the amazed vision of the heavens! And the products of it all will be mainly evil – historically considered. But the historic version is, of course, not the only one. All things and all deeds have a value in themselves, apart from their ’causes’ and ‘effects’. No man can estimate what is really happening sub specie aeternitatis. All we do know, and that to a large extent by direct experience, is that evil labors with vast power and perpetual success – in vain: preparing always the soil for unexpected good to sprout in.

J.R.R. Tolkein

Death Penalty

The nature and extent of the punishment ought not to go to the extreme of executing the offender except in cases of absolute necessity: in other words, when it would not be possible otherwise to defend society. Today, however, as a result of steady improvements in the organization of the penal system, such cases are very rare if not practically nonexistent.

Pope John Paul II

Euthenasia

The temptation grows to have recourse to euthanasia, that is, to take control of death and bring it about before its time, gently ending ones own life or the life of others. In reality what might seem logical and humane, when looked at more closely is seen to be senseless and inhumane. Here we are faced with one of the more alarming symptoms of the culture of death, which is advancing above all in prosperous societies, marked by an attitude of excessive preoccupation with efficiency, and which sees the growing number of elderly and disabled people as intolerable and too burdensome. These people are very often isolated by their families and by society, which are organized almost exclusively on the basis of criteria of productive efficiency, according to which a hopelessly impaired life no longer has any value.

-Pope John Paul II