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Friday, April 15, 2011

Comments

Charles E Flynn

A search at Google for:

Ayn Rand objectivist Catholic

produces many interesting hits, one with a striking cartoon:

http://the-american-catholic.com/2009/08/25/objectivism/

Paul Zummo

Thanks for linking to this essay. I read Atlas Shrugged a year ago and it was one of the most painful experiences of my life. Not only is it atrocious from an artistic standpoint, but Rand's objectivist philosophy is just morally repugnant. The little good that it contains - namely its anti-statism - has been done by better writers and philosophers than her. If anybody is looking for a much better novel that speaks against the forces of collectivism, read C.S. Lewis's "That Hideous Strength."

Lauri Friesen

I tried a couple of times, when a younger woman, to read "Atlas Shrugged". I guess I never was young enough, nor callow enough, to find Ms. Rand's philosophy persuasive. Worse, though, was her terrible writing style (and I use that term loosely) which made the reading of the novel torturous. Both times, I had to give up before getting halfway through. Mr. Kidd has written an interesting piece, but I remain unconvinced that Ayn Rand has anything to teach me about living well.

Eric Giunta

Uh . . . I think Mr Kidd needs to read his Catechism, along with his Church Fathers. He should re-read the Catechism's treatment of the 7th Commandment, the universal destination of goods, and love for the poor.

"Not to enable the poor to share in our goods is to steal from them and deprive them of life. The goods we possess are not ours, but theirs. . . . The demands of justice must be satisfied first of all; that which is already due in justice is not to be offered as a gift of charity." Saint John Chrysostom

"When we attend to the needs of those in want, we give them what is theirs, not ours. More than performing works of mercy, we are paying a debt of justice." Pope Saint Gregory the Great

Oh, and paragraph 2462 of the Catechism: "Giving alms to the poor is a witness to fraternal charity: it is also a work of justice pleasing to God."

Kidd needs to brush up on his Catholicism. Not to devote our time, talent, and treasure to the relief of the poor and the suffering is a MORTAL SIN. In Catholic Christianity, charity is not a virtue distinct from justice: charity (agape-love) pervades everything, including justice.

I'm not suggesting that the state should be in the business of redistributing the honestly-earned largesse of others; just making the point that we DO *owe* it to the poor to offer them suitable assistance. We don't each have a specific obligation to each poor person, but we do have some sort of obligation to them. Charity isn't an optional extra.

For goodness' sake, has Kidd never read Matthew 25?!

Kim

If one tries hard enough, the clever writer can manipulate words to make any philosophy fit preconceived notions of morality. Thus, Kidd attempts to make Rand's philosophy "fit" Catholicism, just as liberation theologians somehow twist words to make socialism "fit" Catholicism. It seems to be quite a stretch to reconcile Rand's writings with a Catholic moral worldview. I agree with Eric, it seems quite clear from the gospels and Church teaching that we are to be servants of others, to think of others before ourselves. After all, our very lives are a gift from the Lord, and when we serve others we serve Him who calls us.

Charles E Flynn

I do find it difficult to be persuaded that the views of this world-class crank are compatible with the Beatitudes.

Peter TWilson

Altruism is not a base for moral determination, for the altruist has received his/her own rewards. I believe Rand is seing Objective truth from a Subjective perspective, and her view has never left the self and its material aspects. A self or material person has to be objectively free in order to justify his/her moral stand, the distinction between Material Freedom and Rational Freedom.

Her followers are reading her from Objective proper, and thus creating a contradictory and confusion of her study.
I have defined Objective as a transcendent of the material into being, and the opposite is Subjective which is the material and its subjective aspect the deteriorated state of existent.

Pure principles are subjective until quantified by the practice of faith the same time the Material aspect (also subjective) is purified and transcended. Their intersection brings the priori principle and the transcended material into being. And this is not a material self or aspect! But its also true of the word becoming flesh mystery...

Alfred Freddoso

Astonishingly, Kidd asserts (apparently with a straight face), "Thus the phrase 'obligation of charity' is an oxymoron."

Huh? There are no obligations of charity according to Catholic teaching? Reference, please? Don't bother trying to find one in St. Thomas. He's too hung up on the precepts, i.e., commandments, of charity in Summa Theologiae 2-2, question 44.

Dan

How much charity underlies a world view that divides the world into opposing camps of "creators" and "looters"? About none, I'd say. Dividing the world into "creators" and "looters" suggests a kinship with Nazism, not Catholicism. Does not the Church teach that every human being, no matter how untalented in worldly ways, possesses the same human dignity as Christ (albeit with the same fallenness of Adam)? Seeing some (and probably most) people as "looters" is entirely contrary to the Catholic vision of man.

Joseph Simon

I am amazed that Catholics do not seem to get the point. For a Catholic to quote Ayn Rand, in defence of human freedom, is no differant than for another Catholic to quote Karl Marx, in defence of workers rights. It is an alliance with evil. Also, since God is the ultimate reality, the fact that Rand opposed big government means nothing. What is more important to us as Catholics? The size of goverment or God? I call upon all Catholics to oppose Catholics who quote Ayn Rand just as they oppose Catholics who promote Liberation Theology.

Margaret

I don't have cable and therefore do not watch Fox News. Just as well. :) Family members of mine, however, who DO watch Fox News rabidly, and who normally NEVER go out to the movies, went out this past weekend to see "Atlas Shrugged" and were very favorably impressed.

This has me wondering if perhaps the movie is being promoted by some element or another on Fox, perhaps programs or personalities of a more libertarian bent?

Thanks in advance... (And yes, they are practicing Catholics.)

Chris

This is no different than liberation theologians trying to make Marxism consistent with Catholic teaching. Actually, some of those Marxists might have done a better job.

What is particularly troubling is why any Catholic would want to try to make Objectivism consistent with Catholic teaching.

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