Sunday, July 26, 2015

Ven. Pius XII Vs. Modern World Leaders

One thing we can say about the resounding inaction of the world to halt the extermination of Christianity in the Middle East is that it should pretty much puts to rest any criticisms of Venerable Pius XII during WWII.

Well, unless the criticizing party doesn't mind looking like an utter hypocrite, which I concede isn't a problem for a lot of people these days.

Granted, anybody who has paid attention since 1945 knows that the "Hitler's Pope" stuff is a load of crap, but that hasn't kept guys like Wills, Cornwell, and Foxman from amassing a mob of useful idiots to promote their lies.

Still, it's incontrovertible now that His Holiness did act to save hundreds of thousands of Jews during the War. The more recent criticisms usually take the form of "Well, he should have done MORE." 

Given how the world has pretty much gone on record as being ok with a Christian-less Middle East, Papa Pacelli would now seem to have the moral high ground. I think it's certainly obvious that every first-world nation in the world could be doing more right now. And they aren't having to deal with being encircled by a major ally of the genocidal party and being utterly defenseless from military action.

Here's my point. The next time you hear one of the aforementioned idiots slandering the Pope who did so much to save Jews from death and horror, ask them to contrast Pius XII with what we are seeing on the global stage right now. 

There's a way stronger argument that we are dealing with a mass of Mohammed's Presidents, Prime Ministers, Chancellors, etc. than that there was a Hitler's Pope.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

"Is This The End Of Christianity In The Middle East?"

So asks the New York Times.

Gee, guys, how nice of you to notice, much less care.

A a couple of observations about the article.

First, it's somewhat striking that the word "genocide" is used a grand total of twice in the whole article. Once is a reference to the Armenian massacres conducted by the Turks. The other is mentioning the ISIS "threat" of genocide against the Yazidis. You would think that the entire crux of the article, that Christianity is being wiped out in the region of its birth, would merit at least a token use of the term, right?

Second, in its brief discussion of Islamic history, the article basically makes two points. Point A is that Christians were worse to religious minorities than Muslims. It must have been pretty awesome to live under Muslim rule since the article mentions that in such arrangements that "for 1,500 years, different religions thrived side by side."

Point B is made by the utter silence of the article regarding the centuries of Muslim aggression towards the West, specifically Christianity. It literally jumps from the above-mentioned conquest of the Middle East to World War I. Nothing about Spain, Eastern Europe, or that it was well-nigh unrelenting war until Jan Sobieski broke the Mohammedans at Vienna in 1683. Oh, and that whole Armenian genocide thing? It was just a coincidence that pretty much all those people being murdered happened to be Christian. Damn shame how that worked out.

There are a few more points I could make in the same vein, but you get the picture. It's actually a pretty good piece otherwise. You should read it. Maybe download it and save a copy so that future generations will have an understanding of how we knew exactly what was going on while these peoples were exterminated. After all, isn't that part of what made the Holocaust so bad? That people everywhere supposedly knew what was going on and did nothing?

Who am I kidding? The future generations will be so secularized that they won't care either. They'll probably celebrate over how these awful Christians got what they deserved.

This is the face of peace in our time. So when people wax poetic and drop trou about "brave" things like the Vatican's stance on global warming, the Pope's criticisms of capitalism, or the latest presidential candidate's stand on anything, let's remember our persecuted brothers and sisters. Let's recall the Holy Land and the patrimony of the Church, the repeated blasphemies and sacrileges being committed against God at this very moment by the Mohammedans. And let's recall how little to nothing was done to help them. When you see the next great ecumenical gathering sponsored by the Church at which absolutely nothing happens (*cough*ARCIC*cough*), consider what could have been done to maybe airlift out brethren to sanctuary or ransom some families from captivity.

Then wonder at the bravery of the martyrs.

May Our Lady shield them and protect them, and may God Almighty deliver repentance and justice to their tormentors.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Breaking Down Laudato Si (In One Post)

Ok, I know it's been a while, and lots of stuff has gone on, but let me start with this issue.

I’ve gotten a bunch emails asking about the encyclical.

I didn’t read it and won’t be. After Caritas in Veritate and Evangelii Gaudium, I just don’t have it in me. This practice of spending thousands and thousands of words to say very, very little of substance is exhausting, and in modern internet parlance, ain’t nobody got time for that. Moreover, reactions to the encyclical seem to fall into just a couple of different categories:

1. “There’s nothing new or profound here. The Pope is just reiterating a lot of prior teachings under one umbrella. Sure, he buys into global warming, but that’s a small portion of the encyclical, and those parts, while relevant in their overall view of how we understand our role in Creation, don’t obligate us to believe a certain scientific theory.”

2. “The Pope is a Marxist/Modernist/both Marxist and Modernist.”

3. “What did I just read?”

If the first item is true, then I’m not sure why I should take the time to read it. I’m familiar with the Church’s teaching on this subject, so if there’s no new profound study on the matter here, I’m good.

If it’s the second, the above still holds. Why should I disturb my calm? I’m familiar with Church teaching and assent to it. No need to slog through thousands of words to wind up with confusion or simply time that was wasted.

If it’s the third, then I must simply admit that I don’t understand and acknowledge that I’m willing to assent to the Church’s teaching whatever it may be.

I continue to go back to the Pope’s words in EG. He calls for a more simplified presentation of the Faith, yet he produces documents (allegedly written to everyone!) so bloated and convoluted that they are worthless to the average person, of which I am one.

As to the global warming bit, I personally don’t buy into the anthropogenic global warming stuff. If the Pope does and put it in an encyclical, I kind of put that in the same category as the bizarre comment about what “true Islam” is from EG. Anyways, the main difficulty I see most folks having with it is the ability of the Church to pronounce on economic issues.

With all this in mind, I offer the following items that are oft-repeated features of the Church's social doctrine. When confronted with allegedly novel ideas from Laudato Si, my advice is to recall the Church's constant teaching on such matters and take refuge there (emphasis added).

Many believe in or claim that they believe in and hold fast to Catholic doctrine on such questions as social authority, the right of owning private property, on the relations between capital and labor, on the rights of the laboring man, on the relations between Church and State, religion and country, on the relations between the different social classes, on international relations, on the rights of the Holy See and the prerogatives of the Roman Pontiff and the Episcopate, on the social rights of Jesus Christ, Who is the Creator, Redeemer, and Lord not only of individuals but of nations. In spite of these protestations, they speak, write, and, what is more, act as if it were not necessary any longer to follow, or that they did not remain still in full force, the teachings and solemn pronouncements which may be found in so many documents of the Holy See, and particularly in those written by Leo XIII, Pius X, and Benedict XV.

There is a species of moral, legal, and social modernism which We condemn, no less decidedly than We condemn theological modernism.

Pope Pius XI, Ubi Arcano Dei Consilio

In other words, the Church has every right to talk about these things, and it's inappropriate to separate our economic actions from our other moral principles.

Pope Pius XI further emphasized the fundamental opposition between Communism and Christianity, and made it clear that no Catholic could subscribe even to moderate Socialism. The reason is that Socialism is founded on a doctrine of human society which is bounded by time and takes no account of any objective other than that of material well-being. Since, therefore, it proposes a form of social organization which aims solely at production, it places too severe a restraint on human liberty, at the same time flouting the true notion of social authority.

St. John XXIII, Mater et Magistra

Remember this when people try to suggest that the crap of liberation theology can ever be granted sanction by the Church.

Differences of opinion in the application of principles can sometimes arise even among sincere Catholics. When this happens, they should be careful not to lose their respect and esteem for each other. Instead, they should strive to find points of agreement for effective and suitable action, and not wear themselves out in interminable arguments, and, under pretext of the better or the best, omit to do the good that is possible and therefore obligatory.

In their economic and social activities, Catholics often come into contact with others who do not share their view of life. In such circumstances, they must, of course, bear themselves as Catholics and do nothing to compromise religion and morality. Yet at the same time they should show themselves animated by a spirit of understanding and unselfishness, ready to cooperate loyally in achieving objects which are good in themselves, or can be turned to good. Needless to say, when the Hierarchy has made a decision on any point Catholics are bound to obey their directives. The Church has the right and obligation not merely to guard ethical and religious principles, but also to declare its authoritative judgment in the matter of putting these principles into practice.

St. John XXIII, Mater et Magistra

There isn't just one way of talking about these things or remedying problems of social justice, so we should be charitable to each other in our discussions and recognize the legitimacy of these different opinions.

Many other people, while not completely marginalized, live in situations in which the struggle for a bare minimum is uppermost. These are situations in which the rules of the earliest period of capitalism still flourish in conditions of "ruthlessness" in no way inferior to the darkest moments of the first phase of industrialization. In other cases the land is still the central element in the economic process, but those who cultivate it are excluded from ownership and are reduced to a state of quasi-servitude. In these cases, it is still possible today, as in the days of Rerum novarum, to speak of inhuman exploitation. In spite of the great changes which have taken place in the more advanced societies, the human inadequacies of capitalism and the resulting domination of things over people are far from disappearing. In fact, for the poor, to the lack of material goods has been added a lack of knowledge and training which prevents them from escaping their state of humiliating subjection...

In this sense, it is right to speak of a struggle against an economic system, if the latter is understood as a method of upholding the absolute predominance of capital, the possession of the means of production and of the land, in contrast to the free and personal nature of human work. In the struggle against such a system, what is being proposed as an alternative is not the socialist system, which in fact turns out to be State capitalism, but rather a society of free work, of enterprise and of participation. Such a society is not directed against the market, but demands that the market be appropriately controlled by the forces of society and by the State, so as to guarantee that the basic needs of the whole of society are satisfied...

It is the task of the State to provide for the defence and preservation of common goods such as the natural and human environments, which cannot be safeguarded simply by market forces. Just as in the time of primitive capitalism the State had the duty of defending the basic rights of workers, so now, with the new capitalism, the State and all of society have the duty of defending those collective goods which, among others, constitute the essential framework for the legitimate pursuit of personal goals on the part of each individual...

Returning now to the initial question: can it perhaps be said that, after the failure of Communism, capitalism is the victorious social system, and that capitalism should be the goal of the countries now making efforts to rebuild their economy and society? Is this the model which ought to be proposed to the countries of the Third World which are searching for the path to true economic and civil progress?

The answer is obviously complex. If by "capitalism" is meant an economic system which recognizes the fundamental and positive role of business, the market, private property and the resulting responsibility for the means of production, as well as free human creativity in the economic sector, then the answer is certainly in the affirmative, even though it would perhaps be more appropriate to speak of a "business economy", "market economy" or simply "free economy". But if by "capitalism" is meant a system in which freedom in the economic sector is not circumscribed within a strong juridical framework which places it at the service of human freedom in its totality, and which sees it as a particular aspect of that freedom, the core of which is ethical and religious, then the reply is certainly negative.

The Marxist solution has failed, but the realities of marginalization and exploitation remain in the world, especially the Third World, as does the reality of human alienation, especially in the more advanced countries. Against these phenomena the Church strongly raises her voice. Vast multitudes are still living in conditions of great material and moral poverty. The collapse of the Communist system in so many countries certainly removes an obstacle to facing these problems in an appropriate and realistic way, but it is not enough to bring about their solution. Indeed, there is a risk that a radical capitalistic ideology could spread which refuses even to consider these problems, in the a priori belief that any attempt to solve them is doomed to failure, and which blindly entrusts their solution to the free development of market forces.

The Church has no models to present; models that are real and truly effective can only arise within the framework of different historical situations, through the efforts of all those who responsibly confront concrete problems in all their social, economic, political and cultural aspects, as these interact with one another. For such a task the Church offers her social teaching as an indispensable and ideal orientation, a teaching which, as already mentioned, recognizes the positive value of the market and of enterprise, but which at the same time points out that these need to be oriented towards the common good.

St. John Paul II, Centesimus Annus

Don't believe some of the popular hype of the above writings of JPII. He's just as critical of capitalism as other popes. If anything, he's writing against socialism, rather than for capitalism, which he only grants in a limited form. He's certainly not advocating for what you hear from modern libertarians and such.

Just as a side note, take the economics out of it for a moment. Ask yourself if a "radical capitalistic ideology" in terms of our autonomy in every other area isn't how we got into the state of utter moral freefall that we find ourselves now. After all, if it's laissez faire with regards to our economic life, how does that remain separate from everything else?