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Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Pope Benedict Calls for Socialism (Hooray!)

Pope Benedict XVI has issued a new papal encyclical, "Charity in Truth" (Caritas in Veritate—everything sounds cooler in Latin). Issued on the eve of the G8 summit, the encyclical blames greed and unbridled growth for the current global recession. It also reveals the true socialist new-world-order nature of Catholicism... something believers would do well to heed.

So what makes the Pope a socialist? Let's look at His Holiness's own words (and imagine the response the right-wing blogosphere would give if such words came from a hippie like me [all emphasis mine]):
  • His Holiness says the common good must guide our economic decisions. We are to love our neighbors not just in individual charity but also by "the institutional path — we might also call it the political path — of charity, no less excellent and effective than the kind of charity which encounters the neighbour directly, outside the institutional mediation of the pĆ³lis."
  • Contrary to the very definition of corporations, the Pope says business cannot be guided by profit alone: "Once profit becomes the exclusive goal, if it is produced by improper means and without the common good as its ultimate end, it risks destroying wealth and creating poverty." (Seems that's what I've been saying about health insurance.)
  • Pope Benedict calls for world government! At least that's what I'd expect Bob and Sibby to say about his call for strengthening the United Nations: "To manage the global economy; to revive economies hit by the crisis; to avoid any deterioration of the present crisis and the greater imbalances that would result; to bring about integral and timely disarmament, food security and peace; to guarantee the protection of the environment and to regulate migration: for all this, there is urgent need of a true world political authority...."
  • The Pope says rich nations are hoarding natural resources that should be shared to allow poor countries to develop.
  • He declares there is a "covenant between human beings and the environment" (does that sound like pagan-Greenie Gaia-worship to you?)
  • He essentially endorses cap-and-trade: "It is likewise incumbent upon the competent authorities to make every effort to ensure that the economic and social costs of using up shared environmental resources are recognized with transparency and fully borne by those who incur them, not by other peoples or future generations..." (in other words, tax those externalities!).
  • The Pope makes a clearly hippie call for lifestyles "in which the quest for truth, beauty, goodness and communion with others for the sake of common growth are the factors which determine consumer choices, savings and investments."
  • The Pope establishes the intersection of Catholic and Lakota beliefs with this blatant socialist declaration: "[The Church] must defend not only earth, water and air as gifts of creation that belong to everyone."
  • He criticizes government restrictions on labor union activity based purely on economic utility. "...[T]he promotion of workers' associations that can defend their rights must therefore be honoured today even more than in the past...." (In other words, look for the union label on the mitre.)
I know, I'm proof-texting. There's plenty in Caritas in Veritate that supports other values. Pope Benedict XVI acknowledges the great good capitalism and globalization can do. (He even slips in some anti-abortion language.) But the above statements make it pretty clear that the Catholic Church rejects the sort of laissez-faire capitalism to which some conservatives still pretend. Pope Benedict XVI is calling on us to check the abuses of capitalism and consumerism with exactly the sort of communitarian and environmental principles and actions that our far-Right doom criers brand "Socialism!"


  1. "Pope Benedict XVI is calling on us to check the abuses of capitalism and consumerism with exactly the sort of communitarian and environmental principles and actions that our far-Right doom criers brand "Socialism!"

    Uh that is not exactly true. I have heard about the far right or the Catholic right or whatever and their reaction to this document the last few days. Of course after reading it this morning it appears this was what the "right
    was expecting and there was no ganashing of teeth.

    I wish I knew where this world of unfettered captialism exist unhindered by any regulation. Very few on the right adovcate that.

    I don't know how it got into some people's minds that the Catholic Right or the right in general are all Rand disciples.

    By the way after reading this the Pope is not calling for socialism

  2. The Pope calling for world government is like Adolf Hitler ordering more ovens. He's already got control of the largest church in the world...what more does he need?
    But if any other world leader wrote what he did, they'd strip him of his office and clothes for his megalomania....and hang his body in the street. But as we all know, gODD is going to sort this one out sooner or later.

  3. When I read the red print in my Bible (quotes from Christ), He really comes off as a "socialist" in the sense that He emphasizes the importance of the common good.

    So, too, many of the principles of Christianity are based on "socialist" ideals.

    But, Cory, the very word "socialism" leaves a bad taste in a lot of brains old enough to remember the Cuban missile crisis, the tales of Soviet oppression, fears of a Soviet takeover of Western Europe backed by the implied threat of nuclear holocaust, the writings of Solzhenitsyn ... the Union of Soviet "Socialist" Republics.

    Clearly, any good idea can be implemented in a bad way. We saw it with Soviet Russia and Red China; more recently we've seen it with our own "capitalism."

    I seriously doubt that the Pope has Soviet-style "socialism" in mind for the world. Maybe we need a new term for the "socialist" concept ... a word that doesn't have bad old baggage stuck all over it.

  4. Stan, you and the Pope are on the same wavelength about socialism, Stan. Ask the man in the pointy hat, and he'll tell you he is no fan of socialism. The word itself is laden with all that Cold War baggage, which is exactly what the "Socialism!" criers on today's far-right are trying to paint on everything they oppose. And if Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi, I, or any other friendly neighborhood Dems said things about the common good and global cooperation like what Caritas in Veritate expresses, you can bet we'd be branded socialists.


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