Skip to comments.Is Benedict in Favor of World Government?
Posted on 08/20/2009 12:30:40 PM PDT by IbJensen
As observers continue to decipher the meaning of Benedict XVIs latest encyclical, Caritas in Veritate, all appear to agree that the passage of note, the passage that may prove historic in its implications, is the one that is already becoming known as the world political authority paragraph:
In the face of the unrelenting growth of global interdependence, there is a strongly felt need, even in the midst of a global recession, for a reform of the United Nations Organization, and likewise of economic institutions and international finance, so that the concept of the family of nations can acquire real teeth. One also senses the urgent need to find innovative ways of implementing the principle of the responsibility to protect and of giving poorer nations an effective voice in shared decision-making. This seems necessary in order to arrive at a political, juridical and economic order which can increase and give direction to international cooperation for the development of all peoples in solidarity. To manage the global economy; to revive economies hit by the crisis; to avoid any deterioration of the present crisis and the greater imbalances that would result; to bring about integral and timely disarmament, food security and peace; to guarantee the protection of the environment and to regulate migration: for all this, there is urgent need of a true world political authority. . . .
Could Benedict be in favor of world government, as many now believe? Taken in the context of papal writings since the dawn of the UN, as well as Benedicts own opinions, recorded both before and after his election as pope, the passage gains another meaning. It is in reality a profound challenge to the UN, and the other international organizations, to make themselves worthy of authority, of the authority that they already possess, and worthy of the expansion of authority that appears to be necessary in light of the accelerated pace of globalization.
It is true that Benedict believes that a transnational organization must be empowered to address transnational problems. But so has every pope since John XXIII, who wrote in 1963 that Today the universal common good presents us with problems which are worldwide in their dimensions; problems, therefore, which cannot be solved except by a public authority with power, organization, and means coextensive with these problems, and with a worldwide sphere of activity. Consequently the moral order itself demands the establishment of some such form of public authority.
But such an authority has been established, and we have lived with it since 1948, and in many ways it has disappointed. So Benedict turns John XXIIIs formulation on its head: Morality no longer simply demands a global social order; now Benedict underscores that this existing social order must operate in accord with morality. He ends his own passage on world authority by stating that The integral development of peoples and international cooperation require the establishment of a greater international ordering, marked by subsidiarity, for the management of globalization. They also require the construction of a social order that at last conforms to the moral order. . . . Note the phrase at last.
What went wrong? According to Benedict, a world authority worthy of this authority would need to make a commitment to securing authentic integral human development inspired by the values of charity in truth. The obvious implication is that the current UN has not made this commitment.
To understand how the UN has failed, we must delve into the rest of the encyclical. According to Benedict, the goal of all international institutions must be authentic integral human development. This human development must be inspired by truth, in this case, the truth about humanity. Pursuit of this truth reveals that each human being possesses absolute worth; therefore, authentic human development is predicated on a radical defense of life.
This link is made repeatedly in Caritas in Veritate. Openness to life is at the center of true development. . . . The acceptance of life strengthens moral fiber and makes people capable of mutual help. . . . They can promote virtuous action within the perspective of production that is morally sound and marked by solidarity, respecting the fundamental right to life of every people and individual.
To some, it must seem startling how often Benedict comes back to life in an encyclical ostensibly dedicated to economics and globalization. But this must be understood as Benedicts effort to humanize globalization. It can be seen as the global application of John Paul IIs own encyclical on life, Evengelium Vitae.
Without this understanding of the primacy of life, international development is bound to fail: Who could measure the negative effects of this kind of mentality for development? How can we be surprised by the indifference shown towards situations of human degradation, when such indifference extends even to our attitude towards what is and is not human?
Throughout the encyclical, Benedict is unsparing in the ways in which the current international order contributes to this failure; no major front in the war over life is left unmentioned, from population control, to bioethics, to euthanasia.
But none of this should come as a surprise. Since at least as far back as the UNs major conferences of the 1990sCairo and BeijingBenedict has known that the UN has adopted a model of development conformed to the culture of death. He no doubt assisted John Paul II in his successful efforts to stop these conferences from establishing an international right to abortion-on-demand. At the time, Benedict said, Today there is no longer a philosophy of love but only a philosophy of selfishness. It is precisely here that people are deceived. In fact, at the moment they are advised not to love, they are advised, in the final analysis, not to be human. For this reason, at this stage of the development of the new image of the new world, Christians . . . have a duty to protest.
Now, in his teaching role as pope, Benedict is not simply protesting but offering the Christian alternative, the full exposition of authentic human development. Whether or not the UN can meet the philosophical challenges necessary to promote this true development remains uncertain. But it should not be assumed that Benedict is sanguine; after all, he begins his purported embrace of world government with a call for UN reform, not expansion.
Well and sharply put. Thx.
Very well put.
However, defending the indefensible on such threads seems to be a cottage industry in some households.
I was just reflecting a bit ago . . . in my own current congregation . . .
From the Pastor on down, there’s a persistent fight, struggle to resist, avoid, lay aside,
in all it’s pervasive insideous flavors and inroads.
IT’s a never ending struggle. It is human nature to make of
every practice, behavior etc. related to God
a RELIGIOUS experience . . . a ritual, a manipulation, a script, a canned tidy little box.
Of course it’s worse for organizations 1600 years old as the Vatican et al . . . but it’s there in every congregation.
I didn't find the word "limit" in connection with "profit" in Section 21.
Here's Section 21: p>
21. Paul VI had an articulated vision of development. He understood the term to indicate the goal of rescuing peoples, first and foremost, from hunger, deprivation, endemic diseases and illiteracy. From the economic point of view, this meant their active participation, on equal terms, in the international economic process; from the social point of view, it meant their evolution into educated societies marked by solidarity; from the political point of view, it meant the consolidation of democratic regimes capable of ensuring freedom and peace. After so many years, as we observe with concern the developments and perspectives of the succession of crises that afflict the world today, we ask to what extent Paul VI's expectations have been fulfilled by the model of development adopted in recent decades. We recognize, therefore, that the Church had good reason to be concerned about the capacity of a purely technological society to set realistic goals and to make good use of the instruments at its disposal. Profit is useful if it serves as a means towards an end that provides a sense both of how to produce it and how to make good use of it. Once profit becomes the exclusive goal, if it is produced by improper means and without the common good as its ultimate end, it risks destroying wealth and creating poverty. The economic development that Paul VI hoped to see was meant to produce real growth, of benefit to everyone and genuinely sustainable. It is true that growth has taken place, and it continues to be a positive factor that has lifted billions of people out of misery recently it has given many countries the possibility of becoming effective players in international politics. Yet it must be acknowledged that this same economic growth has been and continues to be weighed down by malfunctions and dramatic problems, highlighted even further by the current crisis. This presents us with choices that cannot be postponed concerning nothing less than the destiny of man, who, moreover, cannot prescind from his nature. The technical forces in play, the global interrelations, the damaging effects on the real economy of badly managed and largely speculative financial dealing, large-scale migration of peoples, often provoked by some particular circumstance and then given insufficient attention, the unregulated exploitation of the earth's resources: all this leads us today to reflect on the measures that would be necessary to provide a solution to problems that are not only new in comparison to those addressed by Pope Paul VI, but also, and above all, of decisive impact upon the present and future good of humanity. The different aspects of the crisis, its solutions, and any new development that the future may bring, are increasingly interconnected, they imply one another, they require new efforts of holistic understanding and a new humanistic synthesis. The complexity and gravity of the present economic situation rightly cause us concern, but we must adopt a realistic attitude as we take up with confidence and hope the new responsibilities to which we are called by the prospect of a world in need of profound cultural renewal, a world that needs to rediscover fundamental values on which to build a better future. The current crisis obliges us to re-plan our journey, to set ourselves new rules and to discover new forms of commitment, to build on positive experiences and to reject negative ones. The crisis thus becomes an opportunity for discernment, in which to shape a new vision for the future. In this spirit, with confidence rather than resignation, it is appropriate to address the difficulties of the present time. [Itals in the original]Much vision, no "technical plans" for implementation of anything. But then, that's not the Church's job, as Pope Benedict himself tells us early on in .
No, I haven't read Twain's "The War Prayer." Must look it up! Is this something he produced late in life? IIRC, his late years sadly were marked by darkness and depression.
Thank you so much for your thoughtful essay/post, Poe White Trash!
To contend that "subsidiarity" softens the Pope's stance on world government is a sign of extreme naivete unbecoming anyone who calls himself a conservative. It suggests severe unfamiliarty with the uses and functions of power.
As for me, I will not leave the Church founded by Christ just because they depart from teaching your own personal interpretation of God's inerrant and infallible Word, which is the Bible.
You're not just giving the Word of God (redacted and mistranslated as your version is), you're also giving your own personal interpretation of Scripture.
You're entitled to it, but I'll stick with the Church founded by Christ Himself.
Agree with whom?
...you are so right there...
Your deceitful attempt to jam your words in my mouth has failed.
I pop in for time to time to rebuke their scandalous lies, and to watch in awe as they mawkishly congratulate each other for spinning ever more vicious slanders of the Church founded by Christ.
>>> I didn’t find the word “limit” in connection with “profit” in Section 21. <<<
Sometimes an idea is not limited to the presence of a single word. Look again:
“We recognize, therefore, that the Church had good reason to be concerned about the capacity of a purely technological society to set realistic goals and to make good use of the instruments at its disposal. Profit is useful if it serves as a means towards an end that provides a sense both of how to produce it and how to make good use of it. Once profit becomes the exclusive goal, if it is produced by improper means and without the common good as its ultimate end, it risks destroying wealth and creating poverty. The economic development that Paul VI hoped to see was meant to produce real growth, of benefit to everyone and genuinely sustainable.”
Let’s see: setting “realistic goals”; making good (as opposed to bad) use of (financial?) instruments; a call to support good, as opposed to bad, profit; concern with “sustainability.” Yes, I think it’s clear that BXVI is talking about setting LIMITS to what he calls the “international economic process.” In with the good, out with the bad: isn’t that a setting of limits?
Now, I trust that many here would look upon these suggestions as trivial in the sense that everyone wants the Good as opposed to Bad in terms of profit; that everyone would agree that avarice is a sin and should be avoided; desire that economic processes should be sustainable. And so forth.
However, to present a vision of the Good is to make a political statement. It’s a solicitation to men of good will to do what is right, to CHOOSE the good when other options are available. Which is to say that I couldn’t disagree more when you wrote in post #144 that “Caritas in Veritate is NOT a political programme.”
Just because BXVI doesn’t provide detailed “technical plans” to tell us what is to be done, the goals that he sets in _Caritas_ trace out definite human responses.
Set limits to global economic processes? Guarantee a world-wide human right to food, to water, and — as I read in the article on BXVI’s “new humanism” — a global right to peace? Establish or support “mechanisms of wealth redistribution”? Please tell me, in a world built out of the crooked timber of humanity how is this possible without violence or the threat of violence from specific agents; without the establishment of huge bureaucracies with the power to enforce their codes; without the establishment of an effective world-wide controlling authority?
As for “subsidiarity”: I’ve read that it is a “fundamental principle” of EU law. And, as we all know, the bureaucrats in Brussels have been oh so careful to follow this principle when promulgating rules to the nations of Europe. Quix and others are right: it’s merely what the Germans call schwarmerei.
A distinction without a difference.
The Catholic Church is a Bible-believing Church.
I don’t think his lofty conjectures are founded in anything remotely practically probable before Armageddon.
That’s why they are more than a bit curious, to me.
I rather agree with you.
Seems like such words are thrown about as sugar to make the medicine go down. Isn’t working on me.
Lots of folks stay around worshiping a dry husk of an empty shell of a structure
long after God has left the building.
THAT Hasn’t been my observation.
Sometimes such absurd assertions are funny . . . when they aren’t so pitiful.
Excellent points, I think.
I trust Betty Boop will respond to them!