Pornography

February 17, 2018

The Challenge of Being in a Service Business

Last month, on January 21, 2018, I celebrated the 35th anniversary of the opening my law practice. I graduated from law school in May 1982, and received my license to practice law in November 1982. Two months later, on January 21, 1983, I rented an office from an established Peoria attorney.

Nine years later (1992), I hired my first associate attorney. At that time, I was 35 years old. The attorney that I hired was 10 years younger than me, and had just graduated from law school.

At the time that I hired the attorney, I had an office manager, two full-time secretaries, a full-time receptionist, and a part-time secretary. Hiring an attorney was a big step for me, and I didn’t feel as though I knew enough about running a business to continue to move forward without some assistance.

The same year that I hired the attorney, I signed a contract with Gerber Business Development Corporation to provide me with coaching on how to properly run and grow my business. I had committed to paying the attorney a large salary and I didn’t want to make any catastrophic mistakes in managing and growing my law firm.

I found out about the Gerber company when I read a book that was written by its founder, Michael Gerber. The title of the book was, The E-Myth: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It. What Gerber said in his book about small businesses in America hit a raw nerve with me.

I had previously represented several business clients who had done well for a while and then, for one reason or another, had made mistakes that caused their businesses to fail. I had also handled several bankruptcies for individuals who had failed in their own businesses. Many of the businessmen that Gerber wrote about in his book reminded me of my own clients and their failure to succeed in their businesses.

February 10, 2018

The Death of a Special Christ-Like Priest

Georgette and I met on August 4, 1978, when we were both 21 years old. We were married in June 1980, while I was on break from law school. Ten months later, in March 1981, we had our first child, Harry. I graduated from law school in May of the following year.

We moved back to Peoria during the summer of 1982. At that time, Georgette was pregnant with our second child, Anna. I started my law practice in January 1983, and Anna was born the following month. We had our third child, Maria, 13 months later, in March 1984. When Maria was born, I was 26 years old.

It was during this period of time that my mom and my sister Colleen started commenting about how I had become too serious and I needed to lighten up. Colleen is a year and a half younger than me, and of my eight sisters, she was the one I was closest to while we were growing up.

When my mom and sister told me that I had become too serious, I hadn’t realized that my behavior had changed from the young, carefree guy who liked to have a good time and tease other people to an older guy who felt overwhelmed by the burdens of life.

But I wasn’t bothered by their comments about my being too serious. To me, that was what responsible adults did — they grew up and did their best to care for and support their families. In some respects, my mom and my sister were correct. My newfound responsibilities made me feel overwhelmed. At times, I felt as though I was doing well just to keep my head above water. Georgette and I had three babies in three years — Maria was born on Harry’s third birthday — and I was doing my best to support my family while managing my law practice.

Now, more than 30 years later, Georgette and I have 13 grandchildren, with three more on the way. I’m still serious, but I’m having more fun now than I’ve had in years. I’ve given myself permission to lighten up and revert to my childhood when I’m around my grandchildren. Their parents sometimes get irritated with me because they think I get their children riled up too much. But that’s OK with me, because I’m finally able to do what my mom and my sister wanted me to do all those years ago.

February 3, 2018

A Dream & The Greatest Showman

I recently joined my wife and some of our children at a local theater to see the movie, The Greatest Showman. The movie is a musical about the life of P.T. Barnum. It begins when Barnum is a boy. He is the son of a poor tailor who does work for a wealthy man. The man looks down on Barnum and his father, because of their lower-class status.

Barnum is a fun-loving boy who is infatuated with the wealthy man’s daughter. The man knows that Barnum likes his daughter and makes it clear to Barnum that he’ll never be good enough for her. After that, the daughter is sent to finishing school for several years. While she is away at school, she and Barnum continue to keep in contact by writing letters to each other.

Years later, when the daughter returns home from school, she is reunited with Barnum. They end up getting married and starting a family. After borrowing money from a local bank, Barnum buys an old museum building in downtown Manhattan. He then sets up Barnum’s American Museum, which showcases wax figures.

After struggling to make his new business work, Barnum’s children tell him that instead of featuring wax figures, he needs to have characters who are “alive.” Barnum likes the idea and begins searching for and hiring “freaks” to serve as performers. As he is rounding up his new cast of characters, Barnum sings the unique and mesmerizing song, Come Alive.

As Barnum’s new show gains popularity in New York, a reporter for the New York Herald is highly critical of Barnum and his “freak show.” The reporter’s columns about Barnum and his show stir up trouble among certain people in the community, including the upper-class members of the community.

To enhance his reputation with the upper-class, Barnum convinces Philip Carlisle, a local playwright from a wealthy family, to join him in his business. To raise Barnum’s status, Carlisle arranges a trip to Europe for Barnum and his cast of characters to meet Queen Victoria.

January 27, 2018

Why is That Church in a Music Video?

I’ve written before about how I was involved in music during my high school and college years. When I was a senior in high school, I formed a barbershop quartet with three of my friends. I did the same thing in college. While my high school quartet had a limited number of performances, my college quartet performed at several community functions and events.

I’ve always been a big fan of quartets and other a cappella groups. One of the groups that I currently pay attention to is Home Free, an American a cappella singing group that consists of five young men. Home Free got its big break in 2013, when it won a competition on the NBC television show, The Sing-Off. The grand prize that year was $100,000, plus a recording contract with Sony.

Last month, Home Free performed at the Peoria Civic Center. Georgette and I attended the show with some friends. My favorite Home Free song is How Great Thou Art. The music video of the song is posted on YouTube. The video has generated more than 13 million views.

In the video, the group is standing on a hill that is surrounded by several hundred acres of land. The scenery in the background includes cascading slopes and mountains. The beautiful harmony of the group is matched by the gorgeous land that surrounds them. The only building in the video is a small country church, which shows up in a field near the end of the video.

I have the video saved on an iPad that sits on a stand on my bathroom counter. Ordinarily, when I’m in the bathroom in the morning getting ready for work, I use the iPad to play educational, self-improvement, or religious recordings. In the evening while I’m getting ready for bed, I usually use the iPad to listen to music.

My son, Harry, and his wife Kathryn live about five minutes away from where my wife and I live. Because they live so close to us, they’re able to stop by our house to visit on a regular basis. Whenever they stop by for a visit, their two oldest sons, Harry and Liam, immediately start looking around the house for me. Harry is 5 years old and Liam is 3 years old.

January 20, 2018

Why Is It So Hard To Practice Patience?

It doesn’t happen very often, but every once in a while, I complain directly to God about something that’s bothering me. Last week, my frustration with an ongoing issue finally got to the point that one of my thoughts went up to God in the form of a question: Why can’t you just have an angel appear to me in a dream and tell me what to do? I’m tired of playing these cat and mouse games where I’m always struggling to try to figure out what I should do.

Of course, I immediately felt guilty about addressing God in this manner. Who did I think I was? A prophet? King Solomon? Saint Joseph?

But I get extremely frustrated at times, because while I want to do the right thing, I often feel as though I need specific direction from God. Although I’ve always been good at solving problems, I don’t like it when I have to wait on God to reveal pieces of the puzzle that are needed to solve the problem I’m struggling with.

I’m convinced that one of the primary reasons God operates this way is to teach me the virtues of humility and patience. If He sent an angel to tell me how to solve my problems, I wouldn’t need to learn and practice humility and patience. I would simply wait for instructions from the angel and then take credit for being a special child of God.

Most of us fail to realize that in order to really be humble, we must first suffer humiliations. And we must accept whatever humiliations that come our way with love and gratitude. While humility is the most important of all virtues, the virtue of patience has to be among the top five virtues. Why? Because it’s so difficult to put into practice.

Last week, I wrote about the three grades of patience, which are, to bear difficulties without interior complaint, to use hardships to make progress in virtue, and to desire the cross and afflictions out of love for God and accept them with spiritual joy. It would be impossible to put the three grades of patience into practice if we were to try to do it without God’s assistance.

January 13, 2018

The Difficulties That Arise After Years of Marriage

Last week, I wrote about a couple who was having financial problems because of the husband’s inability to work. Here’s what I wrote at the end of the article:
I’ve been a lawyer for more than 35 years. I’ve dealt with hundreds of couples who, after years of marriage, are facing an unexpected crisis. You would think that after being married for 20 or more years, married couples would be more patient and forgiving of each other than they were when they were newly married. But that’s usually not the case. The fact that they’ve spent years together seems to somehow inhibit their ability to practice real patience and forgiveness toward each other.

Instead of being patient and forgiving, they’re extremely frustrated and angry with each other. Why?

When couples get married, there’s always great hope for the future. With that hope comes the expectation that they will be able to work out all their problems. There is also an expectation that they will someday be able to overcome whatever bad habits or deficiencies they have.

Unfortunately, as each year passes, nothing really changes. Husbands and wives stop making the effort that is required to please each other. It’s almost as if they’ve been through too much together. They’re worn out and exhausted. They’ve run out of patience.

I’ve written before about a saying that is common in the business world: “Familiarity breeds contempt.” This saying stands for the proposition that the more familiar you are with a person, the more contemptible that person becomes.

Over time, as people in the business world become more familiar with each other, their defects and weaknesses become more evident. They are exposed to and become tired of each other’s excuses, bad habits, broken promises, lack of respect, mood swings, angry outbursts, and lack of appreciation. Before long, their patience wears thin, and the slightest infraction causes them to treat each other with contempt.

January 6, 2018

Something Married Couples Face After Years of Marriage

Last week, I had an appointment with a man — I’ll call him Jim — who hired me eight months ago to represent him on a personal injury case. As usual, Jim brought his wife with him to the appointment. I’ve met with Jim and his wife on four occasions over the past eight months. Jim was injured when a large truck disregarded a stop sign and collided with his vehicle in the middle of an intersection. Because of his injuries, Jim has not been able to return to work. He’s been without an income for eight months.

Jim and his wife are in their late 30s. He’s a skilled tradesman who has been a member of a trade union for more than 20 years. Jim has never had any problem finding work, primarily because he is willing to travel to other states to work, when necessary. Since the accident, Jim’s financial situation has become progressively worse. He has had to borrow money to support his wife and children, and he also recently cashed in part of his retirement, so he could keep up with his bills.

Prior to the accident, Jim’s wife did not work outside the home. A few months after the accident, she felt that she had no other choice but to get a job, so she applied for and secured a job at a local business.

Each of the times I’ve met with Jim, he’s been upbeat and happy. He’s an intelligent, good-natured person who likes to talk and tell stories. His wife has come to all his appointments and has always been courteous and friendly — until last week.

Last week, when I entered the conference room to meet with them, Jim was the same as he’s always been, but his wife was quiet and had an angry look on her face. Her demeanor indicated to me that she and Jim either argued on the way to my office, or she was fed up with his situation.

I talked to Jim about his condition and he indicated to me that he was still receiving physical therapy three times a week. He said that he probably wasn’t going to be able to return to work for at least another 10 to 12 months. He told me that before the accident, he worked at the same trade for 20 years.

December 30, 2017

What Did Mary Really Know?

Every year during the Christmas Season, there are articles published that are critical of the song, Mary Did You Know. As expected, in early December, Fr. Robert McTeigue, SJ, published an article with the title, “The Problem With ‘Mary Did You Know.’” In the article, Fr. McTeigue criticized the following lyrics: “Did you know that your Baby Boy has come to make you new? This Child that you delivered will soon deliver you.”

Fr. McTeigue’s complaint was that the lyrics imply that Mary was a sinner who needed to be delivered from her sins. This is contrary to Catholic doctrine which states that Mary was preserved free from all stain of original sin from the moment of her immaculate conception, which allowed her to be a pure vessel in which the Son of God could be conceived and born without ever having come into contact with sin.

Another article that was published before Christmas stated that the song implies that Mary was not fully aware that she was the mother of God. The article went on to say that anyone who is familiar with the Bible knows that Mary possessed knowledge that she was the Mother of God, not only because of the Angel Gabriel’s announcement (Luke 1:26-56), but also because of her “song of praise” — known as “The Magnificat” — which indicated that she was aware of her role in the salvation of mankind. Here are the first two sentences of the Magnificat:

My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his handmaid. For behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed; for he who is mighty, has done great things for me and holy is his name. (Luke 1:46-49)

Whenever I read anything about the life of Mary, I think about a book that I read in the early 1980s, while I was in law school. The title of the book was, The Life of The Blessed Virgin Mary. The content for the book was taken from the recorded visions of the well-known 19th-century Catholic mystic, Venerable Anne Catherine Emmerich (1774 – 1824).

December 16, 2017

Hollywood Predators and Our Consent-Based Culture

I recently counted the sexual predators who have been exposed over the past three months who are associated with the mainstream media and the movie and television industries. All of them are men. The number of men who have been outed over the past three months exceeds three dozen.

One of the men who was exposed by the woman he abused is Matthew Weiner, the creator of the award-winning television series, Mad Men. The show premiered in 2007 and ended in 2015, after seven seasons and 92 episodes. During that time, the show won numerous awards, including Golden Globes and Emmys, for its “historical authenticity” and “visual style.”

Mad Men was known as a “period show,” and was based in the early 1960s. The show was about a group of Madison Avenue advertising men. Even though the story line of Mad Men took place in the 1960s, the primary content of the show was centered on adulterous and licentious behavior.

In 2010, I watched one episode of Mad Men and it was obvious to me that like a majority of the modern-day movies and television shows, the men in the show routinely found themselves in situations where they met beautiful young women and then ended up in bed with them the same day they met.

Like the other men who create and produce these types of shows, the creator of Mad Men produced shows that were centered on his own fantasies. He simply had actors play out those fantasies on television.

With the outing of the more than three dozen men in media, television, and the movies, it should be no surprise to anyone that they were simply living out the fantasies that that wrote about — fantasies that always showed men engaging in one-night stands with beautiful young women whom they had only known for a matter of hours.

But the men who got caught went too far. They became animals who used power, intimidation, and force to get their way with women. They should all be charged with crimes and, if convicted, they should be put in prison.

September 30, 2017

The Death of the Playboy

The year was 1970. I was in the eighth grade at St. Mark’s school in Peoria. I remember the day like it was yesterday. One of my classmates — I’ll call him Paul — brought a Polaroid picture to school to show to his friends. Paul and I were the same age — 13 years old. The person in the picture was the girlfriend of Paul’s older brother. She and Paul’s brother were in high school. She was a student at Academy of Our Lady and Paul’s brother was a student at Spalding Institute.

The picture showed the girl lying on a couch with no clothes on. She was facing the camera and was obviously posing for the picture. It was the type of picture you would see in Playboy magazine, and she was behaving like a “Playboy Bunny.” It didn’t take very long before a crowd of boys gathered around Paul to see the picture his brother had taken. Shortly after the crowd gathered, one of our teachers, James Lediger, noticed the crowd and came over to see what was going on.

By the time Paul saw Mr. Lediger, it was too late. Lediger had already seen that there was a picture and ordered the boy to turn it over to him. Lediger immediately tore up the picture into small pieces, and then asked Paul where he had obtained the picture. Then he gave a stern warning to Paul that if he ever brought another picture to school, he would be disciplined.

That incident happened 47 years ago. At the time, there were only two ways for consumers to get a photograph printed. The first way was to use a Polaroid camera, which printed the picture directly from the camera. The second was to use a camera that had film inside. In order to get pictures printed, the film had to be developed by a company that was in the business of developing and printing photographs. Back then, none of the consumer-based film processing companies were willing to print nude photographs.

May 6, 2017

A Game of Chicken

Francisco and Jacinta Marto

When I was growing up during the 1960s and 1970s, every so often there would be a news report about a head-on collision between two cars that were driven by teenage boys who had been playing a game of chicken. The way the game was played was that the boys would get in their cars and drive at a high rate of speed toward each other. If one of the boys swerved to avoid an accident, he was branded as a chicken. There were actual head-on collisions that occurred because of boys who would rather die than be called a chicken.

There is a game of chicken that is taking place right now on the world stage — a game that could result in the death of millions of innocent people. The two men who are playing the game are President Donald Trump and the tyrannical ruler of North Korea, Kim Jong-un.

Last month, President Trump sent a message to Kim Jong-un that notified him that there would be grave consequences if he did not stop testing missiles and nuclear weapons. Kim Jong-un immediately responded by threatening to wipe out the United States with nuclear weapons.

While the North Korean military does not yet have the capability to reach the United States with its intercontinental ballistic missiles, it has the ability to kill millions of innocent people in South Korea, a country that shares a border with North Korea. Kim Jong-un believes South Korea belongs to North Korea.

The North Korean military has the fourth largest army in the world, with more than 1.2 million men. The military is equipped with 70 submarines, 1,000 missiles, 20,000 artillery pieces, 400 patrol and missile boats, and more than 550 combat aircraft.

The capital of South Korea is Seoul, which is only 30 miles from the border that separates North and South Korea. With a population of more than 25 million, Seoul is one of the most densely populated cities in the world. It is estimated that North Korea could strike Seoul within six minutes of launching an offensive.

May 28, 2016

We Live In A Bizarre World

Restroom CartoonEarlier this month, the U. S. Department of Justice (DOJ) sent a letter to Pat McCrory, the governor of North Carolina. In the letter, the DOJ threatened Governor McCrory and gave him a deadline to confirm that North Carolina will not enforce a recent law that was passed by the North Carolina Legislature. The letter accused North Carolina and the governor of “engaging in a pattern or practice of discrimination against transgender state employees.”

The North Carolina law that the DOJ was referring to prohibits the people of North Carolina from using public bathrooms that are not in alignment with their birth certificates. In other words, everyone in North Carolina who was identified as a boy on his birth certificate is only allowed to use the public boys’ and men’s restrooms, and everyone who was identified as a girl on her birth certificate is only allowed to use the public girls’ and women’s restrooms.

Prior to receiving the threatening letter, Governor McCrory had already directed state agencies to install single-occupancy restrooms to accommodate the needs of transgender people. But that directive wasn’t enough for the Obama administration and its army of lawyers.

Governor McCrory was outraged by the strong-arm tactics of the federal government. Within a week of receiving the letter, he fought back by filing a lawsuit against the DOJ. After filing the lawsuit, he issued a statement that said, “The Obama administration is bypassing Congress by attempting to rewrite the law and set restroom policies for public and private employers across the country, not just North Carolina. This is now a national issue that applies to every state and it needs to be resolved at the federal level.”

McCrory also pointed out that the Obama administration is now “telling every government agency and every company that employs more than 15 people that men should be allowed to use a woman’s locker room, restroom, or shower facility.”

November 22, 2015

Sex and the Soulless Being

human-vs-robotFor the past several weeks, I’ve written about the sin of contraception and how it has led to the proliferation of premarital sex, divorce, abortion, adultery, pornography, homosexuality, out-of-wedlock births, the breakdown of the family, assisted suicide, and surrogate mothers. I’ve also written about how contraception has caused a shortage of Catholic priests and how it has allowed couples to easily overrule God’s plan concerning the number of children God planned for them.

Last week, I wrote about how it has become necessary to replace the tens of millions of children who were never born — because of contraception and abortion — with illegal immigrants and robots.

I also wrote that there are several types of robots that have been developed, including industrial robots that are used by manufacturers, “carebots” that are used to help assist with the care of the elderly, “agrobots” that are used to assist with the planting of seeds and picking of fruit, commercial drones that are used for the performance of high-tech surveillance, and “robo-adivisors” that are being developed to assist individuals with their investments.

The one robot that I failed to mention is the “sexbot,” which is used to satisfy the sexual desires of its owner. Earlier this year, the New York Times published an article that featured the creator of “RealDoll,” a life size “female robot” that it is designed as a personalized sex machine that can be programmed to learn the likes and dislikes of its owner.

There are currently several well-funded companies that are combining virtual reality with robotics in order to create a sexual experience that will mimic real life. With the use of goggles, headphones, and one or more robotic devices, a user will experience what is seen, heard, and felt during a real-life sexual experience.

May 16, 2015

Modern-Day Goddesses

KardashiansWhen I was growing up during the 1960s and early 1970s, my favorite movies were Westerns. I’m not sure why. One reason may have been because I watched a lot of television with my grandfather, Tom Williams, and he liked Westerns. Another reason may have been because the heroes in Westerns were always tough, rugged, no-nonsense men who reminded me of the men on the Williams side of the family.

Two of my all-time favorite Westerns are The Magnificent Seven and Shane.

I remember seeing the comedy Western Pardners on television when I was in eighth grade. The stars of the movie were the comedy team of Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis. From the late 1940s until the mid-1950s (when they went their separate ways), Martin and Lewis were the most famous comedy team in the world. During that time, they were also the highest-paid team in the entertainment industry.

The reason I remember Pardners is because at the end of the movie, both Martin and Lewis performed a choreographed routine in which they took their guns out of their holsters, spun them around their fingers, and then performed various stunts with their guns before returning them to their holsters. The routine was much more sophisticated than the routine of the typical gunfighter, who would spin his gun around his finger before putting it back into his holster.

After the movie ended, I grabbed my brother Carl’s full-size replica of a Colt 45 peacemaker revolver, put a holster around my waist, and practiced for the next several weeks until I was able to perform the routine I saw Martin and Lewis do in the movie.

I thought about Martin and Lewis when I read about the $100 million contract that was signed by the Kardashian family earlier this year. The contract was for a four-year renewal of the show Keeping Up with the Kardashians, which originally premiered on the E! network in 2007.

April 25, 2015

Dumb Behavior

DumbI recently filed a chapter 7 bankruptcy case for a client who owed a significant amount of money to some local loan shark companies. (I call payday and title loan companies “loan shark companies” because they routinely charge up to 300% interest per year on money that is loaned to customers.) My client also had several thousand dollars in accumulated debt that he owed to credit card companies and medical providers. For the purpose of this article, I’m going to call my client “Jim.”

In a chapter 7 bankruptcy, the person filing the bankruptcy is allowed to keep up to $15,000 equity in a home (homestead exemption), up to $2,400 equity in a vehicle (vehicle exemption), and up to $4,000 of other personal property, which includes cash on hand, money in the bank, and household goods and furnishings (wildcard exemption).

Jim’s bankruptcy petition included a breakdown of his household income and expenses. The breakdown showed that Jim and his wife have expenses that currently exceed their income by more than $350 per month.

After I filed Jim’s bankruptcy, a hearing was scheduled to allow the bankruptcy trustee to ask him questions. The bankruptcy trustee is an attorney who is paid by the government to review all bankruptcy-related documents and to determine whether there are any assets that can be recovered to pay to creditors.

At the hearing, the trustee asked Jim what he and his wife did with their recent federal tax refund of more than $5,000. Jim testified that some of the money was used to repair a vehicle and to pay current bills. He then testified that he and his wife used $1,700 of the refund to play the slot machines on the riverboat casino.

I have a question for you.

What was the first thought that came to your mind after you found out that Jim and his wife wasted $1,700 on gambling? I’ll tell you what my initial thought was. One word jumped into my mind: “Dummies!”

August 9, 2014

A Final Response

Criticism - AvoidThis is my fifth and final response to an email that I received from Tony, who questioned an article I had written about Amazon.com and its founder, Jeff Bezos.  Tony provided the following reasons why I (and other Catholics) should refuse to buy products from Amazon:

1.    “Amazon.com is basically the distribution arm for the People’s Republic of China, a communist dictatorship.”

2.    “Amazon distributes pornography.”

3.    The concept of “inverted totalitarianism” applies to Bezos and Amazon.

4.    “You cannot serve God and mammon” and “it’s fairly apparent which one Mr. Bezos is serving.”

5.    It appears as though what is supposed to be “The Church Militant” has become “The Church Mesmerized.”

In my first two articles, I discussed the pornography issue and how the “principle of double effect” applies to consumers who purchase goods from Amazon.  Since there was an angry tone to some of Tony’s comments, my third article focused on my own personal experiences in dealing with anger and the foolishness of repeatedly getting angry over the same issue.  In my fourth article, I wrote about how the process of “creative destruction” is causing a lot of anxiety and pain for people who have lost their jobs because of new technologies that have been discovered and put into place.

Here are my thoughts concerning the remaining issues that were raised by Tony:

1.    Distribution Arm of China – If the statement that Amazon.com is basically the distribution arm for the People’s Republic of China is correct, then every retail store in America that sells smart phones, computers, televisions, hardware, garden supplies, and clothing is a distribution arm for the People’s Republic of China.

I stop at Nena’s hardware store in Peoria about once every other month to buy one or more items.  Nena’s sells the same products that I can buy on Amazon.com.  Most of the clothes and products that are available for purchase at Kohl’s, Target, and Wal-Mart can also be purchased on Amazon.  There are thousands of American companies that sell their products on Amazon.  When I get around to publishing my first book, like every other author in America, I will offer the book for sale on Amazon.

July 19, 2014

Modern-Day Advice from a 13th-Century Saint

Thomas AquinasLast week, I wrote about how an adorer (“Tony”) had criticized me because of an article that I had written about Amazon.com and its founder, Jeff Bezos.  Tony provided several reasons why I (and other Catholics) should refuse to do business with Amazon, one of which is that “Amazon distributes pornography.”  Here’s how I responded to the comment about the pornography issue:

I’m not sure what Tony is referring to when he says that Amazon “distributes pornography.”  My assumption is that he may be referring to some of the books and DVDs that are offered for sale on Amazon, or he may be referring to a service that Amazon offers that allows businesses to rent space on Amazon’s servers (computer hardware) to store videos that are delivered through the businesses’ websites.

I’ll be commenting more on this next week, but I noticed that Tony’s email address is hosted by Comcast, a company that acts as a conduit for millions of users who, because of Comcast, are able to access pornography over the Internet.  Without Comcast and other similar service providers, no one would be able to order products or access photographs or video content over the Internet.

I could easily argue that having an account with Comcast is a more egregious offense than ordering products from Amazon, since the monthly subscription payments that are made to Comcast help to fund the transfer of pornography to end users.

The relevant question that needs to be answered is: What are the standards that Catholics should be following when dealing with companies who in some way support pornography, contraception, gay marriage, abortion, or any other modern-day evil?  I’ll answer this question next week.

In his literary work, Summa Theologiae, St. Thomas Aquinas (1225–1274) outlined an ethical formula that an individual is allowed to use to determine whether a certain action is permissible, even though there may be unintended consequences that are morally evil.  The formula that Aquinas spelled out is commonly referred to as the “principle of double effect.”

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