God Bless Cardinal Pell. (And Margaret Thatcher. And, for that Matter, Capitalism.)

 

From an article in the London Spectator describing the changes Pope Francis is making in the curia:

154078-cardinal-george-pellThe Pope has begun his attack on the Curia by placing its scandal-ridden financial structures under the control of a new department with unprecedented powers: the Secretariat for the Economy. Its first prefect is Cardinal George Pell, the conservative former Archbishop of Sydney.

Further

The blunt-spoken Pell is a close friend of Tony Abbott and, like the Australian prime minister, a climate change sceptic. In an interview with the Catholic News Service earlier this month, he said: ‘I remember Margaret Thatcher’s comment, that the Good Samaritan, if he hadn’t been a little bit of a capitalist and had his own store of money, couldn’t have helped. We can do more if we generate more.’ (One can only imagine how this went down with the bishops of England and Wales, whose politics and financial acumen are those of the 1980s public sector.)

Not that the pontiff has inquired into my state of mind, but if he’s going to continue spouting left-wing nonsense on the economy, and his trip to Korea last week indicates that he’s going to do just that, then the appointment of Cardinal Pell, who understands the virtues of economic liberty, makes me feel a lot more at ease.

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  1. Davematheny3000@yahoo.com Moderator
    Davematheny3000@yahoo.com
    @PainterJean

    And who cares if his remarks are well received by Occupy Wallstreeter types? If anything, we should be glad they’re paying attention to the Pope.

    I care because it suggests a common view of what policies make for a more fair world, giving legitimacy to those who would destroy the freedoms that we have in order to achieve a Utopian equality (and lots of free goodies for themselves). And don’t fool yourself — they’re not likely to be paying attention to Pope Francis other than appropriating his statements for their own purposes. Not that I’m claiming that they have heard what the Pope has said, only that it’s the sort of comment they would likely seize for themselves.

    • #31
  2. Davematheny3000@yahoo.com Moderator
    Davematheny3000@yahoo.com
    @PainterJean

    He doesn’t say states should redistribute wealth.

    From a news story: “On Friday, Francis called for the United Nations to promote a “worldwide ethical mobilization” of solidarity with the poor in a new spirit of generosity.
     
    He said a more equal form of economic progress can be had through “the legitimate redistribution of economic benefits by the state, as well as indispensable cooperation between the private sector and civil society.””
     
    And in a Twitter post, the Holy Father said “Inequality is the root of social evil.”

    Really? Gosh, and I thought it was our fallen human natures!!!

    • #32
  3. Zafar Member
    Zafar
    @Zafar

    AIG:

    Capitalism works despite greed, not because of it.

    How so?

    Capitalism works with human self interest – let’s own it – and it works brilliantly.  Let’s also acknowledge that human self interest trends towards greed pretty quickly.

    Now greed is contained or limited by:
    1  External factors (social pressure/ego, the need to make a deal that’s attractive); and
    2  Internal factors (your conscience).  

    In situations where there is little social pressure and you hold a monopoly of supply (for example), you’re left with just your conscience to discipline your self interest.  Right?

    Social conservatives seem very comfortable with the concept that one natural drive, sexuality, needs to be contained and channeled for the best human outcomes.  Letting it run wild doesn’t automatically result in the best outcomes.

    Why is the view of another natural drive, self interest, so different?

    • #33
  4. Davematheny3000@yahoo.com Moderator
    Davematheny3000@yahoo.com
    @PainterJean

    Which is why the Protestant West flourished in freedom and riches, while the Catholic world languished in statism and stagnation. This 1 single distinction on the role of the “capitalist”, may have been it.

    It is certainly true that the Catholic church is focused on the salvation of souls rather than in promoting material wealth — “For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” I’d say that much of mainline Protestantism has indeed lost its soul — it has chosen to go along with whatever the culture says is desirable.

    And please don’t forget that in the long history and development of Western Civilization, Protestantism is of relatively recent vintage.

    • #34
  5. EThompson Inactive
    EThompson
    @EThompson

    Painter Jean:

    Which is why the Protestant West flourished in freedom and riches, while the Catholic world languished in statism and stagnation. This 1 single distinction on the role of the “capitalist”, may have been it.

    And please don’t forget that in the long history and development of Western Civilization, Protestantism is of relatively recent vintage.

    As is the United States of America.  

    I’d say that much of mainline Protestantism has indeed lost its soul — it has chosen to go along with whatever the culture says is desirable.

    Maybe, but that’s most likely as we’re busy paying the bills and don’t have the luxury to criticize materialism.

    • #35
  6. Davematheny3000@yahoo.com Moderator
    Davematheny3000@yahoo.com
    @PainterJean

    As is the United States of America.  

    ? Point being….?

    Maybe, but that’s most likely as we’re too busy paying the bills and don’t have the luxury to criticize materialism.

    Actually what I had in mind was the embrace of same-sex “marriage”, openly gay clergy (as in the Episcopalian bishop Gene Robinson), acceptance of the divorce culture, abortion, relativism, and so on, as well as the inability to provide any kind of unified Christian stance on cultural issues, being so hopelessly fractured.

    • #36
  7. EThompson Inactive
    EThompson
    @EThompson

    Painter Jean:

    As is the United States of America.

    ? Point being….?

    Maybe, but that’s most likely as we’re too busy paying the bills and don’t have the luxury to criticize materialism.

    Actually what I had in mind was the embrace of same-sex “marriage”, openly gay clergy (as in the Episcopalian bishop Gene Robinson), acceptance of the divorce culture, abortion, relativism, and so on, as well as the inability to provide any kind of unified Christian stance on cultural issues, being so hopelessly fractured.

    1. Point being? You’re the one that brought up the topic of “recent vintage” as if that were a crime. The last time I heard that sort of snark was in France in reference to a bottle of wine.
    2. As for the Protestant point of view, you are correct in that we do not all share one vastly definitive point of view. I can only speak as a Presbyterian; we believe that social issues should be dealt with privately and that if we all concentrated on making the donuts we wouldn’t have the time to engage in aberrant behavior. Sorry, but at times the Catholic Church appears as if her raison d’être is, in fact, the sin.

    • #37
  8. Davematheny3000@yahoo.com Moderator
    Davematheny3000@yahoo.com
    @PainterJean

    You’re the one that brought up the topic of “recent vintage” as if that were a crime.

    Whoa, lighten up! No, I brought up the point that Protestantism was relatively recent because of the reference to the “Protestant West” — the “West”, however, has a great deal of Catholicism in it, the Christianity of the West being Catholic for most of its history and development. So I’m not sure that “Protestant West” isn’t a bit of a contradiction in terms, strictly speaking.

    As for the Protestant point of view, you are correct in that we do not all share one vastly definitive point of view.

    And that’s why it’s difficult for Protestantism to resist whatever cultural forces are at work. As Chesterton observed, “We do not want, as the newspapers say, a Church that will move with the world. We want a Church that will move the world.”

    we believe that social issues should be dealt with privately and that if we all concentrated on making the donuts we wouldn’t have the time to engage in aberrant behavior.

    Catholicism rejects that view: we are called to be leaven in the world, not some inert ingredient.

    • #38
  9. Davematheny3000@yahoo.com Moderator
    Davematheny3000@yahoo.com
    @PainterJean

    Sorry, but at times the Catholic Church appears as if her raison d’être is, in fact, the sin.

    Her raison d’être is, in fact, the salvation of souls. That being the case, yes, sin is very important because that’s what will impede that goal.

    • #39
  10. Davematheny3000@yahoo.com Moderator
    Davematheny3000@yahoo.com
    @PainterJean

    I can only speak as a Presbyterian; we believe that social issues should be dealt with privately and that if we all concentrated on making the donuts we wouldn’t have the time to engage in aberrant behavior.

    But that’s not quite true, is it? I just remembered: the Presbyterian Church recently voted to divest from companies doing business with Israel. Not a very private way of dealing with a social issue. Same thing for openly gay clergy and same-sex marriage — very public votes were cast in favor of those positions.

    • #40
  11. virgil15marlow@yahoo.com Coolidge
    virgil15marlow@yahoo.com
    @Manny

    That is such great news!  You made my day.

    • #41
  12. virgil15marlow@yahoo.com Coolidge
    virgil15marlow@yahoo.com
    @Manny

    katievs:

    I’m telling you, those who have interpreted this Pope through the “social justice” lens have misunderstood him all along. The (true) Catholic notion of social justice is not the leftist notion.The long post I wrote on the subject a year ago seems have been lost in the transition to the new Ricochet, but anyone interested can read it here.

    Here is number 5 in a list of 12 essential differences I point to:

    For the left, “social justice” is first and last about the political order. It is achieved through the application of state power, i.e. by coercion. For the Church, social justice is primarily about the moral order, which is to say, it can only be achieved through freedom. An individual doesn’t become generous by having his money confiscated; a society doesn’t become just through force.

     Hey, that was an excellent read.  I wasn’t here a year ago, so I didn’t see the original post.  Anyone that can reference D.H. Lawrence is OK in my book. ;)

    • #42
  13. katievs Inactive
    katievs
    @katievs

    Painter Jean:

    And who cares if his remarks are well received by Occupy Wallstreeter types? If anything, we should be glad they’re paying attention to the Pope.

    I care because it suggests a common view of what policies make for a more fair world, giving legitimacy to those who would destroy the freedoms that we have in order to achieve a Utopian equality (and lots of free goodies for themselves). And don’t fool yourself — they’re not likely to be paying attention to Pope Francis other than appropriating his statements for their own purposes. Not that I’m claiming that they have heard what the Pope has said, only that it’s the sort of comment they would likely seize for themselves.

     It only suggests that to people who aren’t paying attention to the Church or who mistrust the Church. I can’t understand why so many faithful Catholics are busy worrying more about how other people might perceive what the Pope says rather than trying to understand what he actually means and how it might apply to us.

    • #43
  14. katievs Inactive
    katievs
    @katievs

    Manny:

     

    Hey, that was an excellent read. I wasn’t here a year ago, so I didn’t see the original post. Anyone that can reference D.H. Lawrence is OK in my book. ;)

     Thanks, Manny. That warms my heart. The depressingly widespread ignorance and misunderstanding of Catholic Social Teaching has been a source of pain and frustration for me for years. It’s a rich and nuanced body of thought with so much to offer the world, if the world would only open its ears.
    I speak as a former student of Rocco Buttiglione, rumored to have ghost-written Centesimus Annus.

    • #44
  15. katievs Inactive
    katievs
    @katievs

    Painter Jean:

     

    “On Friday, Francis called for the United Nations to promote a “worldwide ethical mobilization” … He said a more equal form of economic progress can be had through “the legitimate redistribution of economic benefits by the state, as well as indispensable cooperation between the private sector and civil society.”” And in a Twitter post, the Holy Father said “Inequality is the root of social evil.”

    Really? Gosh, and I thought it was our fallen human natures!!!

     This is a good example of what I mean when I speak of Catholics not listening, not trying understand, but reacting and dismissing—basically joining in with the secular media’s habit of politicizing the Pope. 

    Nothing in what he says here should cause conservatives alarm. “Indispensable collaboration between the civil society and the private sector” is what we’re all about. “Ethical mobilization” (as opposed to coercive state power) is just what the doctor ordered.

    And there is a perfectly true sense in which inequality is the root of social evil. Try to understand what he means before you dismiss it. Listen to him as if he is a Catholic moral leader, not a leftist politician.

    • #45
  16. user_385039 Inactive
    user_385039
    @donaldtodd

    EThompson: #25 (including an external reference in the text) “John Calvin got a lot closer to understanding this concept. The catholic church has not gotten there yet.

    Which is why the Protestant West flourished in freedom and riches, while the Catholic world languished in statism and stagnation. This 1 single distinction on the role of the “capitalist”, may have been it.”

    Amazing.  We should put all the starving to work, and I agree with that, but should they require sufficient sustenance to be able to work, well that is problematic.  Let them starve.

    And, should Peter’s successor (but not Calvin’s) recognize that the starving who are made in God’s image and likeness need sufficient sustenance so that – if it is offered – they would have the strength to work, he must be berated as a socialist or a statist ignorant of economics.

    One remembers what happened in the British Isles when the monasteries were turned into estates for the ruling class.  A lot of people went hungry because the ruling class wasn’t into feeding the hungry the way the monasteries were used to feeding the hungry.

    Different god.

    • #46
  17. Tom Meyer Contributor
    Tom Meyer
    @tommeyer

    katievs:

    Painter Jean:

    “On Friday, Francis called for the United Nations to promote a “worldwide ethical mobilization” … He said a more equal form of economic progress can be had through “the legitimate redistribution of economic benefits by the state, as well as indispensable cooperation between the private sector and civil society.”” 

    This is a good example of what I mean when I speak of Catholics not listening, not trying understand, but reacting and dismissing—basically joining in with the secular media’s habit of politicizing the Pope.

    Nothing in what he says here should cause conservatives alarm.

    Katie, how do you read this:

    A contribution to this equitable development will also be made both by international activity aimed at the integral human development of all the world’s peoples and by the legitimate redistribution of economic benefits by the State, as well as indispensable cooperation between the private sector and civil society.

    Sure sets off my alarm bells.

    • #47
  18. Fricosis Guy Listener
    Fricosis Guy
    @FricosisGuy

    AIG:

    Which is why the Protestant West flourished in freedom and riches, while the Catholic world languished in statism and stagnation. This 1 single distinction on the role of the “capitalist”, may have been it.

    This “fact” is something everyone knows, but the causation isn’t so simple. Just one example: when the Reformation started, majority or plurality Catholic lands were on the front lines of the fight against Islam. On the other hand, most Reformation lands were completely insulated from the battle. Or even worse, some Protestants proposed an accommodation with the Turk as a way of furthering the Reformation (though Luther himself disagreed).

    Looking at today’s world, any Protestant/Catholic divide is no neater. The two richest Länder in Germany are at least plurality Catholic as are many of the richest cantons in Switzerland (even Calvin’s Geneva is now plurality Catholic). The most Protestant countries in Central America — Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador — are its most poor and violent. Liberia, the most Protestant country in West Africa is perhaps its worst basket case.

    • #48
  19. Pseudodionysius Inactive
    Pseudodionysius
    @Pseudodionysius

    Heh.

    Sincerely,

    InstaPapist

    • #49
  20. virgil15marlow@yahoo.com Coolidge
    virgil15marlow@yahoo.com
    @Manny

    katievs:

    Manny:

    Hey, that was an excellent read. I wasn’t here a year ago, so I didn’t see the original post. Anyone that can reference D.H. Lawrence is OK in my book. ;)

    Thanks, Manny. That warms my heart. The depressingly widespread ignorance and misunderstanding of Catholic Social Teaching has been a source of pain and frustration for me for years. It’s a rich and nuanced body of thought with so much to offer the world, if the world would only open its ears. I speak as a former student of Rocco Buttiglione, rumored to have ghost-written Centesimus Annus.

     You mean Popes have ghost writers?  You’re welcome, by the way.


    katievs
    : Centesimus Annus

    • #50
  21. katievs Inactive
    katievs
    @katievs

    Tom, I read it against the back drop of CST, which deplores the centralized state. I read it in the context of other things the Pope has said, and I read it understanding that he is speaking as a moral leader of the whole world, not a politician in a given state, much less the US.
    He is repudiating libertarian absolutism and a brand of capitalism that wants “market forces” to operate outside the ethical limits of the humane society. He is opposing the kind of exploitative economic practices that blighted colonialist Africa, for instance. Or kleptocracies and oligarchies like, say, Russia, where a super-rich elite use the resources and levers of power in a given country to enrich themselves, while the general population barely subsists.

    • #51
  22. katievs Inactive
    katievs
    @katievs

    Manny:

    You mean Popes have ghost writers? 

    Not really. At least, I doubt it. But I don’t doubt that they have collaborators, i.e. thinkers on whose ideas they especially rely.
    I think Buttiglione was an influence on CA, but not its author. JP II had too much a mind of his own to have let someone else write his encyclicals. They may have had a hand in drafting it, though.

    • #52
  23. user_86050 Inactive
    user_86050
    @KCMulville

    Hate to jump into a thread that’s already entertaining and interesting (meaning, I hope not to derail it), but I have a question that intrigues me about “redistribution.”

    Bluntly, what says that the current distribution is fair?  If the current distribution is unfair, then some reform of the current distribution makes sense, right?

    On the other hand, some could make the argument that you can’t bring the idea of “fairness” to distribution in the first place. People get what they get, and as Clint Eastwood said, “Deserve’s got nothing to do with it.”  Of course, the counter to that is that if all that matters is power, then you can’t begrudge people from using different means to get a better split for themselves.  

    So I’m curious … how do people feel about distribution (we’ll worry about re-distribution later)?  Is the current distribution OK? Do we just get what we get? Or (more likely) are there better ways to discuss this than the imagery of a dealer passing out money?

    • #53
  24. Western Chauvinist Member
    Western Chauvinist
    @WesternChauvinist

    KC Mulville: So I’m curious … how do people feel about distribution (we’ll worry about re-distribution later)?  Is the current distribution OK? Do we just get what we get? Or (more likely) are there better ways to discuss this than the imagery of a dealer passing out money?

     I think it’s the worst idea (distributism) expounded by the otherwise magnificently gifted and wise Catholic convert, G.K. Chesterton. The truth is, no one (no single human being, nor any group of human beings (esp. in government)) has enough information to say whether the distribution of wealth is “fair,” or not, in a given place at a given time.

    It’s well and good that the Church makes declarations about human dignity, and encourages charity. But the notion that something as complex as the right distribution of material goods is knowable, let alone manageable, is absurd. It’s akin to what environmental radicals want us to believe they can do with climate. 

    The Church should stick to first principles: we are the work of God’s hands. We should treat each other as such, and economic justice (as well as all other kinds) will follow.

    • #54
  25. EThompson Inactive
    EThompson
    @EThompson

    Painter Jean:

    I can only speak as a Presbyterian; we believe that social issues should be dealt with privately and that if we all concentrated on making the donuts we wouldn’t have the time to engage in aberrant behavior.

    But that’s not quite true, is it? I just remembered: the Presbyterian Church recently voted to divest from companies doing business with Israel. Not a very private way of dealing with a social issue. Same thing for openly gay clergy and same-sex marriage — very public votes were cast in favor of those positions.

    You’re absolutely correct. And this is the beauty of faith that is based upon individualism as well as morality; many churches, including my own, chose to protest this act by completely cutting off all connection and tithing to the Presbytery and running their congregations as they see fit.

    • #55
  26. user_3444 Coolidge
    user_3444
    @JosephStanko

    Western Chauvinist: The truth is, no one (no single human being, nor any group of human beings (esp. in government)) has enough information to say whether the distribution of wealth is “fair,” or not, in a given place at a given time.

    I think I could say that certain distributions are unfair at a given place and time.

    For instance, imagine a remote Pacific island where one man owns the entire island.  That would essentially make all the rest of the tribe into his slaves, since he has a monopoly over all the food and fresh water since they are all on his property.  In fact he could banish anyone from the island by simply declaring they were trespassing on his property.

    • #56
  27. virgil15marlow@yahoo.com Coolidge
    virgil15marlow@yahoo.com
    @Manny

    KC Mulville:

    So I’m curious … how do people feel about (we’ll worry about re-distribution later)? Is the current distribution OK? Do we just get what we get? Or (more likely) are there better ways to discuss this than the imagery of a dealer passing out money?

     I’m speaking from perception here rather than knowledge of Church statements, but where I think the Church would like to see improvements in distribution is with the lower end of the economic spectrum.  Releaving poverty is a principle.  However what they don’t realize is that real poverty is pretty much eliminated in the western world.  We need to change the sub-culture of people who live in dysfunctional families.

    • #57
  28. katievs Inactive
    katievs
    @katievs

    Western Chauvinist:

     

    I think it’s the worst idea (distributism) expounded by the otherwise magnificently gifted and wise Catholic convert, G.K. Chesterton. The truth is, no one (no single human being, nor any group of human beings (esp. in government)) has enough information to say whether the distribution of wealth is “fair,” or not, in a given place at a given time….

     WC, it seems to me that you’re reading the word “distribute” through a leftist lens. That’s not how the Church sees it. For instance, the Church affirms that free markets are the best means of  ensuring a just distribution of wealth.
    Nor do you have to advocate a statist solution (Chesterton didn’t) to notice that there’s something out of whack—something fundamentally unjust—about, say, all the oil wealth of Saudi Arabia being treated as the private wealth of one British-appointed family, or western mining companies getting rich off Africa diamonds mines while Africans are starving to death.

    The Church’s concern is with the good of persons. It’s part of her business to address threats to that good whenever and wherever they arise.

    • #58
  29. katievs Inactive
    katievs
    @katievs

    Manny:

    KC Mulville:

    However what they don’t realize is that real poverty is pretty much eliminated in the western world. We need to change the sub-culture of people who live in dysfunctional families.

     You think the Church doesn’t realize that?!

    • #59
  30. virgil15marlow@yahoo.com Coolidge
    virgil15marlow@yahoo.com
    @Manny

    Western Chauvinist:

    I think it’s the worst idea (distributism) expounded by the otherwise magnificently gifted and wise Catholic convert, G.K. Chesterton. The truth is, no one (no single human being, nor any group of human beings (esp. in government)) has enough information to say whether the distribution of wealth is “fair,” or not, in a given place at a given time.

    It’s well and good that the Church makes declarations about human dignity, and encourages charity. But the notion that something as complex as the right distribution of material goods is knowable, let alone manageable, is absurd. It’s akin to what environmental radicals want us to believe they can do with climate.

    The Church should stick to first principles: we are the work of God’s hands. We should treat each other as such, and economic justice (as well as all other kinds) will follow.

     I completely agree with you.  The economic theory of “distributism” is counter productive and as detrimental as most Liberal economic approaches.  Luckily except for a tiny few, no one thinks anything of distibutism.

    • #60
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