In the spirit of full disclosure, allow me to state just a few personal details:
- I'm a Catholic, and a very traditional one at that. Latin Mass only, big into Smells and Bells, moral absolutes... all that jazz.
- I'm a Capitalist, and a hard working one at that. I've never knifed anyone in the back for a lousy dollar, I expect the same in return. (BTW, that's essentially the same thing The Church teaches.)
- I'm a Law and Order kinda guy (Tong, Tong), even to the point of the Hangman's Noose. Example: I don't care if you wear a $5,000 Italian suit, denim coveralls or a Roman Collar. If you rape kids, I'll personally drop the gallows' trapdoor on you.
But I Digress...
An awful lot of ink is being spilled over the media-hyped "attack" Pope Benedict supposedly launched against capitalism.
As much as I personally enjoy reading Breitbart.com, their provocative headline "Pope Attacks Capitalism in New Years Speech" is simply wrong.
One news organ that never fails to get it wrong, did so with flying colors.
So What Exactly Did He Say...?
First things first... let's get this straight from the beginning, he never attacked capitalism.
Speaking against many of the evils that plague Mankind, Pope Benedict specifically stated:
"The prevalence of a selfish and individualistic mindset which also finds expression in an unregulated capitalism, various forms of terrorism and criminality."
I'm sure none of us would disagree with his condemnation of terrorism and criminality, let I'll focus only on what he said in relation to capitalism.
Has anyone else noticed he never called for an over-regulated style capitalism? No... he didn't.
What Pope Benedict spoke against was unregulated capitalism. Big difference. (Emphasis mine)
Not all that long ago, children worked in mines, sweatshops, slaughterhouses, etc. And I mean children... 8 and 9-years-old.
What stopped that? Well, regulation.
The Pope never called for over regulation, nor for oppressive regulation. Just regulation.
So What Is The Catholic Definition Of Regulation...?
Now I ask of you, dear reader, please keep in context what the Catholic definition is.
Initially, we adhere to the Four Sins that Cry to Heaven for Vengeance (note: only the 3d and 4th apply to this particular topic at hand):
- Murder (Gn 4:10)
- Sodomy (Gn 17:20-21)
- Oppression of the poor (Ex 2:23)
- Defrauding workers of their just wages (Jas 5:4)
If that isn't enough, there is the official teaching of the Catholic Church as found within the catechism:
The Church has rejected the totalitarian and atheistic ideologies associated in modem times with 'communism' or 'socialism.'
She has likewise refused to accept, in the practice of 'capitalism,' individualism and the absolute primacy of the law of the marketplace over human labor.
Regulating the economy solely by centralized planning perverts the basis of social bonds; regulating it solely by the law of the marketplace fails social justice, for 'there are many human needs which cannot be satisfied by the market.'
Reasonable regulation of the marketplace and economic initiatives, in keeping with a just hierarchy of values and a view to the common good, is to be commended."
Did anyone else notice the first two words in the last sentence?
Should our employer have to pay us for overtime? Do we have to work in a firetrap? Do we deserve a reasonable break for meals?
We all know the answers to those questions.
And above all, none of us want our kids chained to a sewing machine for 16 hours a day, do we?
That's just reasonable (regulation).
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