Rebuttal of the myth that Catholics can fully embrace either political conservatism or liberalism, by a Franciscan University of Steubenville professor


#1

skrason.wordpress.com/ [His blog is titled [COLOR=“Red”]“Neither Left nor Right, but Catholic.”]

June 1, 2012

THE CONSERVATIVE WEAKNESS

AND THE SOLUTION:

CATHOLIC SOCIAL TEACHING

by Professor Stephen M. Krason
Franciscan University of Steubenville

In my article on “Roman Catholicism” in American Conservatism: An Encyclopedia, I wrote that, “Conservative thought parallels Roman Catholic teaching in many respects.” I also pointed out, however, that the Church “does not fully embrace it or any particular socio-politico-economic perspective.” I especially pointed to the problem of the classical liberal economic perspective in certain branches of what is today called “conservatism,” which is probably the predominant view in varying degrees of most of the political right.

 In my book Liberalism, Conservatism, and Catholicism in the 1990s, I evaluated these American political ideologies in light of Catholic social teaching. There have been different schools in American conservative thought since World War II, and some have been closer to the Church than others. Conservatism most departs from that teaching on economics and the role of government. While the social encyclicals clearly accept and even commend the market economy that is so strongly emphasized by conservatism, they also make clear that it must be appropriately limited by morality, cultural norms, and the state. While the Church, of course, always stresses the principle of subsidiarity—that a necessary function should be accomplished by the lowest unit of society that can do it adequately, efficiently, and with benefit to the welfare of the whole—she makes it clear that government has an economic regulatory and social welfare role. Government should be especially assertive in trying to curtail unemployment and to insure that no sector of the economy badly lags behind (which has often been the situation, say, of agriculture in the U.S.). Encyclicals such as Laborem Exercens even say that government, in conjunction with the private sector, should undertake overall economic planning. While private property is a natural right, the principle of social use goes along with it. The state has a role, within limits, of regulating property use. Also, Catholic social teaching does not reject outright the redistribution of wealth. After all, the universal destination of created goods is one of its central principles: all should have a sufficiency of temporal goods so as to live becomingly. The Church also insists that there are some human needs that simply cannot be met, or met adequately, by the market or for-profit entities. The rights of workers are also a long-time concern of the Church. **A number of these themes make most conservatives uneasy**.

  While conservatism has a laissez faire tilt on economics, post-1960s liberalism wants inordinate governmental control of the economy but is laissez faire—much more than conservatives are on economics—on sex and culture. Conservatives’ views on economics and the role of government—in spite of their acceptance of some kind of “safety net”—have probably been the main reasons why lower class and even many working class citizens are persistently suspicious of them. This is so even apart from the convoluted thinking in the lower class spawned by decades of entitlements, government dependency, and abdication of personal responsibility.

   What should conservatism do about this? The answer lies in embracing more completely the principles put forth by Catholic social teaching. Conservatives should not be worried about the dreaded “sectarian” label. These are not sectarian principles, but human ones. When not confused by ideology, people can recognize in Catholic social teaching and in the thought that has sprung from it a realism, balance, and reasonableness. Indeed, some of the most fervent promoters of Catholic social teaching in recent decades have been non-Catholics (they have discovered that great treasure, while most Catholics seem hardly aware of it). In fact, as I show in my book The Transformation of the American Democratic Republic, many of these principles that we identify with Catholic social teaching today animated socio-economic thinking in America’s Founding Era. To be sure, in an intemperate time one should not believe that a refashioned conservatism that embraces these principles is simply going to carry the day. It needs to show itself truly committed to them, work to instantiate them into both policy and social practice, constantly explain them, and develop a rhetorical approach that will help people to see their value.

 What, in brief, would this mean in terms of general policy approaches? First, on economics conservatives should follow the mid-twentieth-century Catholic scholars and writers who called for a kind of “enlightened self-regulation” in place of governmental micromanagement. This would be done by codes of conduct that different industries would be nudged by government to adopt on matters such a wages, treatment of employees, quality of goods and services, and even—treading carefully here—pricing. This was attempted during FDR’s First New Deal.

 Second, conservatives have to “get real” in how they understand big corporations. The standards applied to small business cannot also be applied to therm. As some Catholic writers used to say, big economic enterprises are for all practical purposes quasi-public entities. The common good is often profoundly affected by their actions. When a company decides to move a factory to keep their stock prices high and causes economic dislocations for a community and a substantial number of people, conservatives can hardly just look the other way in the name of “the laws of the market.” Nor should they hold that government should permit easy consolidation and mergers, when this is likely to lead to the dangers of monopoly. Instead of laissez faire, conservatives should embrace something like economic populism.

 Third, while conservatives need to constantly continue to emphasize that self-initiative is central—as Pope Paul VI said, we should not encourage the indolent—they must also both show in their rhetoric and practice that they believe that some people need help. While they must—in the best educative tradition of politics—intensify their efforts to explain why massive, Great Society-type government programs have proven to be inadequate and ineffective and are financially unsustainable, they also must stop believing that people can just be left to fend for themselves. Men are not isolated individuals adrift from community in some kind of Hobbesian state of nature. Rather, conservatives should use government to encourage and make as easy as possible the building up of civil society—networks of voluntary organizations, many of which would probably be religious-based—to help those in need. The conservative approach, then, should be one of calling for decisively scaling down the governmental role, but with something solid and reliable to replace it. They should also continue to stress that there always has to be a government safety net as a back-up.

 Fourth, conservatives also need to scale down their unrealistic expectations of the market and to recognize, as the Church does, that it cannot supply all needs. In other words, they need to be more attentive to the traditional economic notion of “merit goods.” This basic belief is crucial to building up a vigorous civil society. Conservatives should realize that such things as health care and education do not work well in the for-profit sector. By not opposing such developments, conservatives are easily viewed by the public as for corporate advantage and “against the people.”

 Fifth, while conservatives must forcefully reject the increasing leftist and pro-social democracy tilt of the national labor leadership and the excessive demands of public employee unions, they must aggressively advocate for the legitimate cause of workers. They must show by their actions, again, that they have abandoned laissez faire. As Pope Leo XIII said way back in Rerum Novarum, legislation is needed to avoid the possibilities of labor-management conflict. The statist, quasi-socialist agenda of the left reflects an abstract, ideologically-driven way of thinking that is out of sinc with the situation of most workers, but so does the lingering laissez faire, classical liberal thinking of many conservatives.

 Finally, conservatives need to understand—as Aristotle did—that wealth maldistribution is not something to be ignored. They need to think more of how it can be mitigated without conducting a “war on the rich” like the left does.

 Liberal economics and too minimal a view about government have been obstacles to conservatism’s having the realism and balance it shows in other areas of its thought, and stymies broader popular appeal. It should turn to Catholic social teaching to rectify its deficiencies.

#2

Nice thesis but do you not see that conservatives give much more to charity and the Church than liberals do. Joe Biden a “stauch Catholic” gave what $100 or so to his church. Obama gave around 20 thousand- again the libs want the “charity” to come from the goverment so they can control and increase their control over our lives- its not about helping people in need, it is about gaining more political power.Why on earth was student loan program taken over by the Health care bill (Obamacare).


#3

To me, it is shocking and amazing to see that an esteemed professor at Franciscan University of Steubenville (NOT a liberal or wishy-washy Catholic university) is saying clearly and directly proving that Catholics CANNOT embrace or endorse the full agenda and platform of the political Conservative Movement in the USA, and that any Catholic who does fully embrace and endorse the entire agenda and platform of the political Conservative Movement is a DISSENTER, just like all the Catholics dissenters who embrace the political Liberal Movement.

I find this so amazing, so refreshing, so helpful!

To me, this enables one to be and remain a Christian, without getting caught up in the intense and ever-present Propaganda Machines of either the Left or the Right.

Thank you and God bless you Professor Krason!


#4

[quote="rdscheirer, post:2, topic:289473"]
Nice thesis but...

[/quote]

With all due respect, it is not a "thesis." It is simply Catholic Social Doctrine, which is binding on all Catholics who want to be in good standing with the Church and with God. Blessed John Paul II did not teacher and preach a personal "thesis." The same goes for Pope Benedict XVI, Pope John XXIII, Pope Leo XIII, Pope Paul VI, and so on.

It is the political Conservative commentators on TV and radio who have a "thesis," one that makes them "dissenters" if they happen to be Catholic.

To me, the distressing thing is that Catholic political liberals who are pro-abortion rights, pro-gay civil marriage, etc. are EASILY seen as dissenters.

Yet, Catholic political conservatives who reject all or much of Catholic Social Doctrine, have, for a long time now, been getting a free pass. But, according to our shepherds, the pope and the bishops, Catholic political conservatives who reject Catholic Social Doctrine ARE DISSENTERS TOO.

Nothing can get better as long as we ignore or hide this reality.

The RAGE AGAINST CHRIST is on both sides of the political spectrum.


#5

[quote="rdscheirer, post:2, topic:289473"]
Nice thesis but do you not see that conservatives give much more to charity and the Church than liberals do. Joe Biden a "stauch Catholic" gave what $100 or so to his church. Obama gave around 20 thousand- again the libs want the "charity" to come from the goverment so they can control and increase their control over our lives- its not about helping people in need, it is about gaining more political power.Why on earth was student loan program taken over by the Health care bill (Obamacare).

[/quote]

Yes, it is true that conservatives, overall, give more to charity than do liberals, overall. And the author of the piece does not criticize conservatives for so doing.

What he is saying is that conservatism in the US today embraces certain *other *ideas which are not in accord with Catholic teaching.

And that liberals espouse many ideas which are not in accord with Catholic teaching *also. *


#6

Thanks, Bartolome, for posting this :slight_smile: It is comprehensive and yet concise, and very much in accord with what I have been learning about *Catholic *social justice :slight_smile:


#7

[quote="St_Francis, post:6, topic:289473"]
Thanks, Bartolome, for posting this :) It is comprehensive and yet concise, and very much in accord with what I have been learning about *Catholic *social justice :)

[/quote]

Thank Professor Krason of the Franciscan University of Steubenville, and all the faculty of that fine Catholic university who have the integrity and courage to teach us the whole of the Catholic Faith that our shepherds the pope and the bishops wants us to incarnate into the temporal order.

The deceivers of the Right and the Left have the loud and flashy non-stop mass media (mainly TV and radio) to promote their misleading propaganda.

The truth tellers have nothing like that.

Yet, it seems that more and more Catholics are waking up to reality and are tired of being USED by those on the Right and on the Left who RAGE AGAINST CHRIST and who want to co-opt the Catholic Church for their sordid purposes.


#8

[quote="Bartolome_Casas, post:3, topic:289473"]
To me, it is shocking and amazing to see that an esteemed professor at Franciscan University of Steubenville (NOT a liberal or wishy-washy Catholic university) is saying clearly and directly proving that Catholics CANNOT embrace or endorse the full agenda and platform of the political Conservative Movement in the USA, and that any Catholic who does fully embrace and endorse the entire agenda and platform of the political Conservative Movement is a DISSENTER, just like all the Catholics dissenters who embrace the political Liberal Movement.

I find this so amazing, so refreshing, so helpful!

To me, this enables one to be and remain a Christian, without getting caught up in the intense and ever-present Propaganda Machines of either the Left or the Right.

Thank you and God bless you Professor Krason!

[/quote]

I guess this proves I signed up for the wrong church.


#9

[quote="Bartolome_Casas, post:7, topic:289473"]
Thank Professor Krason of the Franciscan University of Steubenville, and all the faculty of that fine Catholic university who have the integrity and courage to teach us the whole of the Catholic Faith that our shepherds the pope and the bishops wants us to incarnate into the temporal order.

The deceivers of the Right and the Left have the loud and flashy non-stop mass media (mainly TV and radio) to promote their misleading propaganda.

The truth tellers have nothing like that.

Yet, it seems that more and more Catholics are waking up to reality and are tired of being USED by those on the Right and on the Left who RAGE AGAINST CHRIST and who want to co-opt the Catholic Church for their sordid purposes.

[/quote]

I've been trying to say this for a long time and I'm SO glad to see this article!

We are Catholic and none of us was issued a membership card for the Republican or the Democratic party at our baptism!!!


#10

Hear here! I’ve been saying this for years! Well put!

Three cheers to the OP for sharing! :clapping: :clapping: :clapping:


#11

[quote="Seeker1961, post:9, topic:289473"]
I've been trying to say this for a long time and I'm SO glad to see this article!

We are Catholic and none of us was issued a membership card for the Republican or the Democratic party at our baptism!!!

[/quote]

The famous Vatican declaration of the year 2000, Dominus Iesus (English: Lord Jesus), had this passage:

"Thus, the Encyclical Redemptoris missio calls the Church once again to the task of announcing the Gospel as the fullness of truth: “In this definitive Word of his revelation, God has made himself known in the fullest possible way. He has revealed to mankind who he is. This definitive self-revelation of God is the fundamental reason why the Church is missionary by her very nature. She cannot do other than proclaim the Gospel, that is, the fullness of the truth which God has enabled us to know about himself”.11 Only the revelation of Jesus Christ, therefore, “introduces into our history a universal and ultimate truth which stirs the human mind to ceaseless effort."

Only the Catholic Church has the "fullness of the truth" about God and Man and Society.

All other movements or organizations, whether religious, political, or governmental are bound to be defective since the will not have the "fullness of the truth."

The U.S. Constitution along with its 27 Amendments, and the Declaration of Independence and the Federalist Papers don't even say one thing about OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST, the HOLY GOSPEL, or the HOLY CHURCH or the GREAT SOCIAL ENCYCLICALS OF THE POPES. They were not written by Catholics. Thus, they are limited in the truth they contain. The same can be said of the party platforms of any of the political parties in the USA.

But there is an intense, MASSIVE PROPAGANDA WAR going on in the mass media for the MINDS OF CATHOLICS in the USA. Party polemicists want Catholics to believe that their PARTY IS ONE WITH THE CATHOLIC CHURCH, kind of like a blasphemous supposed 4th person of the Holy Trinity.

They don't just want us as voters. They want us as "BELIEVERS" in the totality of the ideology of their Movement.

They want their ideology to be the STANDARD by which we judge everything in the social and political spheres, even to the point of "editing" our Catholic Faith and Catholic Practice when these are in conflict with Party Dogmas. In short, they want our SOULS, just as in the famous "Doctor Faustus" story.

Some Catholics seem to think that the Catholic Faith only addresses supernatural things, like the Mass, the Holy Trinity, the Sacraments, Heaven, Hell and Purgatory. Therefore, they feel free to adopt the whole ideology of any political party they choose. This certainly happened with Catholics in Germany and Italy in the 1930s and 1940s.

But the Church and especially the POPES have carefully developed and taught a whole CATHOLIC SOCIAL DOCTRINE that states eternal truths about the social, economic and political order, and Catholics are obliged to accept these truths if they want to Faithful to the Christ and His Church.


#12

[quote="3DOCTORS, post:10, topic:289473"]
Hear here! I've been saying this for years! Well put!

Three cheers to the OP for sharing! :clapping: :clapping: :clapping:

[/quote]

Yes, yes. Many of us have been saying this for years.

But notice how nobody listens. Frustrating, isn't it?

This because the BIG PROPAGANDA MACHINES in the mass media keep giving us the false choice of PARTY MOVEMENT IDEOLOGY #1 OR PARTY MOVEMENT IDEOLOGY #2.

Sadly, most Catholics, even those in government leadership positions jump either #1 or #2.

To me, this all means that WE CATHOLICS need our organization to better promote and teach the truth and fullness of CATHOLIC SOCIAL DOCTRINE.

The original post in this threat consisted of a statement by an esteemed Catholic professor at the Franciscan University of Steubenville to the effect that we cannot fully embrace the ideology of either political Conservatism or political Liberalism.

But how many people will ever read or hear this or any Catholic professor? Buy contrast, the deceivers of the Right and the Left have powerful, entertaining, compelling national mass media shows on TV and radio. They drown out everything else and keep presenting us with the FALSE DICHOTOMY of POLITICAL MOVEMENT #1 OR POLITICAL MOVEMENT #2. So, the deceivers keep on winning, and nothing ever gets any better.

So, don't we need some kind of Catholic Lay Movement to get the word out better about the fullness and truth of Catholic Social Doctrine. A model for it could be the Catholic League for Civil and Religious Rights, which issues bulletins about blasphemous or libelous things or written about the Catholic Church. Our new organization could issue bulletins when Catholics or other misrepresent Catholic Social Doctrine. Do you like this idea?


#13

I suppose I can't help but post in a thread which seems so tailor made for my username.

The competing values between conservatives and liberals has traditionally been freedom vs equality. I think lately the religious community and the conservatives have been strange bedfellows. Conservatism, as George Will puts it, "will protect you from ideology." Conservatism, traditionally, held that people ought to be free to make their own moral decisions and government should only intervene if your decisions infringe egregiously on other people.

I have always felt that the religious (read: Christian) community was seeking opposite ends. They would prefer that the government implement some of their religious ideology. Moreover, as a majority of the population in a democracy, their religious freedoms are about as secure as its possible for them to be.

The liberal position, which advocates equality, always struck me as being more Christian. Compassion and brotherhood, social programs for the poor and disadvantaged; these are all things which religious people want and their religions do. They can, and do, enhance their efforts with the help and cooperation of the government. Obviously, we can't take it to extremes, as we are cautioned by the OP, but there is plenty of common ground.

The very religious have come to associate liberalism with abortion and gay marriage as though abortion and gay marriage were as fundamental to liberalism as equality itself. I have always believed that vilifying half of the country is a completely un-christian thing to do. If instead the religious communities ignored all the dumb rhetoric and were more level headed about achieving their goals, I think our politics would make much more sense, the outcomes would be better, and the country would be stronger for it.


#14

[quote="TheTrueCentrist, post:13, topic:289473"]
I suppose I can't help but post in a thread which seems so tailor made for my username.

The competing values between conservatives and liberals has traditionally been freedom vs equality. I think lately the religious community and the conservatives have been strange bedfellows. Conservatism, as George Will puts it, "will protect you from ideology." Conservatism, traditionally, held that people ought to be free to make their own moral decisions and government should only intervene if your decisions infringe egregiously on other people.

I have always felt that the religious (read: Christian) community was seeking opposite ends. They would prefer that the government implement some of their religious ideology. Moreover, as a majority of the population in a democracy, their religious freedoms are about as secure as its possible for them to be.

The liberal position, which advocates equality, always struck me as being more Christian. Compassion and brotherhood, social programs for the poor and disadvantaged; these are all things which religious people want and their religions do. They can, and do, enhance their efforts with the help and cooperation of the government. Obviously, we can't take it to extremes, as we are cautioned by the OP, but there is plenty of common ground.

The very religious have come to associate liberalism with abortion and gay marriage as though abortion and gay marriage were as fundamental to liberalism as equality itself. I have always believed that vilifying half of the country is a completely un-christian thing to do. If instead the religious communities ignored all the dumb rhetoric and were more level headed about achieving their goals, I think our politics would make much more sense, the outcomes would be better, and the country would be stronger for it.

[/quote]

For the most part on issues of human life, morality, faith, sex, marriage, liberalism and Catholicism part ways of agreement.

The Church, which is supportive of a safety net, has been critical of the modern welfare state. In his 1991 encyclical Centesimus Annus, John Paul ll. said:

[D]efects 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. 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 thinking than by concern for serving their clients, and which are accompanied by an enormous increase in spending.


#15

Who Really Cares: The Surprising Truth About Compassionate Conservativism’ by Arthur Brooks showed that conservatives give more to charity than liberals. He found the greater charitable giving among conservatives families from every income group, rich, middle class, poor.

If many conservatives are liberals who have been mugged by reality, Brooks, a registered independent, is, as a reviewer of his book said, a social scientist who has been mugged by data. They include these findings:

– Although liberal families’ incomes average 6 percent higher than those of conservative families, conservative-headed households give, on average, 30 percent more to charity than the average liberal-headed household ($1,600 per year vs. $1,227).

– Conservatives also donate more time and give more blood.

– Residents of the states that voted for John Kerry in 2004 gave smaller percentages of their incomes to charity than did residents of states that voted for George Bush.

– Bush carried 24 of the 25 states where charitable giving was above average.

– In the 10 reddest states, in which Bush got more than 60 percent majorities, the average percentage of personal income donated to charity was 3.5. Residents of the bluest states, which gave Bush less than 40 percent, donated just 1.9 percent.

– People who reject the idea that “government has a responsibility to reduce income inequality” give an average of four times more than people who accept that proposition.

Brooks demonstrates a correlation between charitable behavior and “the values that lie beneath” liberal and conservative labels. Two influences on charitable behavior are religion and attitudes about the proper role of government.

The single biggest predictor of someone’s altruism, Willett says, is religion. It increasingly correlates with conservative political affiliations because, as Brooks’ book says, “the percentage of self-described Democrats who say they have ‘no religion’ has more than quadrupled since the early 1970s.” America is largely divided between religious givers and secular nongivers, and the former are disproportionately conservative. One demonstration that religion is a strong determinant of charitable behavior is that the least charitable cohort is a relatively small one – secular conservatives.

Reviewing Brooks’ book in the Texas Review of Law & Politics, Justice Willett notes that Austin – it voted 56 percent for Kerry while he was getting just 38 percent statewide – is ranked by The Chronicle of Philanthropy as 48th out of America’s 50 largest cities in per capita charitable giving. Brooks’ data about disparities between liberals’ and conservatives’ charitable giving fit these facts: Democrats represent a majority of the wealthiest congressional districts, and half of America’s richest households live in states where both senators are Democrats.

While conservatives tend to regard giving as a personal rather than governmental responsibility, some liberals consider private charity a retrograde phenomenon – a poor palliative for an inadequate welfare state, and a distraction from achieving adequacy by force, by increasing taxes. Ralph Nader, running for president in 2000, said: “A society that has more justice is a society that needs less charity.” Brooks, however, warns: “If support for a policy that does not exist … substitutes for private charity, the needy are left worse off than before. It is one of the bitterest ironies of liberal politics today that political opinions are apparently taking the place of help for others.”

In 2000, brows were furrowed in perplexity because Vice President Al Gore’s charitable contributions, as a percentage of his income, were below the national average: He gave 0.2 percent of his family income, one-seventh of the average for donating households. But Gore “gave at the office.” By using public office to give other peoples’ money to government programs, he was being charitable, as liberals increasingly, and conveniently, understand that word.

realclearpolitics.com/articles/2008/03/conservatives_more_liberal_giv.html


#16

It is a horribly sad situation when there are some who would use this piece to bash conservatives over the head and call us dissenters. In fact, it is a rather disgusting situation to consider. Krason’s critique, when one actually reads it, is of liberalism as a reaction to socialism. (Unfortunately, many who self-identify as “conservatives” are actually “liberals”)

Krason does bring up some interesting points, but he misses the fundamental point in his piece. For example, he states, Encyclicals such as Laborem Exercens even say that government, in conjunction with the private sector, should undertake overall economic planning. LE does not actually go so far as to say that. JPII did say the following (paragraph 18):

In order to meet the danger of unemployment and to ensure employment for all, the agents defined here as “indirect employer” must make provision for overall planning with regard to the different kinds of work by which not only the economic life but also the cultural life of a given society is shaped; they must also give attention to organizing that work in a correct and rational way. In the final analysis this overall concern weighs on the shoulders of the State, but it cannot mean onesided centralization by the public authorities. Instead, what is in question is a just and rational coordination, within the framework of which the initiative of individuals, free groups and local work centres and complexes must be safeguarded, keeping in mind what has been said above with regard to the subject character of human labour.

(NB: the italics are in the original)

JPII makes clear the extent and the limits of where the State’s involvement should exist.

There is most certainly a role for the State in economic planning, as described by JPII above. For example, when the textile industry left upstate South Carolina, the State (South Carolina) took initiative to attract other industry to the area. Through providing correctly tuned educational resources, a favorable tax system, and support of the necessary infrastructure, they were able to attract a significant amount of industry to the area (to include Michelin and BMW). As a result, their economy (and the employment situation in general) has been booming…particularly when viewed in comparison to other areas in the country.

I, frankly, don’t know of any conservative who would argue that the above example was improper according to conservative economic theory. I would shudder to think that any Catholic would argue that the actions violate Catholic Social Doctrine. (Sadly, experience tells me that there are many who would)

On the other hand, there are some provisions in Laborem Exercens that are patently illegal per US labor law. For example, paragraph 19 advocates the following:

This means of checking concerns above all the family. Just remuneration for the work of an adult who is responsible for a family means remuneration which will suffice for establishing and properly maintaining a family and for providing security for its future. Such remuneration can be given either through what is called a family wage-that is, a single salary given to the head of the family fot his work, sufficient for the needs of the family without the other spouse having to take up gainful employment outside the home-or through other social measures such as family allowances or grants to mothers devoting themselves exclusively to their families. These grants should correspond to the actual needs, that is, to the number of dependents for as long as they are not in a position to assume proper responsibility for their own lives.

(NB: Italics in original)

How many left-wingers who would use this article as an excuse to bash conservatives would advocate for US labor law to be changed to accommodate the above concept? Or would it be ((shudder)) discrimination??? Particularly when, as we all realize, JPII was not talking about situations with unmarried heterosexual couples or (pseudo “married” or unmarried) homosexual couples.

The problem that Krason does not address head-on with this piece is the problem of materialism. Materialism infects both the socialist and the liberal, both rich and poor. The dangers should be fairly apparent with the liberal and the wealthy, but this is also a major concern with the socialist and the poor, as well. John XXIII stated, in Mater et Magistra, 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. (bolding mine)

This materialism, referenced in John XXIII, is something continually neglected by those who advocate government programs as an answer to the question “but what about the poor”. The socialist advocates long-term transfers that will keep them dependent. The liberal advocates them fending for themselves. The conservative wants to help them to have the economic capacity so that they will no longer be poor.

Because the fact that the fundamental root cause was neglected in his piece, I tend to believe that Krason “missed it” with his article.

Please don’t waste anybody’s time by re-asserting that the individual making the claims is a ***professor ***at Steubenville. I don’t think anybody here is foolish enough to fall for an “Ipse dixit” fallacy. If you would like to discuss the merits of his argument, that’s one thing. But asserting that the argument is correct just because a ***professor ***at Steubenville made those arguments is fallacious…unless you can substantiate that he is infallible. I would doubt that he, himself, would assert that he was elected to fill the chair of Peter.


#17

I think the problem is that it is extremely easy for westerners to have a materialist, Enlightenment view. As another poster points out, both US liberalism and US conservatism are based on the so-called Enlightenment and thus any relation to Catholic thinking is coincidental.

For example, US liberals as they are now look for equality of outcome and a pragmatic maximization of happiness in society under their all-knowing guidance. They give the wrong kind of help to the poor (one *huge *disaster was to give welfare to women who were not married, thus forcing families in need to split up in order to receive benefits); they disregard the spiritual aspect of man and advocate social acceptance or even support of sin; and they seek to centralize everything so that everyone ends up the same.

US conservatives are no longer what would have been recognized as conservative a few decades ago, but even back then, conservatism had a strong “Enlightenment” base. Conservatism as it stands now is somewhat closer to Christian/Catholic principles as it does realize the bad effect, at least on society, of the breakdown of the family. There was tension between the libertarian ideal and the social-stability ideal, tho, and they have actually allowed the family to break down a lot before trying to put on the brakes.

The strongly conservative want to dismantle the social safety net because they do not understand that it *is *incumbent on society to watch out for the poor. This is a jumbled-up problem in that the safety-net was provided, before the Protestant Revolt, by the Church through monasteries, etc. When the Protestant rulers took the Church’s property, they took the safety net, so since then we have looked to the government to provide this, which in a multi-religion society is about the only institution we have that can deliver that, but it is not at all an ideal situation.

The reality is that in order to look at how our society works in a *truly *Catholic way, we must get away from “Enlightenment” thinking altogether. We must think as Christians rather than as materialists who want to act independently of the rules God has set forth. While the liberal may look Christian in their desire to help the poor, and the conservatives in their desire to maintain social stability, the underlying foundation of their thinking is wrong and so they tend to make a lot of mistakes in the implementation.


#18

Liberal Catholics helped elect this current immoral regime which never hid its pro-abortion position and which now threatens everyone's freedom.

At what point does willful political naivete become criminal negligence?

What of the hypocrisy of an organization that spits on patriotism time and again, yet now that their money is threatened, desperately waves the flag at us?

Liberal policies fail to help the poor. Conservatism is in no way at odds with Catholicism and I am not only tired of the lies told about conservatism but would never have knowingly joined any Marxist organization.

This particular blogger nails it.


#19

I think that this article is really about the polarization of American politics and Catholics making the case that one party or another is "the Catholic party". Both American political parties are in the business of gaining and keeping political power-NEITHER of them is working towards the building up of the Kingdom of God. As either party can use Catholics to get that power they crave without having to actually do too much, they're going to do it.

As I said upthread, no American Catholic was issued a membership card for a political party on the day of their baptism. There are many here and in other places who act as if they were and that is a distressing trend. It leads to people who will vote blindly for party no matter what those in that party actually DO that supports Catholic teaching.


#20

[quote="Bartolome_Casas, post:1, topic:289473"]
skrason.wordpress.com/ [His blog is titled [COLOR="Red"]"Neither Left nor Right, but Catholic."

[/quote]

]

Instead of laissez faire, conservatives should embrace something like economic populism.

Well obviously Catholics can't fully embrace the left or the right. :thumbsup:

But conservatives shouldn't embrace something like economic populism. Populism=economically liberal. They would no longer be conservative, but supporting a bigger government.

I'd advocate the social market economy, or something similar. :thumbsup:


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