Enter your email address to receive updates by email:

subscribe in a reader like my facebook page follow me on twitter Image Map
Podcast Message Line: 512-222-3389
Logos Catholic Bible Software

« Why God Created eBay . . . | Main | Shiny! »

August 28, 2007

Comments

Mary Kay

Jimmy, thank you for posting this. John Allen captures the genuineness and spunkiness of Fallaci who I (always behind the times) recently learned of.

But...even though she and Mother Teresa both expressed doubts, it is not the same thing. Although they appear the same on the surface, they are different stages of the spiritual journey. The dark night can be lifted (and apparently was for Mother Teresa before her death).

Mary Kay

hmmm,, just noticed, from now on, I'll associate penguins with Mother Teresa and polar bears with Oriana Fallaci :^)

SDG

I wonder if Pre-16 may have had Fallaci, among others, in mind when he wrote in the prologue of Introduction to Christianity about the atheist's "temptation to believe" ("But suppose it is true after all").

We seem as a species haunted by a sort of looming abyss that is either occupied or empty, and even if we believe we may sometimes struggle with the thought that perhaps it is empty after all, and even if we disbelieve we may sometimes struggle with the thought that perhaps it is not.

The very fact that this abyss looms for us seems to me a be a sort of clue.

Tim J.

Well put, Steven.

You Know Who You Are

See, hetr again, this is one of the beatiful things about our Church. We don't care who you are or what you've believed, we will, like Blessed Mother Teresa, take the time to sit with you and hold your hand when you die because we know that God loves you!! We have respect for all people's belief's and while we want all to come to know and serve the Lord, we still know that you deserve the respect and dignity that every person does. HE created us all.

You Know Who You Are

(this is why I ought to preview before posting) the second word in my above post is suppose to be "here" . ;)

Tim J.

I won't say I have respect for all people's beliefs... some beliefs are not seriously worthy of respect. But I do highly respect all people's RIGHT to their beliefs. I respect their free will because it is a gift from God, and is not to be messed with.

I admire that people will sometimes make great sacrifices for their beliefs, even if I think those beliefs are wrong. I respect their sincerity, even if I can't really respect the content of their beliefs.

There are plenty of people who hold the technically correct creed, but don't make the sacrifices needed for real sanctity. They are neither hot nor cold.

I pray I am less and less like that. Jesus despises such behavior.

Brian Day

YKWYA,

Or switch to Firefox. It has a built-in spell checker. :)

You Know Who You Are

Okay, TimJ said this part much better than I did, but pretty much that is what I meant, ...
"I won't say I have respect for all people's beliefs... some beliefs are not seriously worthy of respect. But I do highly respect all people's RIGHT to their beliefs. I respect their free will because it is a gift from God, and is not to be messed with."
However, you could still sit with them and hold their hand at the hour of their death and silently pray, for example, the Chaplet of Divine Mercy: (have mercy on us and on the whole world.)

dd

Oriana died in her native land, a place relatively long on Catholic priests. I don't know the circs of her death (beyond cancer, private hospital, etc.), and I kind of hope God managed to coax her through the pearly gates before they shut for good.

To quote GKC: "I rather fancy that there are many atheists of that type in heaven, scratching their heads and wondering where they are."

John Damascus

To develop YouKnowWhoYouAre's point, Catholics can pray "Eternal rest grant unto her O Lord ...".

But moving to things of this world, in the article, I was struck by,

All of us have been shaped by a Christian culture. Facing a threat from the outside, and we all know where it comes from, we have to rally around our culture, which is the culture of Christianity, even if in the end we can't bring ourselves to believe in God, except perhaps, every now and then, at night

In the 'West' (ie those who accept the best values of the Enlightenment), the mainstream ideology is that of Relativism, whose adherents systematically undermine the objectivism of Christianity particularly Catholicism.

The Islamist challenge seems uncritically self-confident in its divine objectivism, backed up by rage, force and induced guilt (eg Regensburg, Muhammad Cartoons), to suppress any attempt at criticism from outside or within.

Relativism does not give the believer any grounds for courage against threats, nor any intellectual or other basis for withstanding an intolerant and confident objectivism backed by force/rage plus guilt/political correctness.

Only an objective ideology has any hope of withstanding such a threat without the use of force.

The main objective ideologies in the West are derived from (Catholic) Christianity, or Materialism (either Marxist or Scientific). Marxism as a force is now dead. The most popular "scientific" ideology is represented by people like Richard Dawkins - laughably naive to anyone who has studied any philosophy. Many see the Church as lacking integrity (clerical abuse scandals), credibility and relevance.

The house of the "West" is divided and fighting within itself (Evangelicals vs Dawkinites vs Libertarians vs Relativists vs Catholics).

Those who lined up to kick the Pope after Regensburg or who rail against a "Papist Dictatorship" should compare that fantasy against that of being a Dhimmi and understand that Christian culture provides the best basis for a non-violent defense against Islamism as Fallaci realized.

Michele P

About that bell-ringing: Regardless of what it took for Bishop Fisichella to pull it off, what a fabulous way to repay Oriana for the copyright royalties never paid for her "Letter to a Child Never Born," when JP II had it published in Poland while he was still a bishop there. The bible teaches that "a worker is worth his wages." Sounds as though she was aware of that as well as the Church's teaching on "occult compensation."

About faith: Some gifts are given in private. At the end of the day. Behind closed doors. By candle light. On deathbeds. With a friend holding your hand.

About doubt: It does come up to reel it's ugly head, doesn't it?

Perhaps the Church would regain relevance and credibility if it's clergy made an effort to step up to the plate. You can't fight cancer with a cotton ball. Most sermons I hear are cotton balls. Oriana Fallaci would run for the door. That movie from another century with Gregory Peck and Anthony Perkins, "On The Beach," says it best when you see the deserted streets and makeshift signs: "There's still time, brother."

Finally, what bad word? I didn't see any bad word...just the truth.


Blackadder

The bit about (then) Cardinal Wojtyla and "Letter to a Child Never Born" does raise an interesting question. From the article, I would infer that Wojtyla wasn't under any legal obligation to pay Fallaci for reprinting the book. But was he under a moral obligation to do so (as she seems to have thought)?

I think not. Copyright laws strike me as being more a matter of positive law than natural right, and in the absence of any laws saying that you must pay for publishing a particular literary work, I don't see that there would be any moral obligation to do so.

Michele P

Since I do not know under what circumstances Cardinal Wojtyla saw fit to "publish" the work by Fallaci, I can't address what he may or may not have been thinking. But I hardly think that she intended it as a "free tract" to be handed out. That's why authors need to protect their work. At the very least, you have to ask permission to reproduce someone's work and not pay for the royalties, due to some charitable circumstance. But the charity belongs to the author, not the person who wants to benefit in some way. This "work" was her property. In any case, the only people who can "reprint" something are the original publishers. Common sense tells me that to get her work published in Poland, and I assume into the Polish language, requires it to be typeset by a publishing company there. It takes money to publish a book. It is the intellectual property of the author. Also, she needs to know her words aren't being mistranslated. It would have been the right thing to do to get in contact with her to explore her generosity. I don't expect a fellow artist to be looking for a handout in such a manner. In short, he should have contacted her through the proper channels. Not only would it have been nice, it would have been gentlemanly.

Mary Kay

Blackadder, I would disagree and agree with Michele's "The bible teaches that "a worker is worth his wages."

Royalties are writers' bread and butter. Would you still go to work if there were no laws requiring your employer to pay you?

Then Cardinal Wojtyla may have had a point about being in a Communist country (perhaps more than one given his having to deal with the Communist authorities), but God makes sure that recompense happens.

Thank you, Mary Kay.

In the words of Donna Summer, "She works hard for the money, so you better treat her right."

Michele P

I forgot to mention that Donna Summer is a Catholic. Her album, "Cat's Without Claws" reflected a lot of the spirtual journey and the vulnerability we have like cat's without claws.

Michele P

And the typos we make. Let's not go there. Long day I guess.

Blackadder

My employer has agreed to pay a certain amount in exchange for my working for him. His obligation to pay me, therefore, arises out of the moral law, and he is still obligated to pay regardless of what the positive law may say on the matter (though I do think the positive law should enforce that obligation). The same does not appear to be true of so-called intellectual property rights. Those rights exist only by the positive law. They are heavily circumscribed, and no one would ever think of treating them the way we treat other property rights. For example, if one had a moral right to payment whenever someone else used his words, then it would be wrong to ever quote someone else without paying them for doing so. Intellectual property rights are also only granted for a fixed term of years, while normal property rights last forever.

The argument is often made that without copyright artists would not be able to make a living, but I don't think this is true. Copyright laws are of fairly recent vintage, and many of the greatest works of literature and music were created without them. Even today, cookbooks continue to be published despite the fact that you can't copyright recipes, and stores continue to sells plenty of books by G.K. Chesterton and Shakespeare despite the fact that the copyrights on those works have expired. Certainly Fallaci herself managed to thrive as a writer even though she wasn't paid for the Polish reprint of "Letter to a Child Never Born."

Algami

Apparently, the Vatican believes there is morality to copyright, at least when it's the Vaticans.

"The Vatican Publishing House, as an Institution connected with the Holy See, has been entrusted with the exercise and custody, permanently and throughout the world, of every moral copyright and of all the exclusive financial rights - without any exception - over all the deeds and documents through which the Supreme Pontiff exercises his own Magisterium."
(From the Vatican, 31 May 2005)

Mary

The argument is often made that without copyright artists would not be able to make a living, but I don't think this is true. Copyright laws are of fairly recent vintage, and many of the greatest works of literature and music were created without them.

Because they were explicitly commissioned and paid for. Do you want to read only what some rich man wants to hire?

And when writing for the popular audience -- "starving artist" is not hyperbole.

Blackadder

Mary,

I don't want to read "only what some rich man wants" any more than I want to read only what the masses want. I want to read what's good. If you want to argue that the quality of works written under the current system are superior to the quality works written due to patronage, I don't evny you your task.

Further, while many works in the "bad old days" were created via patronage, many were not. Shakespeare, for example, made his living chiefly through a commercial market. Given that publishers can make money off books even when they don't hold the copyright on them, I don't see why the same wouldn't be true today (writers today have tremendous advantages over previous times in that the cost of publishing is comparatively cheap while the demand for books is much greater). Publishers would publish more copies of the really popular books (which would therefore be quite cheap) and less of the less popular ones (which would be more expensive). At the margins, there might be some people who couldn't make a living at writing under the new system, but that this would lead to less overall quality in books is not at all clear. In fact, there have been plenty of artists who pretty much didn't get paid for their work at all, as they were not published until after they were dead. If getting rid of copyright means getting rid of people who are in it for the money, then I'm not sure I see the problem.

Blackadder

Some further thoughts:

There's a certain irony in arguing on a blog that people will only write if they are paid to do it. Very few bloggers make their living through blogging or even make any substantial money at it. Yet there is no shortage of blogs and many are of high quality

If getting rid of copyrights really were going to seriously cut into publishers' budgets, we can expect them to come up with creative ways of getting around this fact. For example, a publisher might refuse to sell books to a book-seller unless it agrees not to sell any reproductions of that book by other publishers. Since a book-seller gains from being able to sell a book when it first comes out, and makes just as much money off of a book regardless of the publisher, most stores would likely accept such an agreement. We might also see a return to the serialization of novels common in the 19th century. Any who knows what other inventive means people might come up with to meet the market demand for books.

Mary Kay

Someone needs to explain the finances of writing for a living, but I'm not up for it tonight.

Algami

Without copyright protection, all books would simply be a free download on the Internet. Including serialized novels.

horatio

Mary Kay is right though it is not simply the finances of writing for a living, but also of publishing for a living.

Publishers often invest over a hundred thousand dollars in producing a popular book run and in some cases over a million. Copyright is essential to seeing books reach the mass market and allowing the publisher a return on their investment.

A writer's investment is time. Time they should be compensated for when their work is accepted by a free market. A publisher's investment is monetary, and quantifiable, and allows books to reach the wide audiences in our country.

Supporting ntellectual property supports natural law. To steal one's ideas is void of morality. You don't need to pay someone everytime you quote them, but you have to acknowledge their contribution. Reprinting someone else's work for your profit without paying royalty to the originator of the work is immoral. To be blunt, it is stealing. Last I checked there was a commandment that addressed this issue.

LJ

This story reminds me of talk from Father Groeschel on the parable of Matthew 20: 1-16.
He pointed out that sometimes we who have been faithful, or have tried to be, for many years, can be a little put out by the person that just makes it into the Kingdom of God by the skin of their teeth.

Father said that from some of the spiritual writings of the mystics on Divine Mercy it seems that even as the soul has passed from the body and is sinking fast into the abyss of outer darkness, Jesus is there, hand out-stretched right to the last millisecond, asking them to believe.

I don't know if that is true, but it seems that some like Fallaci are so close, yet bound by their pride, by their rebellion, by their unwillingness to lay down their arms and surrender, and if there is hope for them it is in the depths of their soul in response to Divine Mercy while their will is still free.

A very touching story, not only of a woman who wanted badly to believe, it appears, but also a Bishop of remarkable patience and love and pastoral care for a passing soul.

Blackadder

Horatio,

G.K. Chesterton's works are no longer protected by copyright and are available for free online:

http://www.cse.dmu.ac.uk/~mward/gkc/books/index.html

Yet if you go to your local Barnes and Noble, you will likely find many copies of his books for sale there. Same with Shakespeare, Dickens, Austen, and a host of other authors. Clearly, then, the fact that a work is not protected by copyright and is available free online does not mean that a publisher cannot make money by publishing the book.

Think about it this way. It takes just as much time and money for company B to publish a book as it does for company A to do so (unless, that is, B is more efficient). B isn't going to republish a book unless it thinks it can recoup its investment and turn a profit. So it only makes sense for B to republish a book if a) there is enought demand for the book that both A and B can turn a profit, or b) B can sell the book more cheaply than A, thus gaining a disproportionate share of the profits. In either case at least as many copies of the book will reach the market as would happen if only A published the book, and many customers may be able to get the book cheaper.

It takes time to write a blog. Does this mean that bloggers are owed compensation by those who read them? Writers are compensated not for their time (one person may be able to write a wonderful novel in half the time it takes another to write an awful one), but based on their ability to sell what they write. If a publisher thinks that he can make a profit by publishing a particular book, then he will happily pay that writer in order to be able to do so.

You seem to confuse giving someone credit when you use their ideas with giving them compensation when you use their words. Ideas cannot be copyrighted; only the expresion can be. Saying that you cannot use another person's ideas without paying them for it is sure way to stiffle discourse, not encourage it.

Michael

There are legitimate criticisms of the Catholic (Roman Rite/Latin) that would be prone to certain words you would prefer others not to utilize even though they might be historically accurate.

I preface this with the fact that I am Catholic of the Roman Rite and very happy with my cultural, spiritual, and ecclesiastical heritage.
I prefer the Tridentine (post Trent/pre Vatican II) Mass although certainly believe any liturgy is valid as recognized by the See of Peter and keeping with the specific rubrics of that Liturgical Tradition.

Many Catholics do not know that the Catholic Church is NOT the ROMAN Catholic Church per se but a number of "Churches" (I think 22 but I could be wrong) with certain specific language and definitions used for Rites and Churches.
I am not an expert but am saying this as many of my fellow ROMAN Catholics are ignorant (ignorant not used as a pejorative here but as descriptive) of the aspects of Eastern Rites which are sui juris and thus are not under the jurisdiction of our Bishop and Cardinal system in the US (I realize this is the internet so no disrespect to non US readers here) but have I belive called Eparchys. There is a good link from the EWTN Website by a gentleman (I don't know him personally) named Anthony Dragani if memory serves me correctly or directly east2west.com or maybe .org. There is also a Byzantine.net or something like that. Wikipedia also has a list of the different Rites and "Churches" in union with Rome that I think most have corresponding either Orthodox or "Oriental" non-union Churches with the notable exception of the Maronites.

The reason I mention the above is that there is some dark history we (as Roman/Latin Catholics) have in terms of forced "Latinization" and other historical problems we caused. Also, many Roman Catholic, even friends of mine, elevate (at least sometimes) culture and outward aesthetics over the internal substance which is certainly present at our Catholic brothers of different Rites no matter how exotic they may seem. Many Catholics (Roman) especially in the US do not know that there are Married (not Anglican converts) Catholic priests who have always had that tradition, or priests with beards, or spiritual devotions that do not include the wonderful Rosary. In terms of Liturgy, they have liturgies just as reverent and sacred as those who promote the Tridentine Rite want usually in accord with the ancient Liturgies as designed (by God but through) St. Basil and/or St. John Chrystostom--but also some different traditions in than Christian Egypt, Ethiopia, and Armenia (although at least with those 3 and some Assyrians, and Syrians in India--they are considered Monosphytes or Miaphytes--although most have considered at this point semantic and political disagreements although they accept the Council of Nicea they did not and some do not accept the Council of Chalcedon--although those in union with Rome certainly accept Chalcedon)
These liturgies have ancient/sacred liturgical languages like Biblical Greek or Old Slavonic or the Geez script/Ahrmaic (not the same as Aramaic spoke by Jesus per se but the Geez Egyptian and Ethiopian spoken language) as well as venacular Arabic etc.

These Christian communities, even those in union with Rome are not always recognized. Many of them are persecuted by both Muslims and others even in the State of Israel (at least as perceived by some). This persecution is considered by some to be heightened more recently by the rise of Islamic fundamentalism and families that had wealth and education in Syria, Iraq, Egypt, and other places have left or even been killed. The Egyptian Copts actually welcomed the Islamic invaders as better than the heavy handed Byzantines and Melkites not just because of Chalecedon but politics and oppression. Ethiopia (which sent represents to the Lateran Council and were perceived to be followers of Prebsyter John) was an independent Christian Nation that survived the separation from the Christian West and Islamic invaders (sometimes with the help of Portugal) and had an ancient and proud culture that maintained independence for centuries. These Oriental Christians believe that Jesus is True God and True Man (the question lies in the hypostatic union although some claim the Monosphytes only believe Jesus is True God and the Man is incidental although the Copts will tell you this is not true), have apostolic succession according to the teachings of the Catholic Church (as do the Orthodox), thus valid (although perhaps illicit) Sacraments, believe in the Real Presence of the Eucharist (although some difference when it becomes It during the Liturgy and a Sacrificial Priesthood. They honor the Blessed Mother Mary as the Theotokos (God bearer) and believe in her Assumption after the Dormition.

3 incidents of Roman/Latin oppression and division by us to the Universal Church are/were:
1. The 4th Crusade called by (I think Innocent the III) in the 13th Century that did not go to the Holy Land but sacked Constantinople and is remembered to this day by the bitter memories of Monks on Athos to common man in streets of Greece. This weakened the Byzantine Christian East and caused serious historical and emotional damage. The Venetians cut a lot of deals with the Turks for trade and weakened Christianity with the merchants and Doge of Venice.
This is still a symbol of division and protest to this day and why there were protests against the current and the last Pope.
The interesting part is that at least some of the Paleogious Emporers, while retaining Greek Liturgy, where in union with Rome, perhaps for political reasons. But there was an attempt to enforce Latin, certain types of dress etc.

2. The Jesuits and other Portuguese in Ethiopia had an opportunity to help Ethiopia (and did in some military battles) but again tried to force Latinization, Latin language, Western Cassocks etc when there was an older tradition in Ethiopia of Christianity and Christianity as the state religion with certain praxis that included styles of art, iconography, church design, monasticism etc that was theologically correct and truly indigeneous. The Italians, supposedly with Blessings from the Papacy tried to invade Ethiopia in the late 1800s and again during WWII.
Violence, war, invasion, forced Latinization, deprivation of Christian (not pagan or uncivilized) culture was tried.

3. In the United States, Archbishop Ireland of Minnesota forced many Eastern Rite Catholics in full union of Rome out of the Catholic Church and is sarcastically called the founder of Modern American Orthodoxy. Even if they were not forced out per se, he did not want them to have their legitimate traditions of married priests, bearded priests, different liturgy etc.
Archbishop Ireland insulted the widower priest Alexis Toth and wanted his flock to learn English and be part of the German or Polish parishes already present. He did not respect the tradition of icons, married priests, beards, the Church as a catethical tool, venacular or sacred languages different than Latin etc. This caused law suits, family fights, Churches and families being split and the growth of Eastern Christian Orthodoxy in America. The American Bishops did not want separate jurisdiction for these Eastern Rite Catholics (Mostly Ruthenian/"Rusyn" from the Carpatho Mountains in the Austro Hungarian mountains basically related to modern day Ukrainians although settled in different countries in the Catholic Empire with full separate liturgical and cultural rites and in full union with Rome.
So when some of these Eastern Catholics or Orthodox Christians speak of Roman or Latinization as a pejorative there is a historical and logical justification.

I realize the impetus for the new rule was more from the Protestant polemics (who cannot understand the nuance of what I just posted) and not because of a historical view and a recognition of forced Latinization and historical errors of the Church.

I want to close to say that I believe the Church is Divine and in a Supernatural way perfect, and we should all be in union with Peter.
Historical flaws of a 2000 year old Church with over a Billion members does not mean that is wrong--but neither should it mean that we think we are perfect in a human/historical/temporal sense nor that even the great times of the Church such as the Medeival (which is historically better than the Protestant or Secular polemics) or the great art and architecture of the Rennaisance (which also produced a lot of decadence and sin besides great art and accomplishment) or the English language Oxform movement or a real (or sometimes mythological) 1950s American Catholicism--that these are historical epochs and cultural issues are not the same as theological issues even if they are important or good. We must respect other cultures and have not always done so from a sense of superiority and imperialism in a negative sense that could use the term "Roman".
Again, "Roman" has produced much greatness also and there is a need for uniformity and universalism but not to destroy earlier Christian traditions or not even realize they exist or not to also merge with later cultures that may have also been treated badly or at least imperfectly.

The bottom line is that some negative use of Roman/Latin--Latinization and other words may be justified depending on the topic and who is using it, in what context and why.

As in all historical discussions, they are not matters of dogma--I do believe what I wrote is correct and should be listened to but it is prudential and I could be wrong. I think I am well informed but come humbly before you to discuss this issue and if I am wrong in my thesis (which I do strongly believe) or individual historical or theological points (which is possible as I have not annotated this or provided too much aprobation but you can check the facts on the Catholic Encyclopedia, Wikipedia and others as well as websites of the Eastern Rite Churches)--I am willing to admit error when confronted it on these non dogmatic issues as I am writing this as a blog post and not an academic work and it is somewhat late for me and I am typing fast.

I do hope this post is helpful to you and provides some context for certain words that may be used.

Thank you for reading and allowing me to post.
Please pray for me as I pray for this Blog and the readers and for the unity of Christianity.

Mary Kay

Horatio, thank you so very much for your explanation.

Mary

G.K. Chesterton's works are no longer protected by copyright and are available for free online:

http://www.cse.dmu.ac.uk/~mward/gkc/books/index.html

Yet if you go to your local Barnes and Noble, you will likely find many copies of his books for sale there.

Chesterton is not getting a red cent from them.

Well, then, he's dead, and allowing writers to receive payment for a certain amount of time is certainly a workable solution.

But your proposed solution is that the writer gets NO money for it.

It takes just as much time and money for company B to publish a book as it does for company A to do so (unless, that is, B is more efficient). B isn't going to republish a book unless it thinks it can recoup its investment and turn a profit.

And one wonderful thing they can do to help bring about a profit is to not pay the writer.

Shakespeare, please note, was a playwright. His works were performed. And he still had problems with people ripping off his works.

Blackadder

Mary,

I realize that Chesterton doesn't get any money from the sale of his books today. Chesterton is dead. Someone suggested that publishers couldn't make a profit by bringing out a book if that book was available for free on the internet. That portion of my comment was responding to that objection.

I dealt with the objection that writers would not get paid without copyright in other portions of my comments (I can't be expected to address every objection with every statement). There are monetary advantages to being the first to publish a particular book. Most sales of most books occur during the first few months after publication, before anyone would have a chance to republish. A publisher can also use the author herself to market the book, to attend book signings, etc. Because of this advantage, publishers would be willing to pay a writer for her manuscript (instead of the current system where the publisher buys the copyright from the writer and then holds it itself).

As I suggested before, there are many things a publisher could do to increase the advantage it has as the "authorized" publisher. It could refuse to sell its books to booksellers unless they agreed not to sell any republications of their books. It could also make agreements with other publishers not to republish each others' books. Etc. So writers would get paid, largely in the same way they do now.

You Know Who You Are

So, if I had plans on writing a book, which I don't, but if I did. Would I be better off letting the publisher buy the copywrite outright itself and then they would have to find a way to market it? (See, if I ever did write one, I sure would not want to go around trying to sell it myself nor signing them),except for a few close family members and friends, which by the way, is probably all that would buy my book.

Mary Kay

Would I be better off letting the publisher buy the copywrite outright itself

Only if you want to give away income that you've earned. In short, no.

Michele P

Spin, spin, spin. I'm told by someone who has worked in publishing that unless there is documentation of an agreement between publishing houses you can argue this stuff forever. Ethics doesn't even really enter into it. But for the artist it can become infuriating. Positive law aside, is it a good idea to stiff a waitress even though you don't have to? I can tell you this from experience, you don't want to do that. Your coffee is gonna taste funny somewhere down the line. Hey, you reap what you sow. That energy will come back around in some form or another.

Let's get human. Why would you want to treat another person like that?
If the bible tells us that a worker is worth his wages, it means what it says. It's a potent statement and can be trusted.

In fact, this whole issue smacks of abuse. It shouldn't be tolerated in a marriage, and shouldn't be tolerated here.

Blackadder, people will write when they want to. But when they want money, they are wise to say so. I can't say that your arguments are compelling. Just a lot of cape waving.

Horatio, right on.

Michele P

Oriana Fallaci deserved the cathedral ringing of bells. Bishop Fisichella arranged it. Nice move. God does pay people back where men have failed.
Her new book, published this spring is "The Force of Reason."

Maureen

Oh, you young'ns! You forget so much!

The Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact countries did not acknowledge Western copyright law. In effect, they nationalized everybody else's stuff. (And frankly, any sovereign nation is within their rights to do this; copyright is artificially imposed by the state for its own benefit, as encouraging creativity, and can be de-imposed.)

However, this turned out to be of little benefit to the USSR et al. By removing copyright, they made it totally legal (for those who could get printing equipment and publication of particular works approved) to reprint the latest Western books and articles as soon as they could be translated. This was one of the many small rebellions which eventually brought the system down.

Oriana Fallaci was not the only Western author to demand royalties from publishers in Communist countries. While they had a moral right to do so, the idea was pretty ludicrous; the exchange rate was such that a "fair royalty" would have been about three cents per million copies. What's more, contact with the West always brought unwelcome attention upon the contact-ee, and information like addresses wasn't exactly easy to get. How did people expect Communist country publishers to contact them to make these contracts for these ludicrously small sums? Look up their agents in the New York phonebook that was way above their clearance?

So yeah, I think Bishop Wojtyla was perfectly within his moral right to ignore Oriana Fallaci. Though I would have thrown her three kopecks, myself.

Michele P

Here comes that funny cup of coffee.

Ed Peters

What? We've gone from "Jimmy Akin said a bad word!" to "Jimmy Akin linked to a story that had a bad word in it!"

Overkill?

Snowman

"Oriana Fallaci deserved the cathedral ringing of bells. Bishop Fisichella arranged it. Nice move. God does pay people back where men have failed."

Michele, don't you mean a man paid back where another man (allegedly) failed? God didn't ring those bells, a man did.

Regardless, you really seem to have cheapened the gesture, reducing to repayment of a supposed monetary debt.

I really have no horse in the race, but reading the debate, I'd have to agree with Blackadder (it helps that he's actually a lawyer). When the only rebuttal to his point about Chesterton's books still selling even though they're available for free is to retort that he's dead, I'd say Blackadder has the win. The point is clear: copyright is not necessary for a person to profit from a work (I'm not saying it isn't good to have, it's just not necessary). Realistically, if JP hadn't had her work published in Poland, it might never have sold a copy there anyway, at least as long as the Communists were in power. So the financial loss to her seems negligible.

Algami

Chesterton's books continue to sell in part because the publisher doesn't have to pay the author a dime. The continuing sale of Chesteron's books is not proof that an author can fairly profit from a book without copyright.

Mary Kay

Ed, what do you think of Blackadder's statement that there is no moral obligation to honor a copyright versus the Scripture verse that "the laborer is worth his wages?" (Luke 10:7)

Blackadder's wording of his initial statement is in his 8/28/07, 1:43 pm post.

Thanks.

Michele P

Snowman, have you never heard that God is your provider, he only uses your employer to sign your check? Maybe you're self employed. God uses people as his instruments. Things have a way of working out. I don't care if Blackadder is a lawyer. There's plenty of them on the subway.

If those bells ringing after her death held great value for her, then she got her dying wish.

Ed, you've got a point there. But the expressive word used in the article is just a word. Who added the bad?

You Know Who You Are

Michele, giggle, Jimmy did!!

YKWYA - Of course he did. Giggle. TV doesn't like that word either.

You Know Who You Are

I don't like it either, I added the giggle because she was questioning WHO added it.

Snowman

"Chesterton's books continue to sell in part because the publisher doesn't have to pay the author a dime. The continuing sale of Chesteron's books is not proof that an author can fairly profit from a book without copyright."

Algami, you're still wrong. When I buy a book, I have no idea whether the publisher is paying the author, whether it has copyrights, etc. It is simply not an issue in anyone's decision to purchase a book. So the fact that Chesterton's books are still selling do indeed prove that good books can sell without a copyright.

Michele, I'm not surprised you don't care that Blackadder is a lawyer, you don't seem to care about logic either, because you're not making a lot a sense. (There's a lot of people like that on subways too, but I have no idea why you think the ridership of subways is relevant.) No one denied she got her dying wish with the ringing of the bells, but give credit to the man who actually rang them. And don't cheapen it to some form of payback; it was a loving gesture done for a woman the bishop cared about and tried to lead to God.

Michele P

YKWYA - I made the last post and forgot to put my name. So the bottom line is I knew what Jimmy had as a warning before I read the article. I don't consider it a bad word. Expressive maybe, but not bad. It was just a rhetorical question. I think we humans tend to add to reality. The concept is not the thing.

Mary

As I suggested before, there are many things a publisher could do to increase the advantage it has as the "authorized" publisher. It could refuse to sell its books to booksellers unless they agreed not to sell any republications of their books.

So they claim it was someone who bought the book.

Michele P

Mary, what do you mean "So they claim it was someone who bought the book"? Not sure I understand your post.

Blackadder

I agree that "a laborer is worth his wages." I don't see, however, what that statement has to do with copyright. Libraries and book resellers "rob" authors and publishers of profits just as much as republishing would. If I buy a book second hand, neither the publisher nor the author ever sees a dime of that money, and it is certainly true that publishers would make more money off of a book if it could never be resold or lent to another person. This hardly means that libraries and second hand book stores are immoral.

Smoky Moutain

This hardly means that libraries and second hand book stores are immoral.

Perhaps not second hand book stores (it's probably a gray area), but I firmly believe that libraries are immoral.

Ed Peters

Does anyone here understand what "copyright" even is? Else, how account for some of the posts above?

Ed Peters

Ok, look:

I write a book. A publisher prints that book, and seels it for $ 10. By my contract, I get $ 1. There, so far, I;ve made $ 1 for writing my book. If the publisher sells 10,000, I make $ 10K for writing the book.

So far, so good?

Now, go back to day one: Some buys my book (I make $ 1), and photocopies it 1000x, and sells them for $ 5. They make $ 5000, I make a total of $ 1.

See the point?

Of course copyright is, per se, a function of natural justice.

Questions?

Smoky Moutain

Does anyone here understand what "copyright" even is? Else, how account for some of the posts above?

It's certainly different from "copyleft". Neither is it the same as "copywrong". It's similar to "copywrite", but quite different from "copyread". Close to it in meaning is "copyrite", but it's quite the opposite of "copyunorthdox". It's not too disimilar from "copywright", but people don't use that word very often, preferring "copywrought", which is quite distinct from "copyunformed".

Algami

When I buy a book, I have no idea whether the publisher is paying the author, whether it has copyrights, etc. It is simply not an issue in anyone's decision to purchase a book. So the fact that Chesterton's books are still selling do indeed prove that good books can sell without a copyright.

Continued sales of Chesterton's books do not prove that an AUTHOR can fairly profit from book sales without copyright. As a publisher, I can sell quite a number of books at a profit if I can cut out or reduce payments to the author.

Libraries and book resellers "rob" authors and publishers of profits just as much as republishing would.

Book resales are like used car, used furniture and second-hand clothing sales. Some can argue the "robbed" value was built into the original sales price.

You Know Who You Are

Smokey, so if someone copied my book, could I call them a copy cat?

Smoky Moutain

Cheers!

Mary Kay

Ed, thank you!

Smoky Moutain

Are you an author, Mary Kay? Something about your responses on this thread suggest to me that this subject *matters* to you.

Blackadder

Ed,

Most authors don't own the copyrights to their works. They sell them to the publisher before publication.

The amount of royalties in your example is also *way* too high. Royalties are such a small percentage of book sales that the only way someone could live off of them is if their books are really popular, in which case I'd imagine they could live without them, too.

But suppose the numbers in your example are right. Only, instead of buying one copy and photocopying it, I buy 100 and then rent them to people for $1 a month. After a year, I will have made $1200 and you will have made $100. How much money would natural justice say I owed you, in that scenario?

Michele P.

It is you, snowman, who is on the attack. Just because someone is a lawyer doesn't make their comments any better than anyone elses. So he's a lawyer. So what? God bless him, too. As far as cheapening goes, you sound as though you are trying to find something wrong with anything I have said. Try to keep up. If you don't like what I have said, that's fine. The bells didn't ring themselves. No one said that. I am simply suggesting that God perhaps honored her in the end by this ringing of the bells. Bishop Fisichella somehow arranged it. Who said he didn't? You call it payback. Sounds like a backhanded slap in your written delivery. Don't put words in my mouth. That's your word. And, yes, like the article said, he was loving to her at the end, and prayed for her and stayed with her. I think that's great. You seem to be intellectually offended if someone sees the hand of God in it. Maybe you just don't like Fallaci. Doesn't matter. You are entitled to your opinion no matter what you think. And you're equally entitled to ride the subway. It will cost you the same amount of money that it costs everyone else.


John

Am I the only one who realizes the only reason Fallaci was so Anti Muslim was because she was a secularist who despised ANY religion and even admitted she was an Atheist, and was by no means a flag waver and defender of Christian Europe. Somehow she became the great anti Islam figher and I am so amazed and amused how the Christian/Catholic world, so desperate for hero's, any hero who would stand up to Islam where you even have the pope in JPII as the article so clearly illustrated bowing down to the Islamic threat, that they wrapped their arms around this woman.

Catholicism has no leader because of Ecumenism and the Catholic church has basically destroyed herself in trying to appease these false faiths and is now paying the price, that a woman, and atheist is actually revered by Italy as an anti Muslim activist where should not the Vicar of Christ as in yesteryear be doing such???

JoAnna

*sigh* John, if you keep riding that hobby horse you're going to get yourself banned. And then what would you do for entertainment?

Tim J.

"Catholicism has no leader..."

Well, we have YOU, John.

John

JoAnna


Hobby horse? Talking about secularism and the lack of leadership within the church?

You are so brainwashed are you not?

Daddy-ban John!!! I dont like what he is saying!!

How about refute my statement instead of crying for Daddy?

Esau

Are you an author, Mary Kay? Something about your responses on this thread suggest to me that this subject *matters* to you.

Posted by: Smoky Moutain | Aug 29, 2007 1:16:02 PM


I thought Mary Kay was the Cosmetics company chick?

Blackadder

As to the idea that a publisher can make a profit selling Chesterton books only because he doesn't have to pay an author to put the book out, that would only be true if fewer Chesterton books were being sold than are sold by any midlist author. But that isn't the case. There are plenty of new books that get outsold by Orthodoxy or Hamlet but which still make money.

Esau

JoAnna


Hobby horse? Talking about secularism and the lack of leadership within the church?

You are so brainwashed are you not?

Daddy-ban John!!! I dont like what he is saying!!

How about refute my statement instead of crying for Daddy?

Posted by: John | Aug 29, 2007 1:59:05 PM

JoAnna is a "cry-baby" calling out for daddy?

Ohhhhhh --- thems fighting words!

I'm gonna tell! I'm gonna tell!

Ed Peters

Blackadder, are you being serious?

Surely you can answer all, but possibly the last, of your own questions, and tell us why your first couple of points are irrelevant to the discussion.

On the chance that your questions ARE sincere, I'll tell you what to look into first: the difference between owning a book, and owning the copyright on that book.

Really, all of this info is on-line, folks, only the finest points would need legal assistance to understand them.

Michele P

John, you might be right. But didn't the pope recently get lambasted for stating his opinion last year at a German university in a strictly scholarly setting delivering a scholarly paper? Thought the rules were a little different there. People took things out of context. Fallaci was a freedom fighter in Italy as a young girl. That is my understanding. Plus a journalist.
So she has a history with the people so to speak. She also was not afraid to speak out.

Algami

There are plenty of new books that get outsold by Orthodoxy or Hamlet but which still make money.

Everyone of those new books is protected by copyright.

Blackadder

Ed,

I think you misunderstand me. I'm not arguing about what the law is. I'm arguing about what the law should be, or, more particularly, what would happen if the law were different than it now is. I'm well aware that current law allows you to resell a book but not to republish it. But the law could just as easily allow both or prohibit both.

If, in the context of such a discussion, someone says that copyright is required as a matter not simply of positive law but of natural justice, and produces and argument to that effect which, if valid, would seem to make reselling or lending books immoral, then I do not see the problem in pointing this out. It is no answer to say that current law recognizes such a distinction, since it is exactly the wisdom of the current law that is in dispute.

You Know Who You Are

pssst, Tim, I think you scared him off, nice work! :)

Mary

I agree that "a laborer is worth his wages." I don't see, however, what that statement has to do with copyright. Libraries and book resellers "rob" authors and publishers of profits just as much as republishing would. If I buy a book second hand, neither the publisher nor the author ever sees a dime of that money, and it is certainly true that publishers would make more money off of a book if it could never be resold or lent to another person. This hardly means that libraries and second hand book stores are immoral.

Under our current system of law, the way we recompense writers is by paying them when a copy is made; neither the library nor the second-hand book requires a copy. This is one means of giving them wages.

By the same token, a person who makes -- oh, pots -- can be paid a hourly wage by the pot factory, or can be paid when he sells the pots. Since both give recompense for labor, both are compatible with natural law.

Anyone who wishes to get rid of copyright needs to suggest another means by which the writers can receive wages.

Blackadder

Algami,

True but irrelevant. If a book without copyright protection has higher total sales than a book with it and both are profitable, then you cannot say that the only reason the book without copyright is profitable is because the publisher didn't have to pay the author anything. The book still would have been profitable to publish even if the publisher had to pay the author.

Mary

The amount of royalties in your example is also *way* too high.

Nonsense. Perfectly typical scenario.

Royalties are such a small percentage of book sales that the only way someone could live off of them is if their books are really popular, in which case I'd imagine they could live without them, too.

This makes no sense at all.

How on earth can a person live off really popular books if they aren't paid anything for having written them?

Mary

If a book without copyright protection has higher total sales than a book with it and both are profitable, then you cannot say that the only reason the book without copyright is profitable is because the publisher didn't have to pay the author anything.

The one where he had to pay the author had a hit to its profit; it would been more profitable without it.

Therefore, if you allow the publisher to pay nothing by law, he will.

Blackadder

Mary,

I've already suggested how writers would get paid for their work. Mainly I think it would work just as it does now - publishers would pay them. If that wasn't sufficient, there are all sorts of other payment schemes that one could devise (everything from patronage to paypal), but for brevity's sake I won't go into them now.

Lurking behind your question, however, seems to be the idea that if someone labors, he is owed wages. I don't buy that at all. If you were to go home tonight to find that some guy you'd never seen before had painted your house purple, you wouldn't owe him wages, even if he had labored all day in the hot hot sun. He would only be entitled to wages if you had agreed to pay him for the job.

Blackadder

Mary,

A publisher has two choices. He can pay an author to publish his book, or he can wait until another publishes it, go out and buy a copy, and then begin the publication process. If he chooses the later course, he will be subject to several disadvantages. Since a lot of books sell most of their copies in the first few months after publication, republishing means missing out on all of those sales. He might also find that bookstores are unwilling to take his books, as they have agreed with the publisher not to do so. Further, if republishing a book will be highly profitable, he can count on other publishers doing the same thing, thus eating into any potential profits. Thus, in most cases, its going to be more profitable for a publisher to just pay an author upfront and get the advantages of doing so.

MissJean

Blackadder, you are clearly a lawyer because you love to argue, but it's also clear that you don't know very much about copyright law or its history. To make a very clear analogy: copyright is to literary work as a patent is to inventions.

So, just as the Soviet Union was right to not acknowledge copyright law, so China and other Communist countries are right to make so-called "pirated" copies of software and other so-called "intellectual property". After all, Bill Gates is already wealthy. He and the workers at Microsoft certainly don't need the money.

Mary

Mainly I think it would work just as it does now - publishers would pay them.

Why?

Lurking behind your question, however, seems to be the idea that if someone labors, he is owed wages. I don't buy that at all.

You use the fruits of someone else's labor -- such as their writing -- and the burden of proof is on you as to why you are allowed to do this.

You Know Who You Are

So, if I ever write a book, I ought to keep them short and in manuscript form, copy them myself on a copier, and hawk them from a web site. How's that? I could probably keep the price down that way too as I could just charge them the amount of paper and ink that I used, some for my time, and then just keep writing more and more. ;)

Algami

a lot of books sell most of their copies in the first few months after publication

And a lot of books don't. Your theory has some big holes in it.

He might also find that bookstores are unwilling to take his books, as they have agreed with the publisher not to do so.

And he might find many sellers more than happy to sell it, perhaps right down the street from the bookstores which won't.

Blackadder

Miss Jean,

You're right to point out the connection between patent and copyright. So far as I can tell, the case for patents is actually weaker than the case for copyright. There's not much chance that someone is going to take a copyrighted text, change it a little, and come up with something much more valuable (though this does happen sometimes, especially with music). In the case of inventions, though, derivative products can be quite valuable, and having a patent system can and does often stifle that innovation.

In addition, because patents tend to involve technicals matters and because patent law doctrines tend to be fuzzy, a lot of time and money is wasted on litigation, which further stifles innovation.

Michael

I don't find myself agreeing with Andrew Greeley a lot but his article today on Mother Teresa was right on.

It is a scandal that is not a scandal. The media loves to find scandal in the Catholic Church (and sometimes we give it to the media with a bow on) but sometimes there is no scandal.

This is the most misinterpreted story. Mother Teresa never said that she lost her faith per se nor that she was a aetheist, agnostic, or hypocrite (although all may have been possible)
BUT that she had DOUBTS, and fear and anxiety and did not always feel God's presence and love and she doubted God's existence and her own mission. We don't know the context nor her conclusion.

Greeley joked that when asked if he has doubts he responds NO only 20 before breakfast and coffee. He also says, and I think accurately, that fear and anxiety are part (for most) of the human condition. Greeley also qoutes John of the Cross and says the NYT times must have no Catholics on staff nor any fact checkers to discuss Catholic mystical theology or acseticism.

Again, I am not normally a Greeley fan nor agree with him much--but his article was right on.
This is the story that is not a story.

Blackadder

Algami,

Suppose you're a bookstore and I give you a choice: you can have a book to sell in March, when it first comes out, or you can wait and not get it until June. Oh, and you should know that your competitor down the street will be getting it in March. Which would you pick?

Mary Kay

If Blackadder is a lawyer, why doesn't he know the difference between lawfully owed wages (copyright) and defacement of property (vandalism)?

Blackadder, you started this by claiming no moral obligation and since then, you've engaged in legal subterfuges. Ed presented a very clear reason for natural justice.

Mary Kay

Smoky Mountain, you're perceptive. I'm in a transition process to where copyright is vital.

From the Sarabite

Is this a Protestant cultural misunderstanding? From the Sarabite blog:

The only reason the revelations of Mother Teresa's interior life may scandalize some American Christians is that they are completely detached from religion as a real way of life, which is to say that they are Protestants, either internally or also in name. Religion, more often than not, is about obligation, sacrifice, and duty, not about good feelings or "self-fufillment". Yes, it can seem that we are lying to ourselves sometimes, that we aren't "keeping it real" as we youngsters like to say. But sometimes the best thing to do is to shut-up and get on with God's business. And that can mean that we don't get fuzzy feelings inside, that we don't experience any material or "spiritual" gain in this life, and that we have to "keep up appearances". That's just life, in all of its manifestations. That is why our life within the Church is so important: it takes us out of ourselves and puts us into uncomfortable situations where we have to deal with the Other, either on a personal or intellectual level. And we aren't always right. And we aren't always "happy". But we trust in God and we go on. Day in and day out. Until we enter into the Kingdom of Heaven, with the help of His grace

MissJean

Blackadder, do you really mean to say that it's okay to copy someone else's ideas? So I invent a hydrogen-powered motorcyle, putting a lot of time and effort into it in hopes of entering into a business partnership with Harley-Davison. One of my neighbours (the engineer and Peeping Tom) spies on me and copies my design, then starts manufacturing it for a profit. Is it only okay because I don't have a lot of money and a good lawyer on retainer?

Also, is it then okay to plagiarize someone's doctoral thesis if I change several pages to make it better?

But to draw us back to topic - it really touched me that people are praying for Oriana Fallaci. One of my friends waffles between agnosticism and atheism, and one of my dearest cousins is a self-declared atheist. I pray for them, but sometimes I doubt whether my prayers will be answered. Reading the comments has really heartened me. Thanks.

Smoky Moutain

Mary Kay,

What are you writing?

Esau

How she founded the Mary Kay Cosmetics Empire!

John

In reading the main thread topic, I see nothing about copyright infringement, but somehow 50% of the posts have to deal with this topic!!

Talk about thread hijacking!!!!!:

Or does the topic of Fallaci and her adornment by a secular society who does not what Traditional Catholicism but at the same time realizes it hates Islam even worse, is so starved for a leader that it is willing to accept an atheist who as far as I read still doubted Gods existence up to the end, and I paraphrase her quote ("If you are there why dont you let me live??)who has blasted JPII for his embracement of Islam scare everyone off!!!!

Michael

I don't think it is just Protestantism, nor all bad per se--but also a very American success oriented philosophy and practical approach to life.

I actually like the Norman Vincent Peale (Rev) and his book Power of Positive Thinking (understanding flaws and limitations) and his Guideposts ministry. I had grandmas and aunts on my non Latino side who had the Guideposts magazine as a staple and it was very positive in their lives. There is an assumption that Faith can be willed and that we should trust in God--which is True but can be carried to an extreme. I think on the whole the Guideposts/Norman Vincent Peale message is good and very helpful but can not emphasize the reality of suffering and of the Cross which will come for everyone.

On the non Christian side, there is the famous Napolean Hill kind of success/self help classic THINK AND GROW RICH--which takes the POWER OF POSITIVE THINKING to a new level and focuses on temporal sucess. There are many good parts of the book and certainly nothing wrong (at least not per se) with thinking positive, visualizing results etc.
Some may think (and may think accurately) there are beginning elements of occultic practicies, divination, sorcerory etc--although sometimes these concerns are exagerrated. There is some mention, as humorous as that is in today's America, of Islam being the best religion. There is also mention of sublimination of sexual energies (not unknown in Catholic mystical theology and ascetic writings) although more occultic as in the quasi New Age Samuel Aun Woer and his prohibitions on masturbation for decreasing mystical energy and not, or at least not exact, prohibitions as an interpretation of the sin of Onan in the Old Testament or a violation of the reproductive nature. The post Temple Talmudic Jews (at least some) in the Kabbalah talk about masturbation as losing the mystical seeds of soul production (not incompatible with the Catholic concept which is more physical and earthy). In the THINK AND GROW RICH it states that young men sometimes don't find success until they are done "sewing their oats" and have a good woman behind them. It models Carnegie, FDR, Ford, Rockerfeller and others and assumes some esoteric teaching of mind control and positive thinking.

On the Protestant side again you have students of Peale like ROBERT SCHULLER and his Crystal Cathedral and his Possibility Thinking Meditation (PTM) certainly rooted in the Bible and Christ but seemingly very New Age, Gnostic or Occultic--or at least possibly. Again, not much talk of Sin, Redemption, Suffering. But again, this is an American/US/Anglo-Saxon phenomena which is somewhat culturally and historically understood if not justified.

The Norman Vincent Peale/Guideposts positive thinking seems to be heavily rooted in the Gospels and Faith message of Jesus as well as the Psalms. I don't want to misqoute Peale or his followers but I think when answering the question why he thinks positive that he answers that because Jesus thinks positive and wants him to also.
To have the faith of a mustard seed to move mountains. To have faith to walk on water. That there is a choice and discipline of faith, hope, trust, positive thinking. That Jesus asks us to be positive and even visualize our goal(s).

There is a whole New Age library or even less New Age and just business self help (with some criticisms and agreement by some older books on Psychology by Jesuits and others--there is a Traditional Roman Catholic Books in Texas that has some good stuff on the Occult, Poltergeist phenomena, Psychology, the Will and Discipline--from a Traditional Roman Catholic Perspective) starting from Emile Coue and her "Getting better and better in every way and every day"--these Catholic books do not deny the possibility of energy natural from the human body including to heal (the Aquinas distinctions of supernatural and preternatural play into here)or that positive thinking is helpful or that at least some illness is psychosomatic and that illness can be cured through placebos.
These go on through books on hypnosis, selling, success--including many Christian authors.
Zig Ziglar, Tony Robbins, Real Estate Seminars, even Pat Robertson to a lesser extent on the Christian side. The New Age side from Shakti Gawains Creative Visualization, her mentor "Catholic" Jose Silva and the Silva Method (which he says the Holy Spirit is a dimension), or the current best seller promoted by Oprah the SECRET.

On the more "heretical" Christian side there is Christian Science and Mary Baker Eddy and her gnostic or almost gnostic views on matter but some practical advice that can work to help healing.

The Evangelical Christian "Name it Claim it" and Oral Roberts and others on TV and elswhere of claiming wealth and health in the name of Jesus. Again, this may work as a placebo but the reality is health and wealth can fade and the book of Job can come into play.

There is an American Calivnistic thought (even among Catholics on a practical level) that one sign of salvation is human success. That Salvation cannot be lost and that we are guaranteed heaven and should not doubt. That doubting Salvation is bad and even a sign that you are not saved. The Catholic view that Salvation is not constant and can be lost is not the same doctrine as Luther or Calvin. While there are different views in Protestantism (Armeniansism v Predistenination) etc--there is an underlying cultural and even subconscious force that God Blesses his elect and that money or health problems could be or are a sign of spiritual misalignment (something taught in Eastern Religions also)

So the doubting of faith from a Protestant perspective of Mother Teresa is a sign she was not or is not saved. That she should of become a born again Christian and she would have CERTAINTY in salvation. Moreover, the poor she were helping may have been predistined to be poor or even predistined to be damned.

There is a lot of truth, but only partial truth from the Horatio Algiers--rags to riches--American success story. Certainly, a plan, a good clean life, thinking positive, reading the Bible---can lead to success and many times does.

However, success is not a sign of salvation (I am willing to discuss and have heard different from some Catholics discussed below). Salvation is not "ASSURED" or "CERTAIN" in Catholicism.

Religion, including Catholicism, can be comforting and provide security--belief, hope, faith--a comprehensive system, devotional practices, a community. Certainly, joining the Catholic Church you should not necessarily have to have or long for disease and financial disaster as a sign of being Blessed either (but that may come). Martyrdom is a crown but one that is not always chosen.

I find Catholicism very comforting and do not seem to have the same doubts as Mother Teresa (although I am not sure exactly what she had or didn't have) But she may have had more Blessings and ability to do things through Grace than I. Certainly, she is an incredible role model and inspiration.

Old Testament Judaism, and all "branches" of Christianity have the book of JOB in their canon(s). It is not my favorite book because I certainly don't want death and destruction to test my faith. But it is important to understand that while I think if most people do what is right, eat their morning cereal, read the Psalms, don't do drugs, and work hard etc--they live good lives--many people unexpectedly get sick--and some are persecuted mercilessly unfairly and even killed from Sudan to China and probably every country on the planet for various reasons at every historical period in human history.

Besides the Old Testament Book of Job--which is less loss of faith than the loss of temporal sucess--there is also the Gospel and the Passion of Christ (I am a fan of the Gibson movie) where Peter denies him, Judas betrays him, his apostles besides the youngest and the women run away from him--and he is brutally tortured and crucified for no good solid reason. But in the crucifixion there is HOPE and ultimately RESSURRECTION and ASCENSION and faith in the SECOND COMING and A FINAL DISPENSATION OF JUSTICE.

Certainly post biblical readings (and biblical readings also--the Psalms can be comforting and Proverbs educating--but they also talk about sadness and lack of faith and asking for faith--and we know that Saul did divination and David committed adultery even after knowing God and committed murder to do the adultery--they also asked for faith and lost faith. Peter lost faith and while did not betray like Judas he did not want to admit he knew Jesus and acted like he was someone else. But in Catholic readings John of the Cross talks about the now much talked about Dark Night of the Soul--and Padre Pio talks about blasphemous thoughts---should we start talking aboug St. Augustine or St. Terese of Lisieux.

The reason the media and our culture may be so interested in this is that they are influenced, perhaps subconsciosly or uninentionally through culture, by Calvin and a cult of success and a view of Christianity tied into middle class living at a US Modern standard and a positive thinking message (which is not all bad) with Norman Vincent Peale, Robert Schuller, Oral Roberts, and even Pat Robertson.
As well as an occultic (perhaps) and New Age message of Self Help through Napolean Hill, Matz, Gawain, Silva, Tony Robbins, and now the Secret.
(I did not put Steven Covey while he is influenced by this and believes in visualization and positive thinking--he is a Mormon and also believes in a Aristotle/Aquinas like (or lite) Natural Law)

Lastly, some friends of mine in Opus Dei (which I am pro but disagree here) believe that natural virtue is a sign of being open to supernatural virtue and they build on each other (with heavy influences from Plato and less so Aristotle). There is a practice, among some, in Opus Dei to recruit from the honor roll (admitted to me by a director) because they are already disciplined and have human virtue. A former director of a residence (another one) told me that business success was a sign of virtue (and I agree to a point) and how he liked Japanese students because of their natural virtue (as did St. Francis Xavier although he also later made other less PC cultural observations).
I believe that salvation and "recruiting" is more of a "surprise" and that while discipline and natural virtue are important and good--and I like Aristolte and there is much Truth that the Church has embraced--that the Gospel message is a surprise--the First will be last and the last will be First--Blessed are poor and meek--not the Harvard MBA or the best students. God used people that did not seem the best to create great miracles. There can be a cult of success in Catholicism. Opus Dei may sometimes be guilty of this (although not universally and they do great work) Similiarly, some Traditional Catholics in their desire for Monarchy (which is logically justified and an argument can be made) or desire for the Habsburg Monarchy become obsessed with aestethics and liturgy at the expense perhaps of interior conversion. They are focused on the Royal Blood Line of the Holy Family and not the humbleness and humanness. A man in prison is equal to the Emporer of the Holy Roman Empire in the eyes of God.

The US/American cult of success can be inspiring and enabling.
But it is only part of life and is not the ultimate answer of the Christian life.

Michael

This whole debate on on faith and doubt reminds me of the Ingrid Bergman black and white film in Swedish with English subtitles called the Seventh Seal. I think Bergman was or is Swedish.
A Swedish Crusader, who was filled with faith and zeal--returns from the Crusades to find the Plague and Black Death and he loses his faith in God. The thought that there might not be a God is unbearable to him. Death comes to him and they have a game of chess. He wants proof of the existence of God. The death from the Crusades and the Plague in Europe make him lose his faith. Death (not the Devil) asks him (in Swedish): "Do you ever stop questioning?" and he responds "No, I never stop".
I always liked the movie and thought it was profound. I think it is applicable here.
I think the term would be existenstialism.
Pope John Paul II I think used the term Christian existentialism and liked Juan de la Cruz and his Dark Night of the Soul (which is being talked about a lot after the "revelations" of Mother Teresa--but I wonder how many people have read the Dark Night or understand?
anyone remember the Bergman movie?
anyone think it is applicable here?

Blackadder

Okay, let's try a three-in-one response:

Mary,

I've already explained why I think publishers would still pay writers even absent copyright. Please see my previous comments (e.g. August 28 at 6:40).

You use the fruits of someone else's labor (their writing) every time you read this blog, everytime you borrow a book from a friend, and whenever you listen to the radio or watch TV without listening to the commercials. Do you think that if someone watches TV she is morally obligated to watch the commercials?

Mary Kay,

I'm not sure I get the reference to vandalism, but as I said to Ed Peters, I'm fuly aware that copyright laws exist. The question is whether they should. If we were back in the 1920s, and you were arguing for the repeal of prohibition, it would not be a compelling argument for me to point out that alcohol was in fact illegal.

If you think that Ed Peter's argument from natural justice is compelling, perhaps you could respond to my objection to it. If Ed's argument is right, why wouldn't that make libraries and reselling books immoral?

MIss Jean,

Not only do I think it's okay to copy someone else's ideas, it is essential. How else are ideas to be spread if they are not to be copied?

Suppose that in the example you give, instead of being visited by a Peeping Tom, you are visited by the lawyer for a different motorcycle company. They claim that your product infringes on a previous patent that they hold. True, their patent is very technical and vague, it would take a team of lawyers to figure out what it means, but they are willing to litigate the matter to the hilt.

The difference between my example and yours is that mine happens quite often.

Plagerism is a separate issue, as it involves fraud. Etc.

Mary Kay

Blackadder,

If you think that Ed Peter's argument from natural justice is compelling, perhaps you could respond to my objection to it.

Perhaps you could be so kind as to specify which of the 97 comments is your objection to Ed Peters' compelling argument. Thanks.

btw, I'll have to check this, but apparently a small amount is forwarded to an author when his book is borrowed from the library. It's ture that doesn't happen with re-sale.

Tommorrow for anything else.

Ed Peters

guys, blackadder is pulling our leg. he either doesn't get it (in which case he needs assistance beyond what he can get in blog setting), or he won't get it, (in which case we wasting our time.)

i've been in these kind of combox exchanges before, this one gives every sign of being a waste. kind regards, all.

MissJean

Actually, Blackadder, the difference is that when you're reading supposedly FREE articles on the Internet, the authors are supplying free content to the readers. You know, like radio does. Or TV you watch on the airwaves. People who write for those programs get paid via sponsors or viewers (yay, fundraising drives!) I could use this entire combox to explain the money that exchanges hands between advertisers and programmers, between cable companies and networks, but it doesn't matter. You don't care.

Maybe you're the kind of lawyer who doesn't bill your hours of work that you put into building a case. After all, that's just gathering facts and anyone can do that. Facts are free, right? Maybe you only get paid for the hours you're actually in court. No doubt if your client doesn't pay you, that's fine because the truth should be free and it is essential that no one have to pay for the truth to come out. Good for you.

However, if I write something, I solicit money for the right to print it. I don't give my stories and poems and interviews away. They aren't opinions (like these posts), which everyone and their mom gives to anyone who will listen or read. They aren't ideas that everyone gets through general observation. They don't pay very much unless I'm lucky enough to get reprints (and I don't sell my reprint rights BTW). So when another magazine or newspaper picks up my story and uses it, they need to pay me. And they need to acknowledge that I wrote it, not leaving the by-line off like it's some urban legend. It takes me days and sometimes weeks to do a story, so I need to at least make enough to cover transportation, etc.

And, just to be clear, copyright DOES expire. And limited reproduction of copyrighted work is acceptable for educational purposes. And etcetera. But this isn't the forum to explain copyright, is it? If you want to go into detail, Blackadder, I'll give you my e-mail address. And I'll bill you. ;)

The comments to this entry are closed.

January 2012

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
8 9 10 11 12 13 14
15 16 17 18 19 20 21
22 23 24 25 26 27 28
29 30 31