Monday, October 24, 2011


"What is valid on the national level is also valid on the global level. A person is not made to serve authority unconditionally. Rather, it is the task of authority to be at the service of the person, consistent with the pre-eminent value of human dignity. Likewise, governments should not serve the world Authority unconditionally. Instead, it is the world Authority that should put itself at the service of the various member countries, according to the principle of subsidiarity. Among the ways it should do this is by creating the socio-economic, political and legal conditions essential for the existence of markets that are efficient and efficacious because they are not over-protected by paternalistic national policies and not weakened by systematic deficits in public finances and of the gross national products – indeed, such policies and deficits actually hamper the markets themselves in operating in a world context as open and competitive institutions."

This is one key paragraph from the recent paper published by the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace that will be roundly ignored by the media. This isn't a call for one world government. In fact, it's just the opposite. It's a call for a distributive (not re-distributive) form of economics that pushes the means of production and the wealth as close to the family as possible.

The media on both sides of the spectrum are too lazy to actually read the paper and then put it in the context of Catholic Social Teaching. That wouldn't give them the sensational story they're looking for.


  1. The other things that will be ignored is the moral dimension to what this statement says, with the pertinent excerpts below:

    The economic and financial crisis which the world is going through calls everyone, individuals and peoples, to examine in depth the principles and the cultural and moral values at the basis of social coexistence.

    The Pontiff asserted that the defence of life and the promotion of people’s cultural and moral development are the essential conditions for the promotion of authentic development. On these grounds, Paul VI said that full and global development is “the new name of peace”.

    In his social encyclical, Benedict XVI precisely identified the roots of a crisis that is not only economic and financial but above all moral in nature. In fact, as the Pontiff notes, to function correctly the economy needs ethics; and not just of any kind but one that is people-centred.

    The lack of a convinced consensus, nourished by an unceasing moral communion on the part of the world community, would also reduce the effectiveness of such an Authority.

    Under the current uncertainties, in a society capable of mobilizing immense means but whose cultural and moral reflection is still inadequate with regard to their use in achieving the appropriate ends, we are invited to not give in and to build above all a meaningful future for the generations to come.


  2. The Vatican staff needs to get out of politics and work to SAVE SOULS and for the FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS of ALL MEN and ONLY according to the Gospel
    (CCC - 2246)

    The Church is not competant to involve itself in the political community. (CCC - 2245)

    Calling for a World economic authority is basically calling for a One World Government - - - since he who has the gold rules.

    This is doing GRAVE damage to any chance of bringing Catholics back to the Church, and Evangelization for non-Catholics.
    Bibical non-Catholics will rail against the Church, and rightly so, since they do not differentiate from the Vatican Staff or the Pope and the Magisterium.

    The Pope needs to have an emergency meeting with his staff, and until he gets them under control or fires them, there needs to be no more financial contributions except to our own Parish and our own selected Catholic Charities.
    This is the only way our voices will collectively be heard.

    His staff violates subisidiarity (CCC 1883, 1885, 1894, 2209).

    It promotes communism, and socialism.
    It takes away the responsibility of governments regarding waste and over-spending forcing others pay for their sins.
    And people will have zero control over a world wide non-elected economic government.
    It takes away the responsibility of the individuals who want something for nothing,
    and takes away our appropriate responsibility to vote for moral politicians.

    Can you spell the first step toward world-wide dictatorship? (The US Fed Reserve is bad enough.)

    The only good news is that this is not from the Magisterium of the Church.
    And we have not been able to read the actual text posted in English on the Vatican web site. But the damage is spreading very fast all over the World.

    Where did Jesus promote a world-wide economic government ? ? ? ?
    Please quote passages from the Bible.

    According to the Vatican staff we can all spend ourselves silly, and let someone else pay the bills.

    CCC - 2411 Contracts are subject to commutative justice which regulates exchanges between persons and between institutions in accordance with a strict respect for their rights.
    Commutative justice obliges strictly; it requires safeguarding property rights, paying debts, and fulfilling obligations freely contracted.
    Without commutative justice, no other form of justice is possible.
    One distinguishes commutative justice from legal justice which concerns what the citizen owes in fairness to the community, and from distributive justice which regulates what the community owes its citizens in proportion to their contributions and needs "

  3. Anonymous,

    I'll post a reply later. The Cardinals are in the Series and a man must have his priorities straight. The English translation can be found by clicking on the hyperlink below the quote in the post above.

  4. The Vatican staff wants one more bureaucracy for us taxpayers to pay for - with individuals having no control over how the money is spent.
    That leaves less actual money for those in need.

    Coveting our neighbors goods, and stealing our neighbors goods are against two of the Commandments.
    Envy, Jealousy, and Sloth are mortal sins.

    The Vatican staff involved in this Socialist political movement need to be fired.

    Does anyone think China and Saudi Arabia will listen to the Vatican? These are a few of the only prosperous Countries left.

    Helping the poor and subsidiarity are the responsibility of us individuals - not a World Wide Economic Government with "teeth" to bully everyone who does not do things there way.

  5. Anonymous,

    You may be surprised to hear this but I don't trust the bureaucrats in the Vatican, either.
    And you're right that any sort of world governing body is so problematic that I'd be REALLY hesitant about seeing it come into being. Our fallen nature would eventually succumb to corruption which would poison the whole thing. You make a bunch of good points, many which I agree with and some I don't but that isn't the point I was trying to make.

    My beef is with the media and their lazy approach to the news. The Vatican sucks at P.R. so it plays into this laziness every time. From the very beginning the reporting was that "THE POPE WANTS ONE WORLD GOVERNMENT!!!" They didn't make any effort to go into the document, much less to understand the foundational principles that underlie it, that the Pope had nothing to do with it or even whether it has any force within the context of Church teaching. They just told the story that want to tell because it fits into the narrative they're trying to create.

    How many of these journalists can explain subsidiarity? How many understand the Magisterium? How many of them care?

    I agree with the Pope that great injustice in our global economic system is causing great unrest, in fact that it has taken us to the brink of collapse. Sooner or later we're going to have to deal with this and we're going to deal with it at a global level because we're all part of he same machine now.

    I am opposed to Marxism and all its various offshoots because it is intrinsically evil. I do believe capitalism is the best system of economics we have but that it needs to be regulated because it's not perfect. In fact, left to its own devices, it will become a force for evil because it focuses on materialism. Just read the writings of Ayn Rand, the goddess of modern conservative thought.

    I do think that Distributism is the answer. It combines the best of capitalism with the social teachings of the Church. It offers the greatest good for the greatest number, keeping the means of production, wealth and the freedoms they bring close to the family which is the basic and most important unit of government. It respects property rights while keeping them in their proper place unlike Objectivism which places property above all else.

    Just as I don't trust big government, preferring government to be mostly local, I don't trust big corporations, preferring the Mom and pop variety. This is what Distributism strives for.

    In the end I'm glad that this paper was published because we need to be thinking about what the next step is going to be - after the collapse, of course. I don't agree, entirely, with its conclusions but they're a jumping off point. A vacuum is about to be created on a global level as the Western economies collapse. Someone is going to fill it. If we want to keep our freedom we better have some sort of plan to restart. And whatever that plan is it has to be just. Not fair - that's the clarion call of the Marxist - but truly just.

  6. A couple of things: I didn’t realize any higher-ups from the Catholic Church were still pushing for anything along the lines of distributism. I know Chesterton and the pope (Leo?) back in the day were big on it, but nobody else seemed to think it would be wise or even doable. Distributism is like socialism in that it sounds good, everybody getting a piece of the pie (whether they deserve it or not), but how to divide that pie, and along what lines, would be a nightmare of logistics and ethics. If they gave you and your family a piece of land in San Diego and gave mine a mountaintop on the Brooks Range, I might be a little ticked off.

    Second, globalization isn’t necessarily a step toward a one world government. In fact, much about it seems to be doing the opposite. As more advanced nations hand out jobs to lesser nations (which is exactly what so-called trade pacts like NAFTA ended up doing) those nations become more independent. For instance, Now China and India each have their own version of Silicone Valley. It’s been a global economy for at least a couple of millennia now. Ships have been sailing to foreign lands and trading goods for as long as their have been ships capable of doing so. Nations still remained independent. Only war forced them to do otherwise. I have no fear of globalization.

    Third, I’ve never understood Christians who seem to want to do their best to counteract biblical prophecies such as a one world government or a mark of the beast. Prophecies aren’t there for Christians to try and stop. They are there for us to observe and intensify our trust in God when, and if, they come true.

  7. The one world government thing is going to happen eventually - unless of course we take some sort of giant step backwards after a collapse. Even then, we'll just put it off for awhile. It can be bad or good. In fact, the Bible has both. The first one we'll see under Satan. It's going to suck. The second one is under Christ. It'll be great. Regardless, since we all play in one playground we're going to have to agree to play under the same rules if we want to get along.

    Distributism, at least as I understand it after way too much reading about it, isn't anything like socialism. Nobody is given anything except a just playing field. What we do with it is our business. Power, both economic and political is dispersed to the lowest level. No one person our group can accumulate enough to control the rest. Mom and pop stores, no Walmarts. Local control, not federal. That sort of thing.

    Truly free markets will exist because there are just enough rules in place to make sure they stay free. Like anything else, law brings freedom. The days of unrestrained capitalism, the kind Ayn Rand and her acolytes are so fond of, would be over.

    Capitalism becomes a tool for the betterment of man, not an end unto itself.

    It seems to me to be the best system available. Of course, as you point out, the devil's in the details.

    I have no fear of globalization, either. I do have a bunch of problems with the Objectivist version of it. I'll compete with China all day long as long as China doesn't get to use forced (slave) labor and currency manipulation. And as long as we don't have leftist groups (think Kyoto) trying to force incredibly restrictive rules on us that don't apply to China and India, among others. True competition requires a level playing field and consistent rules. And as long as we don't have bankers creating new games to play with credit and fiat money destroying our ability to earn and retain our property.

    That's where the global authority has to come in.

    The problem is, because of our fallen nature, that authority will be corrupt. No two ways about it. And that's where globalism falls apart every time.

    Now, if we were to apply the principles of Distributism to the problem and truly keep all the real power at the lowest level, maybe we could make that work. That's what the paper from the Vatican is saying. The world banking authority is supposed to be a servant of the local governments, not their ruler. It's supposed to act as a referee in disputes that can't be solved at a lower level and as a place where the minimal rules of a free and open market can be decided and enforced by common consent.

    Over the years, as I've read and thought about Distributism, it has occurred to me that this is exactly how our government was supposed to work. Sovereign states loosely bound by a central government with very little power over them - just enough to keep the wheels oiled and commerce flowing smoothly. A place where disputes could be settled and the laws that were needed to make the states interact smoothly could be drawn up and enforced. Most people, if they had any contact with government at all, dealt with municipal or county government. They had nothing to do with the fed.

    And just like Distributism, it was a grand and wonderful plan. And it didn't even last through the first President. Again, we're fallen beings and we can't seem to get our act together.

    As something to pass the time (when you're not writing, playing guitar or cutting up chickens (a true Renaissance man))you might get a kick out of reading some of the articles at the Distributist Review ( Some good ideas, some bad, but usually thought provoking.

  8. One thing's for sure. Distributism, love it or hate it, will probably never happen in this country. Not as long as the vast majority of its people continue their love affair with accumulating wealth and the American dream. I don't know much about it, but the church in Acts did something along the lines of either socialism or distributism (we probably don't know enough about that church to say which), and it wasn't any time at all before its members started hiding and hoarding their pocessions rather than see it given to someone else. It's our fallen nature, and until we're perfected, govenerments based on share and share alike principles will never work. Capitalism is the only way to go this side of Heaven. And, as Plato pointed out in The Republic, even capitalism and democracies don't last. People begin to value freedom too much. Soon they don't want any laws at all and chaos ensues. Governments and nations will always come and go, including ours. At which point that mountaintop in the Brooks Range will start looking better and better to me.

  9. CG, distributism is socialistic nonsence. Go to the Tradition In Action website and you will see that Belloc and Chesterson were basically socialists in their ecomonics. Scotju

  10. Scottju,

    Tell me exactly what you disagree with in Distributism. And show me where it contradicts Church teaching. I keep looking for the flaws because I know it has some. But then, so does Capitalism. I agree that certain principles of Distributism echo Socialism but then others are purely Capitalistic.

    The reason that I believe it isn't Socialistic is that Socialism advocates that the means of production are commonly owned and controlled and personal property rights are secondary to the cooperative.

    Distributism, on the other hand, looks to distribute the means of production to as broad a number of individuals as possible and uphold the right to individual property rights, viewing the private acquisition of property as the path to independence.

    I think that Marxists may be attracted to it for the same reason Capitalist are repelled by it; they mistake distributive for re-distributive. I see this all the time when the subject comes up, such as the current flap over this Vatican paper.

    George Bernard Shaw's endorsement not withstanding, Distributism is not Marxist. But it's not Capitalist, either. It uses Capitalism as a tool, a means to an end, not an end unto itself. The end is the man focused, and through that, God focused, not material, as Marxism always is and Capitalism usually is.

  11. You have written the fourth commandment incorrectly, you should have written "Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy, six days you shall work and do all of your labor but the seventh day is the Sabbath day to the LORD your God." The Sabbath day is the seventh day.