Regína sacratíssimi Rosárii, ora pro nobis!

Q&A  January AD 2014
Our Lady of the Rosary
Parish Bulletin

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Correctiuon to Last Month's Article

Evangelii gaudium--Part I

Our Lady of the Rosary
Correction to Last Month's Article

    Question:  [I]f I recall correctly Roosevelt did put Germans and Italians in the camps.  [This refers to last month’s article on the morality of socialism.]  They were not kept there as long but what I read they were there.  My great grandmother and great aunt would go to the attic to speak in German, they were afraid someone would hear them and they would be taken away.  This was in Pittsburgh, PA  Just check out the history and let me know what you find.  (R.B. Saint Augustine)

    Answer:  Thank you for the correction.  It caught me by surprise as my parents, both born to my foreign born grandparents, were part of the World War II effort.  My German Mother worked as a chemistry lab technician for Sperry Rand, and my Italian Father served in the US Army Signal Corps.  My Father's Italian born Uncle worked in civilian industry and was never interned.   

If the Wikipedia is to be trusted, the Italians interned were a few hundred non-citizens.  The Germans were a few thousands, and did include some American Citizens. War against Germany was not all that popular with many Americans, including notables like Gerald Ford, Joseph Kennedy, Charles Lindbergh, Walt Disney, Lillian Gish and Frank Lloyd Wright.  In pre-war USA the Nazi party was fairly active.  The German-American Bund met openly, sometimes parading around in uniform.  My guess is that the Bund members were the German-American citizens that got locked up.

    The majority were non-citizens stuck here on tourist visas, and merchant marine personnel on German boats that were impounded.



 Our Lady of the Rosary
Evangelii gaudium--part I

    Question:  Pope Francis issued a document that is being criticized as Marxist.  Is it infallible?  Are Catholics required to believe what he wrote?  Is the Pope a Marxist?  (D.C., Boynton Beach)

    Answer:  Popes are infallible only in matters of faith and morals.  Economic pronouncements cannot be anything more than the Pope’s opinion.   Pope Francis’ economic opinions are no doubt shaped by the peculiar political-economic conditions of his native South America, and his modernist formation as a Jesuit.   Some of his “Slum Priests” in Buenos Aires are openly Marxist.[1]

    When asked by an interviewer what it felt like to be called a Marxist, the Pope replied:  “The Marxist ideology is wrong.  But I have met many Marxists in my life who are good people, so I don’t feel offended.”[2]  That is disturbing, for two of the central tenets of Marxism are atheism and the need for class struggle—a struggle which lead to the murders of millions of people during the twentieth century.[3]  Apparently the same Pope who makes no judgments about homosexual priests, makes no judgments about murderers either.

    The accusations of Marxism came about with the release of an Apostolic Exhortation, Evangelii gaudium on November 24th of this year[4]; from his Message for [the] World Day of Peace 1014[5], and from his rather effusive praise of Nelson Mandela.[6]

    To be a true Marxist, one would have to be an atheist, and this is probably not the case with Pope Francis.  But Francis’ words clearly make him out to be someone who believes that free enterprise is inherently corrupt, and that the state is a necessary administrator of any just economic system.  He fails to see that the state is often the author of policies which he condemns—“consumerism,” for example—the fostering of increased and unnecessary consumption of goods, was our government’s answer to the recent recession.  The free market solution would be to encourage frugality and saving, which would provide capital for new investments, thereby creating new jobs.  But Pope Francis condemns “financial speculation” as “often prov[ing] predatory.”[7]

    Evangelii gaudium runs to over 50,000 words—a decent sized book—so this month we will examine only the fallacies in its economic “core”; paragraphs 52-60.  All quotations of the Pope’s words will be slightly indented and given in the sans-serif typeface seen directly below:

    52. In our time humanity is experiencing a turning-point in its history, as we can see from the advances being made in so many fields. We can only praise the steps being taken to improve people’s welfare in areas such as health care, education and communications.

    It is tempting to think that the Pope is referring to Obamacare, Common Core, and!  Indeed, in reading Evangelii gaudium one is repeatedly reminded of the reason why works so well, while is such a dismal and expensive failure.

    At the same time we have to remember that the majority of our contemporaries are barely living from day to day, with dire consequences….

    “The majority of our contemporaries” live under some form of state controlled economy.  In all the history of the world, such economies have been, at very best, marginally able to provide for their people.

    54. In this context, some people continue to defend trickle-down theories which assume that economic growth, encouraged by a free market, will inevitably succeed in bringing about greater justice and inclusiveness in the world. This opinion, which has never been confirmed by the facts, expresses a crude and naïve trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power and in the sacralized workings of the prevailing economic system. Meanwhile, the excluded are still waiting. To sustain a lifestyle which excludes others, or to sustain enthusiasm for that selfish ideal, a globalization of indifference has developed. Almost without being aware of it, we end up being incapable of feeling compassion at the outcry of the poor, weeping for other people’s pain, and feeling a need to help them, as though all this were someone else’s responsibility and not our own. The culture of prosperity deadens us; we are thrilled if the market offers us something new to purchase; and in the meantime all those lives stunted for lack of opportunity seem a mere spectacle; they fail to move us.

    The term “trickle-down” is usually associated with Ronald Regan, although it was first used by Will Rogers during the First Depression.  Liberals use it in a derisive sense, although it describes the economy fairly accurately.  The idea is that if taxes and regulations are low, people will be inclined to establish and invest in new business ventures, which will employ and provide products for the working classes.  The concept was well proven in nineteenth century America until the so-called “progressive” era took hold.  Petroleum products, electrification, the railroads, the telephone network, and the automobile industry all got their start under “trickle down’ economic conditions—they employed many and made a dignified life available to all.  Industrialization made it possible to feed and clothe an entire society by making everyone more productive.  Wealth did, indeed, “trickle down” to everyone in society.

 No to the new idolatry of money

     55. One cause of this situation is found in our relationship with money, since we calmly accept its dominion over ourselves and our societies. The current financial crisis can make us overlook the fact that it originated in a profound human crisis: the denial of the primacy of the human person! We have created new idols. The worship of the ancient golden calf (cf. Ex 32:1-35) has returned in a new and ruthless guise in the idolatry of money and the dictatorship of an impersonal economy lacking a truly human purpose. The worldwide crisis affecting finance and the economy lays bare their imbalances and, above all, their lack of real concern for human beings; man is reduced to one of his needs alone: consumption.

    Apparently, the Pope is oblivious to the reality that there is no money!  In most countries of the world, what passes for money is nothing more than worthless paper, base metal coins, and computer entries.  Governments, in an effort to control everything that has been produced and will be produced in the future, have granted franchises to central banks to counterfeit and to lend non-existent counterfeit money into existence.  In some cases, governments have reserved the franchise to counterfeit to themselves.

    The poor and middle class who manage to put a few dollars together increasingly find that their dollars are in competition with the vast river of currency spewing forth from the central bank.  Of course the authorities deny that this inflation is taking place, and in their official statistics often exclude the two main essentials: food and fuel.

    If the Pope were serious, he would put the Federal Reserve under interdict.  He would also have something to say about wars of aggression which enrich the arms merchants, while putting working class people through the meat grinder.

    56. While the earnings of a minority are growing exponentially, so too is the gap separating the majority from the prosperity enjoyed by those happy few. This imbalance is the result of ideologies which defend the absolute autonomy of the marketplace and financial speculation. Consequently, they reject the right of states, charged with vigilance for the common good, to exercise any form of control. A new tyranny is thus born, invisible and often virtual, which unilaterally and relentlessly imposes its own laws and rules. Debt and the accumulation of interest also make it difficult for countries to realize the potential of their own economies and keep citizens from enjoying their real purchasing power. To all this we can add widespread corruption and self-serving tax evasion, which have taken on worldwide dimensions. The thirst for power and possessions knows no limits. In this system, which tends to devour everything which stands in the way of increased profits, whatever is fragile, like the environment, is defenseless before the interests of a deified market, which become the only rule.

    The hated “financial speculators” bring liquidity to the market.  They provide investment capital that makes innovation possible.  That they profit from investment is hateful to the Marxist and his “labor theory of value” (that a product’s value is measured only by the labor put into it—gravel made by cracking boulders with a jack-hammer in the heat is far more valuable than smooth stones picked out of a cool stream).  Without the investors there would be no jack-hammers, no trucks to take the gravel to market, and no market to take it to!

    There is a certain naïveté in thinking that while everyone else is s greedy cut‑throat, those in government are altruistic and wise angels.  If it is immoral for individuals to employ force against their neighbors and to take their belongings, then individuals cannot grant government the right to what they cannot do themselves.  In practice, the more powerful and centralized the government, the more those in government take what belongs to the productive classes in order to secure their own political power and to reward themselves and their supporters. 

    Obama’s multimillion dollar vacations demonstrate the lie that those in government work for the “common good.”[8]  In these United States, nothing contributed more to the plight of poor than big government—by debasing the currency, by arranging for mortgages they couldn’t afford, by taxing and regulating employers out of the country, and by making so many dependent on the dole.

    The fragility of the environment is always greater in big government economies.  When “everybody” owns something, no one owns it and no one cares for it.  The legendary air pollution of Peking,[9] the destruction of the Aral Sea in the former Soviet Union,[10] the meltdown at Chernobyl in the former Soviet Ukraine,[11] American military use of depleted uranium,[12] and water pollution by the TVA are all good examples of what is known as “the tragedy of the commons.”  If Pope Francis refuses to recognize this, he should be made to ride the New York City subways without a gas mask.  There are places there which smell like the ninth circle of hell—because they are owned by everybody, they are cared for by nobody, and the corridors reek with noxious quantities of every known human effluent.

 No to the inequality which spawns violence

    59. Today in many places we hear a call for greater security. But until exclusion and inequality in society and between peoples is reversed, it will be impossible to eliminate violence. The poor and the poorer peoples are accused of violence, yet without equal opportunities the different forms of aggression and conflict will find a fertile terrain for growth and eventually explode. When a society – whether local, national or global – is willing to leave a part of itself on the fringes, no political programmes or resources spent on law enforcement or surveillance systems can indefinitely guarantee tranquility. This is not the case simply because inequality provokes a violent reaction from those excluded from the system, but because the socioeconomic system is unjust at its root. Just as goodness tends to spread, the toleration of evil, which is injustice, tends to expand its baneful influence and quietly to undermine any political and social system, no matter how solid it may appear. If every action has its consequences, an evil embedded in the structures of a society has a constant potential for disintegration and death. It is evil crystallized in unjust social structures, which cannot be the basis of hope for a better future. We are far from the so-called “end of history”, since the conditions for a sustainable and peaceful development have not yet been adequately articulated and realized.

    In order to advance the “class struggle,” Marxists portray the inequality of outcomes as being the same as the inequality of opportunities.  Those that earn less or choose to live on the dole are depicted as “victims.”  Only in free enterprise does it become possible for a man to rise out of poverty and make something of himself.  To criticize those who do so, while claiming that they thereby inspire violence is to sentence the poor to eternal poverty.  When government finally crashes the dollar, and the free phones don’t work, and the EBT card no longer buys food, Pope Francis will see genuine class struggle!

 60. Today’s economic mechanisms promote inordinate consumption, yet it is evident that unbridled consumerism combined with inequality proves doubly damaging to the social fabric. Inequality eventually engenders a violence which recourse to arms cannot and never will be able to resolve. This serves only to offer false hopes to those clamouring for heightened security, even though nowadays we know that weapons and violence, rather than providing solutions, create new and more serious conflicts. Some simply content themselves with blaming the poor and the poorer countries themselves for their troubles; indulging in unwarranted generalizations, they claim that the solution is an “education” that would tranquilize them, making them tame and harmless. All this becomes even more exasperating for the marginalized in the light of the widespread and deeply rooted corruption found in many countries – in their governments, businesses and institutions – whatever the political ideology of their leaders. 

    Curious—the poor are poor because they consume too much?  Or is it because the wealthy consume what should have been given to the poor?  One would expect this propensity of the rich to consume to have created many jobs for the poor who are willing to work—you can’t consume what has not been produced.  The statist solution to the recent depression was economic “stimulus”—the counterfeiting of yet more money so that everyone would be motivated to consume more, which would supposedly create jobs and boost the economy.  Pope Francis should learn that the free market encourages thrift—less consumption and more saving!  Such saving is the key to investment and the consequent creation of useful jobs.

    Pope Francis indeed loves the poor—so much that he want there to be many more of them!

     NEXT MONTH: “self-absorbed promethean neopelagianism,”  “narcissistic and authoritarian elitism,” salvation through Islam and salvation through the Mosaic Law, and whatever else space permits.




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