April 16, 2012

Paul Ryan invokes the Catholic "principle of subsidiarity" in support of small-government politics.

NPR reports, noting something Ryan said on the Christian Broadcasting Network:
"Through our civic organizations, through our churches, through our charities — through all of our different groups where we interact with people as a community — that's how we advance the common good," Ryan said.
NPR gets a counterpoint from a polisci prof at Catholic University:
But Stephen Schneck... says he thinks Ryan is "completely missing the boat and not understanding the real heart, the real core, of Catholic social teaching."

Schneck says Catholicism sees everyone as part of a mystical body, serving one another. True, the New Testament does not specifically speak to the government's role. "But charities and individuals and churches can't do it all," Schneck says. "When charities are already stretched to their limit, Catholic social teaching expects the state to step up and to fill that gap."
I'm no expert on Catholic doctrine, but it seems to me that the key difference is whether you want individuals and relatively small associations of individuals to experience the inward motivations and choices to be charitable in giving and ministering to others, or whether you want a rational, overarching system that determines what everyone must give and what everyone ought to receive. In the second view, you care more about meeting all the needs, and you don't depend on the various individuals deciding to be good. In the first view, the needs create opportunities and tests for everyone to notice and to care enough to do something, to give. If you set up a governmental structure to deal with those needs, then everyone can move on and assume needs are being met, the experts will tweak the structure and get the taxing and spending something reasonably close to right.

So, now can you figure out how Jesus wants you to vote?

217 comments:

1 – 200 of 217   Newer›   Newest»
Scott M said...

So, now can you figure out how Jesus wants you to vote?

Ask Him. It's pretty simple.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

If Jesus doesn't want us to vote Democrat, why does he raise so many of the dead on election day?

RonF said...

Jesus's human form was a subject of the Roman Empire, whose government held immense power over it's subjects. Jesus spent a good deal of his time talking to authority figures. He also spent a good deal of time telling people how they should relate to each other and meet their needs. Yet all I ever see Him saying on the topic was to tell people to take care of each other. If Jesus thought that government should take up the task of caring for people and meeting their needs, how come he never said so? The Roman Empire was certainly powerful enough. It collected taxes, and it's authority (at least where He lived) was absolute. It wouldn't have to had to put such a thing to a vote. But even when He was directly questioned by a representative of the Empire who was ready to send Him to his death, and even when authority figures asked him about paying taxes, He never said such a thing.

So when leftists (most of whom don't go to church) try to tell you how Jesus would have approved and pushed for the modern welfare state, point out to them that He never did such a thing when he had the chance and ask them to show you where He did.

Mitchell said...

One need only open one's heart to see the face of Jesus reflected by a thousand points of light.

edutcher said...

The Lefties want you to believe "Render unto Caesar" means let the government do it and give them what they want in order to do it, but a closer look indicates Christ wanted us to do it out of the goodness of our hearts as much one to one as possible.

I don't know His political affiliation, but He probably votes the man.

Or the woman, if applicable.

wyo sis said...

I think Jesus wants us to choose for ourselves, and then act upon those choices and accept the consequences. You can't do that without political freedom, so to that extent Jesus might be political. So, by that description He must be conservative?

AJ Lynch said...

Polisci prof? Couldn't NPR find a religion prof at Catholic University to comment on Catholic faith?

Rumpletweezer said...

Charity is a two-way street. The person who receives charity knows where the charity comes from...and should be grateful. If the person receiving charity misuses that charity, the charity will be withdrawn.

There is no real connection between the person getting government benefits and the people paying for it. The person getting government benefits may misuse those all he wants. There's no penalty or threat that the benefits will be withdrawn.

William said...

There's an excellent chance that Paul Ryan will be Romney's VP choice. I expect to see more articles analyzing how Ryan completely misunderstands all the the tenets of Christianity and how his true beliefs are more far more typical of Fascism than Catholicism. Investigatve journalists will look up his college girls friends and reveal that this smarmy hypocrite sometimes used condoms in violation of Church rules.

rhhardin said...

"Why do we always have the poor?"

"So we are not damned."

If a call for help doesn't address you, is has no moral value.

It's the addressing that for the first time makes you you, unique and irreplaceable.

Which is what corresponds to being saved.

The government version has no moral value. If anything, it's to keep you from being addressed at all, a moral call that's too much for the left to deal with. The government is there to prevent it from happening.

I take no responsiblity for the idiot Catholic version of this. They like power too much.

For Augustine, charity was thinking the best of somebody instead of the worst. That also has saving power, which is always what's lost in the modern institutional versions.

pduggie said...

Is catholic social teaching dependent on the whole cloth of catholic teaching?

Like, "government should provide social security and health care"

But Catholics "beleive" in large families and no birth control, so a growing population. So when the population is not adequately growing to PAY for all the social insurances, is there still a teaching the the government must stay the course?

Synova said...

I thought that the N T was clear that charity was a matter of personal intent. Or else why praise the widow who gives 2 mites? No way her mites did anyone any actual good, after all. What was important was that she did what she could.

Also, complaining that churches are short of funds in this economy so that government must do more willfully ignores that all of the money comes from the exact same place. Out of the same pool. An actual legitimate case of a single pie.

Even in booming economies rational people understand that when they've paid their taxes they've done their shave, if they wanted to or not.

Tank said...

AJ Lynch said...
Polisci prof? Couldn't NPR find a religion prof at Catholic University to comment on Catholic faith?


Maybe they couldn't find one who would say the "right" thing.

The Drill SGT said...

Seems to me the PoliSci guy is the one mssing the point. I'm not Catholic, or religious, but I suspect the underlying logic is this.

Voluntary Charitable giving does two things.

1. it rescues the bodies of the needy, thus affirming the Church's respect for life in all facets

2. it (helps) rescue(s) the souls of the givers. Making charity into taxes through government defeats the second facet of giving. The giver must recognize the need, feel with the needy, and make a personal sacrafice. That it must be voluntary to save souls.

Scott M said...

Even in booming economies rational people understand that when they've paid their taxes they've done their shave, if they wanted to or not.

From each according to his five-o'clock shadow, to each according to her legs?

SGT Ted said...

Funny how it's always cool to Govern by Religion when it supports wealth redistribution or any other left/progg policy.

It almost like they don't really take the Constitution seriously, but as merely a means to an end.

The Drill SGT said...

rhhardin and Synova beat me to much the same point.

It's obvious to us. Me thinks the Professor is a lot more Poli Sci, than Catholic

Quayle said...

"But charities and individuals and churches can't do it all," Schneck says. "When charities are already stretched to their limit, Catholic social teaching expects the state to step up and to fill that gap."

In other words, the church and the body of Christ are insufficient.

A clear statement of lack of faith in God and Christ if I ever read one.

Being unable to elevate through preaching, the faith and conscience of the people to care for the poor voluntarily, his next try is to use the absolute power of the state to enforce righteousness.

(Well, upon further thought as I type, I guess that is what the Catholic Church has been doing for many previous hundreds of years.)

Dante said...

I would think Jesus would want charity to come from the heart, and not from the sword. That's for a different religion.

I also think Jesus would like people to experience the uplifting feeling of really helping others, not merely being forced to provide money to a faceless bureaucracy that has never helped people to become self sustaining. Not to mention, the one size fits all approach certainly doesn't.

In any event, Ann, perhaps you think Christians who are forced to give money consumed by others will pave the ways to the pearly gates, or should. I don't see it that way. So in my view, government has a hand in destroying compassion.

LarryK said...

I don't think we should outsource our charitable impulses to the government. Virtue isn't truly virtuous unless it is freely chosen. Government programs give people the illusion that they are acting virtuously, when all they're really doing in spending other people's money rather than their own.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Charity is when I look into my wallet, pantry, heart and give freely to someone in order to help.

When you reach into my wallet and decide to take from me to give to others who I would not willingly give to....that is theft.

AJ Lynch said...

Tank:

I just googled Prof. Schneck and saw he wrote an OPED in 2011 where he called Ryan's 2012 budget immoral. So you are right - NPR got what they wanted from him.

Pogo said...

That Jesus was a socialist is dogma for liberation theologists and many American Catholics.

Its origin is the same poisonous soup of utopian collectivism that afflicted the entire world from the 1800s through the present day.

But in 1891, Pope Leo XIII severely criticized Western market systems, but condemned socialism as futile and unjust.

"The Socialists … in endeavoring to transfer the possessions of individuals to the community, strike at the interests of every wage earner, for they deprive him of the liberty of disposing of his wages, and thus of all hope and possibility of increasing his stock and of bettering his conditions in life.

What is of still greater importance, however, is that the remedy they propose is manifestly against justice, for every man has by nature the right to possess property as his own. This is one of the chief points of distinction between man and the animal creation.

The Socialists, therefore, in setting aside the parent and introducing the providence of the State, act against natural justice, and threaten the very existence of family life. And such interference is not only unjust but is quite certain to harass and disturb all classes of citizens and to subject them to odious and intolerable slavery.

It would open the door to envy, to evilspeaking, and to quarreling; the sources of wealth would themselves run dry, for no one would have any interest in exerting his talents or industry; and that ideal equality of which so much is said would, in reality, be the leveling down of all to the same condition of misery and dishonor.

Thus it is clear that the main tenet of Socialism, the community of goods, must be utterly rejected; for it would injure those whom it is intended to benefit, it would be contrary to the natural rights of mankind, and it would introduce confusion and disorder into the commonwealth.
"

Bruce Hayden said...

So, now can you figure out how Jesus wants you to vote?

Let me suggest some metrics:
- who attends church more frequently?
- who contributes more to their churches (etc.)?
- who contributes more to charities in general?
- who volunteers more often?

And, then maybe ask whether Jesus would think that these were good things to do.

Michael Haz said...

NPR asked a poli sci prof about Cahtolic theology? Or did they ask a number of people until thye got the answere that they wanted?

My advice to NPR - if you have a question regarding Catholic theology, ask Cardinal Timothy Dolan. He's very accessible.

Asking a lefty poli sci prof a question about Catholic theology is like asking the PLO a question about the Torah.

Paddy O said...

I'm not Catholic, so I can't speak to what Catholic Social teaching is, however it seems to me that the polisci prof is imposing upon the New Testament teaching his own political assumptions (is there any doubt which way he votes).

That being said, there is an important issue at hand here with general Christian teaching on social issues in comparison to other religions.

For some approaches, the emphasis on social involvement is on the giver, whether the giver be the system or the person, charity reflects upon those that give and gives them a spiritual boost. The poor, then, serve a function in society as a target for the beneficence of the religious wealthy.

I would argue that this is how much politically liberal approaches to government work. The priority is on sustaining the government in its power as a source of help. Whether or not, or how much, the poor are actually helped is a secondary matter. What matters is securing the societal role of government as benefactor, thus securing positions and power for those who may genuinely find their own identity through their identity as a person who helps others. Again, though, this emphasis is egocentric, focusing on the giver.

In Christian terms, I would argue, the emphasis is not on the giver but on the recipient. Here we have the example of Acts 3:1-9, where a lame man was functioning in a role where he and the religious both would gain through the perpetuation of his handicap. The question at hand is not who helps or how, but if the person is actually helped - are their needs genuinely being met so that they no longer have those same needs.

Inasmuch as a person is thus helped by the government, I think there is definitely a role for government.

However, in our contexts, and historically, the role of government as the primary caregiver is so susceptible to corruption that this should never, and can never, be a wholly Christian answer, as corruption always will then perpetuate the very needs which it may nominally be addressing.

The poor, when government is in charge, must be kept poor in order to sustain the role of government in helping the poor. Charity becomes a path to power, in which the needy and the wealthy play set roles. Now a man who was lame from birth was being carried to the temple gate called Beautiful, where he was put every day to beg from those going into the temple courts.

The Christian social ethic is to give water to the thirsty, to clothe the naked, to, in general, provide substantive help in particular situations. This ethic is about, in essence, responsibility, not passing off responsibility to others.

This is where there is an overlap of liberal and conservative responses to government and why, I think, both are needed to help orient a path that argues for both government involvement in coordination with each person's responsibility to help and to receive help in a way that leads out of the crisis.

Instead of asking "who helps", the Christian, I think, needs to ask "are they helped?"

Then Peter said, “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.”

Pogo said...

More Pope Leo XIII(cf 'Rerum Novarum')

"To remedy these evils, the Socialists, working on the poor man’s envy of the rich, endeavor to destroy private property, and maintain that individual possessions should become the common property of all, to be administered by the State or by municipal bodies.

They hold that, by thus transferring property from private persons to the community, the present evil state of things will be set to rights, because each citizen will then have his equal share of whatever there is to enjoy. But their proposals are so clearly futile, for all practical purposes, that if they were carried out the working man himself would be among the first to suffer.

Moreover, they are emphatically unjust, because they would rob the lawful possessor, bring the State into a sphere that is not its own, and cause complete confusion in the community
"

ricpic said...

I can't do it, I can't make that leap to think of myself as part of the "mystical body" that includes Mike Tyson. I'm just not that stupid, lefty professor. But many are, as you well know, you horrible con artist.

Rich B said...

"Schneck says Catholicism sees everyone as part of a mystical body, serving one another." The Church sees its members as part of the mystical body of Christ. Schneck's statement is just confused hand waving.

edutcher said...

Bruce Hayden said...

So, now can you figure out how Jesus wants you to vote?

Let me suggest some metrics:
- who attends church more frequently?
- who contributes more to their churches (etc.)?
- who contributes more to charities in general?


That last one lets Joe Biden out.

Quayle said...

Caring for the poor is by design meant to be personal.

Christ said ALL the prophets and the law exist to strengthen the relationship between the person and God and the relationship between the person and his neighbor.

But the government always seeks to get between two people and tax any exchange.

Parent to child with inheritance taxes.

Brother to brother with gift taxes.

Wage payer to wage earner with payroll taxes.

They have figured out how to stand between almost every exchange and take their slice.

And the sheep's clothing in which they dress is called "helping the poor" and "making things fair."

Alex said...

Ryan is barking up the wrong tree, he should look to Ayn Rand instead of Jesus Christ. Come home Paul.

Alex said...

What is it someone said about "give a man a fish and you feed him for a day, teach him how to fish and you feed him for a lifetime"? That seems to be lost on the liberals. Handout mentality makes them feel good in the moment.

Triangle Man said...

American greatness can only be maintained (or restored if you with) with the participation of the federal government. There are essential functions of government that cannot be replaced by private industry or charity. The push toward small government comes at the expense of the greatness of the United States of America.

Peter said...

An essential difference between private charity and government "charity" is that private charity often makes demands on the recipients, yet government "charity" is often an entitlement.

Thus, if you want to stay at a Salvation Army homeless shelter you not only must listen respectfully to the preaching, but you must remain drug and alcohol free, you must keep your personal space clean and tidy, and often you will be asked to do odd jobs around the Shelter.

In the government-run homeless shelter, nothing is asked of you except perhaps that you try real hard to refrain from violence.

If I were down-and-out, I'd far prefer to sleep in a Salvation Army shelter.

Quayle said...

"give a man a fish and you feed him for a day, teach him how to fish and you feed him for a lifetime"?

But Christ's seems to point to a way even higher than that.

His example seems to suggest:

"When you need money, find a fish and you can get a coin out of his mouth, so let's all stop fixating on cash and get out there and take care of people in all ways with our whole heart, not just by throwing a money at them."

Peter said...

Aside from that, government "charity" tends to crowd out private charity- once you know that government is taking care of something (however badly) and realize that you're being taxed to pay for it, you tend to develop an "I gave at the office" attitude toward private providers.

Pogo said...

Pope John Paul II, like Leo, criticized both socialism and capitalism:

The Catholic Church "has always refused and still refuses today to make the market the supreme regulator or almost the model or synthesis of social life."

Besides, Catholic social doctrine is not a surrogate for capitalism. In fact, although decisively condemning “socialism,” the church, since Leo XIII’s Rerum Novarum, has always distanced itself from capitalistic ideology, holding it responsible for grave social injustices (cf. Rerum Novarum, 2). In Quadragesimo Anno Pius XI, for his part, used clear and strong words to stigmatize the international imperialism of money (Quadragesimo Anno, 109).

This line is also confirmed in the more recent magisterium, and I myself, after the historical failure of communism, did not hesitate to raise serious doubts on the validity of capitalism, if by this expression one means not simply the “market economy” but “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” (Centesimus Annus, 42).
"

That is, it's very complicated, and NPR and their spokesmaodel for Christian socialism are wrong.
.

ricpic said...

The push toward small government comes at the expense of the greatness of the United States of America.

Translation: The greater the theft the greater the country.

MaggotAtBroad&Wall said...

It's my experience that smaller associations rise to the occasion when necessary.

I grew up on a farm just outside of a town that had a population of about 1200 people. My Dad died of cancer in 1987, just before the fall harvest. I had already graduated college and took a job that required me to move to the east coast from the midwest. When I came back for the funeral, I was prepared to resign my job and move back to complete the harvest. But several local farmers voluntarily approached our family and gave their word they'd make sure the crop was harvested. They honored their word and never asked for a penny in return.

A couple of years before my father's death -- before he knew he was sick -- he installed a big wood burning furnace in the basement. He'd go to the woods to cut and split wood with a small group of others who also relied on wood heat. A couple of guys would run the chain saws, a couple of others would run the hydraulic splitters, and a couple more would load the split wood into the pickups. After my dad died, for the next two years until my mother found a more suitable place to live, they made sure my mother had plenty of wood to stay warm. Again, total charity on their part.

Fast forward 22 years. One of those farmers who had come to my mother's aid died in Sept., 2009. He had a decent sized dairy operation, with a couple of employees who probably could have handled things. But the community came together and made sure the cows were milked, fed, and cared for until the widow could make whatever arrangements she needed to. The farmer also had a row crop operation, and they made sure the corn and soybeans were harvested as well.

My niece continues to live in the community with her husband. After she gave birth to quads, the outpouring from the community was amazing. She had a bedroom in her house literally crammed full, mostly with diapers, but also clothing, blankets, and all types of baby paraphernalia voluntarily contributed by the community. Someone even sent them 5 $100 bills anonymously.

I can't tell you how often over the years they have held fundraisers for someone whose house accidentally burned, or someone who is out of work because of illness or accident. It's just what they do. It's the norm, not the exception.

This kind of charity is alive and well in many small, rural communities where everyone knows everyone. I doubt it works in today's highly mobile society where people often don't put down secure roots and may not even know their next door neighbor.

YoungHegelian said...

The I.R.S. plays a starring role in the Mystical Body?

I mean, why was I not told?

Quayle said...

The push toward small government comes at the expense of the greatness of the United States of America.

How about the push towards smaller federal government, with an increase in the power of state and local governments?

Does it make sense to care for the poor by sending a dollar to Washington DC so 70 cents can come right back into the same zip code from which you sent the dollar?

That's called rent seeking, isn't it?

Freder Frederson said...

Polisci prof? Couldn't NPR find a religion prof at Catholic University to comment on Catholic faith?

Why don't you do a quick search before questioning who NPR chose to interview? Because when you find out who Schenk is you look like an idiot.

"Appointed as Director of the Institute for Policy Research & Catholic Studies in 2005, Stephen F. Schneck comes to the Institute from an academic career in political science. He served as chair of the Department of Politics at The Catholic University of America for nine years and as Associate Professor in that department for fourteen years. . . .[R]ecent work has focused on the role of religion in democracy. "

Quayle said...

Good stuff Maggot.

Happens all the time.

And we probably shouldn't broadcast it because Washington will either tax it or ban it.

Bender said...

This is all you need to know here -- Schneck is a political hack.

His politics dictate his Catholicism, rather than the Catholic faith informing his politics. He, and many "progressive Catholics" like him (go over to the dotcommonweal blog for daily examples) constantly twist and distort and misrepresent and misapply Church teachings to justify their leftist ideology.

Simply because Schneck teaches at CUA is no guarantee of his bona fides. Charlie Curran taught there for years.

Hagar said...

The Roman Catholic Church is a hierarchical organization.

YoungHegelian said...

@Freder,

A sociologist of religion is not a Catholic theologian.

He may know his theology quite well (as do many on this forum), but that does not equip him to speak for the RC Church in any role but as a layman's opnion.

Sorry, NPR should have gotten a bishop or a theologian.

Quayle said...

Why don't you do a quick search before questioning who NPR chose to interview? Because when you find out who Schenk is you look like an idiot.

So what you showed us is that he came toward the church from the Academy.

So who is the source of spiritual truth?

The academy?

Tobias said...

"Force is never friendly" and charity ceases to be charity if it is coerced, by state or religion.

Bender said...

Stephen Schneck --
In truth, nothing in Catholic social teachings, including the ethic of subsidiarity, requires that America’s moral responsibility to the care for the unborn, the poor, or other vulnerable populations be addressed at one or another level, whether by national government, state governments, private enterprise, voluntary associations, or anything else.

Again, Schneck concedes, in his own words, that, in truth, nothing in Catholic social teachings requires that America’s moral responsibility be addressed by national government [or] state governments.

In other words, those who say that the U.S. federal government is not the answer does NOT violate Catholic social teaching. Such that, a congressman (or Speaker of the House, since Schneck similarly engaged in a partisan attack on Boehner when he came to speak at CUA) does NOT act contrary to Catholic social teaching to suggest that public assistance is best served at state or local level, or better yet, at the level of the individual (c.f. Caritas in Veritate 11, 34, 53; Deus Caritas Est 28 et seq.).

Bender said...

Schneck is not a sociologist, he is not a theologian. He is a political science professor who is actively engaged in Democrat Party politics. Moreover, in recent years he has become an insufferable self-promoter, holding himself out to be an authority on things he knows little about (e.g. Catholic social doctrine).

leslyn said...

Well then. Since both the Catholic expert and Ryan have told us what Catholics should do, let's just put all the responsiblity on the Catholics.

Oh, that's right, it's only Ryan who says that charities should advance "the common good."

BTW, has Ryan released a tax form lately? I just wondered how much his charitable deduction was.

TosaGuy said...

Giving of your time, means and yourself voluntarily is charity.

Handing those things over by government fiat is not.

I'm Catholic and while not up on every aspect of the religion, I do know that rendering taxes to the gov't does not replace a person's personal responsibility to help their fellow man. Nor does advocating for higher taxes and more gov't programs mean that a Catholic has lived up their their personal responsibility to help others.

Taking from other people is not a valid form of charitible contribution in any sense of the word.

YoungHegelian said...

@Bender,

....he has become an insufferable self-promoter

I think I've got this figured out!

Why did NPR talk to Schneck? I mean, guys, it ain't that difficult to find a Catholic theologian or high clergyman that's sympathetic to the Social Gospel. It's almost default setting.

And then Bender said that piece about "self-promotion" and it hit me --- NPR based its story around a press release by Schneck on the subject of Ryan's budget! The whole story smells of press release journalism.

I'll bet dollars to donuts that's what happened!

Freder Frederson said...

That is, it's very complicated, and NPR and their spokesmaodel for Christian socialism are wrong.

So you quote something that supports what Schneck says but somehow come to the opposite conclusion.

Trashhauler said...

The essence of a moral action is the exercise of the will to perform a good deed. Charity is a moral act when it is voluntary. Forced contribution through the government is not charity. There is no moral quality to mandatory giving.

craiglandrith said...

To paraphrase Dickens' Scrooge, "Are there no poor houses"..prettry sure Jesus would want our souls saved, which means individual giving. Not the government's soul less, Ceasar's tax.

Freder Frederson said...

Taking from other people is not a valid form of charitible contribution in any sense of the word.

You're completely missing the point. The point is that the Catholic Church believes that both the church and state are responsible for ensuring that the least among us does not suffer unduly because of the vagaries of capitalism.

This is a longstanding Catholic Doctrine. Paul Ryan is simply an idiot, and if he is Catholic, a bad one.

Freder Frederson said...

So what you showed us is that he came toward the church from the Academy.

What I showed you is that his special area of study is exactly the subject of the issue at hand.

Alex said...

Freder - I couldn't care less about what the Church says. They are just as fascistic as the left.

Tim said...

"So you quote something that supports what Schneck says but somehow come to the opposite conclusion."

He did no such thing.

Pogo can defend himself quite ably; but why are you compelled to misrepresent, twist and distort what people say?

Why is it your political values rely upon lies and deceit?

Instead of wasting everyone's time with your lies, why don't you find the authoritative Catholic Social Justice teaching that supports Schenck's point?

An exercise in seeking truth will likely prove fruitless for you, but you should try it, if only to prove to the rest of us that you are, on at least occasion, willing to own up to the truth.

Tim said...

"This is a longstanding Catholic Doctrine. Paul Ryan is simply an idiot, and if he is Catholic, a bad one."

Citation, please?

YoungHegelian said...

@Freder,

The point is that the Catholic Church believes that both the church and state are responsible for ensuring that the least among us does not suffer unduly because of the vagaries of capitalism.

What Trashhauler said.

You, too, miss the point. A Catholic, as part of a multi-religious polity has a moral obligation to pay taxes to that polity. But that moral & legal obligation is not one of charity! The State must be supported in all its functions, e.g. defense, charitable welfare, etc.

Here's a question to any non-Catholic who supports the Social Gospel: Why is it licit to use moral obligations derived from revelation in support of State-enforced charity, but illicit to use that same system of revelation to oppose legal abortion?

If religion should stay out of politics, it should stay of politics. Right?

Tim said...

"This is a longstanding Catholic Doctrine."

Freder's authoritative citation is probably in the same place has the list of critical distinctions between "Progressives" and Communists.

Tim said...

"This is a longstanding Catholic Doctrine."

Freder Frederson is simply a liar, and if he is Catholic, a bad one.

Still waiting for the authoritative Catholic citation.

Surely a good Catholic would have one, ready to go?

bearing said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
bearing said...

Here is the official citation of Catholic doctrine.

http://www.scborromeo.org/ccc/p3s1c2a1.htm

The term "subsidiarity" appears first in paragraph 1883.

Unknown said...

But Ann, you did say a "rational" system. In what way is the federal government rational? You would have to assume that all of its multitude of agencies are benevolent, efficient and effective in deciding how to use the money allotted. And you would have to assume that there is sufficient oversight of the budget, and that all of the players are wise and humble and diligent and forward thinking and not at all self-seeking, and... and... and... As one fellow put it, today I sent in my much larger than usual check to the United States Government without knowing where it will go or how much good or harm it will do.

AJ Lynch said...

Fuck you Freder- I did read his backgound before I made that comment. Why don't you read his OPED from July 2011 to see if NPR got they response they wanted.

bbkingfish said...

Lyin' Ryan's intellectual guru is Ayn Rand, an unabashed atheist.

His political party espouses a flexible brand of "Christian" theology that has no problem embracing the so-called prosperity gospels.

It is not surprising, then, that this feral political opportunist would turn the philosophers of the centuries on their heads in service of tax cuts for his wealthy benefactors, and increased debt service for future generations.

t-man said...

From my perspective, I think mixing Christ's actions with government policy should result in "free" (government provided), unlimited wine (of the best quality) at all wedding receptions.

Tim said...

"1883 Socialization also presents dangers. Excessive intervention by the state can threaten personal freedom and initiative. The teaching of the Church has elaborated the principle of subsidiarity, according to which "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 co- ordinate its activity with the activities of the rest of society, always with a view to the common good."7"

So, in short (and not surprisingly), Schenck and Frederson have it exactly backwards; Ryan is correct, after all.

As if that wasn't the safe, predictable bet.

Tim said...

"It is not surprising, then, that this feral political opportunist would turn the philosophers of the centuries on their heads in service of tax cuts for his wealthy benefactors, and increased debt service for future generations."

No, not surprising at all. Centralized government, in command of all that is known and imaginable, is their God.

All must bow down to the craven image of the central government.

Freder Frederson said...

But Ann, you did say a "rational" system. In what way is the federal government rational?

Your standard for what constitutes a "rational system", sets the bar so high, there probably isn't one in the entire world.

Please give us an example of a rational system that fits your criteria.

Freder Frederson said...

Freder Frederson is simply a liar, and if he is Catholic, a bad one.

Actually, I am Presbyterian (and Episcopalian if you accept that church's position that you simply can't quit it).

Pragmatist said...

How about leaving Jesus in the Church and voting based on old fashioned civics. We do not need to be ruled by the Pope.

Freder Frederson said...

So, in short (and not surprisingly), Schenck and Frederson have it exactly backwards; Ryan is correct, after all.

How so?

Tim said...

"Actually, I am Presbyterian..."

Even better.

So, either you were 1) lying or; 2) ignorant; but neither stopped you from making shit up.

Par for the course.

And completely unpersuasive.

Freder Frederson said...

Fuck you Freder- I did read his backgound before I made that comment.

Same to you. You disparaged his qualifications. You may not agree with him but he has apparently spent a hell of a lot more time studying this issue than you have.

Tim said...

"How so?"

You don't do so well on reading comprehension tests, do you?

Do you teach in a public school system, perchance?

Read it, and re-read it, until you suss out the underlying logic.

It isn't that hard.

It's meant to be understood by anyone with generally normal intelligence.

Tim said...

"How so?"

Or, if you cannot comprehend it for its meaning, do the alternative:

Provide an authoritative Catholic citation that supports you and Schenck's point.

Bender said...

This is the authoritative Catholic teaching --
Caritas in veritate
1. Charity in truth, to which Jesus Christ bore witness by his earthly life and especially by his death and resurrection, is the principal driving force behind the authentic development of every person and of all humanity. . . .

2. Charity is at the heart of the Church's social doctrine. Every responsibility and every commitment spelt out by that doctrine is derived from charity which, according to the teaching of Jesus, is the synthesis of the entire Law (cf. Mt 22:36-40). . . .

The Church does not have technical solutions to offer and does not claim “to interfere in any way in the politics of States.” She does, however, have a mission of truth to accomplish, in every time and circumstance, for a society that is attuned to man, to his dignity, to his vocation [to love in truth]. . . .

11. Man does not develop through his own powers, nor can development simply be handed to him. In the course of history, it was often maintained that the creation of institutions was sufficient to guarantee the fulfilment of humanity's right to development. Unfortunately, too much confidence was placed in those institutions, as if they were able to deliver the desired objective automatically. In reality, institutions by themselves are not enough, because integral human development is primarily a vocation*, and therefore it involves a free assumption of responsibility in solidarity on the part of everyone. Moreover, such development requires a transcendent vision of the person, it needs God: without him, development is either denied, or entrusted exclusively to man, who falls into the trap of thinking he can bring about his own salvation, and ends up promoting a dehumanized form of development. . . .

16. To regard development as a vocation is to recognize, on the one hand, that it derives from a transcendent call, and on the other hand that it is incapable, on its own, of supplying its ultimate meaning. . . .

17. A vocation is a call that requires a free and responsible answer. Integral human development presupposes the responsible freedom of the individual and of peoples: no structure can guarantee this development over and above human responsibility. . . . Paul VI had a keen sense of the importance of economic structures and institutions, but he had an equally clear sense of their nature as instruments of human freedom. Only when it is free can development be integrally human; only in a climate of responsible freedom can it grow in a satisfactory manner.

18. Besides requiring freedom, integral human development as a vocation also demands respect for its truth.


*Catholic teaching has always recognized that the universal "vocation" of every person is to love one another in truth.

Methadras said...

Jeez, I wonder how this country got along during the great depression with so much government assistance? Oh wait, guess who really helped out the american people during those hard times.

Methadras said...

rhhardin said...

The government version has no moral value. If anything, it's to keep you from being addressed at all, a moral call that's too much for the left to deal with. The government is there to prevent it from happening.


Which is why Political Correctness is inherently evil. It canvasses language, thought, and intent as a moraless abstract that carries little to no value. In effect it devalues that which it claims it tries to help, us. And in doing so devalues us and when we are devalued, we are in effect no better than cattle to be herded where they tell us to go.

Bender said...

More from Caritas in Veritate --

34. Charity in truth places man before the astonishing experience of gift. . . . The human being is made for gift . . .

38. Solidarity is first and foremost a sense of responsibility on the part of everyone with regard to everyone, and it cannot therefore be merely delegated to the State. While in the past it was possible to argue that justice had to come first and gratuitousness could follow afterwards, as a complement, today it is clear that without gratuitousness, there can be no justice in the first place. What is needed, therefore, is a market that permits the free operation, in conditions of equal opportunity, of enterprises in pursuit of different institutional ends. Alongside profit-oriented private enterprise and the various types of public enterprise, there must be room for commercial entities based on mutualist principles and pursuing social ends to take root and express themselves. It is from their reciprocal encounter in the marketplace that one may expect hybrid forms of commercial behaviour to emerge, and hence an attentiveness to ways of civilizing the economy. . . .

57. A particular manifestation of charity and a guiding criterion for fraternal cooperation between believers and non-believers is undoubtedly the principle of subsidiarity, an expression of inalienable human freedom. Subsidiarity is first and foremost a form of assistance to the human person via the autonomy of intermediate bodies. Such assistance is offered when individuals or groups are unable to accomplish something on their own, and it is always designed to achieve their emancipation, because it fosters freedom and participation through assumption of responsibility. Subsidiarity respects personal dignity . . .

In order not to produce a dangerous universal power of a tyrannical nature, the governance of globalization must be marked by subsidiarity, articulated into several layers and involving different levels that can work together. . . .

58. The principle of subsidiarity must remain closely linked to the principle of solidarity and vice versa, since the former without the latter gives way to social privatism, while the latter without the former gives way to paternalist social assistance that is demeaning to those in need. . . .

AJ Lynch said...

I disparaged NPR's opting to select him as a good spokeman for religion- his focus is polisci. is it not? And based on his OPED in 2011, his rejection of the Ryan plan was predictable.

Bender said...

In addition, there is this from Pope Benedict in Deus Caritas Est, concerning the role of government --

28. Love—caritas—will always prove necessary, even in the most just society. There is no ordering of the State so just that it can eliminate the need for a service of love. Whoever wants to eliminate love is preparing to eliminate man as such. There will always be suffering which cries out for consolation and help. There will always be loneliness. There will always be situations of material need where help in the form of concrete love of neighbour is indispensable.[20] The State which would provide everything, absorbing everything into itself, would ultimately become a mere bureaucracy incapable of guaranteeing the very thing which the suffering person—every person—needs: namely, loving personal concern. We do not need a State which regulates and controls everything, but a State which, in accordance with the principle of subsidiarity, generously acknowledges and supports initiatives arising from the different social forces and combines spontaneity with closeness to those in need.

Trashhauler said...

"[T]he principle of subsidiarity, according to which 'a community of a higher order should not interfere in the internal life of a community of a lower order...'"

So, the principle of subdiarity evokes a kind of spiritual federalism, in which the higher authority does not interfere with the moral efforts of lower echelons of religious or social organizations. This would be in keeping with the idea that moral actions must be voluntary, that an involuntary mandate does not support the development of a vocation of charity.

Without any insults, it appears that Mr. Schenck is wrong.

Bender said...

the principle of subdiarity evokes a kind of spiritual federalism

Close. Very, very close. But not quite.

It is within "the spirit" of federalism, but it is not a kind of "spiritual federalism." Rather, it is a social "federalism."

Michael Haz said...

For puropses of cutting through the fog a bit:

10. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour's

Socialists and Progressives (I repeat myself here for clarity) covet what belongs to others, do they not? That would be contradictory to Catholic and Christian doctrine.

Bender said...

Yes, all too often it is envy and greed masquerading as justice.

Scott M said...

That would be contradictory to Catholic and Christian doctrine.

And Jewish, if you're quoting the Big Ten.

36fsfiend said...

And if Christians actually followed the words of Christ as recorded in Mark 10:17-25 would this be an issue?

damikesc said...

American greatness can only be maintained (or restored if you with) with the participation of the federal government. There are essential functions of government that cannot be replaced by private industry or charity. The push toward small government comes at the expense of the greatness of the United States of America.

So America is the greatest it's ever been right now?

Because the government is the biggest it's ever been in peace times now.

Kirk Parker said...

Bender,

"The State which would provide everything, absorbing everything into itself, would ultimately become a mere bureaucracy incapable of guaranteeing the very thing which the suffering person—every person—needs: namely, loving personal concern. We do not need a State which regulates and controls everything, but a State which, in accordance with the principle of subsidiarity, generously acknowledges and supports initiatives arising from the different social forces and combines spontaneity with closeness to those in need."

Awesome, thanks for quoting this. It looks like, once again, the Catholic Church has got itself a Pope that can really pope.

damikesc said...

BTW, has Ryan released a tax form lately? I just wondered how much his charitable deduction was.

Would it matter?

You're on board with noted skinflint Biden and long-term charitable non-entities the Obamas (who only started giving to charity very recently, in spite of having a lot of money).

Lyin' Ryan's intellectual guru is Ayn Rand, an unabashed atheist.

...and? I'm not sure how this is relevant. Are you saying the faithful cannot gain any enlightenment from atheists?

It is not surprising, then, that this feral political opportunist would turn the philosophers of the centuries on their heads in service of tax cuts for his wealthy benefactors, and increased debt service for future generations.

Where, exactly, do you think your preferred choices lead us to? A lack of debt?

Fr Martin Fox said...

A little late to the party, but here goes...

The polisci professor has a point: Catholic Social Teaching--including the principle of subsidiarity--does, indeed, recognize that at some point, government must act where private actors cannot meet a need.

But Rep. Ryan--who I hope doesn't get sidelined into the veep position--has a point when he emphasizes subsidiarity; because Catholic Social Teaching, including the principle of subsidiarity, do take into account how society, and times, change.

So how these principles work out is certainly different in, say, the 19th century and the 21st; and in a culture where most people are powerless and dispossessed, versus most people being remarkably empowered.

Our society--21st century USA--is a world in which the ordinary person is remarkably empowered; a world in which non-government actors are richer in resources, and enabled with knowledge and technology, to meet human needs as never before.

In short, the principle of subsidiarity is coming into its own. This is a point that presumably non-Catholic Glenn Reynolds might make in a different way with his "Army of Davids" theme.

This connects to a point that Blessed John Paul II made in Centesimus Annus: that the social-assistance state can actually impede social progress.

I understand skepticism about what Mr. Ryan's motives may be in making his argument; but even if he is being cynical, he may, nevertheless, have spoken the truth.

Downsizing government may well clear the way for a real flowering of private social improvement. And again, that may seem absurd to propose in past ages, but in our world? Not so absurd at all.

And, look at it this way: with government racing to plunge off the fiscal cliff, we may--before we know it--have no alternative.

Bender said...

It looks like, once again, the Catholic Church has got itself a Pope that can really pope

Say "Happy Birthday!" to him -- he's 85 today.

Rusty said...

Aaaand the polisci prof misses the whole meaning of charity.
Nothing surprising there.

Freder Frederson said...

Are you saying the faithful cannot gain any enlightenment from atheists?

Some atheists, certainly, but certainly not the specific Atheist Ayn Rand. Her philosophy rejecting altruism and glorifying selfishness are the antithesis of Catholicism.

Freder Frederson said...

Aaaand the polisci prof misses the whole meaning of charity.

He is not talking about charity, he is talking about whether the state has a role in providing social services that compliment private charity.

There is nothing that any of you quoted that asserts that the Catholic Church doesn't believe that there is a role for government social services.

Bender said...

Catholic Social Teaching--including the principle of subsidiarity--does, indeed, recognize that at some point, government must act where private actors cannot meet a need

Respectfully, Father, I am going to tweek this a bit to remove the ambiguity and avoid misconstruing things --

There is no obligation for government "to act" per se whenver there is a need. Rather, any obligation here is for government to act justly, to act fairly, to act in a manner consistent with the freedom and truth of the human person.

And there is a whole wide range of possible actions that the government might take that is consistent with the promotion of social justice -- the Church does not teach that one size fits all and does not mandate one particular political-economic ideology -- and included within this range of appropriate government actions to help those in need is NOT taking money from employers and NOT imposing regulations that impede business and hiring of people and, instead, getting out of the way to allow the freedom of individuals and the freedom of associations of individuals, including various insttitutions, including the Church, to provide such assistance as a matter of caritas in veritate, charity in truth, i.e. love in truth.

And love, to be truly love, must be freely and voluntarily engaged in, it must be a matter of "gift," as said in Caritas in Veritate.

The government that acts in any manner that it pleases to meet a need is the same government that displaces and usurps the Church in providing adoptions and in educating children and in providing healthcare to those in need. Moreover, the government that acts in any manner that it pleases to meet a need is also the same government that tells the Church it must provide contraceptives to its employees who "need" them.

The point is that nowhere in the Gospels will you find Jesus going over to Pilate demanding that the Roman government provide more jobs and bread and medical care, nowhere did He say that it was morally unjust for Pilate to not take more in taxes.

At no time did He say to Matthew, "Matt, stay where you are, you are doing God's work collecting taxes from people." Rather, He said to the tax collector, "follow me."

The obligation of social doctrine is at root a vocation, an obligation of the individual person to love others in truth as Jesus has loved us, and not a vocation of the individual to demand that Caesar do all of these things.

Fr Martin Fox said...

Freder:

Re: Rand and Ryan...

Well, perhaps; but I think Aquinas (drawing from Augustine and the Greeks) has a better argument: all things participate in goodness, whether they like it or not.

Rand has many flaws, but that doesn't prevent her from telling the truth about things. The same can be said of Richard Dawkins, that fellow in Iran whose name I can't spell, and pretty much anyone you can name.

Remember the story of Balaam?

Rusty said...

Well it better happen fast Father because the State of Illinois has put the Catholic Church out of the adoption business and is looking closely at its orphanages. Two charities that the church has had outstanding success with here.
Good schools too.BTW.

Fr Martin Fox said...

Bender:

Tweak away; I'm not writing an encyclical or even a homily, but a blog comment.

Fr Martin Fox said...

Rusty:

The Church has survived a LOT of governments, including some that were supposed to be all-powerful and would last forever.

Freder Frederson said...

Where, exactly, do you think your preferred choices lead us to? A lack of debt?

My preferred choice is letting the Bush tax cuts expire (which can be achieved if Congress simply does nothing) and eliminating (or at least reducing) the rate differential between capital gains and earned income.

That would put a serious hurt on the deficit. Ryan's budget doesn't even lower the deficit.

Fr Martin Fox said...

Rusty:

Does Intrade have a line on who will prevail, the Catholic Church or Obama/Illinois/the culture etc.?

Who would you bet on?

Tim said...

"My preferred choice is letting the Bush tax cuts expire (which can be achieved if Congress simply does nothing) and eliminating (or at least reducing) the rate differential between capital gains and earned income.

That would put a serious hurt on the deficit. Ryan's budget doesn't even lower the deficit."


Actually, they are now the Obama Tax Cuts, as he signed the extension into law.

You probably missed the extended drama over that bit of political theater.

Anyway, yes, if a 1/300th decrease in the deficit equals "a serious hurt on the deficit." Otherwise, Freder boy, your sense of scale and proportion are just as awful as your reading comprehension.

Bender said...

Freder -- forget about Ryan. He really is not the issue. The extent of government in people's lives is the issue.

And, you are right -- Ryan's budget plan is pathetically weak and ineffectual. It is also intellecutally dishonest (as is any ten-year or other multi-year plan) in claiming "cuts" that are not cuts at all, but are only lesser increases. It is also a gross repudiation of the promise to go back to FY2008 spending levels.

But for all of you cheering on Romney as the savior of us all, such continued spending as Ryan plans is what you can expect. What we need is a chainsaw wielding maniac and instead we get Ryan using a butter knife on the budget.

Government has indicated that it is not the solution to our problems. Rather, government is the problem.

Fr Martin Fox said...

Bender:

I like what 'V' said in 'V for Vendetta': people should not be afraid of their governments; governments should be afraid of the people.

Tim said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tim said...

"I like what 'V' said in 'V for Vendetta': people should not be afraid of their governments; governments should be afraid of the people."

Until human nature changes, this is the best we can hope for.

Smilin' Jack said...

So, now can you figure out how Jesus wants you to vote?

Easy--just follow His example. God doesn't give a fuck about the poor, or He would help them and they wouldn't be poor. Obviously, He votes Republican.

Trashhauler said...

AMDG

To summarize, we can be certain that charity and government solicitude are not synonymous. That there can be a nexus between charity and government action, but that a government mandate is antithetical to the development of a vocation to charity. That we should encourage good government, despite its flaws, but remain wary of the two-sided nature of its power. That's enough homework for now.

Erik Robert Nelson said...

Hmmm. I was a student of Schneck's in Catholic's political theory program. He's not necessarily wrong about Catholic Social Teaching, but that would presuppose a single interpretation of it. Subsidiarity does not play friendly with partisanship. Both conservatives and liberals are going to feel a bit uncomfortable with what it requires. Same goes for the Dutch protestant version, sphere sovereignty (a la Abraham Kuyper). If you're already committed to one ideology (left or right) you're going to read the tradition as leaning one way or the other. In truth, it cuts down the middle. But in a two-party nation like the US, the pressure to fall on one side of the divide or the other is too strong.

leslyn said...

damikesc said...
"BTW, has Ryan released a tax form lately? I just wondered how much his charitable deduction was."

Would it matter?

You're on board with noted skinflint Biden and long-term charitable non-entities the Obamas (who only started giving to charity very recently, in spite of having a lot of money

Why shouldn't we know about Ryan's charitable contributions, since his philosophy is apparently to turn all social support programs over to the more charitable of heart. I want to see how much of a hypocrite or not he is.

And I don't know just whom you're speaking to, damikesc, because you quote three different people. But as to this quote, it ain't me.

How about you? What's your percentage of charitable giving? Or do you have no moral compass?

Fr Martin Fox said...

Leslyn:

I accept that Christ deserves an accounting of how much of my goods I give to the poor. I'm less clear why anyone else, including you, deserves that information.

36fsfiend said...

Fr Martin Fox said...

"I accept that Christ deserves an accounting of how much of my goods I give to the poor. I'm less clear why anyone else, including you, deserves that information."

Father,

Didn't Christ teach that everything you have should be given to the poor?

Fr Martin Fox said...

36:

Actually....no.

36fsfiend said...

Father,

From Mark:

"Jesus looked at him and loved him. 'One thing you lack, he said. 'Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.' "

That sounds like everything to me.

Fr Martin Fox said...

36:

You asked: "Didn't Christ teach that everything you have should be given to the poor?

The "you" in that question either applied to me, personally, or else to everyone, generically.

Our Lord neither commanded me--Martin Fox--to "sell everything," nor did he give that command to everyone without distinction.

Rather, the Lord gave this as a recommendation to the man in that encounter described in the Gospel.

It was not a command to me or to all; and it wasn't a command, period.

36fsfiend said...

Father,


Sounds like parsing words. Is there a place in the gospels where Christ contradicts that teaching?

Fr Martin Fox said...

36:

LOL...

Lots of places.

Our Lord was more than happy to have folks pay his way throughout the Gospels--how would they have done so, if they'd given it all away?

The story of the rich man and Lazarus wasn't about how the rich man ought to have given it all away--if he had, then all you do is switch places--but that he did absolutely nothing for Lazarus, who the parable makes clear, the rich man was aware of. His neglect was conscious.

The Acts of the Apostles describes folks who choose to give their property to the Church, and those who lied (Ananias and Sapphira) are punished; but it doesn't say everyone gave up their property.

Why do you assume that the Lord's advice to that man means what you think it does? I.e., that Jesus wanted everyone to give away everything to the poor. It doesn't say that, so why do you infer that?

Fr Martin Fox said...

36:

I.e., since you are choosing to exegete Sacred Scripture, please justify your exegesis.

36fsfiend said...

Fr Martin Fox said...

“Why do you assume that the Lord's advice to that man means what you think it does? I.e., that Jesus wanted everyone to give away everything to the poor. It doesn't say that, so why do you infer that?”

Father,

From my understanding of the teachings of Christ, He did not seem too concerned with material wealth, i.e. “What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?”

What occupation did Christ do to sustain Himself, i.e. food, clothing, shelter, etc, while ministering to the people?

Fr Martin Fox said...

36:

Well, now you're changing the question.

The Gospels don't answer all the questions about our Lord's personal economy--perhaps because the Gospel writers think we should read the Gospels to learn other things.

But I would point out the Gospels tell us his enjoyment of the good life was contrasted with John the Baptist's abstemiousness.

Back to my question. Defend your exegesis of the passage you brought up. Any exegete of Scripture is expected to support his interpretation. That is customary. Defend yours. It's not my job to disprove it, it's your job to support it.

36fsfiend said...

Father,

I’m not changing the question. You asked why I think that Jesus wanted everyone to give away everything to the poor. When the rich man responded that he always kept the commandments, Christ responded “One thing you lack. Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”

Don’t you think that was an example for all Christians to follow to be rewarded in heaven?

Fr Martin Fox said...

36:

I think it was an answer to the man's question, and the detail--"looking at him"--emphasizes that it had special meaning for him.

I think it is also something all people are welcome to emulate. But that is a far cry from asserting it is something our Lord taught everyone to do.

For the third and final time, I ask you to justify your exegesis. If you choose not to, that's fine; but I see no reason to take your exegetical claims seriously when you don't.

36fsfiend said...

Fr Martin Fox said...

“For the third and final time, I ask you to justify your exegesis. If you choose not to, that's fine; but I see no reason to take your exegetical claims seriously when you don't.”

Father,

Did Christ pursue material wealth?

Fr Martin Fox said...

36:

OK, I take it you don't want to justify your exegesis of the passage, so we'll forget about that.

Now to your question, did our Lord pursue material wealth? I don't know. There are a lot of things about his life on earth that are not told to us. Presumably at some point in his life he worked; perhaps as a carpenter, perhaps as a shepherd, who knows?

If, as is widely supposed, his foster father Joseph died at some point, and--if as Catholic Tradition holds, he had no siblings--then it seems very possible his mother would have needed some support and it's unthinkable our Lord would not have provided it. If so, he worked.

We really only know about a small sliver of his life on earth. And even then, we don't know if he worked and earned any income in those months and years that the Gospels concern themselves with.

Quayle said...

"Jesus looked at him and loved him. 'One thing you lack, he said. 'Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.' "

A number of Mormon Apostles have suggested that in this story, Christ very well may have been issuing a call to the Apostleship, which the otherwise very good man turned down because he just couldn't give up his first love - money.

A Mormon view, anyway.

36fsfiend said...

Father,

Why does my interpretation of a Christ’s words have to do with my question? He seems to be pretty clear in His teachings. He used simple passages and parables to communicate His message to the common people.

You don’t know if Christ did or did not purse material wealth? Really, based on His teachings?

Do you think that if we, in the Christian country, truly followed the words of Christ that we would see the economic disparity we have or the greed we saw on Wall Street?

36fsfiend said...

Quayle said...

"A number of Mormon Apostles have suggested that in this story, Christ very well may have been issuing a call to the Apostleship, which the otherwise very good man turned down because he just couldn't give up his first love - money."

Yes. An example for His followers.

Fr Martin Fox said...

36:

You asked me a question about the Lord's teaching, I answered it. You didn't like my answer, and you cited Mark 10 to rebut my answer, and made a claim about what that passage means.

When you did that, you offered exegesis. Three times I asked you to support your exegesis, and you have declined to do so.

If what you want is to know how Mark 10 is usually interpreted, I told you. If you think it should be interpreted differently, feel free to support your belief with the sort of argumentation that makes for good exegesis.

And if you prefer to say, "well it's what I think," that's fine. And we'll leave it there.

Bender said...

You asked why I think that Jesus wanted everyone to give away everything to the poor.

You really think that is what He said and what He meant?

If EVERYONE gave away EVERYTHING, then the whole world would be standing naked and starving around a big pile of stuff.

In no sense did Jesus ever suggest that personal ownership of property was wrong. He owned things Himself -- not many material things, but He and the Apostles did own things.

Rather, what He was concerned about was proper usage of goods that we possess, to be proper stewards of creation.

Do you really think that Jesus would have gone up to an employer and said that he should give all his money away rather than hire workers to do a job and pay them wages? Indeed, many of the parables involve workers being paid a wage.

There is more than one way to "give away" your wealth to the poor. One way is to hire them as employees. Another is to make your money available to others to use as capital for the creation of job-creating businesses.

Jesus never asked everyone to give everything away. Even St. Francis eventually put some clothes back on.

As for Father Fox: he has given away his entire life -- what more do you want?

36fsfiend said...

Father,

Why would Christ tell the rich man to sell everything he owned and to give the money to the poor to receive treasure in heaven if that is not something He expected all His followers to do?

Why only one individual? And would Christ ask the rich man to do something that He Himself would not do? It would seem hypocritical to do so.

I ask you as a man of God learned in the ways of Christ.

Fr Martin Fox said...

36:

I see no problem in our Lord recommending renunciation of wealth only to some. Only some people need to avoid alcohol, because they love it too much. Same with anything.

Also, I said before I have no idea about the Lord's personal economy. But I know he had to eat; and he had a mother who may have needed his support. What is so awful about supposing our Lord worked and earned money at some point in his life?

But of course, when our Lord traveled in his ministry, the Gospels tell us he did rely on the generosity of others. And, in the end, he was indeed poor. So, in that sense, he did do what he recommended to the man in that passage.

Bender said...

As for the rich man who was advised to give everything away if he wanted to be perfect --

You do realize that this does not apply only to those who are rich in material goods, to those who have great monetary wealth, but that it also applies to those who are "rich in spirit"?

Are you prepared to give away your pride in service to others, especially "the poorest of the poor"?

Fr Martin Fox said...

36:

You do realize that renunciation of material things wasn't an idea Jesus thought up?

The Essenes, for example, tended to renounce the sorts of material things that other Jews tended to enjoy. One theory is that John the Baptist was in that line of thought: so he went out into the desert and lived off locusts and honey.

Bender said...

Hey 36 --

Who are "the poor"? Most especially, who are "the poorest of the poor"?

36fsfiend said...

Father,

Well, I don’t know if I see a comparison between abusing alcohol and greed. Material possessions can be sold and the money given to help others.

As far as Christ being poor, yes I agree. I believe He eschewed material wealth and that is the example His followers should emulate if they are going to call themselves Christians.

36fsfiend said...

Fr Martin Fox said...

"You do realize that renunciation of material things wasn't an idea Jesus thought up?"

Yes, but we talking about Christians and the teachings of Christ, right?

Bender said...

that is the example His followers should emulate if they are going to call themselves Christians

And you assert that this is the defining criteria, the sine qua non of being Christian, because you yourself are one?

Is that right, 36? Are you Christian yourself?

Fr Martin Fox said...

36:

Well, you're certainly entitled to your beliefs.

36fsfiend said...

Bender,

What I am is not germane to the question about the teachings of Christ.

36fsfiend said...

Father,

Yes, I'm certainly entitled to me beliefs.

Question. Christ commanded His followers to love one another and also their enemies, correct?

Bender said...

If you are going to make yourself judge of what is Christian, it absolutely is germane.

But the fact is -- based on what you have written before in this little game you like to play of being clueless and not understanding what people are saying and you simply repeating the same things over and over, often with an anti-Catholic flavor to it -- you are not a Christian. You are not even well-versed in Christian thought.

And yet you presume to be the judge here.

36fsfiend said...

Bender,

I am not judging. I'm asking questions of a Christian regarding the teachings of the founder of His religion.

Bender said...

Were you acting in good faith, if you had a sincere desire for authentic dialogue, a real exchange of thought and ideas, it might be fruitful to engage with you. But you have, on every occasion I've seen you here, always been disingenuous.

Sadly, there is something that does apply in this situation. And it is a tragic thing. And maybe it can be different when you are more willing to act in good faith. But for now, the only thing to do is to shake the dust from our sandals and bid you a good day.

Fr Martin Fox said...

36:

I'm just saying I don't find your interpretation of Scripture terribly persuasive, but I'm not going to argue with you about it.

Is there some reason you want to quiz me about Scripture? It's a little tiresome.

36fsfiend said...

Bender,

OK. I'll ask you. Christ commanded His followers to love one another and also their enemies, correct?

36fsfiend said...

Fr Martin Fox said...

"Is there some reason you want to quiz me about Scripture? It's a little tiresome."

You're tired of answering question about your faith?

Fr Martin Fox said...

36:

Yes, when there's agenda that the question poser won't own up to.

If you're wondering what I believe, you could have asked that; you didn't. You asked if Jesus taught...and the answer to that is fairly obvious.

Just as obvious that you have a point to make. So make it.

36fsfiend said...

Father,

I assumed asking a Christian about the teaching of Christ was in essence asking about one’s faith.

I guess my point is why does it appear that Christians do not follow the teachings of Christ?

Fr Martin Fox said...

I think an awful lot of Christians try very hard to follow the Lord's teachings, but if you look for those who don't, you will find them. And to the extent it's hard to follow Christ ("Be perfect, even as your heavenly Father is perfect"), then it's no trick finding examples of failures to live up to his teachings.

But really, you can't find evidence of people following the teachings of Christ? Really?

36fsfiend said...

Father,

Well, I actually believe that Obama is trying to be a good Christian by attempting to implement healthcare reform to help more Americans. And yet, he has been called everything under the sun by many on the right who I presume are Christians.

Do you think Obama is really trying to destroy this country?

Fr Martin Fox said...

I think Mr. Obama is doing what he thinks is best. I do not share his vision.

You like to ask questions, which is fine, but fair is fair. You might answer one once in a while.

I ask again: you really can't find evidence of people trying to live the teachings of Christ? You never heard of Mother Theresa? You never heard of folks forgiving people who commit crimes against them? You never heard of soup kitchens and Salvation Army and all the rest?

Sorry, but your questions seem pretty insincere. I've been around, I know a game of "bait the Christian."

chickenlittle said...

@Fr Martin Fox:

36fsfiend is not concerned with Christ's teachings here. He/she is mainly concerned with identifying and amplifying the slighest discrepancy between what he/she perceives are Christian teachings and how Christians actually behave.

36fsfiend is not all concerned with the behavior of the wholly irreligious--only those who hew most closely to Christian teachings. 36fsfiend may believe that his/her purpose here is to sheppard people back into more adherent positions, but I'm afraid his/her purpose is to drive a wedge deeper between the faithful and their faith. I suspect a political agenda motivates him/her--perhaps related to perceived persecution on his/her part.

If 36fsfiend were genuine about caring for religious perfidy, he/she would be attacking the grossest violators of law in the name of faith--not the other way around.

chickenlittle said...

just remember that it was 36fsfiend who argued ad nauseum that Christians should not pray together in churches.

36fsfiend said...

Father,

Yes, I have heard of Mother Theresa and from what I understand of her work helping the poor I think she would support Obama on healthcare.

I know Sister Carol Keehan, the president and CEO of the Catholic Health Association, does.

Fr Martin Fox said...

36:

Well, it's been fun playing "Bait the priest," but all good things must come to an end.

36fsfiend said...

chickenlittle,

Well, I never did get a good answer about Christ's command for His followers to pray to the Father in secret.

Michael Haz said...

Well, I actually believe that Obama is trying to be a good Christian by attempting to implement healthcare reform to help more Americans. And yet, he has been called everything under the sun by many on the right who I presume are Christians.

Do you think Obama is really trying to destroy this country?


Bingo. Thanks for letting us know who your savior is.

36fsfiend said...

Father,

I'm just asking questions. If you feel that I'm baiting you, I'm sorry.

I just see a lot of disconnects in the actions of some of our political leaders who claim to be Christians.

I think there is a lot of bearing of false witness going on.

Michael Haz said...

Fr. Martin Fox: Thanks. It's always a pleasure to read your comments.

36fsfiend said...

Michael Haz,

He's not my savior.

BTW, isn't Obamacare and Romneycare almost identical?

Fr Martin Fox said...

Michael:

Thanks. It was a more interesting thread a bit ago, I'm afraid I played along with "Bait the priest" too long. I like to give people the benefit of the doubt.

36fsfiend said...

Father,

Why should you be afraid of me baiting you?

What do you think I'm trying to gain?

Fr Martin Fox said...

36:

Pax vobiscum...Ite, missa est.

Bender said...

And he just keeps on with his dance, going around and around, acting clueless and playing the game of pretending that the various issues have not been addressed and answer many times over.

Any way, for anyone who does have a good faith interest in knowing what the Church has said on this passage --

As he was setting out on a journey, a man ran up, knelt down before him, and asked him, "Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?"
Jesus answered him, "Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone. You know the commandments: 'You shall not kill; you shall not commit adultery; you shall not steal; you shall not bear false witness; you shall not defraud; honor your father and your mother.'"
He replied and said to him, "Teacher, all of these I have observed from my youth."
Jesus, looking at him, loved him and said to him, "You are lacking in one thing. Go, sell what you have, and give to (the) poor and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me."
At that statement his face fell, and he went away sad, for he had many possessions.
(Mk 10:17-22)

Here are a couple of reflections by
Pope Benedict (Happy Birthday) and by Bl. Pope John Paul II

36fsfiend said...

Father,

I'm sorry, I don't speak Latin. Something about peace, though?

36fsfiend said...

Bender,

I'll ask again. Christ commanded His followers to love one another and also their enemies, correct?

Bender said...

I'll ask again.

The music has stopped.

The dance is over.

If you really are interested, go read these --

1:42 p.m.
2:05 p.m.
2:14 p.m.

36fsfiend said...

Bender,

Yes or no please.

Dante said...

Leslyn:

"How about you? What's your percentage of charitable giving? Or do you have no moral compass?"

Exactly my point. Forced government spending even when used by the government for "charitable" purposes do not reflect on the host, only the parasite.

But perhaps you have a different view of government. Perhaps it is the organization that is supposed to "empower" you, by taking other people's efforts and power and giving it to you?

chickenlittle said...

36fsfiend wrote: Well, I actually believe that Obama is trying to be a good Christian by attempting to implement healthcare reform to help more Americans.

I actually wondered the same thing after reading a 100-year old Christian eulogy about the Titanic. My thought, which I did not expand on, is here: link (near the very end).

The directive of the strong to help the weak is a Christian impulse--perhaps not uniquely so (and I am not an expert)--and will remain so. However, in the past, we have relied on self-suffiency and charity (a great deal of the latter was religiously motivated)to funish healthcare. Neglect and lack of healthcare are growing, not coincidently with the waning of self-suffiency and charity as virtues. You are saying or implying that they have failed and need to be superceded by Obamacare.

Fr Martin Fox said...

I think thread-rot has set in...

36fsfiend said...

Chickenlittle,

Why do we in this country spend upwards of 20 percent of our GDP on healthcare when other developed countries spend around 9-10 percent? And we're not the best for the additional cost.

Do you think greed has something to do with it?

chickenlittle said...

Do you think greed has something to do with it?

No doubt. It's just hard to pin it on any particular group of players in the whole ensemble: doctors, nurses unions, insurance companies, outrageous malpractice insurance premiums, unreasonable patient expectations, freeriders. But inflating a currency to grow the entire thing is hardly a solution.

36fsfiend said...

Chickenlittle,

Well, the idea of companies making billions in profits from people’s fear of getting sick or inquired is not in my opinion a Christ-like approach.

And certainly the medical providers who commit the estimated $60-$90 billion in Medicare fraud each year are not following the teachings of Christ.

I wonder how many of those doctors who took an oath to help the sick but still commit that fraud claim to be Christian?

SDN said...

We have at least one clear description of the failure of Communism under optimal conditions. I refer, of course, to the Book of Acts, 4:32 - 5:11, Ananias and Sephira. NewLiving translation.

1. There is no doubt that they are practicing the economic system of communism:"All the believers were of one heart and mind, and they felt that what they owned was not their own; they shared everything they had...There was no poverty among them, because people who owned land or houses sold them, and brought the money to the apostles to give to others in need." From each according to his means, to each according to his need --- Marx would have been proud to call them brother.

2. They had as close to an incorruptible body of rulers as possible, who were proving their uprightness with miracles every day.

3. And they had pretty close to the ultimate Auditor; when Ananais and Sephira try to cheat the system, Peter knows about it instantly, and the punishment is swift and sure: the cheaters are struck dead on the spot.

And yet there were still cheaters, the apostles couldn't hold it together for very long, and none of the other churches outside Jerusalem seem to have even tried it. If the 12 Apostles backed up by God couldn't make communism work, how in the h*ll would any lesser mortals have a shot??

Fr Martin Fox said...

SDN:

...Except, there's no indication of any compulsion.

leslyn said...

Well, Dante, that was a weird statement. It had no relationship to the quote that I can see.

My point in this thread is that if Ryan intends us to follow his philosophy, then the logical conclusion is that all social support funding should come from charitable giving. So for those who merely repeat their plaints, I ask, what are you doing to care for "the least of these?" Ryan expects you to step up.

And by the way, Fr Fox if Ryan expects me to follow a plan that he is advocating, I want to see how he lives up to it. He's a public figure and a politician, and it's a fair question. Would you rather have me use a metaphor--is he a Pharisee of the type Jesus condemned or not? And the same question of those who want to use a public forum to complain about government spending on social programs: have you stepped up to the plate or not?

leslyn said...

All of that could probably be condensed into the saying, "Put your money where your mouth is.

chickenlittle said...

I wonder how many of those doctors who took an oath to help the sick but still commit that fraud claim to be Christian?

What does that have to do with anything but your own animosity towards Christianity? Christianity didn't cause the greed. You (we all) want such fraud to stop. Pointing out hypocrisy does nothing to motivate or change that behavoir. It's like adultery--nothing has changed in human hearts--it's just become unfashionable to stigmatize people.

You sound like a big proponent of stigmatization. I wonder how far you'd go with that unless you are personally immune to sin.

36fsfiend said...

chickenlittle,

How many politicians on the right continually state that this is a nation founded on Judeo-Christian principles or a Christian nation?

And yet these same politicians have no qualms supporting the status quo regarding the healthcare system that is inefficient and enriches the few?

If we want the fraud to decrease, then let’s ensure our agencies such as the DoJ, DHHS and IRS are fully manned and budgeted to properly execute their missions.

We seem to have no problem ensuring the military is fully manned and equipped to accomplish its tasks.

Who do you think, as a Christian, Christ would advocate for, the military or the agencies helping people to receive affordable healthcare?

chickenlittle said...

Who do you think, as a Christian, Christ would advocate for, the military or the agencies helping people to receive affordable healthcare?

It's hard to imagine (based on what I recall of scripture) Christ militating against foreign nations. He would have left that to Caesar. He may have ministered to the latter, but never preached that Ceasar should do so.

You seem unaware of how deeply the the non-scriptural teaching "The Lord helps those who helps themselves" runs in this country. Why is that? Did you never hear that growing up?

chickenlittle said...

"The Lord helps those who helps themselves"

I loathe misconjugation. I meant "The Lord helps those who help themselves."

And I didn't me looting after Katrina.

36fsfiend said...

chickenlittle,

Well, Caesar never claimed the Roma Empire was founded on Judeo-Christian principles.

As far as the teaching "The Lord helps those who helps themselves", yes, I have heard of it.

But, I also believe in what our first Republican president stated that the government should do for the people what the people cannot collective do for themselves. Hence, defense, national transportation systems, the weather service, the Coast Guard and a system to help ensure affordable healthcare.

Ralph L said...

The biggest problem we have is that most Americans don't consider SS and Medicare to be charity--they think they've earned it with their contributions, and they'll punish anyone who tries to reduce benefits. But most recipients get a lot more out than they put in, even with interest, and the few that die early or are run over by a bus get little or nothing back.

Ralph L said...

our first Republican president stated that the government should do for the people what the people cannot collective[ly] do for themselves
Don't you mean "individually"--I thought Government was the collective.

So he fought a war in which >600,000 Americans died. Great healthcare system too--all government run.

You apparently never learned about Adam Smith's Invisible Hand: the profit motive makes people serve others better and more efficiently than forcing them to would, plus the Hand is about to grab your shorts and yank.

36fsfiend said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
36fsfiend said...

Ralph,

The actual quote is: “That government should do for people only what they cannot do better by themselves, and no more.”

Regarding your comment about healthcare, you know, back in the 1950s if you had a massive heart attack you were probably good for dead. Pay the couple of grand for the funeral service and be done with it. I had an aunt just this past week who had a major heart attack. She had to have a triple by-pass performed. The procedure will cost tens of thousands of dollars. Fortunately, she was covered by my uncle’s insurance, a former union man who worked on the railroad.

We need to move into the 21st century regarding this whole healthcare issue.

And I don’t agree that the healthcare market is like the broccoli market.

leslyn said...

This endless stalking by 36fsfiend (now there's a clue in the avatar name!) has been quite amusing. I am reminded of Screwtapes' advice to Wormwood:

...if the patient knows that...the man [in the next pew] with squeaky boots is a miser and extortioner--then your task is so much the easier. All you then have to do is keep out of his mind the question "If I, being what I am, can consider that I am in some sense a Christian, why should the different vices of those people in the next pew prove that their religion is mere hypocrisy and convention? You may ask whether it is possible to keep such an obvious thought from occurring even to a human mind. It is, Wormwood, it is! Handle him properly and it simply won't come into his head."
The Screwtape Letters, C.S.Lewis.

And there's always reliable Proverbs:

"When a wise man has a controversy with a foolish man,
The foolish man either rages or laughs, "
Prov. 29:9.

Don't come after me, fiend, for I shall not answer you.

36fsfiend said...

leslyn,

I’m not stalking. Just responding to comments directed towards me. In other words, chatting.

If you think I’m a fool, so be it.

Regards.

Trashhauler said...

36fsfiend,

Didn't we have this conversation once in the student union? You know, right after cool Professor Johnson gave that eye-opening lecture about the evils of property?

Ralph L said...

We need to move into the 21st century regarding this whole healthcare issue
By forcing health care workers to take a 6th century vow of poverty?

36fsfiend said...

Trashhauler,

Not familiar.

36fsfiend said...

Ralph,

What do you mean in regards to forcing health care workers to take a 6th century vow of poverty?

Again, initially I was asking about Christians and their behavior in relation to the teachings of Christ.

To me, if your are going to be a true Christian,you must be prepared to love your enemy and if he should be intent on taking your life be prepared to forgive him as Christ did to those who crucified him.

Since it doesn’t appear to me that many who claim to be Christian are actually prepared to live that life (God and Guns for example), then lets drop the labels and actually attack the problems facing this country.

Our healthcare system is broken. I agree with the position that the healthcare market is unique in that virtually all will need and obtain healthcare at some point but we often cannot predict when or in what ways we will need it. And for most of us, direct payment for healthcare services is prohibitively expensive. Yet not obtaining needed medical care can be the difference between life and death.

This explain why, unlike other markets, insurance is the primary means of payment. It also explain why Congress has required that individuals be given emergency care without regard to their ability to pay. Consequently, unlike other markets, uninsured individuals who are unable to pay directly shift the cost to others. i.e., health care providers, the government, individuals with insurance and taxpayers.

If healthcare was truly a free market system with choice, no one would choose to get sick or injured. The healthcare market and heath insurance market would disappear for lack of demand.

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