Monday, October 10, 2005

Intractable differences

I'm seeing a large increase in readers at the moment, almost all of them are coming from a Google search on the movie Emily Rose (where NWW is on the second page of results). I hope you'll stay and share your thoughts from time to time. Blogger Michael Liccione also has interesting observations on the movie, so you may also want to check his site out. He compares Father Moore's dilemma with that of a journalist who needs to protect a source, arguing that both people are in a moral bind in which their legal obligations clash with their professional ones.
The same MSM who support Miller generally don't support [Fr.] Moore. And the explanation is simple enough: most media types are secular-minded, and thus either don't believe that the devil is real or, if he is, that he possesses people in a manner clearly distinct from mental illness. Because cases of full-blown possession are rather rare, cases such as Emily's don't elicit quite the visceral outrage elicited by the Church's stand on condoms for the promiscuous. But the problem is actually the same. Because the Church's view of reality is not widely shared in the media, her moral prescriptions often make no sense to them. What that shows is that morality is, in part, a question of metaphysics. One can be justified in letting moral obligations override legal ones just in case one's view of the grand scheme of things is true in a way that explains the value of doing so.
I think this is so, and it explains the frustrating, intractable nature of many conflicts and also two very common errors related to those sorts of conflicts. One is the idea that one or both of the parties involved is simply stupid. Often that is not so and the case will make at least some sense if one starts with the same premises. The other error is that there must be a common middle ground between parties. I recognize how tempting that must be, and sometimes it will even work - but not always.

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