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PopeWatch: Calling the Pope a Communist

VATICAN-POPE-AUDIENCE

 

 

The Pope addressed a gathering of so-called Popular Movements (in PopeWatch’s experience precious few groups call themselves Unpopular) meeting in Rome:

 

 

“This meeting of Popular Movements is a sign, a great sign,” Pope Francis told his audience. “You came to be in the presence of God, of the church… [to speak about] a reality that is often silenced. The poor not only suffer from injustice, but they also fight against it.”

The Holy Father also emphasized that it is not sufficient to be content with “illusory promises,” and that anesthetizing or taming problems at hand does not solve them. He called for solidarity amidst trying times. “Solidarity is a word that…means more than some generous, sporadic acts. It is to think and act in terms of the community…It is also to fight against the structural causes of poverty, inequality, unemployment, and [loss of] land, housing, and social and labour rights. It is to confront the destructive effects of the ‘Empire of Money:’ forcible displacements and migrations, human and drug trafficking, war, violence, and all of these realities that many of you suffer and that we all are called to address and transform. Solidarity, understood in its most profound sense, is a way of making history, and that is what the Popular Movements movement is doing,” he said.

Pope Francis spoke about the monopolization of land, deforestation, appropriation of water, and inadequate agrochemicals, which have deprived many farmers of sufficient land. He pointed out that in rural communities, land is ingrained in lifestyle and culture. For these afflicted farmers, separation from land is not purely physical, it is also “existential and spiritual,” he said. Additionally, the Pope said the need for agricultural reform is ingrained in the Church’s social doctrine. “Please,” he urged, “continue to fight for the dignity of rural families, for water, for life and for all that can benefit from the fruits of land.”

Also on the agenda were the problems of housing and employment. Insisting that every family has a right to a home, the Pope said, “Today there are many families without housing, either because they never had it or because they lost it for various reasons.” The Holy Father stressed that this was unacceptable; that in neighbourhoods families grow and plant their foundations. It is a shame, he said, that in large cities there is an abundance of neglect in regards to housing “millions of our brothers and neighbours, including children.”

The Pope went on to renounce the use of euphemisms to soften the harsh realities that plague society today. Specifically, he referred to the use of the term, “street situation,” which is used to describe the homeless. “We live in cities that build towers, malls, and businesses, but abandon the parts where the marginalized reside – the peripheries.”

Lastly, the Pope spoke about the growing problem of unemployment in Europe and around the world. “Today, the phenomenon of exploitation and oppression has taken on a new dimension,” he said. “The centre of our whole social and economic system needs to be about the person, the image of God, created for the universe.” Instead, we live in a world that is largely infatuated with the attainment of wealth, and that the economy is prioritized over the human person. He pointed out that the unemployment of the youth in Italy has reached 40%; and that in some parts of Europe, that number is even higher. “We need to change this,” he said. “We need to return to making human dignity the centre [of society]… and we need to create the alternative societal structures that we need.”

 

 

 

 

Go here to read the rest.  The Pope also made this statement:

Francis said the poor need land, a roof over their head and work, and said he knew well that “If I talk about this, some will think that the pope is communist.”

“They don’t understand that love for the poor is at the center of the Gospel,” he said. “Demanding this isn’t unusual, it’s the social doctrine of the church.”

The Pope is not a Communist, but the opinion that he is one is an easy mistake.  The material goods that he wishes the poor to have can be only provided by prosperous free market economies.  The Pope seems to be extremely skeptical about free market economies, and completely ignorant as to how they function.  He shares with the Left many paranoid beliefs about capitalism, including that wars are started to give riches to the few.  On the other hand he also appears to have enormous faith in governments to simply mandate prosperity for the poor, and that if this is not done it can only be due to evil motivation by those in power.  No, the Pope is not a Communist, but in his economic illiteracy and his faith in the magical properties of State power, there is little meaningful difference between him and the most orthodox of Marxists.

 

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Donald R. McClarey

Cradle Catholic. Active in the pro-life movement since 1973. Father of three and happily married for 35 years. Small town lawyer and amateur historian. Former president of the board of directors of the local crisis pregnancy center for a decade.

25 Comments

  1. This Pope has no excuse to be this ignorant about economics. The book, “The Mystery of Capital” by Hernando De Soto, a well known South American economist, has been available for years. The Pope would learn in a week why capitalism hasn’t worked in Argentina; it hasn’t been allowed to work! BTW, when is someone at TAC going to review this book? I’ve been suggesting it for months now.

  2. ““Solidarity is a word that…means more than some generous, sporadic acts. It is to think and act in terms of the community… “…communism
    .
    Solidarity is to think and act in terms of the individual sovereign person…, giving to each his freedom as handed down by God…to establish equal Justice to the community. To establish equal Justice to the community means to establish the state. Solidarity means that each and every person is acknowledged and their God-given human rights are respected and fulfilled. There can be no anarchy while people are building up the law and loving his neighbor. To allow the state to impose itself over the neighbor is communism.
    .
    Pope Francis said two things which are diametrically opposed. The first is to support The Popular Movements and giving them the means to enslave the poor.
    .
    Next, Pope Francis said that the poor must be treated with dignity.
    .
    “Francis said the poor need land, a roof over their head and work, and said he knew well that “If I talk about this, some will think that the pope is communist.””
    .
    Not in proclaiming the Gospel, but in handing over the poor to the Popular Movements, Pope Francis may be called a “communist”.
    .
    When Eva Person and/or Imelda Marcos, of the three thousand pair of shoes, had crossed the line and their greed began to show, they would hand out packets of powered milk to the poor. Is there any more powdered milk left in Argentina? There seems to be none left in Venezuela.
    .
    When Abraham Lincoln freed the slaves, the slaves were offered 40 acres of land and a mule, each. Any country that wants to improve its status and give humanitarian aid to the poor is wealthy enough to share the land with its citizens. Free powdered milk is not going to save Argentina.

  3. Just look at the case of Bishop Miguel Esteban Hesayne of the Diocese of Viedma. In 2001 he threatened to excommunicate President Fernando de la Rua for supporting ‘neoliberal’ policies, and in a later letter to the president wrote “Is it licit for a Christian to receive the Communion if in fact he assumes the neoliberal ideology that engenders death for millions…death of children just after birth, accelerated death for the elderly and slow death to generations of young ones?…All the actions of your government have been in favor of the markets, and against the people”.
    Note that there is no perception that markets serve people, or that the even reflect reality.

  4. John chapter 12:
    .
    Six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany, where Laz′arus was, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. 2 There they made him a supper; Martha served, and Laz′arus was one of those at table with him. 3 Mary took a pound of costly ointment of pure nard and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped his feet with her hair; and the house was filled with the fragrance of the ointment. 4 But Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples (he who was to betray him), said, 5 “Why was this ointment not sold for three hundred denarii and given to the poor?” 6 This he said, not that he cared for the poor but because he was a thief, and as he had the money box he used to take what was put into it. 7 Jesus said, “Let her alone, let her keep it for the day of my burial. 8 The poor you always have with you, but you do not always have me.”
    .
    Pope Pius XI in Divini Redemptoris against Communism:
    .
    http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/pius_xi/encyclicals/documents/hf_p-xi_enc_19031937_divini-redemptoris_en.html
    .
    I trust no one who tells me I must be taxed to give to the poor.

  5. Is this really new?
    In Populorum Progressio, Bl Pope Paul VI wrote, “However, certain concepts have somehow arisen out of these new conditions and insinuated themselves into the fabric of human society. These concepts present profit as the chief spur to economic progress, free competition as the guiding norm of economics, and private ownership of the means of production as an absolute right, having no limits nor concomitant social obligations. This unbridled liberalism paves the way for a particular type of tyranny, rightly condemned by Our predecessor Pius XI, for it results in the “international imperialism of money.””

    He also carefully defined the complimentary rôles of the public authorities and of private individuals: “It is for the public authorities to establish and lay down the desired goals, the plans to be followed, and the methods to be used in fulfilling them; and it is also their task to stimulate the efforts of those involved in this common activity. But they must also see to it that private initiative and intermediary organizations are involved in this work. In this way they will avoid total collectivization and the dangers of a planned economy which might threaten human liberty and obstruct the exercise of man’s basic human rights.”

    Nor did he neglect the international dimension: “As We told the United Nations General Assembly in New York: “Your vocation is to bring not just some peoples but all peoples together as brothers. . . Who can fail to see the need and importance of thus gradually coming to the establishment of a world authority capable of taking effective action on the juridical and political planes?””

  6. “These concepts present profit as the chief spur to economic progress, free competition as the guiding norm of economics, and private ownership of the means of production as an absolute right, having no limits nor concomitant social obligations.”
    .
    What has happened in Western Europe and North America is NOT an assurance that the free market will meet its concomitant social obligations, but a strangulation and emasculation of the free market, preventing it from meeting its social obligations.
    .
    Should the Government regulate to ensure public health and safety? Absolutely! And for my small industry – nuclear power – that is done in the US by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, in Canada by the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, and in MPS’s United Kingdom by the Health and Safety Executive’s Office of Nuclear Regulation. But when regulators over-reach, then the public is at a disservice. This happened (for example) with the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station recently when the NRC delayed and delayed on restart authorization, resulting in permanent shutdown of safe, clean 2000+ megawatts of electricity, all out of unreasoning fear over a miniscule primary to secondary leak that had been stopped and corrected. Yes, Mitsubishi and SONGS screwed up with the steam generator replacement project, but they fixed their screw up. However, the omniscient government Regulator continued to analyze right into paralysis.The free market – because of this intrusive and precautionary principle government Regulator – did the cost effective thing and went back to relying on polluting fossil fuel because that was the only thing it could do to keep the electric grid up.
    .
    But according to Pope Francis and his supporters, it’s all the free market’s fault. Yup, the leak was Mitsubishi’s fault. But the removal of safe, clean energy from the electric grid, the resulting air pollution, and the higher electric prices that impoverish the poor families that Pope Francis says he is trying to help lies (in a very real if only indirect way) at the doorstep of the Pope, the President, and all who are like them. Since when is government to be trusted more than big business. Aren’t both made of the same fallible men? Why doesn’t Pope Francis understand this?
    .
    I am sick and tired of people – particularly US liberals and Europeans – saying we need government to regulate. What we need is to reign in government and allow the free market to actually work for a change.

  7. Bl Pope Paul VI had some harsh things to say about free trade. “Market prices that are freely agreed upon can turn out to be most unfair. It must be avowed openly that, in this case, the fundamental tenet of liberalism (as it is called), as the norm for market dealings, is open to serious question… Free trade can be called just only when it conforms to the demands of social justice.”
    Likewise, “Now if the earth truly was created to provide man with the necessities of life and the tools for his own progress, it follows that every man has the right to glean what he needs from the earth. The recent Council reiterated this truth: “God intended the earth and everything in it for the use of all human beings and peoples. Thus, under the leadership of justice and in the company of charity, created goods should flow fairly to all.” All other rights, whatever they may be, including the rights of property and free trade, are to be subordinated to this principle.”
    It is not that rights of property and free trade are to be rejected, but that they are qualified by other, overriding principles.

  8. MPS, who decides how to distribute good fairly? You? The Government? A Democratic majority? Since when does any one person get to take from another what he has rightfully earned by the sweat of his brow? “…it follows that every man has the right to glean what he needs from the earth.” I earn what I have gleaned and I object to this nonsense European attitude of relying on nanny government composed of corrupt politicians deciding how much I shall be taxed and how my money will be redistributed.
    .
    I have used this example before. Some months ago before my Filipina wife and I married, I housed in my apartment free of charge two poor Filipina immigrants. I used my own money. I don’t need godless government telling me what to do. But if we do what you want, then I will be taxed into bankruptcy with no ability to help anyone else out, and then I myself will need help. And what’s worse? The collusion between corrupt business men and corrupt politicians will continue. Corporate socialism! You don’t think of the real world consequences of your socialist nonsense.
    .
    Regulate only for public health and safety, and level the regulatory playing field so no one industry is favored over another. Then let the market be free. Anything else is incentive for the gospel of envy, and the poor will forever remain poor so long as they don’t have to stand on their own two feet. But that is exactly what politicians want so that they can cull more votes from an ignorant and docile sheep herd.

  9. Pope John Paul II was a much more nuanced thinker than Pope Francis as this statement from Centisimus Annus indicates:

    “In the struggle against such a system, what is being proposed as an alternative is not the socialist system, which in fact turns out to be State capitalism, but rather a society of free work, of enterprise and of participation. Such a society is not directed against the market, but demands that the market be appropriately controlled by the forces of society and by the State, so as to guarantee that the basic needs of the whole of society are satisfied.”

    I think John Paul II had an imperfect understanding of how free markets function, but he was obviously not clueless on the subject as Pope Francis manifestly is. Also, Pope John Paul II was keenly aware of the dangers posed by the State, something Pope Francis seems oblivious to.

  10. MP-S,
    FWIW, profit is the chief spur to economic progress, free competition is and must be the guiding norm of economics, and private ownership of the means of production is indeed a right, but none of these facts are absolute or exclusive and only a small handful of crackpots claim otherwise.

  11. Jonah Goldberg has multiple times mentioned that Big Government favors Big Business for a very obvious reason: it’s much easier to reign in and control a single large animal (like an ox) than to a plethora of smaller ones (like herding cats).

    For better or worse, I wonder how much this plays into some catholics’ attitudes, particularly some popes. From a clergy perspective, it would be much easier to have large, powerful government, so you only have to worry about converting a small handful of people – making saints out of a dozen, maybe fifty people – than to try and convert the mass of society – to make a saint out of everyone.

    Thus, if you seek to make a “just society” (however that might define) and whatever else is the goal of this year’s Catholics, then it would be a far easier effort to sway the powerful few than the dispersed many. Sloth is a far deadlier sin than I think a lot of us realize at times.

  12. This bugs me. I wish we could spend more energy worrying about those people who need to repent and get in line with Christ. Who need to be Evangelized or Newly-Evangelized. Poor or rich, sick or healthy, good times or bad (like a marriage) the important thing is your relationship with God. So many people today sing that communist song about pie in the sky when we die! They are looking for a political economic messiah just like Judas did, and like liberation theologians are still doing.

  13. Paul W Primavera asks, “Who decides how to distribute good fairly?”
    Well, St Thomas says, ““Community of goods is ascribed to the natural law, not that the natural law dictates that all things should be possessed in common and that nothing should be possessed as one’s own: but because the division of possessions is not according to the natural law, but rather arose from human agreement which belongs to positive law, as stated above (57, 2,3). Hence the ownership of possessions is not contrary to the natural law, but an addition thereto devised by human reason.” [ST IIa IIae Q66, II,obj 1]
    Possession is a fact; ownership is a right and thus, necessarily, the creation of law. The great classical scholar, Charles Rollin (1661-1741), explains, “Theft was permitted in Sparta. It was severely punished among the Scythians. The reason for this difference is obvious: the law, which alone determines the right to property and the use of goods, granted a private individual no right, among the Scythians, to the goods of another person, whereas in Sparta the contrary was the case.”
    You can see this principle everywhere enunciated in the French Revolution. Take Mirabeau (a moderate) “Property is a social creation. The laws not only protect and maintain property; they bring it into being; they determine its scope and the extent that it occupies in the rights of the citizens” So, too, Robespierre (not a moderate) “In defining liberty, the first of man’s needs, the most sacred of his natural rights, we have said, quite correctly, that its limit is to be found in the rights of others. Why have you not applied this principle to property, which is a social institution, as if natural laws were less inviolable than human conventions?”

  14. MPS,

    There is no greater admirer of Aquinas on this blog than I. However, he did get some things wrong. For example, he denied the Immaculate Conception. That is fine, it was not definitively set forth by the Church until the 19th Century.

    As for private property, the Church too has further defined this as as a basic right of the person derived from a proper understanding of natural law. It exists apart from the State and is not merely as some social construct resulting from human legislation.

  15. Michael Paterson-Seymour: So it all comes down to: Does the citizen care for his neighbor’s property and the law that protects his neighbor’s right to own property, or does the citizen take property that is not “nailed down” because the owner neglected to, or failed to, or was too incapacitated to protect his own right to own his own property? Who is the neighbor in the Gospel? The Good Samaritan.

  16. Well all, I think this is what just about every war on every continent has been over.
    Who’s is who’s, what is who’s? What’s mine is mine and what’s yours is mine. You Indians, you don’t need all this land, we have much smarter people who can show you what to do with this land and if you don’t do what we tell you we will take all the land and give you lot’s of free stuff. You farmers, you aren’t very smart with your small farms and many children, and we will just take you off that land through regulation and price fixing and give it to someone who is much smarter and “progressive” in their agragarian skills and send millions of you to town to take the jobs and pay those “progressive” farmers with YOUR taxes and it goes on and on. There is a very fine line between political agenda’s. It has been debated for all of time and here we sit. Oba dee oba dah. Who control’s the land controls the people. Who controls the people deems who lives and who dies. Communism, socialism, fascism any other ism’s and the ability to rationalize all of our arguments. “As for me and my house we will serve the Lord”

  17. Phillip:
    “MPS,
    There is no greater admirer of Aquinas on this blog than I. However, he did get some things wrong. For example, he denied the Immaculate Conception. That is fine, it was not definitively set forth by the Church until the 19th Century.”
    .
    Saint Thomas Aquinas said the Mass, the Nicene Creed, and was familiar with the prophecies in the Old Testament of The Savior being born of a Virgin. Aquinas held with ensoulment, and at that time, Aquinas held with ensoulment when the baby begins to move inside the womb, at about five months. Thomas Aquinas taught that the soul is the form of the body. If the soul is the form of the body, than how did the human body get to ensoulment, unless there is a soul present from the very first moment of existence?
    .
    Science has since proved through DNA that a new human being comes into existence at fertilization. Not too long ago, in the 1800s, people believed that the sperm contained a microscopic human being. And that the whole child was placed in the womb by the father. The mother contributed nourishment and nurturing. Perhaps since science has proved the mother contributes the egg to be fertilized by the father, men may feel less important while women have let it go to their heads. And the poor child has no father or mother, but he does.
    .
    At the Incarnation, Jesus took on human nature, and a physical body through a human person who had and kept her personal relationship with all Three Persons of the Blessed Trinity at all times. The woman is called Mary, the Immaculate Conception. From the very first moment of her existence, Mary, chose in her free will and intellect to remain in co-operation with God, in the Blessed Trinity. The Blessed Trinity lived and still lives in Mary’s soul. Each and every person is created in perfect moral and legal innocence. The Blessed Trinity waits in this person’s soul to be acknowledged. If the newly begotten rejects his Creator, the individual sins. In the Jewish tradition, the people believed that a child could sin while in the womb. The child can sin from the very first moment of existence by an act of the free will. Mary chose to remain in God’s good graces, for God and Jesus Christ, for herself and for us, all mankind. Jesus proclaimed this from the cross saying “Son, behold your Mother.”
    Mary is the model and prototype of all mankind. Each and every one of us, human beings, can and must choose to love God eternally from the very first moment of existence.

    If that clump of cells, that human person, newly begotten can consent to love God, through his God-given free will and intellect, his is a rational act. Rational means correct. Too many individuals, especially scientists, choose to believe that “rational” means license to do as one pleases, not accounting for the harm done to society and the human race by one individual’s act, God forbid, to choose to hate God. This free will act to choose to hate God is the implementation of concupiscence and original sin.
    .
    In the Sacrament of Penance, the soul chooses “to avoid the near occasion of sin.”
    Mary cannot be called Co-Redemptrix because Mary remained an innocent virgin for God. That the human race was spared because of Mary’s love for God is incidental, like the sun rises because the sun cannot do otherwise. Mary put herself into God’s hands and God redeemed mankind through His Son, Jesus Christ.

  18. The Roman Pontiff has seen great poverty in his life. Typically, he takes the usual Latin American view of the supposed causes and the supposed cures for it.

    Latin America has produced NONE of the world’s great innovations over the past 300 years. The steam engine, the telegraph, the telephone, the radio, electric light, the automobile, nuclear fission, space exploration, astronomical discoveries – none of these things has come from Latin America. Latin America has produced poverty, political corruption, wars, cocaine, some literature, some really bad books written by Ugarte and Galeano, more poverty, caudillos, a haven for Nazis (our Holy father’s home country) and some damned good coffee and beef (Colombia and Argentina, respectively).

    Latin America played no role in World War I or World War II, except to provide escaping Nazis some safe haven. Cuba and Nicaragua were parts of the Cold War.

    Only Africa has had it worse than Latin America, but Africa has good reasons for its messes, most notably European occupations.

    The number one reason for Latin American poverty is Latin American governments. They do not safeguard or protect the rights of all of their citizens. Their economies are strangled with regulations. Property rights are not respected or enforced. Education systems are lousy. Infrastructure is poorly designed, built and maintained. There is a lack of opportunity despite the good weather most of Latin America enjoys and the vast natural resources most Latin American nations possess.

    The Roman Pontiff does not believe that opportunity, hard work and personal responsibility are the ways out of poverty because almost nobody in Latin America believes this. It is a plane of thinking that is beyond the Roman Pontiff.

    The West suffers from relativism. It is a poverty of the soul. Christianity has been under attack in Europe since the 18th century. This secularism is also endemic in the US and Canada. Endlessly-fracturing Protestant churches and Catholic hierarchies who are more interested in going along with the world than confronting it have eroded faith. The Roman Pontiff high-fiving it with Evangelicals reinforces the view that there is no difference in religions and churches and why bother?

    The Roman Pontiff is just as responsible for the poverty of the soul in the West as the hierarchy there. Material poverty will always be with us. Bashing and trashing those who are aware of the corrosive poverty of the soul in the West will do the Roman Pontiff no good. Just because he would rather talk about material poverty than spiritual poverty does not diminish the significance of spiritual poverty.

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