In Mr. Elfer’s column “Honestly, there’s no problem defining ‘morality,” (published July 10) he states first: “Defining what morality and compassion are is not so easy or simple.” Then he states: “…when it comes to the words, morality and compassion…those definitions are self-evident.” Which is it? Not easy or self-evident? Isn’t this a contradiction?
Then he goes on to claim that: “The English philosopher John Locke took those natural laws (gravity, motion and the nature of light) and converted them into natural rights: that all men are created equal and whose rights include life, liberty and property.” Good for Mr. Locke but he got those ideas from the Catholic Church.
Centuries prior to the birth of John Locke, the Catholic Church had spread the teachings of Jesus Christ that natural rights, those we take for granted, come from God who is our Creator. It was Jesus Christ who taught that all men are created equal as all are created in the image and likeness of God. Prior to His teachings, all men were not considered to be equal. In all of human history prior to the coming of Jesus Christ, all believed that some were destined to rule over others. The world was a world of conquest and slavery.
The Catholic Church taught that along with the right to life (from conception to natural death), man had the right to exercise his free will, for good or for ill will. It is necessary then that man understand how to rightly use this free will. The moral standard given by God is the Ten Commandments. But Jesus Christ also taught that one is also to love his neighbor as himself and to even love his enemies. These teachings are those of true liberty and true compassion.
Locke also inherited from the Catholic Church the truth that everyone has a right to own property. It teaches that “the right of possessing goods privately has been conferred not by man’s law, but by nature.” And further: “nature, rather the Creator Himself, has given man the right of private ownership not only that individuals may be able to provide for themselves and their families but also that the goods which the Creator destined for the entire family of mankind may through this institution truly serve this purpose.”
A part of history left out by Mr. Elfers.