Daily Archives: November 29, 2013
This post contains strong language. Sissies, click away now or forever hold your tongue.
Paragraph 54 has emerged as one of the parts of Evangelii Gaudium worth the exploring. Many others have commented. Allow me to contribute my two cents here.
54. In this context, some people continue to defend trickle-down theories which assume that economic growth, encouraged by a free market, will by itself succeed in bringing about greater justice and inclusiveness in the world.
Economic growth in free markets is a tremendous creator of opportunity for everyone, and a great leveller of social inequalities. In non developed capitalistic societies (say: India ca. 1920) your family and socioeconomic environment were much more likely to be your destiny than in the very mobile Western societies of today. In Western societies wealth seldom remains in the same family for more than three generations, as a new breed of self made men takes the place of the old ones. Opportunity and equality at work. Obviously this is not a perfect world: but that economic growth, encouraged by free market, by itself makes the world less inequal (or let us say better: less unfair; inequalities are bad only for communists) cannot be denied.
This opinion, which has never been confirmed by the facts,
Keep dreaming, Your Holiness. And please never look out of the favela. The shock could be fatal.
expresses a crude and naïve trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power and in the sacralized workings of the prevailing economic system.
The only one who is naïve here – nay: blind – is Francis. He should visit a lost, isolated village in India, or in the Mozambique, that has never heard of modern Capitalism, compare with the “poverty line” in Rome or Paris, and tell us about it. The “prevailing economic system” is not only the one that has worked best, ever, but is the one that foots the bill for the poorest of the rest of the planet. Francis simply ignores this, Castroite as he clearly is.
Meanwhile, the excluded are still waiting.
More Castro-thinking. Entire countries have seen the condition of the working class improve enormously in the last decades, as the “prevailing economic system” is introduced in those countries and brings more security for everyone. Taiwan, Malaysia, the Philippines, India (60+ million people comfortably middle-class for European standards, and growing like it's going out of fashion: how's that, Francis?). Those who do not improve are the Countries mired in violence, populism and corruption, that are the real enemies of the poor and the first causes of poverty. Even countries like India, that have adopted some of the lessons of sound Capitalism, are still far too corrupt, inefficient, exploitative to even deserve to be called part of the “prevailing economic system”. The real fight is against violence, populism and corruption, not Capitalism. Capitalism is the best economic ally of the poor.
To sustain a lifestyle which excludes others, or to sustain enthusiasm for that selfish ideal, a globalization of indifference has developed.
More slogans. What is a “lifestyle that excludes others”? Aren't the Western economies doing more to alleviate global poverty than the Castroite dreams of Francis would ever allow? As to Globalisation, it is clear to the blind that the “poor of the world” profit from it more than the West, where the availability of cheap products is paid at the price of higher unemployment among the low-skilled, creating more social costs and higher taxes to compensate for those, say, cheap socks. The unemployed of the West are also poor, at least in a relative way. They pay, in the end, the highest price for Globalisation. Francis doesn't say it. He doesn't even realise it. To him, to be poor is to be on the right side: that the poor in Pakistan and Britain are competing for the same work in, say, the Western textile industry does not even occur to him. Yes, the UK-made socks would use less work. But yes, they would still create an awful lot of employment, reduce social transfers and tax burden, and increase satisfaction at home, where the charity begins. How about these poor, Bishop Francis?
Almost without being aware of it, we end up being incapable of feeling compassion at the outcry of the poor, weeping for other people’s pain, and feeling a need to help them, as though all this were someone else’s responsibility and not our own. The culture of prosperity deadens us; we are thrilled if the market offers us something new to purchase; and in the meantime all those lives stunted for lack of opportunity seem a mere spectacle; they fail to move us.
This is a gratuitous affirmation. There is no tevidence at all that the rich Western societies do not care for the needy. On the contrary, they have never cared so much. Here in London, last time I looked food banks threw away more than half of the food they collect, because it's just not needed. Millions of people live without working one freaking day in their lives, or for any meaningful period, becoming skilled handout professionals instead. I have known a couple personally and some are real artists.
The paragraph ends here.
More in general, the entire idea suffers from the usual construction mistake of all those easy criticisms and whining complaint: find a system that has delivered better results, or shut up.
Everyone can reinvent the world from the comfort of his armchair, but the world has this funny way of not caring a bit for people's dreams and fantasies.
On the contrary, when I read Rerum Novarum I see nothing of the creeping socialism of our time. There was no dole then. No socialised health care. No unemployment insurance. No universal state pension. Not even minimum wage! Did Leo XIII create any of these? No, he didn't. Germany has lived perfectly well without minimum wage until 2013, go figure.
Catholic thinking is that solidarity and charity do the job, not an omnipresent state apparatus adding countless administrators, controllers, regulators, and assorted other people who are there just to give the government of the day more power over our lives. Solidarity and charity can do all that the “social state” does, much better and much cheaper. In Christian countries people did not die of hunger, and you can still see the vestiges of all the charitable organisations meant to help the poor. The deserving poor were helped, the undeserving were not. There were orphanages, and the wheel. People knew each other. They knew who was in need, and they knew the money was well spent. They knew the meaning of Christian charity. Alleluia. No army of apparatchiks in the middle deciding who gets what, and that everyone gets the pill; or an abortion; or maintenance for life paid by people who don't even know she exists, and how she lives. Those were the days.
As Christianity shrunk from Western countries, the governments took its place. Out went the charity, in came the entitlement. Out went the gratitude, in came the hate.
Give me Leo XIII every day. Down with the omnipresence and oppression of government, and let Christians tackle the problems of life in the Christian way. It will still be a vale of tears, but one that fosters charity and gratitude rather than entitlement, envy and godlessness.
When did Christ mandate state-imposed health? Income tax? Forced redistribution? Cost-free abortion on demand? Flats for girls having babies? You are confusing with rabid Liberalism and the Social State, dear.
Francis is not only implicitly asking only for more statism. He is doing worse: he is demanding some vaguely dreamed system of world kindergarten economics that very well matches his system of kindergarten Catholicism: shallow, rhetoric, utterly unintelligent, and totally unworkable. He is like a globalised Obama, without the need of being elected. Boy, if he got together with Bono and the Dalai Lama, how they would change the world, at least in their dreams!
Francis talks of things he does not understand. He does it about Catholicism, it is no surprise that he should have a go at economics. He is fully imbibed with the whiny victimhood of South America, which gave us the Peron and Chavez of this world. He is the product of the same mentality that led many Southern American Governments to declare they would not honour their debts, plunging an entire sub-continent in up to two decades of stagnation whilst the Asian Tigers left South American countries far behind. Congratulations, morons.
This is what Castroites do to you. They spoil you rotten until you see only persecutors and oppressors, and make you unfit for honest employment. It goes for collective entities as far as for individual ones.
Beware of wolves in Castro uniform. Particularly when they don't know what they are talking about.
P.S. Comments are closed. Life's to short for debates with the “Occupy” crowd. If you like this post, please tweet and “like” on Facebook instead.
So, let us plunge into the paper lake and see where our eye falls.
Very randomly taken:
If something should rightly disturb us and trouble our consciences, it is the fact that so many of our brothers and sisters are living without the strength, light and consolation born of friendship with Jesus Christ, without a community of faith to support them, without meaning and a goal in life.
More disturbing still is when a Pope gives an interview to an atheist journalist for a secular newspaper and sends to them the message that if they follow their conscience they'll be fine.
The worship of the ancient golden calf (cf. Ex 32:1-35) has returned in a new and ruthless guise in the idolatry of money and the dictatorship of an impersonal economy lacking a truly human purpose. The worldwide crisis affecting finance and the economy lays bare their imbalances and, above all, their lack of real concern for human beings; man is reduced to one of his needs alone: consumption.
This is not a man very versed in history. The modern capitalistic societies have far less poverty, and far more abundance for the generality of people than every – and I mean: every – economic society of the past. Not only that: western capitalism keeps entire continents from dire need, providing a substantial part of the GDP out of pure transfer in many countries, particularly African ones.
As even a man who considers Beethoven a luxury for Renaissance Prince should know, “idolatry of money” has been there in every age, and will be with us as long as the sun shines. But notice, only one who has lost his faith or never had it can make of money his idol. These are exactly the people Francis deems fine not to convert.
A financial reform open to such ethical considerations would require a vigorous change of approach on the part of political leaders. I urge them to face this challenge with determination and an eye to the future, while not ignoring, of course, the specifics of each case. Money must serve, not rule! The Pope loves everyone, rich and poor alike, but he is obliged in the name of Christ to remind all that the rich must help, respect and promote the poor. I exhort you to generous solidarity and a return of economics and finance to an ethical approach which favours human beings.
” I have no idea what I am talking about, nor have I to offer any solution besides some trite slogan. Let's try this: “money must serve, not rule!””. Please applaud. I am so 'umble.
It would show a lack of trust in his free and unstinting activity to think that authentic Christian values are absent where great numbers of people have received baptism and express their faith and solidarity with others in a variety of ways.
It shows a great lack of reality not to understand that many who are baptised do not even know hot to make the Sign of the Cross, have no idea of even the Ten Commandments, and think Jesus is a, like, cool guy.
In the case of the popular cultures of Catholic peoples, we can see deficiencies which need to be healed by the Gospel: machismo, alcoholism, domestic violence, low Mass attendance, fatalistic or superstitious notions which lead to sorcery, and the like.
“Machismo” is there with alcoholism and domestic violence, and akin to sorcery. This is one for the dykes and the all-out feminists out there. Spoken like a true nun on the bus.
Out of respect for the office, I will stop here, though I will still say that Francis should spend less time with his “gay” (his word) buddy, Monsignor Ricca.
Cattive compagnie, queste frocette. Eh? Ah? No?
At times our media culture and some intellectual circles convey a marked scepticism with regard to the Church’s message, along with a certain cynicism. As a consequence, many pastoral workers, although they pray, develop a sort of inferiority complex which leads them to relativize or conceal their Christian identity and convictions. This produces a vicious circle. They end up being unhappy with who they are and what they do; they do not identify with their mission of evangelization and this weakens their commitment. They end up stifling the joy of mission with a kind of obsession about being like everyone else and possessing what everyone else possesses. Their work of evangelization thus becomes forced, and they devote little energy and very limited time to it.
This is very well said. The ghost writer is a smart guy. He describes the Vatican II mentality in a beautiful way. By the by, the sentences apply wonderfully to the vast majority of priests in the West.
There are Christians whose lives seem like Lent without Easter.
There are Popes who make clowns of themselves without running a circus. Give me the dour Pope and the severe old woman every day. And no, I am not one of those. Just so you know, I am an extremely funny guy.
A second area is that of “the baptized whose lives do not reflect the demands of Baptism”, who lack a meaningful relationship to the Church and no longer experience the consolation born of faith. The Church, in her maternal concern, tries to help them experience a conversion which will restore the joy of faith to their hearts and inspire a commitment to the Gospel.
This would be the right time to invite them to repentance and warn them about the consequence of disobedience. Not a word. Instead, a sort of inferiority complex which leads him to relativise or conceal his Christian identity and convictions. Wait, where have I read this…?
Lastly, we cannot forget that evangelization is first and foremost about preaching the Gospel to those who do not know Jesus Christ or who have always rejected him. Many of these are quietly seeking God, led by a yearning to see his face, even in countries of ancient Christian tradition. All of them have a right to receive the Gospel. Christians have the duty to proclaim the Gospel without excluding anyone. Instead of seeming to impose new obligations, they should appear as people who wish to share their joy, who point to a horizon of beauty and who invite others to a delicious banquet. It is not by proselytizing that the Church grows, but “by attraction”
The hardened atheist is put in the same boat with the poor chap who does not know Christianity, as if their situations would not be radically different both as regards their earthly prospects (the second is possibly fertile ground, the first an arid desert) and their heavenly ones (the ignorant chap might bank on the invincible ignorance and save his backside, the willful atheist is more screwed than Elton). Clearly, atheism is made harmless here. A problem of lack of information. Perhaps if we were more “joyous” the atheists would be converted? How about a red nose?
Not one word about the dangers of damnation. If not here when, then…
As a rule, I would say some good formulations are overshadowed by the omnipresent stink of Vatican II.
Not a fruitful reading.
Spend time on your Garrigou-Lagrange instead.