Saturday, August 03, 2002

Peter Sean Bradley at Lex Communis has the following to say about my blog below in regard to reparations

The Sound of an Exposed Nerve

Ono's thoughts has a post taking exception to Bill Cork's recent criticism of the theory and practice of slavery reparations. Ono's views largely boil down to the concept that while slavery existed throughout history and the world, American slavery was much worse than any other version, American racism endured well into the 1960's such that "Blacks did not have the right to vote," and reparations is inevitable and Catholics should be on the side of morality.

My take on Ono's post is that it is an excellent example of the emotions that substitute for reason in this area. Ono dismisses Cork's point that not all potential recipients of reparations are descendants of slaves as not worthy of comment. But why not? An essential concept of justice is to identify wrongdoers and victims in a matrix of obligation. If reparations are intended to make amends for slavery - and presumably they are or else the entire description of the evils of slavery is for no purpose other than rhetoric - there should be some connection between the institution of slavery and the recipient of the reparations. Even more problematic is the stereotyping of all white Americans as proto-slavers. It simply isn't and wasn't true. Many white Americans hated slavery as immoral. Many of them fought and died for the Union. It may be convenient for political purposes for the pro-reparation forces to tar all "people of colorlessness" as slavemasters - just as presumably Ono felt that all Germans should have been classified as Nazis after 1945 - but this distortion of the historical record is not justice and it's not moral.

There's lot's more on at Lex Communis

I like the sentence "My take on Ono's post is that it is an excellent example of the emotions that substitute for reason in this area."

I think he hits the issue right on the head. No one ever accused me of being reasonable or rational, I believe in two things, intuition and emotion, especially in the areas where they are what count.

After reading the entire entry, I have much to say and I tried to write up a blog to respond, but it wasn't working. So I've decided to not respond at least not yet.

I simply think that if one is not outraged by the injustices that have taken place on these hallowed shores and one does not believe that those, whose patrimony is the fruit of those injustices, should receive reparations, then no argument is going work.

Part of my distress is this. Are the Bishops or the Vatican going to have to tell Catholics that this is the right thing to do (and they will in our lifetime, first the U.S. Bishops and the Vatican) before we then believe and then argue for it?

Catholic moral reticence is has always been a troubling aspect of our tradition for me. Where were the strong moral Catholic voices during the horrors of slavery? There were very, very, very, few and and mostly weak ones at that. And by the way, there were not a few theological treatises produced during the time of the New World slavery and they produced well reasoned arguments for the practice. Thankfully, there were men like St. Peter Claver, who cared not for the voice of reason and trusted his conscience, emotion and moral intuition and cared for the poor souls of slaves as they were dragged of the boats to be sold.

I'll be happy to stand on the side of emotion and intuition and against reason as often as I have to. Hopefull this clear moral voice of reason will take time to listen and learn from the human conscience.

Did Mr. Cork's blog caused an exposed nerve to sound loudly, you bet it did and I'm embarrassed that it doesn't cause more Catholic exposed nerves to sound off.


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