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Vatican official: Church’s justice teachings need new 'vocabulary' for some US audiences
EWTN News ^ | 1/13/11

Posted on 01/13/2011 6:28:01 PM PST by markomalley

When he travels to the United States next month, Cardinal Peter Kodwo Appiah Turkson is aware that he may have to make some adjustments in the way he talks about the Church’s social teaching.

As president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, the Ghanaian cardinal, 62, is charged with making the Church’s social teaching more widely known and practiced around the world.

He will be in Washington to deliver the plenary address of the 2011 Catholic Social Ministry Gathering, Feb. 13-16. The gathering, on the theme of “Protecting Human Life and Dignity: Promoting a Just Economy,” is sponsored by 19 Catholic organizations, including the U.S. Catholic bishops.

In a recent interview with EWTN News, Cardinal Turkson said he has learned from past experience that the Church’s justice and peace terminology often needs clarification for an American Catholic audience. Key terms used by the Vatican — such as “social justice” and “gift” — are not always understood the way the Vatican intends, he said.

"We found out that some of the vocabulary which is just taken for granted and used freely may not always have the same sense or may have had some nuances which sometimes are missed because of the way the terms are used in the American political context,” Cardinal Turkson said in a Jan. 12 interview at the council’s offices in Rome.

Pope Benedict XVI appointed Cardinal Turkson to his post in Oct. 2009, just months after the Pope released his blueprint for the Church’s social teaching, “Caritas in Veritate” (Charity in Truth). The council has since made promotion of the Pope’s vision a top priority.

The encyclical outlines Pope Benedict’s plan for "integral human development" in economics, society and politics through the principles of charity and truth.

Cardinal Turkson said the Vatican is pleased by response to the document. But he said reaction from some sections of the audience in the United States was unexpected.

The council has been surprised to find that common terms were misunderstood or misinterpreted. He emphasized that the misunderstanding was not a general or widespread problem among American Catholics. But, he said, "in certain circles ... there is a difficulty."

For instance, the Pope's teaching on themes of "social justice" have been mistakenly connected to "socialism" and "communism." As a result, he indicated, the Pope is mistakenly seen as promoting socialist or big-government solutions to social problems.

The council has also learned that words like "social" and "solidarity" may have been dismissed by American readers for their perceived connection with communist regimes such as the Soviet Union, he said.

Cardinal Turkson explained that in the Church’s thinking, social justice involves citizens’ obligations and responsibilities to ensure fairness and opportunity in their communities and societies.

While this may include the adoption of specific government policies and programs, the emphasis in Catholic social teaching is on the obligations that flow from citizens' relationships in societies.

"Respecting, understanding and fulfilling those demands constitute our justice," he said. "It would be useful if we just observed our sense of justice as our ability to fulfill the demands of the relationships in which we stand."

This is in contrast to socialism, he explained, which is an ideology in which private property and private interests are totally placed in the service of government policies.

What the Pope proposes in “Caritas in Veritate,” said Cardinal Turkson, is "achieving the common good without sacrificing personal, private interests, aspirations and desires."

Cardinal Turkson said the Council was also surprised that the Pope’s concept of the “gift,” was perceived in some circles as encouraging government welfare handouts.

In "Caritas in Veritate," Pope Benedict described the concept of “gift” as a way to understand God’s love for men and women in his gift of life and his gift of Jesus.

"Truth is the light that gives meaning and value to charity," the Pope wrote. "That light is both the light of reason and the light of faith, through which the intellect attains to the natural and supernatural truth of charity: it grasps its meaning as gift, acceptance, and communion."

Gift, Cardinal Turkson explained, is "a very basic, deep theological expression of God's relation or the motivation for whatever God does in the world, and it's not quite the same as a handout."

"If we ever need to talk about this in a society where the sense of gift is that of a handout ... it doesn't quite express the sense of gift in this regard," he added.

While it is too late to add any explanations to the encyclical, the Council might tailor its language differently in future documents.

"We just realized that probably in the future, when ... this dicastery takes up the task of diffusing, presenting and talking about this it might be necessary to provide a footnote in which some of these expressions can be given an awareness of the different senses of expressions in different cultures and settings,” he said. We thought something like that would be useful and helpful to the readers."

Cardinal Turkson urged American Catholics and government and economic leaders to give a conscientious reading of "Caritas in Veritate."

The encyclical, he said, invites us "to go back or to remind about the centrality of the human person, his well being, his common good within everything that we do.”

Another important message, Cardinal Turkson said, is that “we must not sacrifice the good of the human person for anything that we aspire after or want to do with technology, business, economics or whatever."

The key to an authentically human vision of development is to consider the full ethical character of the individual in all decisions, he said.

"In details," he concluded, "it may be for food security and shelter for all persons, but at the end of the day we are looking at whether things that we are doing in the world as government, as a Church and all of that help advance the good of the individual person."


TOPICS: Catholic
KEYWORDS: cardinalturkson; ewtn; socialjustice

The council has been surprised to find that common terms were misunderstood or misinterpreted. He emphasized that the misunderstanding was not a general or widespread problem among American Catholics. But, he said, "in certain circles ... there is a difficulty."

For instance, the Pope's teaching on themes of "social justice" have been mistakenly connected to "socialism" and "communism." As a result, he indicated, the Pope is mistakenly seen as promoting socialist or big-government solutions to social problems.

The council has also learned that words like "social" and "solidarity" may have been dismissed by American readers for their perceived connection with communist regimes such as the Soviet Union, he said.

Cardinal Turkson explained that in the Church’s thinking, social justice involves citizens’ obligations and responsibilities to ensure fairness and opportunity in their communities and societies.

While this may include the adoption of specific government policies and programs, the emphasis in Catholic social teaching is on the obligations that flow from citizens' relationships in societies.

"Respecting, understanding and fulfilling those demands constitute our justice," he said. "It would be useful if we just observed our sense of justice as our ability to fulfill the demands of the relationships in which we stand."

This is in contrast to socialism, he explained, which is an ideology in which private property and private interests are totally placed in the service of government policies.

What the Pope proposes in “Caritas in Veritate,” said Cardinal Turkson, is "achieving the common good without sacrificing personal, private interests, aspirations and desires."

Cardinal Turkson said the Council was also surprised that the Pope’s concept of the “gift,” was perceived in some circles as encouraging government welfare handouts.

In "Caritas in Veritate," Pope Benedict described the concept of “gift” as a way to understand God’s love for men and women in his gift of life and his gift of Jesus.

That is what Catholic FReepers have been saying all along. Cardinal Turkson has a major uphill battle...as he will have to re-educate almost every single diocesan chancery in the United States for the correct understanding of these terms. I wish him success.

1 posted on 01/13/2011 6:28:05 PM PST by markomalley
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To: markomalley

No problem,just let us check all bank accounts in the Vatican.


2 posted on 01/13/2011 6:44:27 PM PST by taxtruth (Don't end the fed,jail the fed!)
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To: markomalley; CatholicEagle; 0beron; cobyok; surroundedbyblue; shurwouldluv_a_smallergov; ...
+

Freep-mail me to get on or off my pro-life and Catholic List:

Add me / Remove me

Please ping me to note-worthy Pro-Life or Catholic threads, or other threads of general interest.

3 posted on 01/13/2011 6:55:35 PM PST by narses ( 'Prefer nothing to the love of Christ.')
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To: markomalley
all of that help advance the good of the individual person."........to understand God’s love for men and women in his gift of life and his gift of Jesus.

The world already has it - it's called God's Word. Jesus is The WORD.
4 posted on 01/13/2011 6:59:54 PM PST by presently no screen name
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To: markomalley

The reason we understand the concepts differently than what is intended is because the way they will be implemented by liberal and secular authorities from school boards up through U.S. Congress is the WAY WE UNDERSTAND THE WORDS! As though this has never happened in Europe. No one in the Vatican should be so naive!


5 posted on 01/13/2011 7:07:30 PM PST by steve86 (Acerbic by nature, not nurture)
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To: steve86

The lieberals have infiltrated God’s church as well as man’s government.It will be difficult and even painful rooting out the pro-homo,pro-communists.


6 posted on 01/13/2011 8:12:58 PM PST by hoosierham (Waddaya mean Freedom isn't free ?;will you take a credit card?)
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To: markomalley; nickcarraway; NYer; ELS; Pyro7480; livius; ArrogantBustard; Catholicguy; RobbyS; ...

Nabt people think that the church’s views on social justice mean socialism — this is not true.

Please weigh in on this issue.

Discussion Ping!


7 posted on 01/13/2011 9:32:16 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: hoosierham

The other day this young woman was going on about how upset she was that some relative of hers, a child, had used the word “gay” as a pejorative.

I stopped her and said that homosexuality is okay in no way whatsoever, that it is in fact an abomination.

Her reply was, “That’s an opinion,” to which I replied, “No, it isn’t. Check your Bible.”

Next time I was at that group picking up my daughter, they would not acknowledge my existence in any way. Wouldn’t meed my eye, wouldn’t say hello...

Somehow we’ve got to get really, really loud on this subject and try to win back some of these young people that the sodomites have flim-flammed.


8 posted on 01/13/2011 9:35:38 PM PST by dsc (Any attempt to move a government to the left is a crime against humanity.)
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To: Salvation

I’ve always cringed about the churches Social Justice nonsense. It’s called charity. I won’t give one dime of mine to the Catholic Bishops as long as they keep yammering for amnesty and public housing. I give directly to the Catholic Charity organizations, some of which are quite excellent.


9 posted on 01/13/2011 9:37:59 PM PST by pissant ((Bachmann 2012 - Freepmail to get on/off PING list))
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To: markomalley

“The council has been surprised to find that common terms were misunderstood or misinterpreted...For instance, the Pope’s teaching on themes of “social justice” have been mistakenly connected to “socialism” and “communism.”...The council has also learned that words like “social” and “solidarity” may have been dismissed by American readers for their perceived connection with communist regimes such as the Soviet Union, he said.”

Laus Deo. I have been waiting for this day for what seems like a long, long time.


10 posted on 01/13/2011 9:39:39 PM PST by dsc (Any attempt to move a government to the left is a crime against humanity.)
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To: Salvation

Central to the Church’s social teaching since Leo XIII has been the principle of subsidarity and the essential role of the family. Socialism is opposed to both. Nor does it believe in the person. Rather, all of us are part of the collective, and our individual character matters not.


11 posted on 01/13/2011 9:40:45 PM PST by RobbyS (Pray with the suffering souls.)
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To: RobbyS; markomalley
What You [Catholics] Need to Know: Subsidiarity, [Catholic/Orthodox Caucus]

12 posted on 01/13/2011 9:43:36 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: Salvation

Oops,

Many people


13 posted on 01/13/2011 9:44:38 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: Salvation

“Oops, Many people”

What’s wrong with Nabt? It’s a perfectly cromulent word.


14 posted on 01/13/2011 9:48:51 PM PST by dsc (Any attempt to move a government to the left is a crime against humanity.)
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To: markomalley

My problem with the term “Social Justice” is that it is often used as a vaneer or cover for actions by people who otherwise hate the Catholic Church.


15 posted on 01/13/2011 10:05:52 PM PST by PGR88
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To: PGR88

I cringe whenever I hear the words “social justice”


16 posted on 01/13/2011 10:07:07 PM PST by Scotswife
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To: Scotswife
I cringe whenever I hear the words “social justice”

Me too, but I cringe even worse when I hear the phrase "Vatican official says..."

17 posted on 01/13/2011 10:09:29 PM PST by Ronaldus Magnus
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To: Scotswife

I used to write about this so often that I have boilerplate:

Christians are called to charity, mercy, and love. The minute you term the acts that should arise from these virtues a matter of “justice,” you have given the government a license to send men with guns to enforce them.

As with all leftist evil, “social justice” substitutes the power of the state for our God-given free will. Where God says He wants us to be loving, merciful, and charitable, but leaves us the free will to be otherwise, “social justice” is the state saying, “Screw free will. You will *act* as we think you should, or men with guns will come arrest, fine, or kill you.”

As Shakespeare tells us, “The quality of mercy (and charity, and love) is twice blessed. It blesseth him that gives, and him that receives.”

Government-enforced redistribution of resources in the name of “social justice” is twice damned: It robs the free will of him that gives, and degrades him that takes.

Shakespeare also notes that, “...in the course of justice, none of us should see salvation. We do pray for mercy, and that same prayer doth teach us all to render the deeds of mercy.”

There is God’s will at work: people learning to be merciful for its own sake, and not because some leftist has a gun pointed at their heads.

And what does “social justice” teach us? From the POV of the taxed, “Men with guns take my hard-earned wages and give it to strangers, leaving me no choice in where and whether to perform deeds of charity.” From the POV of the taker, “They are so reluctant to help me that men with guns have to make them do it. How deep their contempt for me must be.”

As with so many of Satan’s programs, “social justice” appears to be noble, but is in fact deeply evil and destructive.

Where you find charity, mercy, and love, there also is Our Lord.

Where you find “social justice,” there also is Satan.


18 posted on 01/13/2011 10:11:45 PM PST by dsc (Any attempt to move a government to the left is a crime against humanity.)
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To: Ronaldus Magnus

ME TOO!

HA!


19 posted on 01/13/2011 10:15:38 PM PST by Scotswife
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To: dsc

very eloquent!

At first I didn’t put much thought into it, but I instinctively recoiled whenever they started their blah blah blah.
And I thought I was bad one - not being charitable.

But then I noticed their inconsistencies. One day I asked one of them why they were fretting over all these smaller social issues while saying NOTHING about the big elephant - abortion.
Well THAT didn’t go over very well.

right about then is when I started surfing the net and realized I was not alone!


20 posted on 01/13/2011 10:18:32 PM PST by Scotswife
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To: Scotswife

“right about then is when I started surfing the net and realized I was not alone!”

Ain’t it great to know?

Before Limbaugh and the Internet, it was pretty easy to start feeling like the last survivor at Fort Nowhere.


21 posted on 01/13/2011 10:21:34 PM PST by dsc (Any attempt to move a government to the left is a crime against humanity.)
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To: markomalley

Perhaps the problem with the definition of “justice” is that so had to go the secular courts to obtain justice from the Catholic Church.

” But, he said, “in certain circles ... there is a difficulty.”

I can see how “certain circles”, say, sexual abuse victims whose assailants were so protected so long by the hierarchy might have “a difficulty” understanding the “vocabulary”.


22 posted on 01/13/2011 10:35:29 PM PST by count-your-change (You don't have be brilliant, not being stupid is enough.)
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To: count-your-change

You know, that chorus is getting as boring as “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald.”

Why don’t you do some reading, and then develop an obsession about public school teachers or protestant ministers who molest?


23 posted on 01/13/2011 10:55:16 PM PST by dsc (Any attempt to move a government to the left is a crime against humanity.)
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To: markomalley
I have been involved in implementing "lean manufacturing" in my workplace for the last few years. One of the core principles of lean is respect for employees, suppliers and customers. So when I read:
“we must not sacrifice the good of the human person for anything that we aspire after or want to do with technology, business, economics or whatever."
I know he is on the right track. It is absolutely possible, even advantageous, to be a good Christian and as well as a good capitalist.
24 posted on 01/14/2011 2:08:42 AM PST by Straight Vermonter (Posting from deep behind the Maple Curtain)
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To: markomalley

For some US audiences, He will need to learn to speak in monosyllables and grunts, as said US audiences are incapable of understanding anything more than that.


25 posted on 01/14/2011 2:49:00 AM PST by ArrogantBustard (Western Civilization is Aborting, Buggering, and Contracepting itself out of existence.)
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To: dsc
"Edmund Fitzgerald", however boring it might be, was Gordon Lightfoot's honest attempt to correctly memorialize a piece of history.

Emphasis on honest.

I wish I could say the same for the leftist attacks on the Church.

I cannot.

26 posted on 01/14/2011 2:55:57 AM PST by ArrogantBustard (Western Civilization is Aborting, Buggering, and Contracepting itself out of existence.)
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To: markomalley

God grants us freewill to make choices and to accept God’s love or reject it.

The Catholic Church also allows us to make choices based on freewill.

The Church tries to lead us toward our salvation with God.

Jesus told us to LOVE GOD and to Love our Neighbor as our self.

May Catholics follow the path of Jesus Christ and show the rest of the world how to LOVE GOD and our neighbors.

May GOD bless us with HIS LOVE.


27 posted on 01/14/2011 4:22:53 AM PST by ADSUM (Democracy works when citizens get involved and keep government honest.)
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To: Salvation

We call it peace and justice. It’s charity, but more than that it is seeking to end abortion, support the indigent, and find ways to help those who need help.


28 posted on 01/14/2011 5:13:44 AM PST by OpusatFR
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To: Salvation

With all due respect, the Vatican had to put the damper on Jesuits who were using “social justice” in South America and Central America to espouse a form of socialism and communism. While that was a while ago, some remember when that happened and find the use of the term suspicious.

As illustrated with the recent donnybrook surrounding the events in Tucson, I don’t expect the Vatican to overhaul its writings to help those who have distorted the truth, but perhaps educating those who had difficulty with the concept is in order.

The Church isn’t perfect, but I give it credit for the wisdom to correct its errors and continue on.


29 posted on 01/14/2011 7:33:03 AM PST by Constitutions Grandchild
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To: ArrogantBustard

“Edmund Fitzgerald”, however boring it might be, was Gordon Lightfoot’s honest attempt to correctly memorialize a piece of history. Emphasis on honest. I wish I could say the same for the leftist attacks on the Church. I cannot.”

Well struck.


30 posted on 01/14/2011 10:56:16 AM PST by dsc (Any attempt to move a government to the left is a crime against humanity.)
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To: Salvation

I believe it was Leo XIII that clearly stated the Church’s opposition to socialism.


31 posted on 01/14/2011 12:04:59 PM PST by kearnyirish2
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To: netmilsmom; thefrankbaum; markomalley; Tax-chick; GregB; saradippity; Berlin_Freeper; Litany; ...
Catholic Ping
Please freepmail me if you want on/off this list

 

32 posted on 01/14/2011 1:00:34 PM PST by NYer ("Be kind to every person you meet. For every person is fighting a great battle." St. Ephraim)
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To: markomalley

And prayers... many prayers.


33 posted on 01/14/2011 1:12:03 PM PST by AliVeritas (Pray. For all the latest, check out: http://directorblue.blogspot.com/)
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To: taxtruth

Expand on your point, relative to this post.

Please.


34 posted on 01/14/2011 1:13:05 PM PST by AliVeritas (Pray. For all the latest, check out: http://directorblue.blogspot.com/)
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To: AliVeritas
(Sept. 21) — The president of the Institute for Religious Works (IOR) — commonly called the Vatican Bank — and another senior official are being investigated for money laundering, The Guardian reports. Italian police have ordered the freeze of 23 million euros ($30 million) from the account under dispute.

Just what is the Vatican bank in the first place, and why has it been so prone to scandal over the years? Surge Desk takes a look:

Founding and charge
Founded in 1942 by Pope Pius XII to manage the Vatican's coffers, the IOR operates outside the central administrative structure of the Catholic Church. That's no small charge, since the coffers were expanded greatly with the 1929 signing of the Lateran Treaty, when the pope conceded Italian sovereignty over the former papal states in exchange for 1.75 billion lire in cash and government bonds.

The institute operates much like any other bank, accepting savings and checking accounts (though only for a small group, mostly clergymen) and making investments.

Fascist funding source?
But just as Pope Pius has been accused of helping Hitler and the Nazis, the IOR is alleged to have funded various right-wing movements across the globe. In 1999, a lawsuit was filed in a U.S. District Court alleging that the institute colluded with the collaborationist Croatian government to steal assets from Hitler's victims. (The case was dismissed because of the Holy See's diplomatic immunity.)

In 1968, the Vatican hired Michele Sindona as a financial adviser, despite a history of laundering money for the Gambino crime family.

Banco Ambrosiano
But all of these pale in comparison to the role the IOR played in the 1982 Banco Ambrosiano scandal — the $3.5 billion collapse in 1982 of Italy's largest bank, which was accused of laundering money for the Sicilian mafia. (Unfortunately for cinephiles and historians alike, this scandal in particular was fictionalized to a ponderous extent in the notoriously ill-received “The Godfather Part III.”) Here's a much more vivid account, from an excerpt from a contemporaneous Time magazine report, which recalls a real-life murder scene befitting a Dan Brown novel:

35 posted on 01/14/2011 1:19:32 PM PST by taxtruth (Don't end the fed,jail the fed!)
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To: markomalley

Many Catholics in the US think ‘social justice’ has socialist undertones because that’s how the Catholic promoting ‘social justice’ in the US have interpreted, and practice it. The Catholic Campaign for Human Development is a perfect example!


36 posted on 01/14/2011 7:38:04 PM PST by SuziQ
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To: RobbyS

“Central to the Church’s social teaching since Leo XIII has been the principle of subsidarity and the essential role of the family. Socialism is opposed to both. Nor does it believe in the person. Rather, all of us are part of the collective, and our individual character matters not.”


If I may comment: “ ... all of us are part of the collective, and our individual character matters not ..” - this is a gross understatement indeed!
They care not about your individual well-being, individual health, individual economic state, individual soul or your individual eternal reward/punishment. You are the property of the state, and therefore, the state’s interest is to care for you if, and only if your are productive. All ‘care’ is physical, since Religion is the “Opiate Of The People”! You are a slave of the State IAW Satan’s plan for humanity, with the design objective to make you his slave for all eternity, pure and simple!


37 posted on 01/15/2011 12:15:20 AM PST by J Edgar
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To: markomalley

“...as he will have to re-educate almost every single diocesan chancery in the United States for the correct understanding of these terms. I wish him success. “

I also pray for his success. A major overhaul of catechesis is needed in this area and people need to understand the authentic Teaching of the Church!


38 posted on 01/15/2011 6:47:26 AM PST by SumProVita (Cogito, ergo...Sum Pro Vita. (Modified Decartes))
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To: markomalley
Another thread on this subject -- Vatican to America: ‘Social Justice’ is About Relationships, Not Socialism

39 posted on 01/15/2011 11:24:11 AM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: dsc
as boring as “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald.” That's one my favorite songs, it actually tells a story. I agree with the rest of your post. Perhaps you should say "as boring as a NY Times editorial on gun control"
40 posted on 01/15/2011 9:20:45 PM PST by Vietnam Vet From New Mexico (Pray For Our Troops)
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To: Vietnam Vet From New Mexico

Ya can’t please everybody.

And true, it does tell a story. Still, I much prefer Mozart.


41 posted on 01/15/2011 11:07:25 PM PST by dsc (Any attempt to move a government to the left is a crime against humanity.)
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