Break is slowly passing away…

March 3, 2006 § 2 Comments

I am in mourning today for my break, which has slowly disappeared without my even noticing. In three days I will be sitting in a classroom on the third floor of the Philosophy building, thinking about how hungry I am and hoping that Dr. Druart doesn’t go over time too long so that I can get to Mass on time. God help me to enjoy every moment of the next few days.

Mommy came across this article yesterday and emailed it to me. If this is a problem in Great Britain, who is to say that it isn’t happening over here with our fervor for (carcinogenic!) “health” drinks? But it seems to me that if someone had just sat down and written out the equation for what chemicals they were putting in those drinks that they would have seen…

I stayed up late last night to watch Apolo on the Jay Leno show (a filthy show, by the way; I remember now why I haven’t watched it since Apolo was on after the last Olympics). Apolo was such a darling and patiently answered all the same questions again. That guy is sooooo close to being Christian with all his talk about the great “Olympic spirit” – if only something could just spark his interest in Jesus. I think that will be my prayer this Lent.

Apolo was fantastic on Ellen this morning as well; she tried to get him to shave off his soul patch! Naturally he refused, but made a big joke of it. Sadly he didn’t breakdance as I’d hoped, but that’s okay. It’s nice just to see him before he disappears for another four years.

Speaking of Apolo, I want to know: why on earth do they keep showing this awful picture of him on tv? He is so scrawny it is definitely not hot. Instead they should be showing this one. Ah well. Just goes to show that society today has no aesthetic taste whatsoever.

Enough of this. I am not allowing myself to touch the chemistry or physics books today in the hopes that I will actually get some work done on my papers. I have three of them on my plate currently: (1) Ethics-an investigation of the issue of adoption of frozen embryos; (2) Theology – Messianic prophecies in Isaiah; (3) Metaphysics – in Aquinas, or parts of form and matter the same thing as accidents which follow upon form and matter? I always goof off so much with my sciences (EASY and FUN stuff!) and never actually work.

St. Thomas Aquinas, pray for us!

§ 2 Responses to Break is slowly passing away…

  • fatherjoe says:

    The notion of adopting embryos for implantation that would otherwise be destroyed is problematical.

    While in theory it might be seen as an extension of pro-life efforts to save babies from abortion; it may inadvertantly fuel the IVF industry.

    My old professor, Dr. Wiliam May talks about it in his book, CATHOLIC BIOETHICS AND THE GIFT OF HUMAN LIFE (OSV). He argues that rescuing a frozen human embryo by “transferring it from the freezer to the woman’s womb” is a morally licit act. While it is preferential for a married couple to understake this transfer and the responsibilities of parenthood; he contends that it would not be “intrinsically immoral” for single women. Dr. May is well respected in the Church and is a professor at the JPII Institute at Dominican House in DC.

    Obviously, Dr. May is making a distinction between the perpetrators of the initial procedure who sin greviously and those who come later wanting to save unborn lives. However, how do we gauge motivation? No matter how we look at it, subsequent couples wanting children would still benefit from an illicit therapy. Is one to be damned and the other lauded?

    Msgr. William Smith, the moralist at St. Joseph’s Seminary in Dunwoodie, NY, would disagree, saying that any kind of surragate motherhood as outside the covenant of marriage is wrong. Be aware, however, that while he is a Thomist, he would probably be the most conservative Catholic voice in the nation.

    Certainly conception should not take place apart from the marital act. The Church would normally condemn the whole process– masturbation for semen, test tube fertilization, implantation of a select embryo, and the freezing or discarding of unused embryos. But Catholic ethicists are arguing back and forth on this one. Technology has given rise to this new moral question and we are struggling to apply precedent and traditional principles, some which seem to be in conflict.

    Pope John Paul II had this to say: “I…appeal to the conscience of the world’s scientific authorities and in particular to doctors, that the production of human embryos be halted, taking into account that there seems to be no morally licit solution regarding the human destiny of the thousands and thousands of “frozen” embryos which are and remain subjects of essential rights and should therefore be protected by law as human persons. I also call on all jurists to work so that States and international institutions will legally recognize the natural rights of the very origin of human life and will likewise defend the inalienable rights which these thousands of “frozen” embryos have intrinsically acquired from the moment of fertilization.”

    It would be best that the IVF industry shut down. There are already as many as 100,000 frozen embryos. However, in the meantime, what do we do? There are no artificial wombs. How do we protect these lives without implantation? The freezing process cannot be maintained indefinitely.

    Whe a situation for embryonic adoption happened recently, even elderly nuns stepped forward as volunteers. Maybe only those who would not otherwise want or have children should be made candidates? If it is judged as a noble way to save life, then maybe all our women religious should be commanded to seek implanatation? No? How about women who already have large families, and no women who are themselves struggling with fertility problems? No? Then maybe we have to accept the fact that there is no unambiguous moral way to save them, and that the best we can do is to let them die with respect and dignity? No? Well, we do not have too many options right now. Unfortunately, if the artificial womb should be perfected, that will create its own headaches. Then the whole process of conception to birth will be able to take place outside the biological womb of a human mother. Imagine the nightmares then, O Brave New World!

    Coincidentally, there was some speculation that minor genetic manipulation of certain animals like Baboons might allow them to carry a human baby to term. Take ten aspirin before pondering the moral implications of that!

    Take care– Father Joe

  • fatherjoe says:

    I would like to read your Metaphysics paper on Aquinas’ view of form, matter and accidents. St. Thomas would apply his reasoning here to the faith as well, regarding the mystery of the Eucharist.

    I am not exactly sure what constitutes your topic, but it is probably good to remember a few points.

    What is a substance? It is that which exists in a primary manner and does not depend or find predication in something else like the color of a flower. However, an accident only exists as a modification of a substance or “something” predicated upon a substance. It is in this “something” that matter and individuation comes into the equation. We can look at the modifications from accidents to understand something of the substance itself.

    Aquinas teaches, as you well know, that every material thing or substance is composed of substantial form and prime matter. True existence is posited of the substance, not matter. A substantial change would mean the separation of the substantial form from the matter, as with the incineration of a chair– just ashes– get used to standing. However, put a cushion in the chair or make it a rocker, and it remains substantially a chair. Such changes as this are accidental.

    You might also discuss substantial being and accidental being.

    Accidents signify potentiality and/or privation. A man can laugh as this activity flows from his nature. However, if he loses a leg from a bomb in Iraq, he is still a man despite the privation.

    Apart from form and matter, there could be no discussion of accidents. Indeed, you would not exist to write your paper.

    Anyhow, I probably just bored you with stuff you already know. But who else would even begin to care except a philosophy major?

    Father Joe

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