April 25, 2015

"I beg the Lord to grant us more politicians who are genuinely disturbed by the state of society, the people, the lives of the poor."

"As long as the problems of the poor are not radically resolved by rejecting the absolute autonomy of markets and financial speculation, and by attacking the structural causes of inequality, no solution will be found for the world's problems or, for that matter, to any problems."

Said the Pope.

That was back in 2013. I'm noticing it today reading the Twitter feed #ResistCapitalism.

99 comments:

kcom said...

Naiveté run amok. With capitalism, half the world is poor. Without capitalism, it's 99.9%.

Skookum John said...

He's every bit as qualified to pontificate on economic matters as he is on marriage.

JAORE said...

Greatest engine in the world for hauling mankind out of a short, painful, brutal existence.

Other than that, your Holiness, you are on to something there.

Mark said...

Before anyone responds with knee-jerk reactions, they should read the entirety of Evangelii Gaudium, the apostolic exhortation from which the quote is excerpted and, in fact, exploited for the ideological purposes of those who would hashtag Resist Capitalism.

In addition to this quote from section 205 and 202, there is this --

255. A healthy pluralism, one which genuinely respects differences and values them as such, does not entail privatizing religions in an attempt to reduce them to the quiet obscurity of the individual’s conscience or to relegate them to the enclosed precincts of churches, synagogues or mosques. This would represent, in effect, a new form of discrimination and authoritarianism. The respect due to the agnostic or non-believing minority should not be arbitrarily imposed in a way that silences the convictions of the believing majority or ignores the wealth of religious traditions. In the long run, this would feed resentment rather than tolerance and peace.

256. When considering the effect of religion on public life, one must distinguish the different ways in which it is practiced. Intellectuals and serious journalists frequently descend to crude and superficial generalizations in speaking of the shortcomings of religion, and often prove incapable of realizing that not all believers – or religious leaders – are the same. Some politicians take advantage of this confusion to justify acts of discrimination. At other times, contempt is shown for writings which reflect religious convictions, overlooking the fact that religious classics can prove meaningful in every age; they have an enduring power to open new horizons, to stimulate thought, to expand the mind and the heart. This contempt is due to the myopia of a certain rationalism. Is it reasonable and enlightened to dismiss certain writings simply because they arose in a context of religious belief? These writings include principles which are profoundly humanistic and, albeit tinged with religious symbols and teachings, they have a certain value for reason.

YoungHegelian said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
paminwi said...

Please tell the Pope to divest of all things in the Vatican Museum first to take care of the poor. Let his actions speak louder than his words.

YoungHegelian said...

@Mark,

Reading through Evangelii Gaudium doesn't disabuse me of the idea that Pope Francis has a major problem with international market capitalism, so I'm afraid the "knee jerk" reactions are warranted.

The problem I've always had with the Church's unease with capitalism is that the Church seems to be even more at odds with other economic systems. There seems to be a soft spot in the Vatican's heart & sadly, head for European style social democracy (the Vatican is in Europe, after all). It never seems to occur to them that the triumph of social democracy & the nadir of the Church in Europe might be related phenomena.

cold pizza said...

Well, now we know how many divisions (of strawmen) the Vatican has. Answer: As many as it needs. -CP

Bob Ellison said...

Mark, I've got better reading to read.

This pope is an ass.

Mark said...

As Americans, it can be difficult to read the Church's documents on economic matters. But to rightly interpret and understand them, they should be viewed through the historical lens in which the teachings arose, namely, European feudalism. There are also the abuses in various countries of a laissez-faire economy. Even here there were the robber barons and monopolies that would distort the economy for the worse.

But more to the point, these documents and teachings were not developed in the midst of the American experience with free markets. So critiques of "capitalism" must be seen in that light.

Mark said...

And what is a person who reads things and then condemns them out of context? What is someone who shoots his mouth off in such a state of total ignorance, Bob?

Bob Ellison said...

Mark, are you trying at satire?

rhhardin said...

I hesitate to say I don't disagree with him.

Too many negations to follow.

Mark said...

No Bob. Are you so ignorant that you don't know when someone is calling you an ass?

Michael K said...

"Please tell the Pope to divest of all things in the Vatican Museum first to take care of the poor."

I assume his announcement is only the preliminary for announcing the sale of the Vatican art collection. "Sell what thou has and give to the poor."

fivewheels said...

"structural causes of inequality"

Individuality.

Karen of Texas said...

Why don't the people rich enough to buy the treasures of the Vatican - simply use their money to take care of the poor? Must they acquire more things just for the sake of having another pretty painting and a jeweled staff? What is the point? But rich guys buy the stuff and the money is used to help the poor.

And more poor emerge.

So we look at the rich guys who bought the stuff and say, why the hell don't they sell all that stuff and help the poor? So some rich guys buy the pretty paintings and the sparkling jewels... and so it goes.

Doesn't the Bible say you will always have the poor among you?

YoungHegelian said...

@mark,

As Americans, it can be difficult to read the Church's documents on economic matters.

Yes, it really can be. It might help if the Vatican actually, you know, got some American Catholics to review or write these things.

You're right about seeing the economy through the lens of European feudalism. The only problem is that, while the largest fraction of the Vatican hierarchy is still European, the world's Catholics aren't anymore. It's time for the Vatican to move beyond its Eurocentricity, and to try to understand why the European churches collapsed seemingly overnight & why the US church is, for now, a vibrant one.

And at the risk of going all Marxist on them, free market capitalism may just have something to do with the health of the American Church.

n.n said...

Individual dignity and intrinsic value, and finitely available and accessible resource. Go forth and reconcile.

That said, if nothing else, the Judeo-Christian philosophy offers its conclusion. It should be judged on the merits of its principles that favor human rights, principled tolerance, and conservation (not environmentalism).

The secular cult has offered its conclusion, which is notorious for denigrating individual dignity (e.g. class diversity, class warfare), debasing human life (i.e. pro-choice or selective-child policy), and a predisposition to fascist establishments.

The solution is not to establish monopolies and yield individual dignity to authoritarian (i.e. minority) discipline, including their wicked selective-child abortion policy that they promote to children and adults alike.

Bay Area Guy said...

"I beg the Lord to grant us A POPE who is genuinely disturbed by the state of society, the people, the lives of the poor, middle class, rich and everyone in between"

"As long as the problems of the poor are not radically resolved by rejecting the empty promises of socialism, and by attacking the structural pathologies of broken families, distorted moral values, lack of ambition and lack work ethic, no solution will be found for the world's problems or, for that matter, to any problems."

Eustace Chilke said...

He sounds like a stinking commie. If you wade through the whole enchilada, I'm sure you can find a point here and there that you could argue speaks in favor of freedon. If you couldn't we would just have Castro in a pointy hat. Marxism is Marxism, soft or hard, religious or secular, nationalist or internationalist. Let him go first, like the others said. The more priests the more poverty I say.

traditionalguy said...

Frances seems to be begging the Lord send us another Martin Luther.

I see this conniving Jesuit Cleric from Argentina to flat out be demanding submission from governments by the payment of huge magic speech fees...to his Roman Charitable Foundation, of course.

He also wants a cut of the Global Warming Hoax wealth for his magic speeches, or else.

Bob Ellison said...

It's difficult for some people to see their religious hegemon as fallible.

Hagar said...

I do not think this pope necessarily is dumb, but he is from Argentina, and his experiences with the government there have not been good.

SomeoneHasToSayIt said...

One would hope God would give the pope the wisdom to distinguish from pure capitalism, and the bastard corrupted creation when government messes with it, with or without the assistance of bad actor 'capitalists'.

YoungHegelian said...

@Bob,

It's difficult for some people to see their religious hegemon as fallible.

I understand your point, Bob, but it's important for folks who don't know Catholic doctrine to understand that Evangelii Gaudium is simply an exhortation. It is, in corporate terms, a cross between a mission statement & an "attaboy". There are no claims being made here to doctrinal infallibility. None at all. Doctrinally infallible statements are a whole different kettle of fish, and do not pop out of the Vatican on a day to day basis.

khesanh0802 said...

I am so cynical!

How expensive are the vestments he is wearing (very)? He is delivering his thoughts from a podium decorated with gold leaf.

I have to agree with Paminwi: when the catholic church divests itself of its riches to help the poor then I will know the Pope is serious. The rest is hypocrisy.

Hammond X. Gritzkofe said...

el Papa dijo: "... the structural causes of inequality ..."

That would be like
..not everybody is born with the same amount of brains?
..not everybody is born with the same amount of ambition?

I think maybe he better talk to God about that.

Bobber Fleck said...

This is a bit off topic, but can someone explain to me why there are so few communes in America? The progressives seem to greatly admire communism, so in a free society shouldn't there be communes popping up everywhere?

If socialism is so swell, why is it necessary to force people to participate in the socialist dream?

I'm sincere in these questions. As a simple minded STEM kind of guy I really don't understand why socialism and communism don't just spread like wild fire on their own merits if they are as desirable as they are portrayed.

khesanh0802 said...

@Bobber Fleck

Just by the way you have posed your questions it is clear that you already understand the problems with socialism and communism in this country.

Communism requires we no longer can exercise our personal choices/individual rights. That very much goes against the American grain.

To be required to take part in a socialist scheme (ACA reference?) is the only way that our "betters" will ever get the chance to experiment with their ideal society. That type of coercion does not do well in the US because of our "individual rights" within a constitutional system that limits the power of "the mob" ( short term enthusiasms), and creates some self-correction through the electoral process.

All that is not to say that we don't do stupid things and that politicians will not manipulate the system to install programs that the majority opposes (see the ACA again).

Fernandinande said...

The very Gospel is longelization, not beingdom of Gospel, and doubt and indiving spirit claim Jesus Christory.

Evangelization and acception are savingdom, for belization can percussist man to draw proclamationshing of evangelievery nature.

Know that Gospel and generateryone of it engelien the Church we contencemensistinaturn into desire.

To orders hoperated to sociaterning work of the clamative grealied their concreturation and assarity with condent dispension andmenting of man.

Anonymous said...

C.S. Lewis, who was a historian, once remarked that on the subject of psychology, one would do well to listen to Freud. However, just because Freud was an authority on psychology, there was no reason to listen to him as an authority on history.

This is a problem we tend to have. If someone is an authority in one area, we seem to think they are an authority in all areas.

The Dali Lama recently said he is a marxist. Clearly the Pope thinks socialist governments can help the poor.

They are both authorities in their areas, but there areas are not economics.

In other words, there is no reason to listen to them in the area of economics.

Fernandinande said...

Pope Francis Raffles His Espresso Machine and Shoes to Help Poor

Fen said...

can someone explain to me why there are so few communes in America? The progressives seem to greatly admire communism, so in a free society shouldn't there be communes popping up everywhere?

Short answer is Labor Unions filled that need.

Most americans that were sympathetic to communist ideals joined the Labor Unions, even though they were the lite beer version.

Carl said...

It's kind of shocking to hear the Vicar of Christ arguing that the most important solution to the problem of sin, misfortune, sadness, sorrow, inhumanity, faithlessness and the general disfigurement of souls is -- money. Give money to the wretched and all will be well.

Er...what? I thought the guy was a priest. Isn't the spiritual care of the souls of the poor about 1,000,000x more important than just shoving money at them? I mean, if money were the route back to Paradise, wouldn't all the rich people already be the most ethical, peaceful and virtuous people there are? Is that how he thinks it is? Bill Gates has a better chance of going to Heaven than some Untouchable selling his pox-ridden body in Mumbai, because Bill has moolah and the poor guy doesn't?

I dunno. I retain the impression that this pope is just not especially bright. I think he was kind of an affirmative-action pope.

Anonymous said...

Bobber Fleck,

On communes in America--the closest thing I know of are organizations named "cooperatives." Our laws allow for corporations which have one vote per share of stock but laws allow for a structure of one vote per member. Credit Unions are organized this way, as well as co-op stores, marketing co-ops owned by farmers, and electric co-ops. The profits go back to the members by whatever calculation their boards approve, usually in proportion to purchases or sales.

madAsHell said...

He wants politicians to provide for the weak.

That's his job!!!

Unknown said...

"Doesn't the Bible say you will always have the poor among you?"

Yes, the Gospel of Matthew: The poor you will always have with you, and you can help them any time you want. But you will not always have me. So don't use the poor as an excuse to not help someone who is in immediate need, because you can (always) still help the poor. And Pope Francis s not advocating socialism. As a bishop he was much maligned by The Left in South America.

ken in tx said...

Believers in the free market/enterprise should divest and disassociate themselves from the word capitalism. It was a Marxist invention and strawman from the beginning.

OldGrouchyCranky said...

The Pope speaks as he wishes and the rest of us can accept that he speaks, perhaps, for just himself and for his church hierarchy.

Until the Roman Catholic Church acts as it demands others act, who cares what it, or the Pope, says.

Pope Francis is a good man trying to be more than just a priest and I doubt he'll ever be successful in that effort.

The shame of it all is that the words of Francis will be used to attack capitalism, which has done more to provide for more of the masses than anything else in the history of our world.

The Godfather said...

I pray constantly that God will move his earthly representatives to shut up about subjects about which they are ignorant -- economics, diplomacy, military action, medicine, public health, criminal law, etc. My prayers continue to be unanswered.

Or have they? In other contexts, I've learned that God answers prayers, but sometimes the answer is No.

Perhaps Francis's maunderings are part of God's plan to get people to think seriously about where wealth and poverty come from.

Is that possible?

Crazy Jane said...

I'm with Young Hegelian, n.n., and Bob. The market works as the market works. But in most of the world the market is rigged against everyone but the rich. Carlos Slim, anyone? Government is sort of rigged here, too, but in a casual, too-bad-poor-families-can't-live-in-good-school-districts kinda way. I was raised in a muscular Catholic environment, and the first sermon I heard in the Newman Center at my college was -- yes, you are here to learn and ennoble yourself but you must always remember to feed the poor. We may say that Francis believes that government can do this, but as the leader of a church established in opposition to the depravity of the Roman Empire he knows better. It is always upon us, individually and personally, to help our brothers. Leaving this work to compromised institutions like government is folly. Salvation and redemption, alien concepts in the secular world, are what he preaches. He is telling us what we need to do to achieve them.

Be said...

Just as there is a difference between Capital and the Market Economy, there is a difference between Cooperative Living and Collectivism.

(Distinctions that aren't all that apparent to Rand sorts or practitioners of certain branches of Protestantism.)

Have resigned myself to the "Marxist" nomenclature, given my Catholicism.

Google Inspiration: "Let them eat cake."

Ambrose said...

Praying for another Juan Peron - I hope we will be blessed with God ignoring this ill-conceived request.

Ken B said...

Sinead O'Connor, come back! All is forgiven.

Sebastian said...

"absolute autonomy of markets"

Anyone who uses this phrase is not talking about the real world.

Even JPII was a bit more nuanced.

It would be nice if a Church that claims to care about the poor would acknowledge, clearly and forthrightly, the virtues of the one economic system that alleviated the problem that had plagued Catholics for 1800 years prior.

Perhaps more people have been lifted out of poverty in the past generation than in any similar period in human history. The main UN Millennium goal was reached early. It would be good for the Pope to stop the goddamn economic whining.

Phil 3:14 said...

from Wikipedia:

"RT has been called a propaganda outlet for the Russian government and its foreign policy,[ by former Russian officials,and by news reporters, including former RT reporters. It has also been accused of spreading disinformation. The United Kingdom media regulator Ofcom has threatened RT with sanctions because of repeated violations of its rules on impartiality.The network states that RT offers a Russian perspective on global events.

Marc Puckett said...

Adding my two cents.... To those who are criticising the Holy Father for not attending to the more purely spiritual part of his office, I'd point out that AA's interest-- as she points out-- that her interest was piqued by this statement in this context. There are many other instances of the Pope addressing the practice of the Faith insofar as the life of prayer, the Sacraments, etc are concerned. And YoungHegelian at 7:09 pm is right to point out that the Roman Pontiff's Evangelii Gaudium is a document that depends for its authoritativeness more on the validity of its premises and the logic of its arguments than on the office held by its author. And his Holiness needs better thinkers to take advice from.

That said, it is the constant doctrine of the Church that the world's goods are designed by Providence for the benefit of the entire human race and that we as believers ought to share our material wealth with the poor. And that the individual right to property is not absolute. But, as I wrote above, the Pope needs better counsellors.

Steve said...

While every Christian would agree we should love the poor, is there anyone (especially among the poor) who can say Christians should love the rich also? I think a lesson from the story of Zacchaeus is not just that he repents, but that he remains wealthy and yet Jesus loves him and says salvation has come to him. Jesus certainly wants us to love the poor and desperate, but not mainly because that love may help them. We all need to love those different from us, so perhaps someday we will learn how to love God (who is so different from any human). That is the purpose of learning to love your enemy. Can this Pope love the rich capitalist, or is he stuck in his ideology?

Bay Area Guy said...

The Pope is an honorable man. But he is simply wrong about this.

Most of history is the powerful few oppressing the powerless many.

That is no doubt true.

The recent experiment of American capitalism is a departure from this norm. Its basis is that we don't care what your father did or who he was. If you work hard or can build a better mousetrap, you can make money in this country and have power over your life and freedom.

True, not all Americans have met this challenge. Sorry about that. Life is hard. But it doesn't detract from the American ideal which is and remains a noble ideal.

tim maguire said...

For those who suggest the church is hypocritical on the issue of service to the poor, the Catholic Church is one of the greatest charities in the world and applies tremenduous resources to caring for those who can't care for themselves.

Yes, the Vatican has almost an embarrassment of wealth in the form of art and the accutrements of pomp, but keep in mind it was accumulated over 2,000 years, they're not adding to it much (if at all). They have to be very careful how they dispense with that particular wealth because they have an obligation not only to today's poor, but to tomorrow's and a thousand years' from now as well.

Religious institutions have an obligation to the future that no other organization has--they have an obligation to still be here.

tim maguire said...

Blogger The Godfather said... In other contexts, I've learned that God answers prayers, but sometimes the answer is No.

Is that a MASH reference?

Rusty said...

Sorry your holiness, free markets always work. And they always work to the benefit of the greatest number of people.

Humperdink said...

If his holiness would focus on leading people to salvation through Jesus, the poor would come out far ahead.

Spend some time in an evangelical church and watch what the well-off do in their spare time. It's easy to stand on the outside and toss pot shots at Christians.

Faith without works is dead, but it begins with faith.

jr565 said...

The Vatican can start by giving away its wealth. Do they really need so much wealth? Does the pope really need that big hat?

jr565 said...

So how much is th Vatican worth?
"Bankers' best guesses about the Vatican's wealth put it at $10 billion to $15 billion. Of this wealth, Italian stockholdings alone run to $1.6 billion, 15% of the value of listed shares on the Italian market. The Vatican has big investments in banking, insurance, chemicals, steel, construction, real estate. Dividends help pay for Vatican expenses and charities such as assisting 1,500,000 children and providing some measure of food and clothing to 7,000,000 needy Italians. Unlike ordinary stockholders, the Vatican pays no taxes on this income,"
Wait, so the Vatican INVESTS it's money with companies? Is that not financial speculation?

Lead by example Pope. If markets aren't good for us, then they shouldn't be good for you. And if wealth redistribution is the answer, you have about 8 billion dollars to distribute. So, start distributing.
Otherwise, drive in your pope mobile, wear your hat, and keep your yap shut.

sinz52 said...

Bobber Fleck asks: "why there are so few communes in America? "

Actually, there are tens of thousands of communes in America.

They're called, "condominiums."

You own nothing but the space inside your apartment. Everything else in the condo complex, you cooperate with your neighbors to run it as a group.

Laslo Spatula said...

As a Pimp, there will always be the girl in the stable who makes the least amount of cash: it will always be so.

However, if a customer gets too rough with her you have to give that customer the same exact beat-down you would give him if he tried to rough up your best Prize Hooker: it is in that way that they keep their faith in your benevolence.


I am Laslo.

Laslo Spatula said...

A hooker with too much loose cash will inevitably stray into wantonness. That is why the Pimp collects the money, and uses his judgment as to determine how much cash the hooker receives in return.

She can, of course, put a little aside for breast implants: in Biblical parlance, it helps them to Fish.


I am Laslo.

iowan2 said...

The truly poor of the world (people starving because there is no food, poor)are poor because of the government. Thats just a simple fact.

And the church teaches that a true christian lives in poverty to aid the truly poor. I might do that, if I saw truly poor that were unable to do for themselves, individuals that had no family to aid them, but then I wonder why their church wont aid them. Then I wonder why their neighborhood, community, city, township,county,region,state. wont help them.The fact that I see is here in America people are poor by choice. I cant help people that refuse to help themselves.

Laslo Spatula said...

A hooker can service both the Rich Man and the Poor Man, if they are up-front with the same amount of money.

Of course, some Poor Men are not really poor, they just blow all their money on hookers.

Who am I to judge?


I am Laslo.

FedkaTheConvict said...

And in response to Evangelii Gaudium, Rush Limbaugh suggested that Pope Francis is a Marxist and the media went crazy for a few weeks: It's Sad How Wrong Pope Francis Is (Unless It's a Deliberate Mistranslation By Leftists)
"I gotta be very careful. I have been numerous times to the Vatican. It wouldn't exist without tons of money. But regardless, what this is, somebody has either written this for him or gotten to him. This is just pure Marxism coming out of the mouth of the pope. Unfettered capitalism? That doesn't exist anywhere. Unfettered capitalism is a liberal socialist phrase to describe the United States. Unfettered, unregulated. "

CStanley said...

@jr 565: the converse of your argument comes back to bite you. Presumably you are an advocate of free markets and investments- so you should see why it is better for the Vatican to invest large principle assets and use the earnings for its mission of caring for the poor, instead of spending the principle itself which is not sustainable.

CStanley said...

I do think that the quoted statements were poorly worded. A more generous reading of his intent though, (supported by the overwrought reaction which suggests he has touched a nerve) is to interpret his argument not as a straw man but instead as asking if the proverbial shoe fits.

Read it as though he's not saying that our capitalist system really is "unfettered", and instead is suggesting that we should question it more to make sure we are adequately "fettering" it.

Even then I don't fully agree that he's correctly diagnosing the problems that lead to economic inequality. It's mainly the corruption of the system, not the system itself, that is problematic. But those who react to his statements as though he's a Marxist have probably reinforced his belief that you are the problem because you will broach no criticism of capitalism.

James said...

Bobber Fleck, if you recall the beginning of the healthcare/ACA debates one of the principal points made by advocates was the ability to purchase health insurance through cooperatives. This talk about cooperatives continued until the PR/messaging people massaged it into "exchanges" instead of cooperatives.

Cooperatives are a major principle of East African socialism promulgated by African leaders like Kwame Nkrumah, Jomo Kenyatta, and Julius Nyrere; I'm sure Obama is acquainted with their work. I was born and raised in the <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guyana")Cooperative Republic of Guyana(/a), the only cooperative republic in the world. They attempted to organize the entire country into cooperatives and it ended in abject failure. So I immediately recognized the whiff of socialism as soon as Obama started talking about cooperatives.

SomeoneHasToSayIt said...

Regarding inequality, there is being 'unemployed' and then there is being 'unemployable'.

May God always grant the policy makers the wisdom to know the difference, and therefore where to assign blame.

AJ Lynch said...

He should be preaching to Catholics and potential converts with the hope they will take Catholic dogma and change the world for the good. Enough with his lecturing to whole world.

James said...

I wouldn't take the Pope seriously as long as Catholic Charities accepts billions of dollars from the U.S. in the name of "charity." This expropriation is the exact opposite of Jesus' teachings who said that charity should come from an individual's "increase" or profits and not by force of government.

traditionalguy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
CStanley said...

AJ Lynch said...
He should be preaching to Catholics and potential converts with the hope they will take Catholic dogma and change the world for the good. Enough with his lecturing to whole world.

4/26/15, 8:22 AM

This criticism makes no sense. The quotes are excerpted from an Apostolic Exhortation, which is a communication between the Pope and his flock.

Anonymous said...

..and in other news Christians are being liquidated in the Middle East.

Francis needs to prioritize.

Gabriel said...

The Vatican has $15 billion which some commenters here have suggested it ought to liquidate and "help the poor". Right.

The US government spent $74 billion on SNAP last year.It spent $7 billion on WIC. $15 billion is chump change.

There's roughly 5 billion poor people in the world, and if the Vatican gave away all its money to them that would be $3 apiece.

20 years ago I was listening to a couple of grad students speculate on how wealthy we would all be if we confiscated Bill Gates' money. I said, "That would be about $6 for each of us."

Math is hard.

Sam Hall said...

Bobber Fleck asks: "why there are so few communes in America? "

You might want to look at the kibbutz in Israel. Here is a starter
Kibbutz

Chris N said...

Boy, if any country has the balance of power between Church, political institutions, everyday people and markets squared away, it's Argentina.

Runs like a dream.

Bob Ellison said...

YoungHegelian said "I understand your point, Bob, but it's important for folks who don't know Catholic doctrine to understand that Evangelii Gaudium is simply an exhortation."

See, this is my problem with this sort of discussion. Whence comes the importance for folks to understand? I don't understand. I don't give a crap. That's not my job. I'm not gonna kowtow to some keener "understanding" that comes from out of nowhere, passive voice.

Mark said...

As noted above, the Vatican is hardly wealthy. Many individuals, not to mention organizations and governments, have far more money.

Many of the holdings of the Vatican are various antiquities, which they hold in trust for the rest of civilization and which actually cost money to maintain. The real estate is almost entirely functional property, for use as a church, school, hospital, charity, etc., so cannot be sold. Its stock investments are used to produce income to finance operations and pensions, etc.

As far as liquid assets, the Vatican's annual budget spends about $400 million. That's million, with an M, not a B, much less a T. Many localities in the U.S. spend much more than that. My locality spends three times as much per year. When the Pope comes here in the fall, he will not fly in some fancy jumbo jet like Obama, or even some fancy corporate jet. He will fly Alitalia, the Italian passenger airline. Meanwhile, as soon as the Nepal earthquake hit, the Catholic Church was there to assist.

CStanley said...

Mark and Gabriel- thanks for doing the heavy lifting on the numbers, and for the reality check.

The Catholic Church has many faults and failings, like any human institution. It's ridiculous though that outsiders often have such a distorted view of it and the criticisms that gain traction do nothing but distract from real problems (for instance, on financial matters the main issue is the Vatican bank scandal, which Pope Francis has been trying to address- but I have no idea if he's doing enough or if he'll be successful.)

Alex said...

The Church loves Communism more than they love their own bible. The pope realizes that under Communism no religion is allowed?

Oh the green eyed monster.

mccullough said...

If everyone converted to Judaism, the number of poor would be greatly reduced.

But the pope would rather have everyone be poor Catholics than prosperous Jews.

mccullough said...

CStanley,

I grew up Catholic. Non-Catholics' opinions of the Cathoilic Church are too generous not too harsh.

The pope and the Dalai lama and the Archbishop of Canterbury are fools, at best. Most likely they are just con men.

CStanley said...

McCullough, I don't know what "growing up Catholic" has to do with it. I grew up Catholic, drifted away and then came back to the Church, but through it all my opinion of the Church has remained fairly constant. There are objective facts about the contributions the Church makes to society, and also about its faults and failings. There is truth to both the praise and the criticism. I just find that those who are quick to criticize often don't know what they are talking about.

CStanley said...

Economics and religion is a conundrum. Communism, if it were workable in a way that was not corrupted, would be more compatible with the Christian ideal. And yet the very reason that communism is not workable is the central theme of Christianity- there can be no heaven on earth because of the fall of man.

Capitalism is somewhat better because it has checks and balances. That doesn't make it perfect or incorruptible either, and spiritual leaders are right to insist that we work to protect against that as much as possible.

Howard said...

Pope gets too close to teachings and examples set by Jesus and teabagging chickenhawks erupt in protest. Wearing the cloak of Christ (as a Get Out of Hell Free card), y'all are effectively believers in Nietzsche.

n.n said...

A multi-trillion dollar welfare economy that leaves people indigent, homeless, and even unidentified; selective exclusion, rather than principled tolerance; immigration to marginalize and neutralize native populations; and around 1 million aborted [wholly innocent] human lives in America alone; is evidence that mainstream proponents of civil and human rights leaders are bigots and lying about their motives. The Pope should expose the progress of a secular, degenerate religion.

Lydia said...

From the stuff-that's-impossible-to-make-up file: The archibishop of Munich is Cardinal Reinhard Marx, who has "written and spoken widely on economic questions and the contemporary relevance of Catholic Social Teaching. His book Das Kapital: A Plea for Man (2008) echoes the economic worldview that Pope Francis put forth in Evangelii Gaudium."

Robert Cook said...

"With capitalism, half the world is poor."

You think it's only half?

Robert Cook said...

As for those excoriating the Pope for his remarks, this is, after all, the message and meaning of Christianity.

FedkaTheConvict said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
YoungHegelian said...

@RC,

As for those excoriating the Pope for his remarks, this is, after all, the message and meaning of Christianity.

No, Cookie, using the power of the state under threat of legal prosecution to separate people from their hard-earned money & give it to anyone else is not Christian charity. Giving what's yours by free choice is charity.

Every time somebody talks about how the early Christians were socialists I always invite them to show me where the phrase All power to the workers' soviets! occurs in the New Testament.

FedkaTheConvict said...

^^^ I'll agree with you if you can show me where in the Bible it says that the Church should use taxes collected by the government under threat of penalties for "charity."

Its worth noting that the U.S. Bishops had no problems endorsing redistribution schemes like Obamacare; that is until they were forced by the same policy to pay for birth control.

FedkaTheConvict said...

How much does Catholic Resettlement Services earn from the government for helping it to subvert U.S. immigration law?

jr565 said...

Robert Cook wrote:
"With capitalism, half the world is poor."

You think it's only half?

prior to capitalism most of the world was poor. Capitalism is the best way to lift people out of poverty, not to mention provide goods and services.
Wealth redistribution from on high by govt doesn't achieve that result.
What wealth would be redistributed?
It would have to be generated wealth. In order to redistribute you'd need to have accrued said wealth through a system that provides for it. And that's capitalism.

WEalth redistribution is simply taking the golden goose and shaking all the eggs out. However, if it can't produce more eggs, then its useless. Since that would only tide people over till they ran out of gold.

There is no such thing as a goose that lays golden eggs. And money does not grow on tres. ANd so, lets defend the system that provides for the most good to the most people.
That's capitalism.

jr565 said...

Howard, wrote:
Pope gets too close to teachings and examples set by Jesus and teabagging chickenhawks erupt in protest. Wearing the cloak of Christ (as a Get Out of Hell Free card), y'all are effectively believers in Nietzsche.

Nah, I just think he's a sap. I already quoted how much money the Vatican spends on upkeep of churches and for helping poor. It's billions. Such largesse and charity requires MONEY. Only Jesus could turn water into wine and cure people leprosy. If the curch wants to administer to the poor they need resources. Lots and lots of cash.
And so, don't bite the hand that feeds you.

Robert Cook said...

"Every time somebody talks about how the early Christians were socialists I always invite them to show me where the phrase All power to the workers' soviets! occurs in the New Testament."

Acts 2, verses 44 and 45:

"All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need."

Acts 4, verse 32:


"All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of his possessions were his own, but they shared everything they had."

and Acts 4, verses 34 and 35:

"There were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned lands or houses sold them, brought the money from their sales and put it at the apostles' feet, and it was distributed to anyone as he had need."

Alex said...

I agree with Cook. The New Testament is explicitly pro-Commie. There is no getting around it.

Unknown said...

Just for shits and grins, next time we go on a tear expropriating people, let's strip all the commies and socialists naked. Like Al Gore for instance. or Dianne Feinstein. I bet the take would be impressive.

As for Pope Lighten Up, I'm not allowed to call for the death of the president, because I believe that would be sedition and I would go to pound em in the ass federal prison, but popes enjoy no such privileges, so would somebody please shoot this worthless piece of shit? What the world needs is out honest to god red blooded American Pope. Argentina hardly belongs in the UN.

Robert Cook said...

"Like Al Gore for instance. or Dianne Feinstein. I bet the take would be impressive."


I thought you said "commies" and "socialists."

Rusty said...

Robert Cook said...
"Every time somebody talks about how the early Christians were socialists I always invite them to show me where the phrase All power to the workers' soviets! occurs in the New Testament."

Acts 2, verses 44 and 45:

"All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need."

Acts 4, verse 32:


"All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of his possessions were his own, but they shared everything they had."

and Acts 4, verses 34 and 35:

"There were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned lands or houses sold them, brought the money from their sales and put it at the apostles' feet, and it was distributed to anyone as he had need."


And, of course, Christ was speaking to his followers of the need for charity.
And as any christian will tell you charity is a personal sacrifice in the name of god. It defines a relationship with the giver and god. God being the father that is in heaven and not the state. Christ had other teachings on the relationship between his followers and the state.

Gabriel said...

@Robert Cook: The sharing was voluntary. There are Christian communities that do that to this day.

"Sharing" done at gun point is not sharing, is not virtuous, and makes people poorer, as is shown by the history of every Communist nation ever.