Catholic Church Speaks Out on Economics

A Photo of Pope Benedict XVI Addressing the College of Cardinals in Clementine Hall in Vatican City

The Catholic Church has always embodied the idea of authority, inherited from past ages without a hint of compromise with the modern liberal spirit. Various papal encyclicals have also suggested that, if morals are in any way involved, the Church has a right to instruct its members in matters of politics and economics as well as faith.

In years past, the deep felt belief in authority has led the Church to condemn both democracy and the market system. On the other hand, when Marxism openly trumpeted atheism and anti-Catholicism, the Church often found itself allied with democrats and market supporters because these were allies against the hated Communism. Fascism was more complicated. At first the Church thought that it could work with people like Mussolini and Hitler. Only gradually did it discover that Hitler was in fact as anti-Christian as the Marxists.

Viewed in this lens of history, it is not surprising that the Vatican likes the idea of one world government with undisputed authority over our economic life, and likes the idea of reining in markets and making them subservient to political control. It is a pity that the Church, which is genuinely sympathetic to the poor, does not see that this model is one that impoverishes the world and ensures that billions will continue to starve.

The Church should be speaking out against the crony capitalism that underlies not only poverty, but also our current economic malaise. But instead it is unwittingly  reinforcing the cronyist system.

Hitler told his cronies that his last project would be the utter extirpation of Christianity. Has the Church considered what would happen if the machinery of world political and economic control fell into the hands of someone like that?

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Hunter Lewis 10-31-2011