Wednesday, July 8, 2009

The Pope Goes Marxist - Let's Hope He Is Not Speaking Ex-Cathedra

It turns out Pope Benedict XVI has a bit of Karl Marx in him. The Pope has issued a 144 page encyclical letter (not ex cathedra), Caritas In Veritate (Charity in Truth), arguing for what amounts to a new socialist world order with business centrally controlled and run for the social good rather than profit.

It is more than a bit ironic, since the father of socialism, Karl Marx, provided the historical framework for the war on Christianity that the left is carrying on so successfully today. But in a way, it is not surprising that both should advocate socialism, as socialism is ultimately a Utopian ideal, As Churchill sagely noted some years ago, there are only two places where socialism would work - "in heaven, where it is not needed, and in hell, where it is already in practice."

"Ex Cathedra," by the way, refers to the relatively recent doctrine of papal infallibility. The doctrine holds that the Pope speaks with divine inspiration - and thus his pronouncements are infallible - when he speaks on moral issues and invokes the doctrine of infallibility by explicitly stating that his teaching is a core belief to be adopted by the entire Church.

This from the Washington Post on the Pope's encyclical letter:

Pope Benedict XVI criticized the international economic system yesterday and called for a new global structure based on social responsibility, concern for the dignity of the worker and a respect for ethics.

"Today's international economic scene, marked by grave deviations and failures, requires a profoundly new way of understanding human enterprise," Benedict wrote in his latest encyclical, which is the most authoritative document a pope can issue. "Without doubt, one of the greatest risks for business is that they are almost exclusively answerable to their investors, thereby limited in their social value."

In the sweeping 144-page document, Benedict sketches a radically different world economy, in which access to food and water is a universal right, wealthy nations share with poorer ones and profit is not the ultimate goal of commerce. He advocates the creation of a "world political authority" to manage the economy.

He blames "badly managed and largely speculative financial dealing" for causing the economic meltdown. The primary capital to be safeguarded is people, he says, adding that economic systems need to be guided by charity and truth. . . .

Unfortunately, the Pope has things backwards. He apparently skipped Econ 101 to concentrate on religious training. Capitalism has been the greatest engine of human advancement and the war on poverty that the world has ever known. The breakdown in the markets that we are experiencing can be traced in a direct line to government intervention for the purpose of social engineering - precisely what the Pope is advocating. If the Pope wants to ensure social progress, he is going about it in completely the wrong way. As Anatole Kaletsky wrote in the Times in 2003:

Even if there were room for argument about the benefits of free trade and free markets to workers in advanced industrial countries — and there really cannot be, if we compare what has happened to ordinary people’s lives in Western and Eastern Europe, not to mention in North and South Korea, during the 50 years since the Second World War — the principle that global capitalism is the most benign and successful of all human creations would be firmly established by the social progress in China since its integration into the global economy.

A few days ago, Charles Krauthammer noted that when our President finds himself on the side of Castro and Chavez, its time for him to reevaluate his position. A similar thing can be said of our Pope. When he finds himself advocating the policies of Marx and Lenin, that ought to be a clue that it is time to reevaluate his position. Business are and always will be soulless institutions. It is the individuals who profit from and are employed by the business - those with souls - upon whom the Pope should be concentrating. And history tells us that, as a general rule, their condition will be better and their charitable giving will grow the more the business profits.


OBloodyHell said...

> And history tells us that, as a general rule, their condition will be better and their charitable giving will grow the more the business profits.

Yeah, tell that to rich bastards like Bill Gates and Ted Turner!!!!




...Never Mind.

coupons said...

A new global structure based on the social responsibility.Pop said.

suek said...

I sent a link to this article to my son, asking for his thoughts. My concern is exactly the point you mention - that it _sounds_ like a Marxist philosophy. Having recently become aware of the likelihood that the Church has been infiltrated by Communism, that becomes a concern to me as a Catholic. We must not allow ourselves to be diverted by false "prophets" even if it is the Pope himself. There have been enough bad popes. Still, we have to recognize that the early Christians were communists (note the small c), although it was a communism by choice not by imposition by a government. In any case, here is my son's analysis(no chance I can get him responding to blogs):

"Okay, Skimmed the entire encyclical. [See..he went to the original - I didn't!] A couple of things come to mind.
1) Wolfhowling is not Catholic (?) otherwise, he doesn't need to worry about the "weight" of the encyclical, but is not ignorant, as he at least understands ex-cathedra. [Not exactly - he characterizes it as "recent" - it is not]
2) Best of my poor reading ability says that Pope Benedict is simply saying this
*Pope Paul VI wrote about the need for developing human kind about 60 years ago
*We should revisit his concerns as we look at the current economic crisis and at the same time revisit our obligations to our fellow man
*As we work-through this economic crisis, let us not forget that we have a moral obligation to one another as humans that supersedes an amoral market (i.e. profit for profit's sake is a bad thing; profit should be made for the purpose of doing good things), and that a market economy cannot be separated from the humans that engage in it (i.e. employer, employee, suppliers, customers, community are all stakeholders in the moral behavior of business)
*Recent events show that businesses (financial are specifically mentioned) are violating the trust that necessarily should be integral to market interactions, resulting in a great deal of injustice---knock that crap off! (I'm paraphrasing).
*All human ideologies that have Utopian goals are false, faulty, and will fail - the State cannot make it happen, unregulated market cannot make it happen (both are hamstrung by Man's "darkened reasoning"); we are a family of Man and treat each other accordingly to work towards being the best we can be.
*Religious freedom is integral to development of human kind and one's religion must be part of one's public life for it to do what it is supposed to do.
*(Um..he then gets a little scary for me) If we are a family of Nations, there must be tighter more effective governance of nations by an over-arching United Nations Organization (but this is one paragraph as opposed to the other themes that are developed over many paragraphs).
*Man should not be seen from neurological reductionist point of view. Spirituality is as important as psychology.
*and finally "A humanism which excludes God is an inhuman humanism."

I think he scares people because he uses the word "redistribution" of wealth and resources about 10 times. I, however, don't get the same sense of the word in his usage as I do when the President uses the word. Still, should one expect the Church to have any position other than "give 'til it hurts"? "

The Pope is a leader. Albeit a spiritual leader, he has also undoubtedly been a manager. I can understand a desire for organization and effective management of mankind's affairs. The problem is that we don't have any humans who can be trusted with management of mankind's affairs.

OBloodyHell said...

> (i.e. profit for profit's sake is a bad thing;

An inherently corrupt idea. All things do not need to spring from the decency of the human heart. That is where the entire concept of the Invisible Hand comes in -- "the shoemaker doesn't make shoes for your benefit, but for his own" and so on.

> I can understand a desire for organization and effective management of mankind's affairs.

Which generally comes best from the Invisible Hand, once again, not from busybody manager-politician-bureaucrats.