PopeWatch: Pact of the Catacombs-Part II

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Thou shalt not do that which is unjust, nor judge unjustly. Respect not the person of the poor, nor honour the countenance of the mighty. But judge thy neighbour according to justice.

Leviticus 19: 15

The Pact of the Catacombs, go here to read the text of the Pact, is a pact taken at the Catacombs of Rome on November 16, 1965 by about 40 Bishops participating in Vatican II.  Although a quite obscure event ignored by most histories of Vatican II, the Pact, which went on to be signed by about 500 Bishops, most of them from Latin America, laid out a blue print for transforming the Church that has in some respects been carried out, to the detriment of the Church and her mission of bringing all men to Christ.  The errors that have resulted from the approach to the world suggested by the Pact, are glaringly evident in the text of the Pact.

9) Conscious of the demands of justice and charity, and their mutual relationship, we will seek to transform assistential activites into social works based on justice and charity, which take into account all that this requires, as a humble service of the competent public organs. Cf. Mt 25,31-46; Lc 13,12-14 e 33s.

The traditional charitable actions of the Church are to be transformed into works of the State.  This of course turns the Church into simply another pressure group soliciting largesse from Caesar on behalf of her clients, the poor.  The problems with this approach are many, but the fundamental error is that it converts the command of Christ for Christians to personally help the poor into a command for Catholics to pressure government to take over this job.

10) We will do our utmost so that those responsible for our government and for our public services make, and put into practice, laws, structures and social institutions required by justice and charity, equality and the harmonic and holistic development of all men and women, and by this means bring about the advent of another social order, worthy of the sons and daughters of mankind and of God. Cf. At. 2,44s; 4,32-35; 5,4; 2Cor 8 e 9 ; 1Tim 5, 16.

A more explicit call for Caesar to set up welfare states.  Here we discern the left wing utopianism within the Church that received much impetus after Vatican II, the advocates of this view completely forgetting that utopia means nowhere and the admonition of Christ that His Kingdom is not of this world.

11) Believing the collegiality of the bishops to be of the utmost evangelical importance in facing the burden of human masses, in a state of physical, cultural and moral misery – two thirds of humanity – we commit ourselves:

– to participate, according to our means, in the urgent investments of the episcopates of poor nations;

– to demand that the plans of international organizations, but witnessing to the Gospel, as Pope Paul VI did in the UNO, adopt economic and cultural structures which no longer manufacture proletarian nations in an ever richer world, but which will permit the poor masses to overcome their misery.

Here the Church is committed to a cause of political action.  Instead of spreading the Gospel, the Church is transformed into a mere political party.

The spirit of the Pact would be played out under the theme of preferential option of the poor, a basic betrayal of the fact that Christ came to draw all men unto Himself, and that Christianity cannot draw distinctions between  classes without undermining the essential mission of the Church.  Like most concepts, it can be manipulated into an orthodox interpretation, but its true ramifications are perhaps best brought out by advocates of Liberation Theology, who envisage the Church helping the poor engage in violent uprisings and the creation of all powerful states to serve the poor.  Few concepts could be further from the message of Christ.

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99 Comments

  1. Once again, the Church proves that it was founded and is sustained by God when it survives despite being run with such incompetence.

  2. Regarding the free distribution of someone else’s hard-earned wealth by Caesar – a common advocacy we hear from socialists – the lesson of John chapter 6 is noteworthy. Out of a few loaves and fishes Jesus had miraculously fed 5000 men plus women and childern on the far side of the Sea of Galilee. The next day the disciples sailed across the sea, but Jesus had not gone with them immediately, and a storm later occurs. Jesus arrives at the small boat during the storm by walking on water. The disciples with Jesus then arrive at the shore. The crowd of yesterday, still on the far side of the sea, had awoken and learned that Jesus had departed. So they travelled to the other side of the sea. Sacred Scripture records the following in verses 24 through 27:
    .
    “So when the people saw that Jesus was not there, nor his disciples, they themselves got into the boats and went to Caper′na-um, seeking Jesus. When they found him on the other side of the sea, they said to him, ‘Rabbi, when did you come here?’ Jesus answered them, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, you seek me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves. Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal life, which the Son of man will give to you; for on him has God the Father set his seal.'”
    .
    Notice that the crowd did NOT receive a second free handout. The goal was NOT to feed empty bellies but to save souls from the fires of hell. Indeed, regarding those who refuse to earn their daily bread by the sweat of their brow, St. Paul states the following in 2nd Thessalonians 3:6-12:
    .
    “Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you keep away from any brother who is living in idleness and not in accord with the tradition that you received from us. For you yourselves know how you ought to imitate us; we were not idle when we were with you, we did not eat any one’s bread without paying, but with toil and labor we worked night and day, that we might not burden any of you. It was not because we have not that right, but to give you in our conduct an example to imitate. For even when we were with you, we gave you this command: If any one will not work, let him not eat. For we hear that some of you are living in idleness, mere busybodies, not doing any work. Now such persons we command and exhort in the Lord Jesus Christ to do their work in quietness and to earn their own living.”
    .
    The bottom line is this: work or starve. The Gospel message isn’t about satisfying the desires of the flesh, but about saving souls from eternal damnation.
    .
    Now that said, when a Christian finds someone in need, it is his spiritual duty out of love for Christ Himself to provide what assistance he can. This is discussed in Matthew 25:31-46 which states that at the end of time Jesus will gather all the “gentes” or “tribes” or “families” of mankind before Him, separating the sheep from the goats. The sheep who enter eternal life are those who have willingly and without coercion from Caesar fed the hungry, given drink to the thirsty, cared for the sick, clothed the naked, visited the imprisoned and welcomed the stranger. The goats are those who have refused to perform such wilful acts of charity. Perhaps they are the socialists who abdicate their accountability and evade their responsibility to help the poor with their own hands, demanding instead that Caesar do what they themselves are commanded by God to do. They go to hell.
    .
    Thus we see from Sacred Scripture the inherent immorality of socialism and the very real neecessity for each of us as members of the Body of Christ to perform charitable works of mercy. Indeed, everytime we abdicate our respoonsibility and evade our accountability to perform our Christian duty, we sacrifice on the altar of political expediency our adoption as children of the Great King and our citizenship in the Kingdom of Heaven. Instead of rendering unto God what is God’s and unto Caesar what is Caesar’s, we transfer our sacred duty to Caesar, expecting that Caesar will give us every material thing that we want, and as the old saying goes, a government which can give you everything you want can take away everything you have, including your freedom.

  3. We must not confuse charity and justice: as St Ambrose says, “You are not making a gift of what is yours to the poor man, but you are giving him back what is his. You have been appropriating things that are meant to be for the common use of everyone. The earth belongs to everyone, not to the rich.” (De Nabute, c. 12, n. 53) Indeed, the universal destination of goods is the common teaching of the Fathers.

    Repetition, restitution and recompense are acts of justice, not charity and their enforcement belongs to the civil magistrate, invested with the power of the sword. (Rom 13:4)

  4. MPS,
    .
    Caesar must NOT usurp the authority to decide what is to be given back to the poor man and what is not.
    .
    Now that said, what a man earns by his own honest labor belongs to him and no one else. For example, he applied those activities necessary to worthless earth to make it somethings worthwhile having (e.g., farming, mining, irrigating, etc.). If a man poor or otherwise did not apply action to make what was worthless worthwhile, then none of the earth belongs to him. Indeed, it is theft for government to appropriate what a man earns by his honest labor and redistribute it to the poor. But if the man of his own volition wishes to donate what he earns to the poor, then so should he be permitted, never coerced. It is hs act of mercy for the salvation of his soul.
    .
    Furthermore, making the poor dependent on free handouts from those who earn only impoverishes those who earn and exacerbates the addiction of the poor to freely received largess. As Benjamin Franklin said:
    .
    “I am for doing good to the poor, but…I think the best way of doing good to the poor, is not making them easy in poverty, but leading or driving them out of it. I observed…that the more public provisions were made for the poor, the less they provided for themselves, and of course became poorer. And, on the contrary, the less was done for them, the more they did for themselves, and became richer.”
    .
    Thus did Jesus refuse in John chapter 6 to give the people a second free handout, and thus did St Paul tell the Church at Thessalonika: work or starve.
    .
    BTW, for all the social justice types out there saying that the poor owns what the wage earner has earned, have you housed a drunken dope fiend without money and helped him to get sober using your own financial resources? Have you housed homeless Asian immigrants without charging for rent or food expenses, using your own financial resources? Have you gone to the breakfast kitchen at 5 am on Saturday morning to feed the derelicts? Did you take care of an AIDS victim out of your own money when he was at death’s door? Huh? Then don’t you dare say that the poor is entitled to what the wage earner earns. I hate European socialism. Take your guilt trip and shove it where the sun doesn’t shine.

  5. Christ hated the poor just as much as we, led by Don McClorney, do. Woe to all bishops (Roman or otherwise) who distort this truth.

  6. Christ loves ALL men equally. NO preferrential treatment for the poor. NONE. ZERO. Zip point squat.
    .
    Scripture says that Jesus looked at the RICH man and LOVED him – something that the Bergoglio party clearly does NOT do.

  7. Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church

    The universal destination of goods and the preferential option for the poor
    182. The principle of the universal destination of goods requires that the poor, the marginalized and in all cases those whose living conditions interfere with their proper growth should be the fo- cus of particular concern. To this end, the preferential option for the poor should be reaf- firmed in all its force[384]. “This is an option, or a special form of primacy in the exercise of Christian charity, to which the whole tradition of the Church bears witness. It affects the life of each Christian inasmuch as he or she seeks to imitate the life of Christ, but it applies equally to our social responsibilities and hence to our manner of living, and to the logical decisions to be made concerning the ownership and use of goods. Today, fur- thermore, given the worldwide dimension which the social question has assumed, this love of preference for the poor, and the decisions which it inspires in us, cannot but em- brace the immense multitudes of the hungry, the needy, the homeless, those without health care and, above all, those without hope of a better future”[385].

    [385] John Paul II, Encyclical Letter Sollicitudo Rei Socialis, 42: AAS 80 (1988), 572- 573; cf. John Paul II, Encyclical Letter Evangelium Vitae, 32: AAS 87 (1995), 436-437; John Paul II, Apostolic Letter Tertio Millennio Adveniente, 51: AAS 87 (1995), 36; John Paul II, Apostolic Letter Novo Millennio Ineunte, 49-50: AAS 93 (2001), 302-303.

    Why don’t you guys just admit that you have left the Catholic Church?

  8. Then, WJ, YOU exercise preferential treatment for the poor. YOU sell all YOUR belongings and give the proceeds to the poor. YOU do it.
    .
    You have neither right nor the authority to demand that Caesar take from those who earn and give to those who don’t.
    .
    The preferential treatment one must gve to those in need is a personal act of individual charity. Govt has NO moral authority to confiscate the wealth of one person and distribute it to another. Indeed, every time you liberal progressive social justice people advocate preferential treatment for the poor, what you really want is for someone else to do the preferential treatment. YOU don’t want to get your hands dirty doing the Lord’s work. YOU don’t want to give up YOUR personal wealth. YOUR kind is NO better than Judas Iscariot who declared, “Could not this oil have been sold for 300 denarii and the money given to the poor?” Scripture goes on to explain that he said that NOT because he cared for the poor BUT because he used to steal from the money purse.

  9. “Why don’t you guys just admit that you have left the Catholic Church?”

    What a nice Christian sentiment WJ! No I think we’ll stay, especially since John Paul II also wrote this:

    “In recent years the range of such intervention has vastly expanded, to the point of creating a new type of State, the so-called “Welfare State”. This has happened in some countries in order to respond better to many needs and demands, by remedying forms of poverty and deprivation unworthy of the human person. However, excesses and abuses, especially in recent years, have provoked very harsh criticisms of the Welfare State, dubbed the “Social Assistance State”. Malfunctions and defects in the Social Assistance State are the result of an inadequate understanding of the tasks proper to the State. Here again the principle of subsidiarity must be respected: a community of a higher order should not interfere in the internal life of a community of a lower order, depriving the latter of its functions, but rather should support it in case of need and help to coordinate its activity with the activities of the rest of society, always with a view to the common good.100

    By intervening directly and depriving society of its responsibility, the Social Assistance State leads to a loss of human energies and an inordinate increase of public agencies, which are dominated more by bureaucratic ways of thinking than by concern for serving their clients, and which are accompanied by an enormous increase in spending. In fact, it would appear that needs are best understood and satisfied by people who are closest to them and who act as neighbours to those in need. It should be added that certain kinds of demands often call for a response which is not simply material but which is capable of perceiving the deeper human need. One thinks of the condition of refugees, immigrants, the elderly, the sick, and all those in circumstances which call for assistance, such as drug abusers: all these people can be helped effectively only by those who offer them genuine fraternal support, in addition to the necessary care.”

    http://w2.vatican.va/content/john-paul-ii/en/encyclicals/documents/hf_jp-ii_enc_01051991_centesimus-annus.html

  10. “Christ hated the poor just as much as we, led by Don McClorney, do. Woe to all bishops (Roman or otherwise) who distort this truth.”

    Jim, rank amateurs like you really should leave satire to the experts.

  11. wj is right. Denial of the preferential option for the poor displays not only ignorance of the whole of scripture and of the church’s teaching, it displays a personal denial of Christ himself. Do I hear a cock crowing?

  12. James Bransfield,
    .
    Did you NOT see thhe quote from Leviticus at the beginning of this blog post?
    .
    Thou shalt not do that which is unjust, nor judge unjustly. Respect not the person of the poor, nor honour the countenance of the mighty. But judge thy neighbour according to justice. 
    .
    Have you NOT read where St Paul said there is neither Jew nor Greek, slave or free, male nor female in Christ Jesus?
    .
    YOU execise preferential option for the poor as a work of penance. But don’t you DARE abdicate your responsibilty and evade you accountability to exercise that option onto Caesar, demanding that he taxes those who earn and build up society keep the indolent addicted to the teat of the public treasury.
    .
    Jesus said to Judas Iscariot, “The poor you will have with you always.”

  13. James is right, in that it is a scandal that the Church has fancy vestments when the poor don’t have enou –

    “Six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus lived, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. Here a dinner was given in Jesus’ honor. Martha served, while Lazarus was among those reclining at the table with him. Then Mary took about a pint of pure nard, an expensive perfume; she poured it on Jesus’ feet and wiped his feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. But one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, who was later to betray him, objected, “Why wasn’t this perfume sold and the money given to the poor? It was worth a year’s wages.” He did not say this because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief; as keeper of the money bag, he used to help himself to what was put into it. “Leave her alone,” Jesus replied. “It was intended that she should save this perfume for the day of my burial. You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me.””

    Oh wait.

    Besides the practical matter, note well who it was that raised the objection and why.

  14. Furthermore, it is an error to associate the modern welfare state with the fulfillment of the proper destination of goods; cf. St. John Chrysostom (who certainly was no cheerleader for the rich, excoriating some of them regularly):

    “Should we look to kings and princes to put right the inequalities between rich and poor? Should we require soldiers to come and seize the rich person’s gold and distribute it among his destitute neighbors? Should we beg the emperor to impose a tax on the rich so great that it reduces them to the level of the poor and then to share the proceeds of that tax among everyone? Equality imposed by force would achieve nothing, and do much harm.

    Those who combined both cruel hearts and sharp minds would soon find ways of making themselves rich again. Worse still, the rich whose gold was taken away would feel bitter and resentful; while the poor who received the gold form the hands of soldiers would feel no gratitude, because no generosity would have prompted the gift. Far from bringing moral benefit to society, it would actually do moral harm. Material justice cannot be accomplished by compulsion, a change of heart will not follow. The only way to achieve true justice is to change people’s hearts first — and then they will joyfully share their wealth.”

  15. James Bransfield, how do you reconcile your view with the excerpt from
    John Paul II’s Centesimus Annus Donald McClarey quoted? As for
    myself, I do not think my suspicion of the bloated powers of the welfare
    state and the subsequent loss of a sense of personal responsibility among
    its citizenry necessarily means I am ignorant of either Scripture or the Church’s
    teaching– and I certainly do not deny Christ.

  16. Pail W Primavera wrote, “what a man earns by his own honest labor belongs to him and no one else”

    But the Mosaic Law says otherwise: “And when ye reap the harvest of your land, thou shalt not wholly reap the corners of thy field, neither shalt thou gather the gleanings of thy harvest. And thou shalt not glean thy vineyard, neither shalt thou gather every grape of thy vineyard; thou shalt leave them for the poor and the stranger: I am the Lord your God” (Lev. xix. 9, 10). “When thou beatest thine olive tree, thou shalt not go over the boughs again: it shall be for the stranger, for the fatherless, and for the widow. When thou gatherest the grapes of thy vineyard, thou shalt not glean it afterward: it shall be for the stranger, for the fatherless, and for the widow” (Deut. xxiv. 20, 21). According to the Jewish commentators, the transgressor was punished with stripes (Ḥul. 131a; Maimonides, “Yad,” Mattenot ‘Aniyim, i. 8)

    Referring to the gleaning laws, Charles Rollin notes that “Nothing is more common than the existence of similar rights to the goods of another person.” He points out that “Theft was permitted in Sparta. It was severely punished among the Scythians” and adds: “The reason for this difference is obvious: the law, which alone determines the right to property and the use of goods, granted a private individual no right, among the Scythians, to the goods of another person, whereas in Sparta the contrary was the case.”

    Mirabeau says the same: “Property is a social creation. The laws not only protect and maintain property; they bring it into being; they determine its scope [elles lui donnent le rang] and the extent that it occupies in the rights of the citizens.”

  17. Re: Michael Paterson-Seymour and Pail W Primavera: The Church’s teaching clearly rejects the absolute ownership view:

    Again, from the Compendium:

    177. Christian tradition has never recognized the right to private property as absolute and un- touchable: “On the contrary, it has always understood this right within the broader con- text of the right common to all to use the goods of the whole of creation: the right to pri- vate property is subordinated to the right to common use, to the fact that goods are meant for everyone”[372]. The principle of the universal destination of goods is an affir- mation both of God’s full and perennial lordship over every reality and of the require- ment that the goods of creation remain ever destined to the development of the whole person and of all humanity[373]. This principle is not opposed to the right to private property[374] but indicates the need to regulate it. Private property, in fact, regardless of the concrete forms of the regulations and juridical norms relative to it, is in its essence only an in- strument for respecting the principle of the universal destination of goods; in the final analysis, therefore, it is not an end but a means[375].
    178. The Church’s social teaching moreover calls for recognition of the social function of any form of private ownership [376] that clearly refers to its necessary relation to the common good[377]. Man “should regard the external things that he legitimately possesses not only as his own but also as common in the sense that they should be able to benefit not only him but also others”[378]. The universal destination of goods entails obligations on how goods are to be used by their legitimate owners. Individual persons may not use their re- sources without considering the effects that this use will have, rather they must act in a way that benefits not only themselves and their family but also the common good. From this there arises the duty on the part of owners not to let the goods in their possession go idle and to channel them to productive activity, even entrusting them to others who are desirous and capable of putting them to use in production.

  18. Fine, WJ. Let’s start with you first. YOU give up your house, your paycheck, your car, your material belongings to the poor. YOU do it. YOU first. Be an example. Otherwise, be silent.

  19. Re: JPII in CA, Saint John Paul II’s two paragraphs should not be interpreted to trump or negate everything else he, the councils, and other popes said about the preferential option for the poor. Pope Benedict XVI taught that Catholic social doctrine must be read as a whole.

    Caritas in Veritate:

    This doctrine has its own profound unity, which flows from Faith in a whole and complete salvation, from Hope in a fullness of justice, and from Love which makes all mankind truly brothers and sisters in Christ: it is the expression of God’s love for the world, which he so loved “that he gave his only Son” (Jn 3:16). (No. 3)

    In this sense, clarity is not served by certain abstract subdivisions of the Church’s social doctrine, which apply categories to Papal social teaching that are extraneous to it. It is not a case of two typologies of social doctrine . . . differing from one another: on the contrary, there is a single teaching, consistent and at the same time ever new. It is one thing to draw attention to the particular characteristics of one Encyclical or another, of the teaching of one Pope or another, but quite another to lose sight of the coherence of the overall doctrinal corpus. (No. 12)

  20. When you ask these people what they are personally doing to exercise preferential treatment for the poor, they are silent. They have no answer. Do they welcome the homeless into their homes and provide a bed at night? Do they donate their paycheck to the poor person in an alleyway at night? When they see a drunk or drug addict passed out on the curb, do they awake him and drive him to an Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous meeting in the middle of the night? Do they give food from their pantry to the local Hispanic family that doesn’t have enough to eat? Do they spend time after work playing with the fatherless child next door to make him feel wanted and worthy? What exactly do these accursed socialists do besides cry that govt has to tax the wage earner to provide for the poor?
    .
    You see, it really is this: these people want to appear to be pious and devout. They want to be publicly recogized as heroes of the social justice movement. But when it comes to getting up at 2 am in the morning to pick a drunk off the beach and get him into a halfway house and pay for his month’s rent ahead of schedule because he blew his money on booze and drugs and whores, those types of self-righteous Pharisitical people are NOWHERE to be found.
    .
    Now here it is: I don’t need your accursed govt to tax me to know that I darn well better be getting my hind end out of bed at 2 am to help that drunk. I know it’s my duty to the eternal salvation of my soul to personally give preferential treatment to those less fortunate than I. But it sure as hades is NOT the job of govt to tax away my ability to do this on the specious pretext that some nit wit’s intepretation of a Papal Encyclical says so.
    .
    So all you social justice types out there – unless you are selling your material possessions and giving the proceeds to the poor, you would do well to shut your mouths. Charity is a personal and an individual thing. Govt shoud encourage it. But govt cannot do it. Only you and I can do it.

  21. “Denial of the preferential option for the poor displays not only ignorance of the whole of scripture and of the church’s teaching, it displays a personal denial of Christ himself.”

    Actually the preferential option for the poor, as understood today, is in direct contradiction to the clear teaching of the Church until the last hour in terms of history from what the Church has taught throughout her history. The Church has never looked to the State as the primary caregiver for the poor. The tradition view of the Church was succinctly put by Leo XIII in Rerum Novarum:

    “4. To remedy these wrongs the socialists, working on the poor man’s envy of the rich, are striving to do away with private property, and contend that individual possessions should become the common property of all, to be administered by the State or by municipal bodies. They hold that by thus transferring property from private individuals to the community, the present mischievous state of things will be set to rights, inasmuch as each citizen will then get his fair share of whatever there is to enjoy. But their contentions are so clearly powerless to end the controversy that were they carried into effect the working man himself would be among the first to suffer. They are, moreover, emphatically unjust, for they would rob the lawful possessor, distort the functions of the State, and create utter confusion in the community.”

  22. “Pope Benedict XVI taught that Catholic social doctrine must be read as a whole.”

    Indeed, and when it is read as a whole it gives cold comfort for those whose “solution” to poverty is to scream for Caesar to build ever larger welfare states.

  23. “Denial of the preferential option for the poor…”

    Of course a preferential option for the poor is distinct from a Church of the poor. That was also addressed by JP II. He was asked if the Church is the “Church of the poor.” He said no. It was the “Church of all.”

    In fact Christ did come for all. The preferential option is because the poor may not have the resources to address their needs and move political systems like the rich. But it is not to endorse unjust discrimination. In fact, in the U.S. it is more likely that the poor person’s needs will be met than not. Current redistribution schemes seem more motivated by other, non-Christian ideologies.

    And while private property is not absolute, neither is the right to another’s property. That is, one cannot unjustly deprive another of their property. For example, one cannot merely expropriate another’s goods absent the need to meet the genuine need of another. Nor can they deprive them of the just rewards of their labor for mere redistribution ends.

  24. Pail W Primavera wrote, “Charity is a personal and an individual thing. Govt shoud encourage it. But govt cannot do it. Only you and I can do it.”

    As I recall, it was a government, and one sustaining all the weight of civil conflict within and of universal war without, that transformed ten million landless French peasants into heritable proprietors.

    In 1848, De Tocqueville was able to declare, “Concerning the very principle of private property, the Revolution always respected it. It placed it in its constitutions at the top of the list. No people treated this principle with greater respect. It was engraved on the very frontispiece of its laws. The French Revolution did more. Not only did it consecrate private property, it universalized it. It saw that still a greater number of citizens participated in it. It is thanks to this, gentlemen, that today we need not fear the deadly consequences of socialist ideas which are spread throughout the land. It is because the French Revolution peopled the land of France with ten million property-owners that we can, without danger, allow these doctrines to appear before us.”

    That was to help the poor in earnest; not with alms, but with justice.

  25. “As I recall, it was a government, and one sustaining all the weight of civil conflict within and of universal war without, that transformed ten million landless French peasants into heritable proprietors.”

    Your memory is mistaken.

  26. Somebody really needs to make M P-S give me my iphone6 back.
    .
    But first I suppose they’re going to have to get Somebody a government job, so everything’s on the up and up.

  27. 177. Christian tradition has never recognized the right to private property as absolute and un- touchable:

    Really? I thought there was this whole “thou shall not steal” rule from WAY back in the early days.

    As for those wishing redistribution, they perhaps should refresh themselves to the saga of Dennis Moore…

  28. Nate Winchester: That was a quote directly from the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church. This demonstrates my very point – rejection of church doctrine.

  29. I believe Illinois Catholic Charities could provide some folks here with an
    insight into why it’s inadvisable to make the state the primary source of
    charity. Recall, the state of Illinois demanded that Illinois Catholic Charities
    place adoptees with same-sex parents or close down their adoption
    services. ICC opted to close down. The ideologues enforced their
    political correctness, but the children served by the ICC were left in the
    lurch.
    .
    Were the actions of the state of Illinois an exercise in the preferential option
    for the poor? Was this a good use of the charitable dollars of faithful
    taxpayers? Were the poor being served, or were the pro-gay sensibilities
    of the elite? Can we expect more of the same from Caesar, say, over
    half a billion taxpayer dollars each year given to Planned Parenthood?
    In light of these things, are faithful taxpayers justified to be suspicious of
    making Caesar the arbiter of all charity?

  30. I still ave not heard what the socialists (otherwise known a soocial justice advocates) are personally doing as preferential treatment for the poor. I read a lot of pontification and quotation of Papal Encyclicals, European philosophical thought, etc., but as usual no blood and guts “dirty my hands” action. These people always want to take the wage earner’s just earnings and redistribute it to their favorite pet project so that they can feel oh so self-righteous and justified. John the Baptist had a phrase for these types: brood of vipers.

  31. Not a word from these liberal progressive social justice types on what they would personally do to help the poor. Not one word. Crickets are chirping and your silence speaks volumes.
    .
    I say again: YOU do NOT get to tax those who earn their living so that YOU can have govt support YOUR pet social justice projects so that YOU can feel all pious and self-righteous. You fools are just the like the Pharisees of old. Oh the irony that the current Pope accuses those who do see this as being Pharisees. The Marxism is overwhelming.

  32. Primavera:

    What you or I do is irrelevant to this discussion. I merely posted parts of the church’s teaching. The discussion is about the teachings, not you or me.

  33. WJ, that is EXACTLY the point: what you and I do IS relevant. WE will be judged by OUR individual works. I will NOT be judged for yours, nor you for mine. And neither of us will be judged for Caesar’s works. IF we as ourselves do NOT feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, care for the sick, clothe the naked, visit the imprisoned and welcome the alien as Matthew chapter 25 admonishes, THEN we are the goats on Jesus’ left side and we go to hell. This is the whole problem with you Marxist Peronist socialist collectivists: you think that Church teaching says that Caesar should do what Jesus commanded US to do. You ain’t a’gonna get away with abdicating your responsibility and evading your accountability onto Caesar. Nor will I. Get with the program, you liberal progressive. It is NOT the Gospel of social justice, the common good and peace at any price. It is the Gospel of conversion and repentance.

  34. In the open thread, commenter Ginny posted an excerpt from Benedict XVI’s encyclical Deus Caritas Est, a portion of which I would like to repost here as relevant to the present discussion:

    In the end, the claim that just social structures would make works of charity superfluous masks a materialist conception of man: the mistaken notion that man can live “by bread alone” (Mt 4:4; cf. Dt 8:3)—a conviction that demeans man and ultimately disregards all that is specifically human.

    Maybe I’m wrong, but I’m taking that to mean that the state could attempt, yet again, to socialize private property, and the poor would still be with us –just like they’ve always been, only more so if history is anything to go by.

  35. Ernst Schreiber wrote, “the poor would still be with us –just like they’ve always been, only more so if history is anything to go by.”
    Of course they would. As Lacordaire used to say, and Dorothy Day was fond of quoting, “our aim is not to make the poor rich and the rich richer; it is to make the rich poor and the poor holy.”

  36. Thanks for the excellent comments and insights about the Preferential Option for the Poor. Over the years, this possibly well meaning idea, has resulted , in the hands of the government, in keeping the poor corralled in the welfare state, spiritually deprived, hopeless, corrupt and crime infested.

    It is high time the USCCB clearly faced the results of politicizing the Preferential Option as the manifest evil it has become. Christ said we will be judged on how each of us responded to the poor not on how we shifted the responsibility to someone else.

    It should also be noted that there is nothing wrong with being poor, if fact it is ideal from a Christian point of view especially if we can be poor in spirit. The kind of poor Christ had in mind were the destitute, folks without food or shelter. In our society there are few of these. So in most ways the Preferential option for the Poor, which is a Liberation Theology (Communist) idea, applies most to the destitute of the Third World. In that world, the biggest help we can provide is to encourage the spread of Capitalism to help the poor help themselves.

  37. “our aim is not to make the poor rich and the rich richer; it is to make the rich poor and the poor holy.”

    Except social justice policies typically only impoverish the rich while failing miserably in making the poor holy.

    Ernst,

    Thanks for the link. I have often referred to Catholic social justice warriors as Christian materialists. No different really than atheists except for the veneer of added divinity. Glad to know B XVI agrees.

  38. Michael Dowd
    Have you ever considered that Proudhon was right when he said that private philanthropy is a counter-revolutionary activity? That ameliorating the condition of the poor undermines the demand for true egalitarian justice. James Maxton, the Scottish ILP leader described it as the Danegeld the bourgeoisie pays to the proletariat.
    This is the great objection to the Welfare State.
    G K Chesterton and his fellow-distributists showed how the state can really help the poor. “ In Montenegro there are no millionaires–and therefore next to no Socialists. As to why there are no millionaires, it is a mystery, and best studied among the mysteries of the Middle Ages. By some of the dark ingenuities of that age of priestcraft a curious thing was discovered–that if you kill every usurer, every forestaller, every adulterater, every user of false weights, every fixer of false boundaries, every land-thief, every water-thief, you afterwards discover by a strange indirect miracle, or disconnected truth from heaven, that you have no millionaires. Without dwelling further on this dark matter, we may say that this great gap in the Montenegrin experience explains the other great gap–the lack of Socialists. The Class-conscious Proletarian of All Lands is curiously absent from this land. The reason (I have sometimes fancied) is that the Proletarian is class-conscious, not because he is a Proletarian of All Lands, but because he is a Proletarian with no lands. The poor people in Montenegro have lands–not landlords.

  39. “G K Chesterton and his fellow-distributists showed how the state can really help the poor.”

    GK Chesterton opined that the state can help the poor. At least through distributism, That is a theory in search of facts.

    This is not to say that the state does not have a role in assistance. Its that most current philosophies of the state fail significantly in actually helping.

  40. Intellectual banter and theological citations are certainly valid instruments for debate, but they become road blocks when the obscure the Gospel message in an effort to prove who is right and who is wrong.

  41. Trenchant comments “on both sides”.

    But it seems noticeable that when the church-government-complex-as-unified-socialist-institution and its self-proclaimed (and self-congratulatory) “preferential option for the poor” is challenged, very soon one hears the canard:

    “Why don’t you guys just admit that you have left the Catholic Church?”

    The “love” displayed in that comment reveals the true heart of the socialist revolutionary.

  42. The well-known “preferential option for the poor” was communist-theory-in-drag that was fully embraced in the 1970’s by, and has since brought down, a well-known “intellectual” religious order (already pretty penetrated by communist theory in the 50’s & 60’s, it now turns out):

    But the falsity of the “preferential option” is easily demonstrable in the NT. It of course would have excluded those evil capitalist men of means, such as Zacchaeus (Lk 19:1-10), Nicodemus (Jn 3:1-21), of course wicked old St. Matthew/Levi (Lk. 5:27-ff) (You would think socialists would love tax-collectors), and Joseph of Arimathea (noted in all 4 canonical Gospels as the man who actually DID SOMETHING and buried Our Lord), …

    But who cares about those stupid old Scriptures, they just get in the way of The Cause.

  43. Steve Phoenix
    “And [the] book of the prophet Esaias was given to Him; and having unrolled the book He found the place where it was written ‘The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because He hath anointed me to preach the gospel [εὐαγγελίσασθαι = to proclaim good news, the aorist infinitive middle] to the poor [πτωχοῖς]; he hath sent me to heal the broken-hearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised to preach [the] acceptable year of [the] Lord..’,[Isa 61:1-2] And having rolled up the book, when He had delivered it up to the attendant, He sat down; and the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed upon Him. He began by saying to them, ‘Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.’” (Lk 4: 17-21)
    Ties in with “He hath filled the hungry with good things; and the rich he hath sent empty away.” (Lk 1:53) and “But woe to you rich, for ye have received your consolation. Woe to you that are filled: for you shall hunger. (Lk 6:24-25) and St James says likewise, “Go to now, ye rich, weep, howling over your miseries that [are] coming upon [you].”

  44. As expected, right on time, MPS, now as Protestant literalist, re-interprets the Gospel of Marx to select classes of rich vs. poor.

    I long for the day of judgment, when the good deeds of everyone, especially those of us who grind their ax —- exhibitionistically displaying their self-denying liquidation of their wealth and their obviously pure care for and to the “anawim”, the ptorxis, the object-of-my-demonstrably true charity, the poor [πτωχοῖς] —- will be made known in the light of day.

  45. Donald McClarey’s recent post, “Unsung Hero Open Thread,” is the ultimate refutation of the social justice nonsense from the liberal progressives and European collectivists who insist the Church teaches social justice comes from the govt:
    .
    http://the-american-catholic.com/2015/11/06/unsung-hero-open-thread/
    .
    As I have repeatedly said, charity is an individual responsibility, and the preferential option for those less fortunate than the individual who can and does earn wealth is with the individual, NOT government, NEVER government. If every Christian did what the video at Mr McClarey’s post did, then we would NOT have a social justice problem and we would NOT need Caesar to do for us what we ought to be and would be doing for ourselves.
    .
    Again, I hear crickets chirping from WJ, MPS and James Bransfield on how THEY are exercising THEIR preferential option for the poor. Or maybe they don’t think they are a part of the “gentes” to be divided into sheep and goats at the end of the age. Maybe somehow Matthew 25:31-46 doesn’t apply to them.

  46. During the last century, millions were slaughtered and starved
    to death by the modern state in the name of the poor and equality.
    Monstrous and unspeakable acts of violence were committed against
    unassuming millions and the Church to create a new and just society
    and a new man who would correct past injustices by appealing to
    the merciless and inhumane power of the modern totalitarian
    state. Meanwhile, a secret society of modern ideological bishops
    sought a union with their political ideal of an equitable and
    just society that cared for the poor, the criminal modern totalitarian
    state.

  47. Pope Francis at the outset of his pontificate famously (and rightly) decried the danger of reducing the Church to a mere “NGO.”

    But that’s exactly what the Pact of the Catacombs tried to deliver – and in some parts of the world, *did* deliver.

  48. To repeat, I never advocated a larger welfare state or collectivist models. I merely posted sections of official Catholic teaching.

  49. One thing I will grant the MPS position:

    Those of a well-known “intellectual” religious order (the one with 28 US colleges and universities, and a number of college prep schools) and their ilk—this, the same religious order that shows its famous exclusive “preferential option for the poor”—its members show even greater concern for their wealthy benefactors’ state-of-soul and a yet even greater desire to relieve the latter of the burden of their wealth, often—of course, for the state of their soul, probably quoting at them the same scripture passages.

    And, coincidentally of course, it results in a building with the religious order individual’s name prominently displayed on the campus. Huzzah.

  50. Hello Steve

    I had the impression that the university contingents of the religious order you’re referring to emphasized instead a “preferential option for Division I basketball.”

  51. “To repeat, I never advocated a larger welfare state or collectivist models. I merely posted sections of official Catholic teaching.”

    And accused those of us of opposing the welfare state of not being Catholics.

  52. “And accused those of us of opposing the welfare state of not being Catholics.”

    Not at all. I said nothing about a welfare state. I was referring to those who do not accept that the Church’s magisterium clearly includes the preferential option for the poor and those who, like Primavera, outright reject it. One can call attention to its abuses or interpret it as not supporting a welfare state, but rejecting it completely runs counter to the church’s teaching. My intent was to call attention to the “cafeteria Catholic” nature of that position. I should have phrased it better and I apologize for that.

  53. To WJ:
    .
    Exactly how then do you propose to exercise a preferential option for the poor if NOT via the free market which has raised entire societies out of poverty? One satellite map of the Korean Peninsula at night is enough to show the difference between a free market and the preferential option for the poor which socialists and collectivists claim they support:
    .
    http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2014/02/140226-north-korea-satellite-photos-darkness-energy/
    .
    There’s your preferential option for the poor in stark relief.
    .
    PS, crickets are still chirping. What have YOU done to be a sheep instead of a goat? Matthew 25:31-46
    .
    Liberal. Progressive. Collectivist!

  54. I reject the preferential option for the poor? Really?
    .
    I paid the monthly rent for a half way house to take in a drunk early in recovery.
    I housed two Filipino immigrants and paid their rent at no charge to the govt.
    I took an AIDS victim on his last vacation before he died, paying for all his expenses.
    .
    How long does my list have to be before you judge me to have exercised the preferential option for the poor?
    .
    Liberal. Progressive. Collectivist!

  55. Primavera: It was your words:

    “NO preferrential treatment for the poor. NONE. ZERO. Zip point squat.” Posted Friday, November 6, A.D. 2015 at 10:23am.

  56. I do NOT believe in treating the poor any differently than I would treat anyone else. No partiality. The poor and the rich should be given the same respect and treated with the same dignity. NO preferential option.
    .
    If a rich man is on the road with a car having a flat tire, I stop and help him in the exact same way that I would a poor man. NO difference.
    .
    Love your neighbor as yourself is the command. It doesn’t say love your poor neighbor or lover your rich neighbor.
    .
    No preferential option.

  57. Sometime in the early 2000s I was the mentor of a person new in the 12 step program. He had been ejected from his place of residence by his wife and he had nowhere to go to sleep. So I put him up in my apartment free of charge. Unfortunately, that did not work. Being on medication, he would often neglect to take what the doctor had prescribed and shortly afterwards a drunken episode would occur. One night I found him more than two sheets to the wind on the beach. I brought him home and the next day found him a halfway house where I paid the rent for a month’s housing. I gave him instructions to call me for daily rides to 12 step meetings, but I never received a call. I went back after about a week to find him and was told that he had left with no word on where he was going. The lesson I learned was this: exercising a preferential option for the poor is like feeding wild animals. They become addicted to the free handout and will not afterwards do what is necessary to fend for themselves.

    On another occasion when I was attending a local parish in a beachfront community in North Carolina, the pastor asked me if I would be willing to house a newcomer to the parish. Never one to tell Father no, of course I did. This man had lost his job elsewhere in the state and had moved to our community for a new job. His wife and children were at the old place. So I housed him for seven months while he recovered and got on his feet. I never charged him rent or utilities, nor would I have thought to do so. He however worked very hard – unfortunately, I think too hard. He got deathly ill one night and I brought him to the emergency room. Sadly it was liver cancer diagnosed way too late. Within months he died. I befriended his wife and children, doing what little I could. They were not poor, but I treated them no differently than I would a poor person. And unlike the man whose story I recounted above, they demonstrated gratitude for what God did in allowing me to help them.

    A third time I had an opportunity to do good. I met a beautiful Catholic Filipina woman whom I asked to marry me. She happily said yes. She had a niece who was the victim of human trafficking. So she asked me to house her niece and her niece’s friend (which was also a victim) in my apartment until we got married. I did so without charging for rent or utilities. Things were rather crowded, but we made do though I never developed a liking for Filipino food, much to everyone’s disappointment. When the time for our marriage came, the two Filipinas went their own way. One had found a job and an apartment, and was quite successful. The other was indolent and lazy, always skyping on her tablet to the Philippines and never getting out to search for jobs and housing. She ended up suckling on the teat of the public treasury and is still a burden to the taxpayer whereas the first now has a successful career and has moved in with my wife and I (God provided a house for us), paying for rent in the process. One person is like those deer and bears who get fed by park visitors; they become dependent on free handouts and will not fend for themselves. The other picked herself up by the bootstraps and said, “I can do this.”

    But sadly I still had not learned my lesson. I had to move out of that apartment where we all had lived, and get a house so my wife could move out of hers and we could stay together. So I tried subletting. A young man needed help in getting a place of his own, so I took a chance and sublet to him. He bombed out three months in a row in paying the rent. Of course I had to pick up the tab. It turned out that he had lost his job. He in turn rented a room out to another man and his wife without telling them what had happened. When they paid him their monthly half of the rent, he took the money and ran, and left the three of us holding the bag. We went down town to civil court, but without knowing where that young man went to, there was nothing police or sheriff could do for us. Once again I had to learn the hard way that giving a preferential option to the poor is like feeding a wild animal. It makes the animal addicted to the free handout and sometimes the animal bites back.

    So what I say, NO preferential treatment, I have personal experience on which to make my declaration. The worst thing one can do is give a free handout. That is why Jesus in the story of the feeding of the 5000 in John chapter 6 did NOT feed the crowd for a second time. He told them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you seek me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves. Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal life, which the Son of man will give to you; for on him has God the Father set his seal.”

    Social justice advocates like WJ would have people seek Jesus because of the loaves and fishes. Jesus said that that is NOT what HE wants, and I have found out that giving people loaves and fishes never results in anything good.

    “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”

  58. “Social justice advocates like WJ would have people seek Jesus because of the loaves and fishes.”

    I never said anything like that. You are making assumptions — erroneous ones — merely because I pointed to certain passages from the Church’s teaching. If you think that acceptance of those passages makes a person a collectivist advocate of the welfare state, then the Church is a collectivist advocate of the welfare state. If you think the she is, then I guess assigning me that label would be, for you, consistent since I accept that the passages are part of the Church’s magisterium. But if you don’t think the Church is a collectivist advocate of the welfare state, then you should not assign that label to me since I did not express anything other than the Church’s teaching.

    For the record, as if it mattered, I do not think that those passages make the Church an advocate for the welfare state and nor do I think her teachings call us to advocate for such collectivism.

  59. So explain, WJ, how preferential treatment for the poor is to be exercised. Is it by giving everyone an equal chance to succeed in the free market, to be individually responsible and accountable for himself and the consequences of his actions and decisions? Or is it by unfairly and unequally stacking the deck against those who earn new wealth by taxing them to redistribute their rightful earnings to those who refuse to be responsible and accountable? And you have refused to answer the question: what are YOU personally doing to preferentially help the poor? Or do you wash your hands like Pontius Pilate, expecting Caesar to do what you are demonstrably unwilling to do?
    .
    Facta non verba! Don’t talk about Church teaching unless you are DOING Church teaching; otherwise you are just another Pharisee.

  60. Mr. Primavera explains so much better than I can the fallacy of the words on paper “preferential treatment for the poor”, which shows no understanding why some people are poor, how they got themselves into poverty and how some are unwilling to get themselves out of poverty.

    Much of the impetus for “liberation theology”, “preferential treatment of the poor” and this whole Catacombs bit emanates from the US’s backyard. Volumes of books have been written about the situation in Latin America, and how it varies from country to country. To sum it up, Latin America, by and large, absorbed the attitude of Spain and Portugal towards manual labor – as something to be despised. Even the conquistadores wanted wealth by finding it, not by earning it. The so called “Protestant work ethic” is more of a cultural one, not that of religion.

    No work ethic, no modicum of honesty in government to protect property rights, no opportunities for people to find meaningful work.

    Latin American nations have often lashed out against the Catholic Church as an oppressor and against the US as the neighborhood bully, not having any understanding of what life was like for those Eastern Catholic or Eastern European Catholics who found themselves under Russian or Muslim domination.

    While the Pacific Rim was devastated after World War II, and the nations of the old Warsaw Pact were suppressed economically (among many other ways) after World War II Latin America was untouched by the war. Argentina was a hiding ground for countless Germans. Today the Pacific Rim nations and the old Warsaw Pact nations outperform most of Latin America – and they never needed the garbage of liberation theology or preferential treatment for anyone.

    The Roman Pontiff can make a mess, as Argentines are good at doing that. Expecting him to fix anything, as he comes from a culture that is a collective basket case, is unrealistic.

  61. Thanks, Penguins Fan. You were quite eloquent as well, but your printed words have appeared before the eyes of one who insists on being blind. As usual, people like WJ insist that you and I exercise preferrential treatment for the poor, but he can’t be bothered with getting his hands dirty doing the Lord’s work.
    .
    This whole issue burns me up. It is manifestly unfair and immoral for govt to take from him who earns and give to him who doesn’t. It is legalized theft. It does nothing to help the poor and everything to make everyone equally poor.

  62. Maybe two years back, on another blog site, the question was put on what would make us dump the Church. Well, a reversal of the contraceptive ban, of course. If contraception was formally okayed, I’d know the Church was simply another false religion.
    .
    Recently though, the Church’s socialist economic teachings and social justice teachings are, well, problematic for me. The Synod on the Family didn’t help any.

  63. No work ethic, no modicum of honesty in government to protect property rights, no opportunities for people to find meaningful work.

    Per the International Labour Organization ( looking at a set of Latin American countries which included all those with the larger populations (Brazil, Mexico, Colombia, Argentina)), the employment-to-population ratio (bracketing out those under the age of 16) in that set is currently about 0.55. That in the United States is 0.59 as we speak. They seem to be doing something with their time. Most Latin American countries (among them Brazil, Mexico, and Colombia) sport a real income per capita fairly similar to that of the United States ca. 1942. They seem to be producing goods and services during their time at work…

  64. The statesmen of the French Revolution were no collectivists and the notion of a Welfare State would have appalled them. They found other ways to aid the poor.
    As the great Catholic historian, Lord Acton explains, “ The Jacobin statesmen, the thinkers of the party, undertook to abolish poverty without falling into Socialism. They had the Church property, which served as the basis of the public credit. They had the royal domain, the confiscated estates of emigrants and malignants, the common lands, the forest lands. And in time of war there was the pillage of opulent neighbours. By these operations the income of the peasantry was doubled, and it was deemed possible to relieve the masses from taxation…”
    Other measures included the Allarde Decree of Le Chapelier Law of 17 March 1791, abolishing the monopolies of the guilds and allowing every individual to freely engage in any trade or carry on any occupation, business activity or craft of their own choosing and the Le Chapelier Law of 14 June of the same year, forbidding cartels and other anti-competitive agreements between producers and employers and suppressing the guilds.
    As a result, a government bankrupt in 1789 was able to sustain 20 years of war (1792-1812), maintaining an army of 700,000 men in the field and yet half the Land Tax.

  65. “As the great “Catholic” historian, Lord Acton explains,”

    Fixed that for you mps. The Revolution when it came to economics was one huge plundering expedition. War paid for war under Napoleon because of the exactions the French took from conquered nations. The merry band of cutthroats, the Jacobins, the Directory and Napoleon’s thugs, never really understood economics that did not involve force.

  66. “I was referring to those who do not accept that the Church’s magisterium clearly includes the preferential option for the poor…”

    Given that the original phrasing was preferential respect for the poor, its not clear that the Magisterium has enshrined preferential “option” as Divinely inspired. As noted in links, that phrasing clearly has evolved from more radical perspectives in the Church. A section of the Church that is now pushing to a “Church of the Poor” – some thing that is rejected by Revelation and Tradition. Not that that is any obstacle to those who continue to push a human, materialist agenda.

    That being said, I do believe that if one is truly seeking the good of the poor, the welfare state would be reduced, many government agencies would be reduced significantly and less regulation would occur. This would truly help the poor. But certain ideologies cannot tolerate this.

  67. It is time we realize that, while political ideologies cannot and do not exhaust the Faith, that a conservative approach to politics in this day and age is Pro-Life and Pro-Social Justice.
    The efforts of the Left are contrary to human dignity, not only through their promotion of abortion and euthanasia, but also in their “social justice” policies. Their destructive welfare policies have undermined minority families and lead to inner city chaos. Their economic policies have reduced human flourishing and increase poverty Their corruption of culture has eroded the moral sense of nations and lead to the abasement of the person. Their promotion of homosexuality and all types of perversion cry out to heaven.
    Let’s no longer cede the “social justice” ground to the left. They have no more claim to it than they do a Pro-Life label.

  68. Donald R McClarey
    If Lord Acton is not to your taste, I can cite another Catholic historian (and Distributist), Hilaire Belloc, “The scorn which was in those days universally felt for that pride which associates itself with things not inherent to a man (notably and most absurdly with capricious differences of wealth) never ran higher; and the passionate sense of justice which springs from this profound and fundamental social dogma of equality, as it moved France during the Revolution to frenzy, so also moved it to creation. Those who ask how it was that a group of men sustaining all the weight of civil conflict within and of universal war without, yet made time enough in twenty years to frame the codes which govern modern Europe, to lay down the foundations of universal education, of a strictly impersonal scheme of administration, and even in detail to remodel the material face of society—in a word, to make modern Europe—must be content for their reply to learn that the Republican Energy had for its flame and excitant this vision: a sense almost physical of the equality of man.”
    The Generation of Genius, not only Napoléon, but Kléber, Moreau, Reynier, Marceau, Ney, Hoche, Desaix, St. Cyr and Masséna gave a code of laws to a continent and restored the concept of citizenship to civilisation.

  69. The sovereign person must know in his conscience how much to give and to whom he must give by judging the neighbor’s needs to survive. (See the parable of the Good Samaritan, who not only helped the injured man but insured his continued help, by paying others to help using his own wealth) Neither the “Church of the poor”, nor the welfare state can exercise a man’s conscience. As man’s conscience is obliterated from the public square, enslavement to ideology takes center stage, and without the sovereignty of the person, who institutes government and who is a member of the Church Militant.

  70. “The scorn which was in those days universally felt for that pride which associates itself with things not inherent to a man (notably and most absurdly with capricious differences of wealth) never ran higher; and the passionate sense of justice which springs from this profound and fundamental social dogma of equality, as it moved France during the Revolution to frenzy, so also moved it to creation….”
    The operative word here is “capricious”

  71. “Hilaire Belloc”

    Who knew nothing about economics, as he amply demonstrated by helping to create distributism, and was ever a partisan of his father’s nation, serving in the French army in 1891. Asking him to be unbiased in regard to France is like requesting that a cow not chew the cud. When it came to history, and I have read each of Belloc’s historical tomes, he made the facts fit his views.

  72. Art, I know little of the ILA.
    What I do know is that Latin American history is one of caudillos, political extremism and corruption and a culture that both hates the USA and yet wants to live in the USA.
    I do financial reporting for a living. As such I tend to dismiss studies and surveys that have not been independently verified regardless of the source or political point of view.

  73. Art, I know little of the ILA.

    I did not quote the International Longshoreman’s Association, which does not care about labor force participation in Latin America. I quoted the International Labour Organization, which is in the business of collating labor force data from member nations.

    What I do know is that Latin American history is one of caudillos, political extremism and corruption and a culture that both hates the USA and yet wants to live in the USA.

    There are Latin American leaders who have a personalistic appeal and following (e.g. Evo Morales), but you really cannot find in Latin America an example of a regime governed by the camarilla of a personal autocrat without any kind of abiding institutional force buttressing him, and by that I mean a force extant before his appearance or persisting after his disappearance. The Trujillo, Duvalier and Somoza regimes evaporated when they got on a plane and got out of dodge. You had in subsequent working politicians who had been part of their circle and tainted by them, but you had no regime that bore their name or replicated their patron-client network. Trujillo appeared on the scene as a personage of importance in 1926 and Somoza in 1934. After 1929, you saw the appearance of regimes manifesting the corporate personality of the military or at least of an abiding military faction. The closest you’re going to get to a caudillo regime instituted in the last 60 years might be Torrijos in Panama (in his early years) or Velasco Ibarra in Ecuador. In the non-Latin Caribbean, you could make a case for Aristide in Haiti or Bouterse in Suriname, but Aristide’s gone and Bouterse prefers to work through formal institutional structures. As for institutional military regimes, you have not had a good example of one being established at any time in the last 35 years except in the non-Latin Caribbean. For better or worse, Latin American is governed by it’s elected officials (Cuba excepted), and the threats to the legal order come from neo-Peronists working through electoral institutions and unions, not from grandees or military officers with a personal patron-client network or an institutional position in a country’s abiding structures. As for ‘political extremism’, other than a brief period ca. 1995, they’re has hardly been a time in the last 80-odd years when there has been less of it in Latin America. The Castro’s are a relic, the conventional Communist parties and the Argentine Peronists have been domesticated, and European fascism has proved evanescent.

    I do financial reporting for a living. As such I tend to dismiss studies and surveys that have not been independently verified regardless of the source or political point of view.

    Aren’t you meticulous when it suits you?

  74. Donald R. McClarey

    “serving in the French army in 1891”
    In the 8th Regiment of Artillery, one of the units that had broken the Prussian advance at Valmy and saved the Revolution.
    Belloc addressed a memorable poem to his old regiment that includes the lines:
    “The Sword that was the strength of the poor is broken;
    The wrath that was the wealth of the poor is spent;
    Witless are all the great words we have spoken –
    But you, my regiment?

    You that put down the might from their seat,
    And fought to fill the hungry with good things,
    And turned the rich men empty to the street,
    And trailed your scabbards in the halls of Kings

  75. Chavez is dead, but Chavismo endures in Venezuela.

    Had he had a full life, he’d have been president for all of it, I think.

    Was Chavez a neo-Peronist? There are similarities, but Chavez seemed closer to Castroism.

  76. There are similarities, but Chavez seemed closer to Castroism.

    No, much to haphazard and improvisational. Lousy as they are, the Chavez crew has never exercised the sort of social control favored by Castro, et al. Cuba is a prison society. Venezuela is merely abusively governed.

  77. “Belloc addressed a memorable poem”

    Only one of Belloc’s poems is truly memorable:

    Wherever the Catholic sun doth shine,
    There’s always laughter and good red wine.
    At least I’ve always found it so.
    Benedicamus Domino!

    On second thought perhaps I would also include this one:

    Whatever happens, we have got
    The Maxim gun, and they have not.

    And as proof that one could never be quite sure if polite company was safe around Belloc:

    The world is full of double beds
    And most delightful maidenheads,
    Which being so, there’s no excuse
    For sodomy or self-abuse

  78. Art, you have picked arguments with me here before. Meticulous when it suits me? You are a pain in the arse when it suits you. I am in no mood for your backhanded compliments. Go and be a jerk somewhere else.

  79. You are a pain in the arse when it suits you. I am in no mood for your backhanded compliments. Go and be a jerk somewhere else.

    You said something that is (a) false, (b) demonstrably false, (c) nonsense on its face, but (d) balk at ILO data because it’s less trustworthy than whatever comes out the region of your mind which produces gems like: “no work ethic…no opportunity to find meaningful work” etc. I don’t know why you’ve concocted this notion that the $2.2 tn worth of goods and services produced in Brazil are a hoax because everyone knows they do nothing ‘meaningful’ and just sing Manana like Peggy Lee. I do not know why it is you talk about Latin American political life in terms that would have been somewhat dated sixty years ago. But I’m the ‘jerk’….

  80. Justice is giving a man what he needs to survive. Extortion is giving a man what he demands.
    Tithing is explained in Deut. 14. There are free will offerings and guilt offerings, both at the discretion of the giver. A “preferential treatment of the poor” is an exhortation to a free will act. Taxes are a levy. Distributism is wrong because distributism refuses to acknowledge the person. Our Founding Principles were ratified by every state, by every person in every state. Distributism runs contrary to our Founding Principle of self-governance and to Freedom.

  81. Donald R. McClarey

    Excellent!
    I do like Belloc’s gentle tilt at the Prohibitionists:

    For whosoe’er
    Shall suffer their contagion, everywhere
    Falls from the estate of man and finds his end
    To the mere beverage of the beast condemned.
    For such as these in vain the Rhine has rolled
    Imperial centuries by hills of gold;
    For such as these the flashing Rhone shall rage
    In vain its lightning through the Hermitage
    Or level-browed divine Touraine receive
    The tribute of her vintages at eve.
    For such as these Burgundian heats in vain
    Swell the rich slope or load the empurpled plain.
    Bootless for such as these the mighty task
    Of bottling God the Father in a flask
    And leading all Creation down distilled
    To one small ardent sphere immensely filled.
    With memories empty, with experience null,
    With vapid eye-balls meaningless and dull
    They pass unblest through the unfruitful light
    And when we open the bronze doors of Night,
    When we in high carousal, we reclined,
    Spur up to Heaven the still ascending mind,
    Pass with the all inspiring, to and fro,
    The torch of genius and the Muse’s glow,
    They, lifeless, stare at vacancy alone
    Or plan mean traffic, or repeat their moan

  82. Mary De Voe

    There was nothing voluntary about the teind.

    Consider the ordinance of Charlemagne, as King of the Franks, in a general assembly of his Estates, spiritual and temporal, in 778-779 – “Concerning tithes, it is ordained that every man give his tithe, and that they be dispensed according to the bishop’s commandment.” A Capitular for Saxony in 789 appointed tithes to be paid out of all public property, and that all men, “whether noble, or gentle, or of lower degree, should give according to God’s commandment, to the churches and priests, of their substance and labour : as God has given to each Christian, so ought he to repay a part to God.” A Capitular of 800 made the payment of teind universal within the fiscal domain of the whole Frankish kingdom.
    From this time onwards, therefore, we may say the civil law superseded any merely spiritual admonitions as to the payment of teind. Payment was no longer a religious duty alone it was a legal obligation, enforceable by the laws of the civil head of Christendom.
    It is true that there is no personal obligation to pay teind: the teind-master (the minister or other titular) must draw it himself from the stock. However, he has an action spuilzie against intromitters, including the proprietor of the land, an adjudicating creditor or a trustee in bankruptcy. It is a true proprietary interest.

  83. The principle of separation of church and state in one sentence: “There is no ordering of the State so just that it can eliminate the need for a service of love.” Deus Caritas Est, Pope Benedict XVI. The principle of separation of church and state in one sentence.
    The sovereign person must know in his conscience how much to give and to whom he must give by judging the neighbor’s needs to survive. (See the parable of the Good Samaritan, who not only helped the injured man but insured his continued help, by paying others to help using his own wealth) Neither the “Church of the poor”, nor the welfare state can exercise a man’s conscience. As man’s conscience is obliterated from the public square, enslavement to ideology takes center stage, and without the sovereignty of the person, who institutes government and who is a member of the Church Militant.
    MPS Religion is an intimate and personal relationship with “their Creator” in thought, word and deed, and in peaceable assembly. Peaceable assembly comes directly from the Prince of Peace.
    “From this time onwards, therefore, we may say the civil law superseded any merely spiritual admonitions as to the payment of teind. Payment was no longer a religious duty alone it was a legal obligation, enforceable by the laws of the civil head of Christendom.”
    NO. You may not say that the civil law superseded any merely (MERELY?)spiritual admonitions as to payment of the teind. (whatever a teind is?) If the state wished to fulfill the individual person’s obligation to God as set forth in Deut. 14. It cannot…by virtue of the fact that only an individual soul is obliged to pay his or her own tithe. (the widow’s mite). Communism, denying the person’s sovereignty over himself cannot be abducted by the state, nor any other person. It is called slavery, subjects, fiefdom. The sovereign person must remain free to love God in his freedom to will to love God in truth and Justice. If the state wished to and does support the church in its mission to save souls and to promote the common good, the state and all of its citizens are free to do so, but the individual always remains responsible for his own actions before God and before man.
    I am troubled that you, MPS, keep bringing up the conceit that civil laws supersede the laws of God and the Six Precepts of the Church, one of which is to support the Church.
    “There is no ordering of the State so just that it can eliminate the need for a service of love.” Deus Caritas Est, Pope Benedict XVI…the principle of separation of church and state in one sentence.
    Please MPS take this to heart.
    (Another Precept of the Church is to “Observe the laws of the church concerning marriage.”HMMM.)

  84. “James Bransfield on Friday, November 6, A.D. 2015 at 10:01am
    Christ hated the poor just as much as we, led by Don McClorney, do. Woe to all bishops (Roman or otherwise) who distort this truth.”
    The best thing and the worst thing that may be said about a person is his name, James Bransfield. Why is it that you, and I believe that you purposely misspelled Donald McClarey’s name, why is it that you misspell Donald McClarey’s name? Jesus Christ hated sin and told every soul to go and sin no more. Some souls listened and some souls left. This is the difference between ideology and sovereignty.

  85. “When it came to history, and I have read each of Belloc’s historical tomes, he made the facts fit his views.”
    Thank you, Donald McClarey for reading “each of Belloc’s historical tomes”.

  86. Nonsense, Mary De Veo, I also always knew, like James Barnsfeld, that Don McClorney hated the poor, just like Christie. Getting those facts straight—well, its simple.

  87. This lengthy exposition on Pact of the Catacombs, Part II also reminds me…
    …..
    …Of the time, I and my humble little family a few years ago, journeyed in our ancient (17-year-old) but ever-reliable Chevy Impala to the Pacific Coast from one of our hot, still California land-locked cities.
    ….
    We stumbled like drunken folk onto the fabled white sands of Carmel River Beach State Park for our day-vacation, and pitched our tents, drinking in the sea breeze and surreal beauty, among the lucky denizens (it is a favorite with Carmel-ites). When, suddenly, who do I hear, his whiney self-infatuated C#-pitched voice scratching the air, talking (of course) about himself—it was the rector-president of our fabled intellectual-religious-order’s school, at which I was a day-laborer getting my denarius— he, festooned in t-shirt and balloon shorts, waxing about his favorite topic, himself of course.
    ….
    [He is the brother of a famous former, Pope-Benedict XVI-hating, editor of America magazine (which views he also held), and they both often swelled poetic about their preferential option-for-the-poor.] I then recalled previously overhearing in the teacher room someone saying that The Great Visionary Leader was taking a break from his labors in the vineyard of the Lord, and was staying with some filthy-rich latifondia at one of their beach-houses for a few weeks, before he would then again selflessly resume his preferential option. The one for the poor, that is. (Right now he had turned off his preferences.) I wanted to crash the party (the victuals looked fine) but thought better of it, and went far down the beach with my little troupe.
    ….
    You will have to excuse my cynicism, but having watched the social-justice elites, esp. of a well-known once-intellectual religious order and their accolytes in the General Church for a number of years, as they display their proudly-egalitarianist livery, this was just one of the jaw-droppingly capital-H Hypocritical moments that are emblazoned in my brain. Too many expense-paid gold visa cards (paid by the social-justice account at the order’s headquarters), too many world junkets to conferences, with excellent dining- and watering-hole opportunities to discuss how to help the world’s poor. And just like Saul Alinsky, where do they head for? Carmel.

    The preferential-option is always, always, I say, on their mind.
    —-

  88. “…the Church is a collectivist advocate of the welfare state.” The Felician Sisters who taught me (us) Thomas Aquinas in the second grade (see The Baltimore Catechism)always referred to themselves as communists saying: “We are the biggest communists because we live in community.” The community, of whom my cousin is a member, chooses freely to live in community. Atheistic communism denies freedom, free will and choice, and imposes its godless ideology on the sovereign person, who as a citizen, institutes the government.
    Steve Phoenix: I have enjoyed every word of your last two comments. Speaking of “preferential option for the poor”, it is and always remains the individual’s free will option. The Church is the Triumphant saints in heaven, this generation and all the souls still in the mind of God to be brought to earth through procreation. One “preferential option for the poor” absent from the conversation is Divine Providence. Since our government has removed God and His Ten Commandments from the public square, the guilt that ensues cannot and will not be ameliorated by a bigger of welfare state.

  89. You are welcome, Mary De V.: just watch out for the Jabberwocky McClorney, “The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!” He is a poor-hating monster, ya’know, with eyes of flame, whiffling through the tulgey woods.
    ..
    Thank God I am not like the rest of men, Lord.

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