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MSW on Instrumentum Laboris (work as an instrument)

Michael Sean Winters has reviewed the draft of the new letter from Rome, Instrumentum Laboris (work as an instrument) in advance of the upcoming Synod on the Family. You can read his analysis on As always, mine follows and is based in both his comments and my prior writings.

The fact that the letter talks about work as a component of family lfe - but as an instrument, not a goal in itself, is a nice slap in the face to capitalism.

In writing about familiy life situations should be considered - indeed primarily - because they are the source of good natural law reasoning. All natural law need not be created from first principles. Indeed, none of it should. Even the statement in the gospel about marriage between a man and a woman was a quote from Genesis, not a statement condemning gay marriage. Jesus goes on to say that the couple is a family in and of itself - they are no longer members of their family of origin. Of course, that is most applicable to gay marriage as well.

Families are stressed - not as a whole but as individuals - which then goes to the family dynamic. This would be a great place to talk about a just family wage that responds to family size. As to security, talking about worker ownership and control of the workplace would be a nice step up - although it would make conservatives not just agitated, but apoplectic.

The Pope also condemns consumerism again - however without consumerism workers would remain radicalized and revolt, or the economy would collapse because of too many goods that employers are unable to buy. There is also a meme that this has intruded into medical care - yes and no. The desire for a child is natural - it is not a consumer fetish. We do not design luxury children - and if we did it would be a problem of luxury, not simple conumerism. Now, teenagers who want stuff like overgrown babies is a separate thing - but again that is not consumerism so much as a desire for luxury. Filling that desire may overwork the parent - however that desire is only fed because the parents indulge in luxury themselves. As for sex, that is about lust, not luxury - unless one is willing to engage the services of prostitution - and there are some high end prostitutes - compelete with recreational drugs.

On defense and remarriage, changing the annulments process is really not enough. It is time to grow up and realize that some marriages just need to end. If an alcoholic is violent (or even docile) and refuses treatment, the marriage can be ended - even without recognition that the alcoholism was an impediment in the first place. The same goes for any violence, abandonment and for adultery - and even mental illness - my wife would like that. Now, if recovery occurs, there is a place for reconciliation - but that should lie with the harmed party -not the Church and if the harmed party refuses forgiveness - not only should the marriage be over, but the other party should be unable to marry again without proving that what ended the first marriage will not recur.

There should still be annulments - especially when time has uncovered something missed or hidden in the pre-marital investigation. For instance, if it turns out that the person seeking a divorce is the child of divorce and went into the marriage determined to leave if the marriage did not suit her desires, that marriage should be annulled and that issue should be checked. Simply asking people if their parents ever divorced and whether the candidate for marriage agrees with that decision should be a big red flag, which is sad.

As for same sex marriage, its section on adoption comes from (fear) as MSW relates. Still, I wonder if the fear relates to how it looks to allow such adoption while condemning marriage than any fault in gay parents themselves. Indeed, not all gay adoption is of infants - it is as common that gays and lesbians foster a child of siblings when they cannot be cared for in their family of origin - or when one person birings children into the new relationship. Of course, those cases do not often go through Catholic Charities, who are mainly involved in placing babies from parents who can't handle them - teens and addicts who should actually be encouraged to keep their children - and give them to couples who bipass modern medicine for their fertility issues.

There is a section on the right of children in gay unions to fully participate in the life of the Church, including camps (I will resist the obvious cheap shot). It is truly disappointing that this has to be said at all.

As MSW concludes, at least the Church is trying to change its inadequate theology on gays and lesbians. Of course, many note that it was proceeding just fine before Cardinal Ratzinger started calling homosexuality disordered. If we could somehow examine the sole question of whether the natural order theology is a cheat for allowing God to enforce a harm to the order that Him does not feel because He is perfect, progress will have been made indeed. I am sure such views also condemn polygamy, which is also mentioned but is part of African and some Asian cultures (of course, giving the entire African Church to the Copts may solve that and calm their condmenaton of homosexuality's acceptance in the north). The key here is to examine how wifes are treated. Being chattle is not being married. When they realize they are slaves, they should be able to opt out of the union at will.

I wish the conference well - and am delighted that MSW refered to the Spirit as feminine in his tag line.

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