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Working Papers or "Veniam Pro Laudo Peto"
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Murder in the Cathedral

Friday, October 20, 2006
"God's law does not reduce, much less do away with human freedom; rather, it protects and promotes that freedom. In contrast, however, some present-day cultural tendencies have given rise to several currents of thought in ethics which centre upon an alleged conflict between freedom and law. These doctrines would grant to individuals or social groups the right to determine what is good or evil. Human freedom would thus be able to "create values" and would enjoy a primacy over truth, to the point that truth itself would be considered a creation of freedom. Freedom would thus lay claim to a moral autonomy which would actually amount to an absolute sovereignty."[1]
In T.S. Eliot's "Murder in the Cathedral" this reader is convinced that the driving force behind the murder of the Archbishop was the evil known today as politically correctness taken to it radical extreme. In his apologia the second Knight makes the comment "No one regrets for violence more than we do. Unhappily, there are times when violence is the only way in which social justice can be secured."
[2] As Eliot eludes to unless motives are grounded in Love and Truth, which ultimately are from God, mankind in trying to serve the god of human respect and political correctness will always fold in upon it’s plan ending in evil. For as long as mankind tries to justify itself in relation to other created beings and not the Creator, Who is Love and Truth, chaos will most always ensue as actions and choices are taken to their historic and logical culmination. To make matters worse in an vain attempt to cast off the blame of their murderous action the killers, as many in society currently, on to others in the statement "We have been instrumental in bringing about the state of affairs that you approve"[3]. Thus lacking the integrity to be responsible for their own actions. This is not surprising though as moral integrity is a hallmark trait of the disciple of Jesus Christ which these murders were not though they may have played lip service to the name Christian for personal gain or prestige.
In an interesting contrast to the motives and actions of the killers this reader noticed that the Archbishop relied heavily, as he should, from the Lucan passage regarding persecution
[4] and the instructions of Our Lord.
The killers go on to vainly justify their actions like children would say 'he made me mad so he made me do it' in the statements "He used every means of provocation; from his conduct...".
[5] They go on further with the ludicrous statement "...when he had deliberately exasperated us beyond human endurance....he could have kept himself from us long enough to allow our righteous anger to cool. That was just what he did not wish to happen, he insisted, while we were still inflamed with wrath."[6] Thus the logic of evil falls apart in the 'justification' of said evil action to one of a childlike excuse and devaluating proposed logic their actions through their own words. Sin and evil are rightfully referred to as things which pull the soul down to a lesser dignity than the Lord God of Hosts created us to live in. The decisions and resulting action of the Archbishop's murders and their banal attempt for justification show, at least, to this reader a example in literary prose of the evil conclusion of moral relativism in which truth is only relevant to the individual and there are no moral absolutes. The same justification used by the murders of the Archbishop in "Murder in the Cathedral" was used by the Nazi's to exterminate human beings and is used today by 'modern and intelligent society' to "justify" the slaughter of millions of innocents in abortion and euthanasia. Evil is justified for a common social 'good' and then hidden in the dark recesses of excuses citing the betterment of a society or class rather than the dignity of the human person. Thus, the Archbishop is dead as are countless millions who question the Divine Truth over individual desires. Rather than allowing Divine Truth reigning supreme the killers in Eliot's play and society today choose to serve a lesser god of relativism and selfish desire.
The clarion call of the killers is similar to that of society which values the imperfect and temporary justice of man over the perfect and eternal Justice of God. In their Confiteor the killers echo the words of society. For we value, many times, the feeble opinions of man over the eternal Wisdom of Almighty God.
"Forgive us, O Lord, we acknowledge ourselves as type of the common man, of the men and women who shut the door and sit by the fire; who fear the blessing of God, the loneliness of the night of God, the surrender required, the deprivation inflicted; WHO FEAR THE INJUSTICE OF MEN LESS THAN THE JUSTICE OF GOD...."
[7]
Possibly the killers and society today would be much better served to go back to the words of the 4th century Ambrosian hymn, the "Te Deum", which was sung during the final scene in Eliot's play and pay close attention to it's words for we ultimately answer to God and must beg for His Mercy and help to follow He who is Truth
[8].
"O God, we praise Thee, and acknowledge Thee to be the supreme Lord.Everlasting Father, all the earth worships Thee.All the Angels, the heavens and all angelic powers,All the Cherubim and Seraphim, continuously cry to Thee:Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God of Hosts!Heaven and earth are full of the Majesty of Thy glory.The glorious choir of the Apostles,The wonderful company of Prophets,The white-robed army of Martyrs, praise Thee.Holy Church throughout the world acknowledges Thee:The Father of infinite Majesty;Thy adorable, true and only Son;Also the Holy Spirit, the Comforter.O Christ, Thou art the King of glory!Thou art the everlasting Son of the Father.When Thou tookest it upon Thyself to deliver man,Thou didst not disdain the Virgin's womb.Having overcome the sting of death, Thou opened the Kingdom of Heaven to all believers.Thou sitest at the right hand of God in the glory of the Father.We believe that Thou willst come to be our Judge.We, therefore, beg Thee to help Thy servants whom Thou hast redeemed with Thy Precious Blood.Let them be numbered with Thy Saints in everlasting glory.V. Save Thy people, O Lord, and bless Thy inheritance!R. Govern them, and raise them up forever.V. Every day we thank Thee.R. And we praise Thy Name forever, yes, forever and ever.V. O Lord, deign to keep us from sin this day.R. Have mercy on us, O Lord, have mercy on us.V. Let Thy mercy, O Lord, be upon us, for we have hoped in Thee.R. O Lord, in Thee I have put my trust; let me never be put to shame."
[9]
[1] "Veritas Splendor"("The Splendor of Truth"), Pope John Paul II, Rome, 1993
[2] "Murder in the Cathedral", T.S. Eliot, Harcourt, London, 1935
[3] Eliot, page 82
[4] Lk 21:12-19
[5] Eliot, page 83
[6] Ibid
[7] Ibid, page 87-88
[8] Jn 14:6
[9] "Te Deum laudamus", 4th Century A.D., attributed St. Nicetas and St Ambrose.
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    10/20/2006 08:33:00 PM :: ::
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