Donald McClarey on Responsible Dissent
I don’t usually do parodies, but sometimes they just write themselves.
Over at The American Catholic and Christian Economics, DarwinCatholic and Alex Binder have a little discussion going over the feasibility of full employment using the government as an employer of last resort. In one of the threads I asked how conservatives understand John Paul II’s call for a “strong juridical framework” in this famous passage from Centesimus Annus where John Paul offers his answer to the question of whether “capitalism should be the goal of the countries now making efforts to rebuild their economy and society?” after the fall of communism:
If by “capitalism” is meant an economic system which recognizes the fundamental and positive role of business, the market, private property and the resulting responsibility for the means of production, as well as free human creativity in the economic sector, then the answer is certainly in the affirmative, even though it would perhaps be more appropriate to speak of a “business economy”, “market economy” or simply “free economy”. But if by “capitalism” is meant a system in which freedom in the economic sector is not circumscribed within a strong juridical framework which places it at the service of human freedom in its totality, and which sees it as a particular aspect of that freedom, the core of which is ethical and religious, then the reply is certainly negative.
You can swing by the thread if you’re interested in some of the answers I was given, but one stood out for me. Donald McClarey wrote:
This conservative lawyer believes that John Paul II, a great pope, would have been less fond of a “strong juridical framework”, whatever the heck that really means, if he had possessed practical experience as a small business man, an attorney or a politician. Whenever clerics write about economics I always recall that very few of them have ever had to wonder how they were going to make a mortgage payment or meet a payroll, or ponder how businesses in the private sector get along without donations from people in the pews rolling in. Popes are great about telling us how to get to Heaven, relatively poor as economists or businessmen, as a history of Vatican finances graphically reveal.
There you have it folks! In areas where a Pope, even a great one, has no “practical experience” he can be safely ignored. Popes worry about getting us to heaven and – as should be clear from their penchant for writing social encyclicals, not to mention their adherence to the teachings of the Prophets, the Fathers and that fellow from Nazareth – how we use our money has nothing to do with that. Unlike that other thing with which Popes have no “practical experience.”
UPDATE: This just in, McClarey has now informed us, on the thread in question, that when John Paul II wrote about the death penalty he was not dealing with “faith and morals.” You read that right: the DEATH PENALTY is not a matter of faith and morals. This is becoming surreal.
Brett Salkeld is a doctoral student in theology at Regis College in Toronto. He is a father of three (so far) and husband of one.