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Pope Francis, without the politics (free-enterpriser comments)
Acton Institute ^ | January 8, 2014 | Rev. Robert A. Sirico

Posted on 01/12/2014 8:09:14 AM PST by Mrs. Don-o

In 2005 I was invited to Rome by the BBC to provide commentary for the events surrounding the death of Pope John Paul II and the subsequent conclave that would elect Joseph Ratzinger as Benedict XVI. On the day the cardinals entered the conclave, I was on camera with the veteran BBC correspondent Brian Hanrahan (who died in 2010) and who seemed incredulous that the College of Cardinals might elect Ratzinger who had just given a memorable homily to the cardinals in which he decried the “dictatorship of relativism.”

Could so narrow-minded a man, I was in effect asked, become pope?

I argued that Ratzinger was well-known to each of the cardinals and that, he more than any other, had the best chance of being elected. I allowed, however, that perhaps “a friendlier version” of Ratzinger could be elected, and speculated that perhaps this might be “Bergoglio of Argentina.” I was about eight years off.

So, on a rainy March evening in Rome last year, finding myself unexpectedly once again present for a conclave, I was familiar with the man who would walk on to the loggia of St. Peter’s Basilica. Nonetheless, this pope of many firsts (the first to take the name Francis, the first Jesuit, the first from the Americas) was ready with a number of surprises of his own. For those of us who follow the papacy, Pope Francis provides a constant stream of material for reflection.

For commentators accustomed over the past 30 years of explaining the meaning of dense theological and philosophical magisterial texts which were the norm prior to this pontificate, the simplicity and spontaneity of Pope Francis’ style can be confusing and somewhat deceptive.

Whereas his predecessor had largely taught in very precise words and nuanced argument, Francis speaks boldly through effective and moving gestures. One tender and manifestly genuine embrace of a deformed man is worth an entire encyclical on love. And in the age of the Internet, it is more instantly accessible to millions of people.

It is no surprise that the man who took as his model and name the model of il poverello of Assisi would place the poor as a central concern of his pontificate: their dignity, their rights and their sustenance. Yet, the spontaneous gestures and the impromptu manner in which they are displayed ought not to beguile us into thinking this pope is offering a superficial dichotomy between left and right; between capitalism and socialism. To think that any pope, but especially this pope, is animated in his concern for the poor and vulnerable by a particular political ideology is to miss him completely.

While renouncing the notion that the market alone is sufficient to meet all human needs, Francis is also prepared to denounce a “welfare mentality” that creates a dependency on the part of the poor and reduces the Church to the role of being just another bureaucratic NGO. The complexity of his thought surprises some, on both the Right (some of whom worry, needlessly, that he is a liberation theologian) and the Left (who are already using his words to foment a political “Francis Revolution” in his name). Such tendencies reveal a rather anemic understanding of this man but also of Catholicism, which has historically been comfortable balancing the tensions of apparent paradoxes (Divine/human; Virgin/Mother; etc.). It is too facile a temptation to collapse 2,000 years of tradition, commentary and lived experience into four or five politically-correct hot button sound bites that are the priority, not of the Church, but of propagandists with an agenda.

If one wants to understand Francis’ thinking about the poor, it would be good to look objectively at his much talked about, but little-read Apostolic Exhortation, “The Joy of the Gospel.” It soon becomes apparent that much of this Exhortation is an extension of a keen insight that Jorge Bergoglio had when he was Archbishop of Buenos Aires:

"We cannot respond with truth to the challenge of eradicating exclusion and poverty if the poor continue to be objects, targets of the action of the state and other organizations in a paternalistic and aid-based sense, instead of subjects, where the state and society create social conditions that promote and safeguard their rights and allow them to be builders of their own destiny." -- Abp Bergoglio, 2009

As one who has promoted a free economy as a normative way to assisting people out of poverty, I find two innovative challenges in these words which could go a long way to depoliticizing the debate about wealth and poverty.

Imagine if all of those presently engaged in the debate on these matters began to ask questions such as, “What excludes the poor from the process of prosperity?” or “What would a society look like that no longer considers the poor as objects of paternalistic aid but rather as potential shapers of their own destiny?”

The particular details of policy prescriptions are not the heart and soul of Francis’ incredible attraction on the part of people throughout the world. It is not his political motivation that moves us as we witness his embrace by — and of — frail human life.

In a monumental and unanticipated way Pope Francis is changing the tired conversations of the past and inviting us to engage in a process of healing so desperately needed in our world today. Almost single-handedly he is changing the way in which people view Catholicism, not by changing Catholicism, but by retrieving many of its own treasured traditions and putting them out front.

His strategy comes from his view of the Church and it is not secret. It is simple, and he stated himself clearly. He sees the Church as a field hospital after a battle.

“The thing the Church needs most today is the ability to heal wounds and to warm the hearts of the faithful,” he said. “It is useless to ask a seriously injured person if he has high cholesterol and about the level of his blood sugars! You have to heal his wounds. Then we can talk about everything else. Heal the wounds.”

Heal the wounds, yes. And then awaken society to the greatest resource of all: the human person. That is the path out of poverty.


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Culture/Society; News/Current Events; Philosophy
KEYWORDS: acton; begoglio; capitalism; sirico
A leading American free-enterprise advocate brings us a positive view and a sterling quote from Pope Francis (which is also one of Paul Ryan's favorites:)

"We cannot respond with truth to the challenge of eradicating exclusion and poverty if the poor continue to be objects, targets of the action of the state and other organizations in a paternalistic and aid-based sense, instead of subjects, where the state and society create social conditions that promote and safeguard their rights and allow them to be builders of their own destiny." -- Abp Bergoglio, 2009

Class, discuss.

1 posted on 01/12/2014 8:09:14 AM PST by Mrs. Don-o
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To: Mrs. Don-o

I am worried about this Pope. I appreciate your post very much.


2 posted on 01/12/2014 8:26:21 AM PST by Kansas58
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To: Kansas58

Sometimes I think am subject to American thinking, more than Catholic thinking, in terms of the Holy Spirit, the magisterium and Sacred Scripture.

The Holy Father’s public forums, interviews, etc., do challenge my American-think tendency for sure, but he is on record despising liberation theology.


3 posted on 01/12/2014 8:48:29 AM PST by RitaOK ( VIVA CHRISTO REY / Public education is the farm team for more Marxists coming.)
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To: RitaOK; Kansas58
Here's a choice assessment of Pope Francis from the actual Catholic Left (and ex-Catholic but still-Left), Andrew O'Hehir and Matthew Fox --- courtesy of Salon:

http://www.salon.com/2013/03/16/is_pope_francis_a_fraud/

"As Fox and many other Catholic and ex-Catholic dissidents see it, Vatican II marked the moment when the church had the chance to reinvent itself as a flexible moral and spiritual force in a rapidly changing world. Indeed, it briefly seemed to do just that – and it’s important to understand that Bergoglio, like Joseph Ratzinger and Karol Wojtyla before him, was part of the right-wing counterrevolution within the church that aggressively rolled back those changes, crushed dissident thought and reasserted the absolute power of the pope and his hierarchy.

"Pope Francis is a longtime ally of Communion and Liberation, a fiercely conservative Catholic organization that insists on “total fidelity and communion” with the church leadership and is devoted, among other things, to battling European socialism and Latin American liberation theology. In Italian politics, CL has been closely tied to the party of Silvio Berlusconi, and its founder was an intimate friend of Cardinal Ratzinger before he became Benedict XVI."

I love to hear sweet, reassuring words like that.. :o)

4 posted on 01/12/2014 9:05:01 AM PST by Mrs. Don-o (Point of interest.)
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To: RitaOK; Kansas58
Sorry the underlines got away from me.

Note to self:

Always preview.

Always preview.

Always preview.

5 posted on 01/12/2014 9:07:10 AM PST by Mrs. Don-o (Always preview.)
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To: Mrs. Don-o
Believe it or not, but the spiritual authority of the pope is to keep in front of people's minds the importance of the nature of man in relation to God.

When the media attempts to analyze Francis's writings, it does not begin with this very important premise, therefore they will always misunderstand him and will always misquote him.

Our responsibility is to understand what he says rather than what the media says about what he says because the media is antagonistic and prefers to deal in confusion.

6 posted on 01/12/2014 9:11:16 AM PST by Slyfox (We want our pre-existing HEALTH INSURANCE back!)
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To: Mrs. Don-o
Thanks for providing this opportunity for discussion.

The writer quoted above poses one question: "Imagine if all of those presently engaged in the debate on these matters began to ask questions such as, 'What excludes the poor from the process of prosperity?' or 'What would a society look like that no longer considers the poor as objects of paternalistic aid but rather as potential shapers of their own destiny?'"

Considering the philosophy of the Declaration of Independence, and the Constitution of 1787, is it possible that a partial answer to that question to be found in the following essay excerpted from "Our Ageless Constitution," a 292-page history of the ideas of liberty in America, again available after 20 years of being out of print.

Freedom Of Individual Enterprise

The Economic Dimension Of Liberty Protected By The Constitution

"Agriculture, manufactures, commerce, and navigation, the four pillars of our prosperity, are the most thriving when left most free to individual enterprise." - Thomas Jefferson

"The enviable condition of the people of the United States is often too much ascribed to the physical advantages of their soil & climate .... But a just estimate of the happiness of our country will never overlook what belongs to the fertile activity of a free people and the benign influence of a responsible government." - James Madison

America's Constitution did not mention freedom of enterprise per se, but it did set up a system of laws to secure individual liberty and freedom of choice in keeping with Creator-endowed natural rights. Out of these, free enterprise flourished naturally. Even though the words "free enterprise' are not in the Constitution, the concept was uppermost in the minds of the Founders, typified by the remarks of Jefferson and Madison as quoted above. Already, in 1787, Americans were enjoying the rewards of individual enterprise and free markets. Their dedication was to securing that freedom for posterity.

The learned men drafting America's Constitution understood history - mankind's struggle against poverty and government oppression. And they had studied the ideas of the great thinkers and philosophers. They were familiar with the near starvation of the early Jamestown settlers under a communal production and distribution system and Governor Bradford's diary account of how all benefited after agreement that each family could do as it wished with the fruits of its own labors. Later, in 1776, Adam Smith's INQUIRY INTO THE NATURE AND CAUSES OF THE WEALTH OF NATIONS and Say's POLITICAL ECONOMY had come at just the right time and were perfectly compatible with the Founders' own passion for individual liberty. Jefferson said these were the best books to be had for forming governments based on principles of freedom. They saw a free market economy as the natural result of their ideal of liberty. They feared concentrations of power and the coercion that planners can use in planning other peoples lives; and they valued freedom of choice and acceptance of responsibility of the consequences of such choice as being the very essence of liberty. They envisioned a large and prosperous republic of free people, unhampered by government interference.

The Founders believed the American people, possessors of deeply rooted character and values, could prosper if left free to:

  • acquire and own property
  • have access to free markets
  • produce what they wanted
  • work for whom and at what they wanted
  • travel and live where they would choose
  • acquire goods and services which they desired

Such a free market economy was, to them, the natural result of liberty, carried out in the economic dimension of life. Their philosophy tend­ed to enlarge individual freedom - not to restrict or diminish the individual's right to make choices and to succeed or fail based on those choices. The economic role of their Constitutional government was simply to secure rights and encourage commerce. Through the Constitution, they granted their government some very limited powers to:

Adam Smith called it "the system of natural liberty." James Madison referred to it as "the benign influence of a responsible government." Others have called it the free enterprise system. By whatever name it is called, the economic system envisioned by the Founders and encouraged by the Constitution allowed individual enterprise to flourish and triggered the greatest explosion of economic progress in all of history. Americans became the first people truly to realize the economic dimension of liberty.


Footnote: Our Ageless Constitution, W. David Stedman & La Vaughn G. Lewis, Editors (Asheboro, NC, W. David Stedman Associates, 1987) Part III:  ISBN 0-937047-01-5

7 posted on 01/12/2014 9:24:20 AM PST by loveliberty2
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To: Kansas58

This is an excellent post! Thanks. Perhaps Rush Limbaugh needs to give it a serious read without jumping off the rails to react what is found in the mainstream media versions of what Pope Francis has to say.


8 posted on 01/12/2014 9:31:15 AM PST by Steelfish (ui)
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To: Mrs. Don-o
The complexity of his thought surprises some, on both the Right (some of whom worry, needlessly, that he is a liberation theologian) and the Left (who are already using his words to foment a political “Francis Revolution” in his name).

So his thoughts are so complex he the right sees him as a leftist and yet at the same time the left sees him as a leftist?

9 posted on 01/12/2014 10:06:08 AM PST by pepsi_junkie (Who is John Galt?)
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To: RitaOK
Very true: I would argue we should be Catholics who happen to be American, rather than Americans who happen to be Catholic.
10 posted on 01/12/2014 11:11:36 AM PST by Mrs. Don-o ("Find new ways to spread the word of God to every corner of the world. " - Pope Francis)
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To: Slyfox

So true. My new tagline!


11 posted on 01/12/2014 11:13:58 AM PST by Mrs. Don-o ( "The media is antagonistic and prefers to deal in confusion. - FReeper Slyfox)
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To: loveliberty2

Interesting! Thank you!


12 posted on 01/12/2014 11:14:31 AM PST by Mrs. Don-o ( "The media is antagonistic and prefers to deal in confusion. - FReeper Slyfox)
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To: Mrs. Don-o

-— : I would argue we should be Catholics who happen to be American, rather than Americans who happen to be Catholic -—

That should be true of any religious person.


13 posted on 01/12/2014 11:15:36 AM PST by St_Thomas_Aquinas ( Isaiah 22:22, Matthew 16:19, Revelation 3:7)
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To: pepsi_junkie
On the contrary, the lefists see Pope Francis as a rightist.

#4

14 posted on 01/12/2014 11:19:01 AM PST by Mrs. Don-o ( "The media is antagonistic and prefers to deal in confusion. - FReeper Slyfox)
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To: Mrs. Don-o

“- the simplicity and spontaneity of Pope Francis’ style can be confusing and somewhat deceptive.

While renouncing the notion that the market alone is sufficient to meet all human needs, Francis is also prepared to denounce a “welfare mentality” that creates a dependency on the part of the poor and reduces the Church to the role of being just another bureaucratic NGO. The complexity of his thought “

Pope John Paul, who matured during WWII and grew up under Communist socialism had no problems identifying the cause of poverty.

This Pope has issues, The Church has had other like him before and has survived.

It is better to teach a man to fish than to force other to provide their fish to the worthless.

Note - Worthless - not Helpless


15 posted on 01/12/2014 11:22:23 AM PST by DanZ
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To: DanZ
"It is better to teach a man to fish than to force other to provide their fish to the worthless."

Well said, I agree. In other words:

"We cannot respond with truth to the challenge of eradicating exclusion and poverty if the poor continue to be objects, targets of the action of the state and other organizations in a paternalistic and aid-based sense, instead of subjects, where the state and society create social conditions that promote and safeguard their rights and allow them to be builders of their own destiny." -- Abp Bergoglio, 2009

16 posted on 01/12/2014 11:45:56 AM PST by Mrs. Don-o (" For everything there is a season, and a time for every puprose under heaven." - Ecclesiastes 3:1)
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To: Mrs. Don-o

Pope Francis says the trickle down theory is a new tyranny in the world, and that such an economy kills. Yet, when Vatican Radio released its estimates of how many Christians were tortured and martyred, 70,000 last year, down from 100,000 the year before, it identified only Muslims and Communists as killers. Am I missing something? When did it become kick the capitalists time, when capitalism is not guilty of committing aggressive war or genocide. Yes, I am offended when somebody falsely accuses me of being a killer.

The Pope, in the four pages of original contribution to the stream of Catholic thought, made two references. One was to idolatry, in which he referenced Aaron. Give me a break. Aaron was not a supply-sider. Aaran’s sin was that he wanted to return the children to Egypt because they preferred the safety of slavery to the challenges of being free and putting your trust in God.

The other reference was to St. John Chrysostom, an early doctor of the Church. Pope Francis quotes Chrysostom on the moral obligation of the rich to give to the poor (which, verily, is in keeping with the Bible and with Jesus’ teaching in the parable of Lazarus and the rich man). No problem there. But, Pope Francis leaves out that Chrysostom said that forced charity would be ineffective and even harmful. Here, let me quote Chrysostom (sermon 63):

“Should we look to kings and princes to put right the inequalities between rich and poor? Should we require soldiers to come and seize the rich person’s gold and distribute it among his destitute neighbors? Should we beg the emperor to impose a tax on the rich so great that it reduces them to the level of the poor and then to share the proceeds of that tax among everyone? Equality imposed by force would achieve nothing, and do much harm. Those who combined both cruel hearts and sharp minds would soon find ways of making themselves rich again. Worse still, the rich whose gold was taken away would feel bitter and resentful; while the poor who received the gold form the hands of soldiers would feel no gratitude, because no generosity would have prompted the gift. Far from bringing moral benefit to society, it would actually do moral harm. Material justice cannot be accomplished by compulsion, a change of heart will not follow. The only way to achieve true justice is to change people’s hearts first - and then they will joyfully share their wealth.”

(BTW in my opinion, most heresy consists of over-emphasizing part of the truth. Jesus was not an “either/or” man. He was a “both/and” man.)

Is Pope Francis such a fool that he thinks trying to appear to be the most empathetic man in the world will win converts from the progressive socialist atheists?

Well, maybe, he thinks he is following Jesus in his parable of the Good Shepherd. The one who leaves the 99 and pursues the one who has gone astray. If Pope Francis wants to abandon those of us who work and save, raise families, pay taxes and freely contribute to the poor, in order to pursue the ones who have gone astray, that’s his business. But, that doesn’t give him license to make false accusations.


17 posted on 01/12/2014 12:01:43 PM PST by Redmen4ever
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To: Redmen4ever
Are you assuming that capitalism = "trickle-down theory"? I always associated capitalism, instead, with "supply-side economics," but I could be wrong.

Do you think Pope Francis said that everybody who participates in economic enterprise, is a murderer? That would be the same as accusing you and a couple million other people involved in ordinary honest businmess enterprise, of being murderers, but I don't think he did that.

My understanding is that "trickle-down theory" has a meaning closer to laissez-faire or Objectivist (Any Rand). People who reject all economic action which is outside of the market, whether by government (fair trade or commercial law) or by private concerns (e.g. charities.) But that's not "all free-market participants."

I think many free-marketeers would agree that a free market ALONE does not produce justice, since the free market must be subject to what Madison called "the benign influence of a responsible government" --- meaning, the Constitutionally enumerated and limited roles that government should play in economic exchange.

That would be: prevention of fraud, protection of creators' intellectual property, establishing sound currency, keeping things competitive (suppressing various kinds of extortion, graft, protectionism, banksterism, cronyism), preventing the "downstreaming" of external costs and harms, including environmental.

That would NOT be: Obamunism, and all its disastrously sovietizing, statist ambitions.

A free-market economy is not totally laissez-faire. It is shaped by the just exercise of both governmental and private non-market factors --- and it's disastrous when it is not.

To take just one example, the free cross-border trade in narcotics, weapons, and pirated technology; human trafficking in age sex-slaves and bracero labor; and the free flow of low-wage workers across borders, is certainly "free market" but certainly not just. A free-market is also shaped by economic transactions which are outside of the market: for instance, private, individual, corporate, and church-related charities, philanthropy, cooperative and mutual-aid societies, and values-based consumer behavior: these are not based on market mechanisms, but form an absolutely essential complement in a free-market economy.

So, as Pope Francis said in that battered Paragraph 54, a free market does not of itself ("por si mismo") "succeed in bringing about greater justice and inclusiveness in the world." Of itself is an important phrase, because it indicates that human economic transactions outside of the market (e.g. voluntary charities) will never become redundant: the market system does not achieve universal good results all by itself.

18 posted on 01/12/2014 12:24:40 PM PST by Mrs. Don-o (God's people want pastors, not clergy acting like bureaucrats or government officials. -Pope Francis)
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To: Mrs. Don-o

If the Pope is talking about an abstraction that nobody has ever advocated (not even Ayn Rand), fine. He can make that clear.

“Trickle down” is left-wing code for the neo-liberalism of Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher, Bill Clinton and Tony Blair. Many people, both on the left and the right, recognize this - neo-liberalism - to be what he is referring to.

Ever since the church got into “social encyclicals” (usually dated as of 1891), the church has swayed back and forth between capitalism (Centesimus Anos) and fascism (Quadrilisimo Anos) (sp?). So, there is room there for a range of views. By fascism, I mean a big but less than totalitarian state, where property is nominally private but is highly regulated by the government. Mussolini’s Italy, Franco’s Spain and Peron’s Argentina would be examples.

I myself rather liked Benedict’s spontaneous statement, Christianity is not a political or an economic system. But, I did not like his skipping over Centisimum Anos to tie-into Populorum Progresso (sp?), to argue that all we really need to love one another to advocate economic policy (oh, provided we reject what he calls “free market fundamentalism,” whatever that means). Sorry, but this sound to me like saying all we have to do is love one another to know how many moons Jupiter has.


19 posted on 01/12/2014 1:18:33 PM PST by Redmen4ever
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To: Redmen4ever
I am far, far, far from being an expert on papal encyclicals (the only one I ever read all way through was "Humanae Vitae"!), but I did do some teaching on "Quadragesimo Anno" (that's the term you were looking for) for my RCIA catechumens based on other people's summaries and a couple of quotes.

That's not comprehensive, but it's better than nothing!

Anyway, what I emphasized about QA was that Pope Pius XI was writing in 1931, when the capitalist world was in crisis, tens of millions in the "developed world" were not just poor but destitute, and the options facing collapsing societies seemed to narrow down to either Fascism (Mussolini and his admirers in many nations) and Communism (exemplified not just by the Soviet Union, but such leaders as Mexican Plutarco Elias Calles.) In this terrible milieu, Pius dared to declare private property to be essential for the development and freedom of the individual. He said that those who deny private property deny personal freedom and development. He also said private property has a social function --- it can unite and build, or divide and destroy --- and it loses its morality when it leads to the ruin of millions of vulnerable people.

He did not endorse Socialism.

Here's a couple of direct quotes from QA:

117 "Whether considered as a doctrine, or an historical fact, or a movement, Socialism, if it remains truly Socialism, even after it has yielded to truth and justice on the points which we have mentioned, cannot be reconciled with the teachings of the Catholic Church because its concept of society itself is utterly foreign to Christian truth."

118 "Socialism, on the other hand, wholly ignoring and indifferent to this sublime end of both man and society, affirms that human association has been instituted for the sake of material advantage alone."

So he warned against both the rapaciousness of "the Wolves of Wall Street" and the false solution of socialism.

He did not address the technicalities of economics (we haven't had a pope yet who was trained in economics)but in the broad strokes of morality as we know it from the Prophets of Israel, the Fathers of the Church, and Natural Law.

20 posted on 01/12/2014 2:39:30 PM PST by Mrs. Don-o (God's people want pastors, not clergy acting like bureaucrats or government officials. -Pope Francis)
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To: Oratam

Ping


21 posted on 01/12/2014 3:29:53 PM PST by Oratam
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To: Mrs. Don-o; Redmen4ever
The Pope's words, though misquoted by some, may remind us of the idea expressed in the following account of Joseph Pearch's interview with Solzhenitsyn:
In the course of his research for "Solzhenitsyn: A Soul in Exile" (Harper Collins), Joseph Pearch traveled to Moscow to interview the writer. The excerpt below is from that interview:

Solzhenitsyn: "In different places over the years I have had to prove that socialism, which to many western thinkers is a sort of kingdom of justice, was in fact full of coercion, of bureaucratic greed and corruption and avarice, and consistent within itself that socialism cannot be implemented without the aid of coercion. Communist propaganda would sometimes include statements such as 'we include almost all the commandments of the Gospel in our ideology.' The difference is that the Gospel asks all this to be achieved through love, through self-limitation, but socialism only uses coercion." Solzhenitsyn

In America, the current President, at a National Prayer Breakfast, attempted to tie his policy of forced "sharing," to Jesus's appeal for voluntary individual charity, seeming to appropriate the words of Jesus for his Administration's "redistributionist" policies.

Coercive "taking" power, when wielded against the citizenry by either the government alone (taxing), or in combination with another power (unions or special interests), is destructive of individual liberty and prosperity.

Thomas Jefferson, that former President the Left loves to quote when they try to exclude references to "God" from the public square, wrote extensively about the superiority of the philosophy of Jesus, but we never hear about that from the Left.

The same Jefferson who penned our Declaration of Independence wrote that Jesus "preached philanthropy and universal charity and benevolence," that "a system of morals is presented to us [by Jesus], which, if filled up in the style and spirit of the rich fragments he left us, would be the most perfect and sublime that has ever been taught by man."

He wrote, "His moral doctrines...were more pure and perfect than those of the most correct of the philosophers...and they went far beyond both in inculcating universal philanthropy, not only to kindred and friends, to neighbors and countrymen, but to all mankind, gathering all into one family, under the bonds of love, charity, peace, common wants, and common aids" which, Jefferson said, "will evince the peculiar superiority of the system of Jesus over all others."

Comparing the Hebrew code which, according to Jefferson, "laid hold of actions only," "He [Jesus] pushed his scrutinies into the heart of man; erected his tribunal in the region of his thoughts, and purified the waters at the fountain head."

That Jefferson cut out the statements which could be directly attributable to Jesus, pasted them into a little book which he kept by his bed and read from them daily, attests to the fact that his political philosphy may have been influenced by what he considered to be the superiority of the "philosophy" of Jesus.

His devotion to liberty and to the ideas essential to liberty were based on simple principles, some of which, undoubtedly, came from his understanding of the basic law underlying all valid human law: "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." As Jefferson stated it, "No man has a natural right to commit aggression on the equal rights of another; and this is all from which the laws ought to restrain him."

Jefferson seemed to understand that the philosophy capsulated in those ideas has the power to make people in a society more benevolent, more loving, more caring, and more willing to take care of each other voluntarily.

22 posted on 01/12/2014 4:40:56 PM PST by loveliberty2
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To: loveliberty2; Redmen4ever
Loveliberty2, these are really excellent thoughts, and an intriguing (to me,surprising) insight into the character of Jefferson.

As you may know, historic Christianity has long considered the "Four Sins That Cry Out to Heaven" to be--- based on Scripture ---

It seems to me that this "defrauding workers" is not just a sin of a rapacious employer, but also of a coercive government agency, Union, or other entity which uses force or the threat of force to steal the honest wages of a working person.

In other words, excessive taxation, confiscatory fines for dicey reasons (e.g. dubious eEPA violations) and coerced payments for stuff like Union dues or Obamacare--- are all examples of "defrauding workers of their just wages." They are injustices that cry out to Heaven for vengeance.

.

23 posted on 01/12/2014 5:25:59 PM PST by Mrs. Don-o ("Without justice, what else is the state but a large band of robbers?" - St. Augustine of Hippo)
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To: Mrs. Don-o

Well, if I considered the Pope to be merely a holy person, and having no particular claim to infallibility, I could easier dismiss his grasp for an alternative to communism during the 1930s as simply an error. Many good people make mistakes. So, faced with the choice of fascism versus communism, the Pope went with fascism. Then, the alliance of the fascists and communists under the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact must have been quite scary to those who thought the choice was fascism or communism. As who would have given the Democratic countries of the world a chance? And, then there was all that untidiness of genocide and aggressive war perpetrated by the fascists. Not that the Pope endorses those things. He wanted the good kind of fascism.

The Catholics, yes, have been having a hard time these past couple hundred years. During the 19th century, it was the twin evils of liberalism and socialism. Between these two evils, the Catholics choose monarchy. (We, in the U.S., chose liberalism.) Then, during early part of the 20th century, it was choosing between fascism and communism, between which they choose fascism (and we chose to be the arsenal of democracy).

During the late part of the 20th century, it seemed as though the Catholics passed through Democracy (without concern for Constitutional safeguards, since if we presume that people have good intentions we can dismiss the law of unintended consequences) to Liberal, Democratic Capitalism. Then, it was back to Democracy. And, then came a recession (due to the rapaciousness of Wall Street, so we are told, because we know the government could not have been guaranteeing zero-down, no paperwork mortgages) and, well, some people are unable to remain faithful through the hard times. So, now the Catholics seem to be back to defining their position as in-between liberalism and socialism.

There have always been liberals in the Catholic Church. Erasmus and Lord Acton come immediately to mind. During Vatican II, the American Catholic Michael Novak was quite influential. And, of course, John Paul II, John Paul the Great. I think Cardinal Dolan put it well when he said that of the current and past two Popes, we see three honored traditions with the Catholic Church: Aquinas (JPII), Augustine (BXVI) and St. Francis of Assisi. But, if were all to follow St. Francis in his way, we would soon die for lack of bread. Not that it would be a bad thing, were we all to die, starving to death, while loving each other. But, then where would the government get all the stuff that Pope Francis says are supposed to be everybody’s right?


24 posted on 01/12/2014 6:22:56 PM PST by Redmen4ever
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To: Redmen4ever
Just quickly, because it's past my bedtime:

Whoever told you the Pope claimed to be infallible on the subject of economics?

Where did you get that impression?

25 posted on 01/12/2014 6:36:08 PM PST by Mrs. Don-o (Really.)
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To: Mrs. Don-o

The Pope is claiming to be writing on matters of faith and morals.

The way you ask the question is disrespectful to the Pope. The way you ask the question implies that the Pope is not infallible about economics but simply doesn’t know the difference between economics and matters of faith and morals when he issues statements that are infallible. Certainly, the Holy Spirit is not going to have the Pope play the fool by not knowing the limits of his authority and leaving it for the faithful to discern the infallible part from the not infallible part in his teachings.


26 posted on 01/12/2014 7:21:02 PM PST by Redmen4ever
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To: Mrs. Don-o

The Bible describes various forms of greed, one of which is rapaciousness. There is greed that involves wanting stuff without working for it. Simple laziness (sloth). But, this is mostly a self-victim crime. For this to work, you’d need an enabler. The State can be an enabler. And this would be wrong.

Then there’s a more pro-active form of greed, which is rapaciousness. This leads to lying, cheating, and stealing. You give the example of paying workers less than the agreed-upon wage. This is an other-victim crime and is a proper concern of the state. The Pope seems to think this is controversial. As though there are some people who are o.k. with dog-eat-dog style capitalism. I don’t know any capitalist who describes dog-eat-dog capitalism to be capitalism. We call that anarchy. It is a bogeyman concept employed by critics of capitalism.

Especially, the state is to protect the vulnerable among us from the liars, cheats, frauds, thieves and other criminals. I’m not sure “the vulnerable” should be synonymous with “the poor.” By “the vulnerable,” I mean children, those enfeebled by old age or disability, those of limited intelligence, of poor habits, and having other human frailties.

Perhaps most people can take care of themselves in the rough and tumble of the marketplace, but I don’t think anybody thinks everybody can. There are roles, then, for the State, the family, and for the church and other fraternal and charitable associations in a free society. In contrast, with socialism, we are atomized, and without need of family, church or other forms of free association.


27 posted on 01/12/2014 8:35:32 PM PST by Redmen4ever
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To: Mrs. Don-o

Re-read the text I quoted, the author states the right think he’s a liberation theologist and the left are “using his words to foment a political “Francis revolution” in his name”. All the leftists I know (and I know a lot, living in New Jersey) think Francis is a real lefty, which they love. I hope the post you pointed to is right and he’s going to surprise them all someday soon.


28 posted on 01/12/2014 10:29:28 PM PST by pepsi_junkie (Who is John Galt?)
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To: Mrs. Don-o

I like it. I’ve already said I don’t think Pope Francis is coming at this ideogically, definitely not in the context of our domestic politics. It’s encouraging to know Father Sirico is on the same wavelength.

As part of the RCIA program, we’ve been encouraged to read Evangelii Gaudium. I’m a good way through it, and it’s interesting to note how small a part of the whole thing the controversial parts actually are. The economic discussion is very much secondary to, and intended to be at the service of, the matter of how we get the Gospel out to the world.


29 posted on 01/12/2014 11:15:35 PM PST by RichInOC (2013-14 Tiber Swim Team)
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To: Redmen4ever
No, I'm not saying the Pope doesn't know the limits of his authority. He knows as well as anyone, what is an infallible statement and what is not.

According to Canon law (says Cardinal Raymond Burke, the head of the Apostolic Signatura --- equivalent of Chief Justice of the Catholic Supreme Court) --- an "Apostolic Exhortation" is not part of the Papal Magisterium. In simpler terms, nothing in Pope Francis' recent Evangelii Gaudium is infallible, nor is claimed to be, nor is intended to be.

I don't think you'll fins any Catholic anywhere who would consider the 55,000 words of Evangelii Gaudium to be infallible. This is simply not the format in which ex cathedra statements are made.

Hope this is helpful. I'll be back later this morning.

30 posted on 01/13/2014 4:59:08 AM PST by Mrs. Don-o (Really.)
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To: RitaOK; All
Sometimes I think am subject to American thinking, more than Catholic thinking,

It is as important to know why I believe as to know what I believe. This involves the virtue of humility, realizing that I just might be wrong.

John 18:36
"Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence.

These are hard words. His Apostles could not understand them. Peter proved that when he fought in the garden when they came to arrest Him.

1 Corinthians 3:19

For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, He taketh the wise in their own craftiness.

It is easy for me to see the foolishness of others. It is hard for me to see my own.

31 posted on 01/13/2014 7:04:25 AM PST by don-o (He will not share His glory and He will NOT be mocked! Blessed be the name of the Lord forever!)
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To: Mrs. Don-o

Yes, there are degrees of infallibility and short of the Pope and the Bishops speaking in unison and when the Pope is speaking ex cathedra, there is room for disagreement. See the first three lines of:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magisterium

As you say, when the Pope speaks on his own, without the bishops, other than when he is speaking ex cathedra, he is not infallible; nevertheless, it is authoritative and while Catholics do not have to accept it, they do have to submit to it. See the fourth line.

Father Z gives a listing that includes Apostolic Exhortations in its proper order with regard to degree of authority:

http://communio.stblogs.org/index.php/2013/11/what-is-an-apostolic-exhortation/

I believe all this is consistent with what you say, and adds that Papal statements that are not the highest level of infallible are nevertheless authoritative.

Clearly, aside from the highest levels of statements, the English language understanding of “infallible” is inappropriate. I sometimes use the expressions “degrees of authority” and “degrees of presumption,” as opposed to degrees of infallibility.


32 posted on 01/13/2014 8:14:56 AM PST by Redmen4ever
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To: Mrs. Don-o; don-o

Yes, some humility is being tested of us American Catholics, by our Holy Father. Absolutely. Read where he has even been called a “scold”. LOL.

Certainly, I am being tested, but happy to report that I see Jesus of Old in the Holy Father’s gestures and actions, not the Jesus of milquetoast and endless tolerance for scandal as so often represented through many/some among the USCCB, for example.

It may be that the Pope’s interviews and certain pronouncements, to the American ear, ring some confusion and nervousness perhaps because we are presently under siege in these times, on guard against Marxists in our own country and most institutions. In some other decade, would his words as Pope have fallen on such sensitive ears?

We are being stretched in a good way by our Holy Father to see what is true, and simple. I give him time to bring me along too, and reshape my unease with some of his words that have seemingly given the Marxists such comfort and perplexed many others.

Perhaps we are seeing, in Francis, the pattern of Paul at work here. Being “all things to all men...”, in order to reach the lost and the cynical, that their ears might be opened.

Meanwhile, and regardless, I remain immovable from the great Ark, humbly at the Mercy of God come whatever may, left saying, “Lord, to whom shall I go?”. :) Rita.


33 posted on 01/13/2014 8:36:43 AM PST by RitaOK ( VIVA CHRISTO REY / Public education is the farm team for more Marxists coming.)
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To: RichInOC

Yes, I’d say if anyone has NOT been blindsided by the Leftists’ manipulative “narrative,” it’s Sirico.


34 posted on 01/13/2014 11:06:12 AM PST by Mrs. Don-o ("Faith with love is the faith of Christians; without love, it is the faith of demons." - Ven. Bede)
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To: pepsi_junkie

Yes, I’d say if anyone has NOT been blindsided by the Leftists’ manipulative “narrative,” it’s Sirico.


35 posted on 01/13/2014 11:07:41 AM PST by Mrs. Don-o ("Faith with love is the faith of Christians; without love, it is the faith of demons." - Ven. Bede)
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To: Redmen4ever
Thank you, esp for the two links, which are valuable to me.

I pray for Pope Francis every day. I expect the good.

36 posted on 01/13/2014 11:09:35 AM PST by Mrs. Don-o ("Faith with love is the faith of Christians; without love, it is the faith of demons." - Ven. Bede)
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To: RitaOK

Absolutely. Think of that Ark. Full of squalling, squealing, howling, chattering animals and knee-deep in, mmm, solid deposits: the ark of our salvation!


37 posted on 01/13/2014 11:11:43 AM PST by Mrs. Don-o ("Faith with love is the faith of Christians; without love, it is the faith of demons." - Ven. Bede)
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To: Mrs. Don-o

Thank you. While I admire Pope Benedict XVI, I must say it is a good thing to have a Latin Pope. I myself had a German father and an Italian mother.


38 posted on 01/13/2014 2:20:01 PM PST by Redmen4ever
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To: Redmen4ever

I love Benedict and think Francis is complementary in wonderful ways. I know he has some people worried, but I think he’ll come through brilliantly for Our Lord.


39 posted on 01/13/2014 6:04:29 PM PST by Mrs. Don-o ("Faith with love is the faith of Christians; without love, it is the faith of demons." - Ven. Bede)
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