On the issue of egalitarianism, there is plenty of evidence that the Catholic Church isn’t what it’s made out to be. Plenty of parishioners at my local church drive premium/luxury cars and live in houses that are much larger than what is required to sustain human life. I don’t think that’s right. If the Church was really adamant about egalitarianism, they would tell the rich parishioners they have to provide evidence of major charitable works or not be able to receive communion.
Such a view distorts Christ’s teaching.
“The parable of the Talents ‘primarily teaches that God’s gifts, of nature and especially of grace, are held in stewardship and must not be allowed to lie idle. They are to be used to further His kingdom. It emerges, secondarily, that the standard of God’s judgment is relative to the opportunities offered: ‘the greater the gifts, the greater the account demanded’ (Gregory the Great).” A Catholic Commentary On Holy Scripture, ed. Dom Bernard Orchard, Thomas Nelson, 1953].
The secondary meaning is beautifully explained by Fr Percy:
- “There is the emphasis on the ‘talent’, which is a measure of value.
- “The trading activity of the two stewards is important. Christ praises them for the energy, alertness, and perseverance they demonstrate in making a truly significant profit (they have doubled the original sum). There is a reference to accountability which is crucial to any business.
- “Then the nuanced criticism of fear: ‘I was afraid, and I went off and hid your talent in the ground.’ This fear leads the lazy steward to avoid the risks and obstacles that are a key part of entrepreneurial work.
- “There is the clear reference to the financial system. The lazy steward at least could have placed the ‘money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest.’ ”
“We can this affirm unambiguously that Jesus Christ ‘looks with love on upon human work’ and that the work of the merchant – the businessman or the entrepreneur – is one of the ‘different forms’ of work that is affirmed. The parable of the talents makes this clear by its reference to money, trading, risk taking and banking.”
Entrepreneurship in the Catholic Tradition, Fr Anthony G Percy, Lexington Books, 2010, p 48-49].
I still stand by my statement that the present Church lacks a coherent socio-economic model. Essentially, here is what the Church is telling young people in the West to delay sexual relations untils their late 20s/early 30s.
The Church’s teaching on social/economic questions is the only coherent teaching for mankind of all religions or groups. See Post #9 for St John Paul II’s summation of that truth.
Not only has free enterprise raised the welfare of untold millions out of poverty, but is emphatically affirmed by Bl John Paul II in Centesimus Annus, 42, 1991. How does free enterprise raise welfare? As welfare = something that aids or promotes well-being/a contented state of being happy and healthy and prosperous, the answer is obvious. That untold millions have benefited is unchallengeable.
Free enterprise has, with the development of the economic laws of cause and effect by the Catholic Late Scholastics based on faith and reason, from the 14th to the 17th century, enabled the enrichment of untold millions from the poverty existing before the enterprises that came with the “Industrial Revolution”. Without the great contribution of the Industrial Revolution, sparked by Catholic economic and social thought and action in the West, we would still be eking out an existence as before that development. Catholic teaching, especially social teaching outlines the morality of this interaction.
Free enterprise is not a world of its own, it is a set of principles based on cause and effect and developed by the Catholic Late Scholastics for the common good.
Why ignore the great Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI?
Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI felt it necessary to teach that **“Society does not have to protect itself from the market, as if the development of the latter were ipso facto to entail the death of authentically human relations…Therefore it is not the instrument that must be called to account, but individuals, their moral conscience and their personal and social responsibility.” **(Caritas et Veritate, Benedict XVI, 2009, #36). [My emphases].