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Infallibility: Reflections from Roman Catholicism

By Franco Famularo

Should we be guided by our conscience or obey authority? Should one be loyal to the leader or be honest and straightforward? Both? Such questions have troubled human beings since antiquity.

Unificationists have at times been asked if they would obey the Founders without question with queries such as: “Would you do anything Rev. Moon asks of you?” or “Do you believe Reverend and Mrs. Moon are infallible?” After all, “absolute obedience” is a term found in the pledge regularly recited by Unificationists.

Recently, an article on this site by Dr. Michael Mickler discussing a Unificationist position on birth control referenced the 1968 papal encyclical entitled Humanae Vitae and its impact on the Roman Catholic world. As is widely known, Roman Catholics generally do not strictly follow church teachings on birth control and other matters.

Mickler’s article also demonstrated that Unificationists also apply church teachings differently on a variety of issues, including birth control. It can further be assumed that given the international nature of Unificationism, responses to authority vary depending on culture, ethnicity, upbringing, and a variety of other factors.

Regardless of theological differences, it may be helpful to study how Roman Catholics relate to papal statements on matters of faith. This article briefly explores the dogma of infallibility and how it is viewed within Catholicism, and offers some reflections in the hope of stimulating discussion about Unificationism’s relationship to conscience, culture and authority.

It has been almost 150 years since the dogma of papal infallibility was proclaimed on July 18, 1870. During the final public gathering of Vatican I, a bishop received from Pope Pius IX’s hand the document defining “Papal Infallibility.” Pastor Aeternus contains the following statement that has been the subject of intense debate to this day:

“The Roman Pontiff when he speaks ex cathedra, that is, when he discharges his office as pastor and teacher of all Christians, in virtue of his supreme apostolic authority, defines a doctrine concerning faith or morals, that is to be held by the universal Church, through the Divine assistance promised him in St. Peter, exercises that infallibility with which the Divine Redeemer willed to endow his church.”

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Adding Tools for Building a New World

By Rob Sayre

One assumption suggested by the Divine Principle and Rev. and Mrs. Sun Myung Moon’s theology is that applying the fundamental lessons and tools for the individual and family to ever-larger spheres will produce similar results as can occur on the individual and family levels.

It is my experience and belief that we also need improved tools to build successful extended families, tribes, communities, nations, and a world of peace.

This article discusses a few tools and provides a cursory overview that can aid in building a culture and communities centered upon God. It builds upon my previous article, “Converting Good Intentions into Results.” The tools discussed were used in the development of the Shehaqua Ministries.

First, some introductory quotes on leadership and the family as the cornerstone of society:

“The man of perfect virtue, wishing to be established himself, seeks also to establish others; wishing to be enlarged himself, he seeks also to enlarge others.” Analects 6.28 (Confucianism)

“The Way lies at hand yet it is sought afar off, the thing lies in the easy yet it is sought in the difficult. If only everyone loved his parents and treated his elders with deference, the Empire would be at peace.” Mencius IVA (Confucianism)

“Family education determines the future destiny of the entire nation. When there are many families living by the principle of public service, the nation will flourish; when there are many families living with a private standard, the nation will perish.” (31:243) Rev. Sun Myung Moon, June 4, 1970

Do Good and Righteous People Create Good and Effective Organizations?

The simple answer is: not necessarily. It’s true that without a quorum of righteous people in any community, organization or nation, creating a good society is a tough slog. New tools, however, make the job easier and more people can be involved in the effort.

The tools of Cain-Abel relationships, leadership and governance rooted in biblical stories and Confucian thought applied to the individual, family, and extended family provide valuable insights into Western culture and indeed the world.

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Korean Reunification: Promise and Perils

By Michael L. Mickler

Rev. Sun Myung Moon (True Father to Unificationists) emphasized the “providential significance” of Korean reunification. To him, unifying the Korean peninsula would be “the final act of bringing the global Cold War to a conclusion” and “the blueprint for the unification of the world.”

He also envisioned a unified Korea as a driver of global development. He taught that the peninsula will provide a platform for oceanic and continental civilizations to fuse together and develop into a new civilization, inaugurating the Pacific Rim Era.

This article attempts to connect his vision of Korean reunification with current economic, technological, transportation, cultural, and political realities.

The Promise

Economy. The most optimistic appraisal of Korea’s economic future is a 2009 Global Economics Paper, “A United Korea? Reassessing North Korea Risks,” published by global investment firm Goldman Sachs. It contends that “North Korea has strong untapped potential, which could be unleashed once meaningful economic reforms start and investment flows in.”

In particular, the study emphasizes “synergies between South Korean capital and technology, and North Korean natural resources and labor.” It points out, for example, that North Korea has large deposits of minerals valued at 140 times its GDP while South Korea “has virtually no mineral resources” and “imports 97% of the energy and mineral resources [it] uses.” Apart from natural resources, the study references North Korea’s “abundant and competitive labor force.” It notes,

  • More than one-third of North Korea’s population (37%) lives in rural areas, as was the case in South Korea in the late 1970s when it began its economic ascent;
  • The labor force could increase substantially given the current large military population (nearly 1.3 million);
  • Pre-college education is compulsory;
  • Experience from the Kaesong Industrial Complex suggests that North Korean workers have a strong work ethic and a good potential for productivity enhancement; and,
  • North Korea’s demographics are relatively young and the population is growing roughly twice as fast as in South Korea.

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Do Animals Have Eternal Souls?

By Peter Stephenson

What happens to animals when they die is a question many people wonder about, especially those who form close bonds with animals.

Do animals experience the meaningless oblivion that atheists insist await us all or do they transition to another plane as people of faith believe is their own fate after the body fails?

As we observe animals give and receive joy, love, and also suffer true grief over the loss of their offspring or human companions, it is difficult to still hold that they do not have a soul.

But nor is it easy to imagine that, on completion of our life on earth, we transfer to the afterlife to find it teeming with the souls of every biological creature that has ever lived like some overstocked Jurassic Park — tens of millions of years’ worth of T-Rex’s and every other dinosaur that ever lived and died on earth.

The former is hard to accept as we have experience of forming deep and reciprocal loving bonds with animals, and as love is a spiritual element, that would imply there is something spiritual being loved by us and returning love to us.

The latter is hard to accept because it just seems so bizarre that thousands of trillions of animals would pile up in the afterlife as the earth and possibly other planets swarm and crawl with creatures in a continuous generational cycle.

But life and existence itself is bizarre when you think about it. Something cannot be said to be untrue just because it seems bizarre. In any case, the real estate in the afterlife may well accommodate any number of arrivals. However, believing something exists because we have a deep emotional and spiritual relationship with it is quite rational.

“Who knows whether the spirit of man goes upward and the spirit of the beast goes down into the earth?” (Ecclesiastes 3:21)

The idea that animals do not have souls has no scriptural basis. It’s just something people communally decided. In my view, they did so to artificially accentuate their own importance in the scheme of things and to God. This came from insecurity as it is not actually necessary to establish uniqueness in order to have intrinsic eternal value and to be counted as a child of God. Others need not be excluded so that we can be included. Our status before God is not a zero sum game.

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Religions that Thrive and Religions that Die

By Ronald Brown

Jacques Marion is one of those first generation Unificationists who, he told me, “dropped everything” when he met Reverend Moon and set off to spread the teachings and vision of Unificationism to the world.

He described his years as a missionary in Russia and Africa and the enthusiastic welcome the movement is receiving there. He concluded that it was in times of turmoil and trouble that people are most open to new and often radical solutions. Russia and Africa were in such states when he was there and largely remain so until today.

My conversation with Jacques and other Unificationist missionaries evoked major questions regarding how religions take root, thrive or die.

Why did Buddhism thrive in China, Korea, Japan, and South Asia, while it all but disappeared in its Indian homeland? Why did the Russians adopt Greek and not Roman Christianity, or even Judaism, Islam, or Buddhism as their national religion? Why is Evangelical Christianity sweeping the USA while mainline Christian churches are at best lingering?

In Paris this past summer, I decided to explore how Catholicism became and remains the dominant religion of France. My experience there led me to reflect on how Unificationism might fare in Africa.

The Thermes de Cluny: The latest in modern technology

In the early centuries after Christ, the Gauls swept out of the forests of northern Europe, eliminating all traces of Roman civilization in front of them. They sacked Rome in 387 B.C. but mighty Rome was not so easily humbled. Rome drove them out and back into their primeval forests. Finally, between 58 and 51 B.C. Julius Caesar conquered the barbaric Gauls and founded the city of Lutetia along the banks of the Seine River among the local Gallic tribe of the Parisii.

Little remains of the Roman town of Lutetia except for the underground ruins of the Roman Northern Baths beneath the ruins of the medieval Monastery of Cluny. Of all that remains of the ancient Roman bathhouse the most impressive and insightful was a massive marble bathtub dating from the 2nd century. According to the sign, the tub was made in Rome and brought to Lutetia to serve the ruling elite in the gigantic domed bathhouse.

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Where Are We Going and How and Why?

By Michael Hentrich

In some ways it seems our movement is suffering from an identity crisis.

Many of us are not really clear about where we are going or how we are trying to get there and why, even if we are doing our best to unite with True Mother. (The “we” in this article addresses Unificationists who understand Rev. and Mrs. Moon as the True Parents of humankind and who strive to fulfill their vision and directions)

Everything Father asked us to do was for multiple purposes. When we did campaigns, for example, we did it for our own spiritual experience and development, to make a good condition for ourselves, for the movement, for America and the providence, and usually it was to help create social and political capital so Father could get more social and political leverage and influence.

In addition, it was also to create a mechanism by which to overcome the exploding world population (there are 1.6 million more people on this earth every week!). And, it was also to stir up, inspire and motivate the spirit world.

When we went to workshops, it was to improve our personal understanding, elevate our ancestors, and hopefully improve our level of enthusiasm and commitment to the providential life we live every day.

When we went to Cheongpyeong, it was to bring healing to our ancestors and other spirits who were dragging us down, clean up our own spirit, nurture us through the educational classes, and hopefully inspire and empower us to be more active and effective back home.

So, there were multiple reasons for everything that we and Father did.

What about our lives today? What are we doing and why? Where are we trying to go in the long-term and short-term? We like to do campaigns, events and programs. That is what we did for the past 40 years. We should keep doing them. We know how to do them. We can bring some guests. We felt good doing them and we could make a positive report to headquarters and to True Parents.

Did we bring success? It depends what we were trying to accomplish. What were we trying to accomplish? People participated in our campaigns, events and programs, but too often they didn’t go deeper with us and become members. Why not?

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Fish Follow the Fisherman

By Allan Hokanson

In the early 1960s, in the little-known land of Korea, a man with a great vision had begun the work of developing the ocean’s resources by tending fish traps on the coastal mud flats.

He then looked toward the oceans of the world with the heart to provide food for all humankind facing the world’s growing population and the shrinking resources on land.

Meanwhile, across the ocean in the USA, and unknown to me, I was being prepared to take up the challenge of a life with God on the ocean. From the day I stepped aboard a boat bound for Alaska in 1966, my life would never be the same.

In a few years, our paths would converge. Rev. Sun Myung Moon came to America in the early 1970s with a plan that included unlocking the secrets of the ocean.

As the first captain of his boat, the New Hope, I had the great fortune to be with him from the beginning of the ocean providence in America. Suddenly I found myself at the controls of a high-performance sport fishing boat with Rev. Moon at my side — his life in my hands.

The hours at the controls seemed unending as records fell to this extremely successful fisherman. Every day the first three fish were released so they could “bring back their friends,” and it seemed to work as we loaded the boat with them all.

However, more important than navigation skills was my need to unite in heart with True Father (as I came to know him). I was determined to keep up and have the boat ready whenever he was ready to go.

Father never slept on the boat for more than three hours a night. Also, he never ate more than one meal on the boat each day.

Sometimes, his directions were contrary to my own thinking or experience. In such cases, it became necessary to let go of my concepts and find a way to accomplish his desire safely.

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Innate Conscience and World Peace

By Jeanne Carroll

As a young child, my friends next door had their grandmother living with them. She was a plump white-haired lady who spoke with a lilting Irish brogue. I so enjoyed listening to her speak.

One day my mom let me know that I shouldn’t talk to her anymore because we didn’t like her.

Shortly afterward, I broke a lamp. When asked by my infuriated mother if I did it, I simply said, “No.” I learned that by going against my inner voice and lying, I deflected punishment.

In summer 1964, I was eight years old. I happened to walk by a TV and saw men fighting on the streets with police officers. There were riots in New York and that scene sent a shudder of fear up my spine that I never had felt before. I knew someplace deep inside that this should not be happening.

On September 11, 2001, after watching the plumes of black smoke rise from the buildings of lower Manhattan from my window, I was sickened by the thought I would someday have to forgive the people who were responsible for that terrible devastation. Like all people, I wrestle with my conscience.

In a world where technology is king, it is easy see how the tools that humans are born with could be overlooked. As a long-forgotten super power, our conscience patiently waits to be used to its full potential.

Some consider “innate conscience” to be the basis of a philosophical debate, that conscience is formed only as an individual is introduced to family, society and culture. I maintain that innate conscience is a birthright bestowed on all humans equally. It is recorded in the Bible that after God completed each day of creation, God saw that it was good.  Therefore, all creation is the embodiment of God from birth or from the beginning, not only after maturity, religious ceremony or some other stipulation.

“Internal nature and external form refer to corresponding inner and outer aspects of the same entity” (Exposition of the Divine Principle, p. 17) which are in place at the time of birth. God desperately wanted an object partner in the form of children to love and to be loved by, embodying goodness. God, just as any parent, could take delight in them from birth. All people were born equipped with an inner knowing of their personalized innate conscience.

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A Layman’s Cosmology: Speculation on Earth’s Evolution and the Emergence of Humankind

By Henry Christopher

In “A Layman’s Cosmology: Speculation on the Origin of Existence and God,” I speculated “It would appear that Existence might be likened to a vast, endless sea of particles and atoms, with the potential, as Aristotle saw it, to be made into an infinite variety of substances. All that was wanting was a being with the mind to create.” I noted a Creator with a consciousness to love and bring about harmony in creation — modeled after His/Her own being — emerged from this sea of existence.

This article explores the possibilities of how God worked through the evolution of the earth to prepare for the arrival of humankind.

Scientists tell us the universe is 13.8 billion years old, while the earth is 4.5 billion years old. In our reckoning, that is a long period: plenty of time for the Creator to experiment, test, prepare, and develop step-by-step an ideal physical environment and introduce humankind to that world.

According to geological evidence, earth scientists have divided the history of the planet into major eras, periods and epochs in order to track the evolution of earth’s chemical, geological, biological, and climate events. It took four billion years for earth to form out of a volcanic, molten mass, and for life to be introduced.

First, in the Precambrian Era, major developments took place to make the earth capable of supporting life: earth’s molten mass had to cool off and form a solid crust; the chemical composition of the atmosphere had to develop, water introduced, and oceans formed. During the first billion years, a magnetic field formed around the earth, which kept the planet’s atmosphere from dissipating into the vast solar system. Without our atmosphere, life on earth would not exist, as is the case with the Moon and other planets in our solar system.

The evolution of plants, fish and animals started in the sea, where they remained for at least 600 million years. In the absence of a protective ozone layer, the land was bathed in lethal levels of UV radiation. Once photosynthesis raised atmospheric oxygen levels high enough, the ozone layer formed, making it possible for living things to venture onto the land.

The Paleozoic Era or “Age of Fishes” came next, lasting 325 million years, with the introduction of amphibians and insects.

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