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  1. De Quintal, Steve (Bishop Marrocco/Thomas Merton) permalink
    December 19, 2013 4:02 pm

    Thanks for the insight.

    Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

    Peace and Hope, Steve De Quintal Teacher, Bishop Marrocco / Thomas Merton CSS, 1515 Bloor St. W. Toronto, Ontario M6P-1A3. 416-393-5545 ext. 84293 “To think, to pray and to serve.” A good head and good heart are always a formidable combination. But when you add to that a literate tongue or pen, then you have something very special. – Nelson Mandela *****You can always email but a call or a visit will get a quicker response***** ________________________________________

  2. Chris Sullivan permalink
    December 19, 2013 4:57 pm

    Great post morning !

    I’m always suspicious of what comes out of the Acton Institute as it so often is contrary to papal social teaching.

    God Bless

  3. freescot permalink
    December 19, 2013 5:42 pm

    I’ve not looked closely at Pope Francis’ economic comments, being more interested in other of his statements, but, of course, get the general direction of his gospel based concern to care for each other. So, it is good to read here such a clear and practical answer to Catholic critics. Thank you.

  4. December 19, 2013 6:39 pm

    While I am sympathetic with the notion that we should aspire to realize the values associated with social justice and moral teachings, advancing the common good, in our social, economic and cultural endeavors with as noncoercive a polity as is workable, unfortunately, some coercion is often necessary. Madison was right, though, that we aren’t angels and so some amount of government is necessary, notwithstanding our anarchic urges and utopian aspirations.

    When reading church teachings and critiques, I do not first interpret them politically. I look for the reasons we have failed socially, morally, economically and culturally and how these failures -some due to our finitude, some due to institutionalized sin, some due to persona sin – have brought about the need for coercive measures and government interventions. Knowing that statist solutions have been necessitated by our human condition of finitude and sinfulnesss, I then suffer no pollyannish delusions that government solutions will fix those problems at their root; rather, as a necessary evil, at best, they will ameliorate some suffering and misery but not usher in utopia, a paradise already lost, which loss brought about the need for government in the first place.

    Encyclicals foremost critique the ailments of the human heart, only derivatively the political dysfunctions that result. They instruct us on the ends and values to which we should aspire and the norms that should govern our means, but not otherwise the means and strategies, in and of themselves.

    The popular libertarian sentiment is rightly suspicious of coercive means but has lost sight of the fact that wo/men are not angels. Those who advocate for statist solutions would also do well to remember that fact. Business will cycle, will boom and bust, despite our best regulatory intentions and efforts. This doesn’t mean we shouldn’t bother with regulations, only that we shouldn’t reflexively consider them a panacea without unintended consequences or inherent limits. I only wish that those neoconservatives who most rant and rave about coercive economic solutions would also question coercive moral and militarist solutions. In other words, at least Rand Paul is consistent in that regard (if only he better grasped the creative tension that’s supposed to be employed in applying subsidiarity principles).

  5. December 20, 2013 8:51 am

    Brilliant, MM.

  6. Ronald King permalink
    December 20, 2013 11:44 am

    I remember watching the original Star Trek series a hundred years ago and recall that their economic system was not a competitive free market system, rather, it was a system which functioned for the common good. It seems, as with anything in this world which involves human relationships. the underlying values which influence these institutions and human interactions will eventually be revealed for what they really are. Solidarity requires a lot of emotional and spiritual maturity.

    • December 20, 2013 1:10 pm

      re: It seems, as with anything in this world which involves human relationships. the underlying values which influence these institutions and human interactions will eventually be revealed for what they really are.

      That sounds right. If the underlying norms and values are deficient, they’ll get found out, eventually. Not as an over against but to further qualify this observation, we should remember that norms can be both moral and practical. Some failures, then, are more of the head, less of the heart, more due to human ignorance, error and finitude than to human greed, malice and indifference.

      When we do properly discern human failures to cooperate with the spirit, we still cannot know which of those resulted from inability, which from refusal. So, we don’t impute personal sin. When the Pope critiques economic failures, he holds out the possibility that sinful attitudes may produce such policy inefficacies even while pointing out the practical ineffectiveness of certain approaches. We would never directly infer that anyone in particular has necessarily refused to cooperate with grace even as we all are being exhorted to self-examen.

  7. Frank Lesko permalink
    December 21, 2013 2:12 pm

    Pope Francis had a great clarification in a subsequent interview, saying he wasn’t speaking technically but rather painting a picture of what’s going on. I think that nailed it. Part of what’s different for Francis is that he uses a very different communication register and that catches people off guard. It’s tempting for folks who are accustomed to popes speaking in a more literal, absolutist style to write him off. Francis is no less intellectual–in fact, he’s positively bursting with wisdom and a lifetime of deep learning, and quite possible is the most well rounded leader the Church has seen in recently memory, at least. He’s simply using language differently.

    Would Pope Francis really have a problem if a government used supply side OR demand side stimuli to occasionally adjust an economy from time to time? I can’t speak for him, but I highly doubt it. It’s trickle down economics as a way of life that’s the problem–as an unquestioned, unchallenged idol. This article is right in pointing out that there are no unregulated free markets anywhere, but it’s the ideology and idealization of them that drives decisions with cultish fervor that is the problem.

    Just as Benedict XVI made a career out of challenging Marx, this is Francis’ challenge to Ayn Rand and her devotees.

Trackbacks

  1. Agreeing with the Pope by Misinterpreting Him | Vox Nova
  2. Stories I’ve Found, 12/27/2013 | homiliesandstraythoughts

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