28 August 2008

Augustine ...

Probably one of my three favorite saints.  (hmm.... Francis ... Bonaventure ... Augustine) Yes, he's number three on my list.  

Writer of the Confessions, City of God and a literal tome of other titles.  Why bring this up? Today is his memorial.  What does a man who died 1600 years ago (430 to be exact), have to do with me or you?  Lots, actually.  And so do all those who came before us.  I think I spent a large time of my childhood avoiding the advice of those who were older.  If you'd like, contact my parents, they could attest to this.  Now that I'm in Brooklyn and five days into my journey (time flies when you're having fun, eh?), I think I'm beginning to realize just how important the lives of those Capuchins who come before us really were to others.  Here in Brooklyn, I stand upon the shoulders of those giants who have come before me.  

You know what? That's a lot of responsibility, but it's also pretty cool.


Anonymous said...

Hi Matt - Don't know if you saw the news but House speaker Nancy Pelosi cited Augustine as her "justification" for supporting abortion rights. She said that "doctors of the church" have not been able to define when life begins. She also said she bases her views on the "views of Saint Augustine, who said: '... the law does not provide that the act (abortion) pertains to homicide, for there cannot yet be said to be a live soul in a body that lacks sensation ...'" A number of US Bishops have called her out on this. Just wondering what you think.


Chris said...

You know, Matt, Saint Augustine also spent a large part of his life avoiding advice from his mother!
Take care. God is blessing you.

Matt J said...

Augustine wrote at a time that can hardly be thought of to be medically advanced. Quite frankly, when one became sick, he or she usually died. In fact, Peter Brown's biography of Augustine and his treatment of the death of Monica and Augustine largely point towards this. Along with the lack of sophistication in healing people came, to put it gently, a radically incorrect way of looking at issues of medicine.

To quote Augustine on a matter of biology is roughly analogous to asking a pre-Gutenberg printer about his opinions on printing, or Napoleon on the tactics of the tactics of World War II.

In shorter form, Augustine, when speaking about this topic was wrong. Can we blame him? No. Can we blame those who quote him on this topic? Perhaps.