Caritas in Veritate?
In his latest encyclical Pope Benedict XVI paints a beautiful picture of what the economy ought to be—informed by love, truth, justice, generosity, respect for the rights of individuals and reverence for the Creator. His picture may be an unrealizable utopian dream, but it is certainly beautiful nonetheless. It is also certain that the Holy Father has little understanding of how such an economy might be brought into existence. And even more certain that the two sources of the Pope's inspiration—Vatican II and the encyclical Populorum progressio of Pope Paul VI are dead ends. Paul VI was the economic “savant” who hired a Mafia Don and Freemason named Michele Sindona to administer the Church's vast investment portfolio. Vatican II was the council that brought unmitigated disaster upon the Catholic Church in every measurable way.
There are, I believe, at least three fundamental flaws in the encyclical:
The title of the encyclical is misleading for Pope Benedict's conception of truth is Modernist—something that develops when people “dialogue” and form a consensus of opinion. In several places he is critical of relativism but fails to see that relativism permeates his own thought. Modernist thinking has more in common with dialectic of Hegel and Marx than it does with the perennial teaching of the Catholic Church of an absolute truth known at least in the mind of God, and perhaps by men as well. Dialectical thinking is fraught with contradiction and ambiguity—anyone reading the encyclical will be struck by Benedict's insistence on subsidiarity (governing things at the lowest possible level of society) while at the same time calling for global government (47, 57, 58, 60, 67)!
Benedict's concept of charity is unlike that usually found in Catholic writings. Generally the Church speaks of charity as one of the supernatural virtues—something infused in the souls of believers—which enables them to love God, and then to love their neighbors as themselves. Without the grace of conversion this virtue is simply not available to even the most well-meaning leaders, economists, planners, sociologists, and so forth. One can speak of a natural virtue of charity, but that is far below what one would expect in any Catholic elaboration of society. Indeed, one would have expected an encyclical concerning the world social order to center around Christ the King and the Universal Church through which He reigns.
Pope Benedict repeatedly uses the undefined phrase “integral human development” (4, 8, 9, 11, 17, 18, 29, 30, 34, 44, etc.). Only peripherally does this refer to the relationship of individuals and societies with God. His view is, rather, that of the humanist who considers man as largely a natural phenomenon. The religion of individual men may facilitate this humanism, but it remains peripheral. Apparently the Catholic Church founded by Jesus Christ is not totally adequate to the job for:
“Cultures and religions” are to be evaluated—with whatever charity and truth mean to modern man—with “the whole man and all men” (whatever that means) as the criterion for their evaluation. Who is to evaluate? Certainly, it will not be the Magisterium of the Church! Perhaps we will have a periodic meeting like the one in Assisi in 1986 for this evaluation to take place. Or perhaps we can assign the task to the United Nations.
Of necessity the encyclical bears on economics. It would probably be wrong to label Benedict a Marxist in the classical sense—he is a globalist, but his dialectic is at least superficially more spiritual than material. Yet, some of his ideas—e.g. global warming, and evolution are tinged with the political correctness of Cultural Marxism. His economic ideas follow the corporatist socialism of Mussolini or Franklin Roosevelt's National Recovery Administration. Perhaps his is best called an “international socialism” or possibly a “Global Masonic Grand Lodge.”
One of the great lies of the twentieth century was that nothing significant would change in the Church following Vatican II. Pope Benedict speaks of a “hermenutic of continuity” as though saying something makes it true. Here he tries to make the case that the economic thought of the Vatican II era Popes is the organic development of the teachings of their predecessors (12). He goes to far as to libel Pope Leo XIII, claiming that in Rerum Novarum the saintly Pontiff wrote that “the civil order, for its self-regulation, also needed intervention from the State for purposes of redistribution” (39-Benedict appearing to quote Leo) something repeatedly praised by Pope Benedict (36, 37, 39, 42, 49) but found nowhere in Rerum Novarum. Indeed, Pope Leo wrote:
Pope Pius XI echoed Pope Leo's remarks forty years later in Quadragesimo Anno:
[Actually, socialism is a demonstrably less efficient means of organizing production than the market economy—witness, for example, the inability of the Soviet Union to feed its people year after year in spite of it plentiful resources. Socialism lacks the feedback mechanism of the market that signals producers what to produce and how much.]
Pre-conciliar economic encyclicals did consider the need for workers to earn a “family wage,” as Benedict does in his (63). The idea being that a man must be able to support himself and his family on what he is paid. The unspoken fact is that sometimes this means paying a man more than he produces—more of an act of charity than of justice. Certainly there is room for charity in business. In Pope Leo XIII's time, and even in Pius XI's time, such charity actually functioned. But today, precisely because of government intrusion in the workplace, such charity is illegal. Labor relations laws generally strive to enforce strict equality among workers doing the same job. An employer would be guilty of discrimination if he were to pay the man with six children more than his unmarried counterpart.
Pope Benedict repeatedly speaks of freedom as being needed for for human development (17, 21, 36). But the pervasive government regulation he espouses takes away freedom. A man is not free if his goods are taken away from him or if he does not have the right to dispose of them as he sees fit. He is not free if he is told where he is to work, what he is to produce, and how he is to do so, and what he may charge for his services. There is no charity in confiscation.
The Pope laments the “promotion of religious indifference or practical atheism on the part of many countries” (29). He fails to see the role that he and other high placed leaders of the Conciliar Church had in bringing this about. Religious indifference has been a integral part of the plan since Vatican II's pronouncements on “religious liberty” Nostra Ætate and Dignitatis Humanæ. The plan was confirmed over and over again—the circus at Assisi in 1986 was a colorful example (by no means unique) of the Conciliar Church's indifference to the truth revealed by God. Many Catholics holding the perennial understanding of the un-changing God's revelation of truth through the Church He established on earth were scandalized—many now spend their Sundays at fundamentalist and further out fringe churches—but many now just sleep late or shoot golf. It is difficult to understand how the Church that claimed to represent “the Father of lights in Whom there is no shadow of change or alteration” suddenly felt compelled to change everything—the Mass and Sacraments, even the Rosary, the Stations of the Cross, and the Vulgate Bible. Some of the changes are sacrilegious, some are just plain silly—but religious people are repelled by either one.
The sheltering of perverts, some in high places, severely damaged the Church's remaining moral influence. Expulsion of immoral clergy rarely takes place unless the accused is first tried and convicted of a civil crime, as though the Church were incapable of exercising Her own discipline or unwilling to do so. Economic losses and church closings accompanied high legal settlements. Outright embezzlement, sometimes accompanied by sexual immorality, has added to the economic cost and loss of moral credibility.
Pope Benedict struggled with the ways in which the lesser developed countries could share in the global economy. He correctly recognized that government corruption is often intimately entwined with foreign aid:
In the past, missionary activity provided an important way of bringing both the truth of the Catholic Faith and a measure of self sufficient economic activity to poor societies. The missionary orders provided conduits for charitable aid from outside the country without it being siphoned off by the local dictator for “oppression and exploitation.” Missionary industry contributed to the education and training of the people, while enabling the growth of local private capital formation. But the “Spirit of Vatican II” decimated the religious orders—numbers are down, average ages are up. Why would anyone want to be a priest or a religious? For many of the orders, spirituality was traded for “social relevance.” The priest, formerly “another Christ” became the “presider over the assembly,” as the “Holy Sacrifice” became a “memorial meal.” One could obtain a well paying job practicing the social sciences, even enjoying the amenities of life such as a wife and children.
If government is to be involved with the reception of foreign money, it would do best to insure that local industry can be built up and local capital formed with a minimum of bureaucracy. Nothing will keep a country poor as excessive regulation and “red tape.” If it takes yards of forms, overt bribes, and lots of time to establish a business, investors are liable to do so elsewhere.
Pope Benedict tells us that “The Church does not have technical solutions to offer and does not claim ‘to interfere in any way in the politics of States’” (9), but then goes on to prescribe the interference of a global government!
Though he echoes the error of Pope Paul VI in Humanæ vitæ (12), emphasizing “both the unitive and the procreative meaning of sexuality,” Pope Benedict quite correctly criticizes those who would deny “a right to life and to a natural death,” the making of “human conception, gestation, and birth” artificial, and the sacrificing of human embryos to research” (15, 51). Curiously he has only praise for the United Nations! UN population control efforts abound, and are paid for by taxpayers with no say in the use of their money for immoral purposes. The UN considers such efforts to be a legitimate part of its UN Development Programme.
The UN has always displayed Marxist leanings. Its first General Assembly president Alger Hiss was almost certainly the Russian spy "Ales" mentioned in the Venona decrypts. Due to the statute of limitations he could not be prosecuted for espionage, but did time for perjury. The current president of the General Assembly is liberation theologian Fr. Miguel d'Escoto, the former Foreign Minister of Daniel Ortega's Marxist Sandinista government in Nicaragua from 1979-1990. On June 4, 2008 Ortega nominated d'Escoto for the UN position and his nomination was accepted by acclamation of the entire General Assembly. Accuracy in Media described the corruption and moral failings of the UN in this recent article.
The UN is committed to the Kyoto Treaty, which, although based on junk science, threatens to destroy the economy of developed nations. The Modernist Vatican has bought the “Global Warming” nonsense, much as it has fallen for the the pseudo science of evolution.
Giving the UN more power and authority can only increase the damage it does to both materially and spiritually. So what do we see from the Conciliar Church?
The so-called “Catechism of the Catholic Church,” quoting the Vatican II document Gaudium et spes proposed the notion of an armed United Nations:
And now we have the Pope of Rome calling for a UN with “real teeth”!
Pope Benedict has apparently not heard the adage that “absolute power corrupts absolutely.” The government of an armed United Nations with “real teeth” would be a nightmare of proportions only dreamed of by the worst despots in human history. Apart from the Pope's wishful thinking, it certainly cannot be expected to be Catholic, Christian, or even tolerant of Christianity.
Oblivious to the Ill Effects of Government
Throughout the encyclical Pope Benedict calls for extensive intrusion of government in the world, in national economies, and in the development of lesser developed countries. Apart from a brief comment on the dangers of foreign aid, he seems to be oblivious to the damage that governments have done and the disastrous effects they have had on the spiritual and material well-being of people throughout the world. We in America might be quick to call attention to the Socialist and Communist regimes of Germany, China and the Soviet union during the twentieth century. We would be justified by a litany of reasons, including their bitter persecution of religion, the theft of property and destruction of natural resources innate in socialist systems, the brutal repression of those who resisted the almighty state, the mass starvation, and the tens of millions of people murdered, and so forth.
But Americans, and particularly American politicians have plenty of room for soul searching right here at home. America's leading role in world affairs—political, economic, military, and social—often enough requires us to bear a significant amount of responsibility for the world's problems. The American “Progressive” era and the Great Depression is a marvelous example of government monetary and financial bungling bracketed by two world wars—all of which would likely have been avoided with less government.
The current world financial crises is similar to the Great Depression.
Ten thousand maxima culpas, Holy Father!
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