Sunday 27th May 2018

Home » Frontpage » Currently Reading:

Bishops In A Bind

July 29, 2017 Frontpage No Comments

By CHRISTOPHER MANION

Is “government charity” really charitable? Is “social justice” justice at all?
Consider the Good Samaritan. He wasn’t a government bureaucrat. He helped people voluntarily — with his own money.
The man in the ditch undoubtedly thanked the Good Samaritan. But here’s the secret of Christian charity: A Christian Samaritan answers the injured man, “No, thank you, for giving me the opportunity to serve a brother in Christ.”
Thank you — thank you.
Has a government bureaucrat ever thanked you?
Christian charity is a theological virtue — as St. Paul says, “the greatest of these is caritas” — charity.
Justice is also a virtue, a cardinal virtue.
And like all virtues, charity and justice are voluntary.
On the other hand, today’s ideological brand called “social justice” is mandatory. It isn’t justice at all, because it is not voluntary.
“Social justice” always requires government force. Even if they call it “charity.”
If you’re good at math, look at it this way: “Social Justice minus government force equals zero.”
So “government charity” is an oxymoron. The government can’t love — it can only command.
The very notion of something called “mandatory charity” is Doublethink, right out of Orwell and Big Brother.
But it is also a dagger aimed at the heart of true, voluntary charity.
After all, we can hardly call it virtuous to take money from a man by force, give it to a third party, and pat ourselves on the back for our generosity.
But that’s what “social justice” does. All the time.
And this temptation has become so much a part of American political life that even many Catholic bishops and intellectuals have fallen for it.
Voluntary charity. Mandatory “social justice.” These two opposing visions of virtue are in conflict today in the Catholic Church — and that conflict has a history, a rationale, and a troubled future.
In the nineteenth century, our bishops’ pastoral letters warned of sin and Hell. With voluntary contributions large and small, those bishops and their flocks built thousands of churches, schools, convents, and orphanages.
One hundred years ago, The Catholic Encyclopedia defined charity the old-fashioned way: “public charity is more mechanical; less sympathetic; more wasteful; it encourages people to claim public relief as a right”; and, most important, it “inflicts a mortal injury upon the spontaneity of charity and the sense of personal responsibility towards the unfortunate.”
That view of charity slowly changed in the first half of the twentieth century; after Vatican II, it was quickly turned upside down.
Enter the “seamless garment.” Exit preaching on the unpopular truths of Humanae Vitae.
And today, now that we’ve graduated from charity to “social justice,” we’re closing churches, schools, and convents by the thousands and selling them to mosques, corporations, and casino operators.
And all these once-revered institutions have gone into the tank, big time, for government funding — to the tune of hundreds of billions of dollars over the past fifty years, all told.
Why? Because it’s easier to get money from politicians than from voluntary donors.
And why is that?
It’s not their money.
In his Through the Eye of the Needle, a brilliant history of charity in the late Roman Empire, Princeton historian Peter Brown explains.
Briefly put, Rome’s wealthy nobility vied with Caesar to give more “corn” (wheat) to the masses. These secular leaders did so because, in return, they would be rewarded with “glory, honor, and gratitude.”
Consider our current day. When Catholic welfare agencies annually receive hundreds of millions from their government paymasters, who gets the credit?
Not the bishop — he’s just running an NGO funded by federal contracts.
Not the Church. It’s not her money.
Not the faithful. They pay their taxes with a gun to their head. They gain no merit in Heaven for that.
The answer is, none of the above.
The politician gets the “glory, honor, and gratitude.”
And no politician gives away our money for nothing.
When the politician gives the bishops taxpayer dollars, what does he get in return?
It’s simple. (And politicians love simple).
The bishops warmly bestow upon the “generous” (with our money) politician the Catholic “seal of approval.”
And what if the generous politician is pro-abortion? After all, canon 915 requires that such perpetrators of manifest scandal be denied the Eucharist. For that question, Timothy Cardinal Dolan has a ready answer. “Most [bishops] don’t think it’s [canon 915] something for which we have to go to the mat,” he told Cruxmag.com three years ago.
In 2006, Theodore Cardinal McCarrick of Washington effectively said: The bishops certainly weren’t going to bite the hands that feed them!
“After all,” he told a gathering of Canada’s bishops, “[taxpayer] money is needed for Catholic hospitals, charities and education.”
Let me put it another way. If the price is right, we won’t follow canon law.
Yes, the priceless imprimatur of Holy Mother Church is sold for a measly few hundred million dollars a year.
One is reminded of Peter Kreeft, who once observed that Judas was the first bishop who ever received a government grant.
There are two questions here: First, why does the federal government want to take over Christian charity? And second, why would our bishops ever let it happen?
Well, the government part is easy. The Catholic Church is government’s major competitor. To tyrants, we’re the enemy. Holy Mother Church is the last bulwark of freedom against tyranny. And her role includes defending us against what Pope Benedict calls the dictatorship of relativism.
Right now, in the West, the Church is the only institution left that will defend the family, marriage, and sexual morality — and, as Pope Benedict wrote the past week, the barque of Peter is taking on water, almost capsizing. That’s why the Vatican bureaucrats got mad at Donald Trump’s historic speech in Poland — because he defended Christendom, the Church, the family, and Western civilization more than the Vatican does!
Take a look around you. Who else is?
But wait — what’s wrong with government charity? Are you against social workers?
Well, Mother Teresa once pointed out that her sisters were not social workers. “We worship Christ in the Blessed Sacrament for four hours every morning, and then we go out and find Him all day in the gutters of Calcutta,” she said. “Social workers can’t do that.”
They can’t do that here, either. These days, if a government social worker, school employee, Army chaplain, or physician even mentions Jesus at work, she’s likely to lose her job. Even go to jail.
The government that punishes these simple acts of Christian charity is the same government sanctioned and applauded by bishops who are desperate to keep the federal money flowing to their welfare bureaucracies.
The bishops are in a bind. Their hands are tied by “golden handcuffs” — and alas, their lips are sealed as well.
It’s up to the laity to free them.

Share Button

2017 The Wanderer Printing Co.

Speaker Ryan Proposes a Return to Catholic Social Doctrine at Prayer Breakfast

Washington, D.C. – House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) spoke at the National Catholic Prayer Breakfast Thursday about how he believed the answer to many of the political problems society faces today, including “moral relativism” and “tribalism,” can be found in Catholic…Continue Reading

Judge rules ‘transgender’ high-schooler should have been allowed opposite-sex bathroom

NEWPORT NEWS, Virginia, May 24, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – A judge has ruled that a Virginia high school should have allowed a gender-confused former student to use the restrooms designated for the opposite sex. Gavin Grimm is a female Gloucester High School…Continue Reading

One of the most ‘liberal abortion regimes’ if vote passes

Ireland will have one of the most liberal abortion regimes in Europe if Friday’s referendum is passed, the No campaign warned during its final press conference on Wednesday. With the broadcasting ban set to come into force on the eve of the…Continue Reading

Pope asks for prayers for Catholics in China

Pope Francis has appealed to all Christians to be spiritually close to Catholics who live in China, and to pray they may live their faith in full communion with the Holy See. Speaking during the General Audience in St. Peter’s Square, the Pope recalled…Continue Reading

Life is the ‘true source of America’s greatness,’ President Trump tells pro-life gala

WASHINGTON, D.C., May 22, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) — President Donald Trump affirmed the importance of the right to life and called on pro-life voters to help secure it Tuesday night, in his keynote address at the Susan B. Anthony List’s 11th…Continue Reading

Bishop Schneider: Priests who ‘bless’ gay unions will answer for it on Judgement Day

May 21, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Clerics who “bless” homosexual unions are “reintroducing a kind of pagan temple prostitution,” which is “akin to apostasy,” Bishop Athanasius Schneider said in a newly-published interview addressing ongoing controversies and crises in the Catholic Church.…Continue Reading

Cardinal Burke: Catholics must let Christ reign as King in face of ‘apostasy’ within Church

ROME, May 18, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Catholics must consciously place themselves under the “Kingship of Christ” in the face of enemies of the Church today attempting to “infiltrate the life of the Church herself and to corrupt the Bride of…Continue Reading

President Trump to cut Planned Parenthood funding

The Trump administration is announcing its intentions to cut a significant amount of taxpayer funding from Planned Parenthood and other abortion businesses. The proposed regulation will also better protect victims of sexual assault, incest and rape because it will require that…Continue Reading

Bishop Tobin is right: the Catholic Church must stay true to itself

Bishop Thomas J. Tobin, who is the Bishop of Providence, Rhode Island, in the United States, has tweeted, and it is a mighty tweet, a gem amidst the dross and banality of Twitter. The Bishop has written:

Alfie Evans laid to rest today with no coroner’s investigation, no toxicology report

LONDON, May 14, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – The question of what caused the death of UK toddler Alfie Evans may never be known. The UK High Court refused today to order a post-mortem examination of the toddler’s remains at the request…Continue Reading

Google and Facebook Censor Pro-Life Free Speech Ahead of Ireland Vote to Legalize Abortion

This has been coming on in Ireland for months, really since the outlines of the wording for the May 25 referendum to gut protections for unborn children were released. Simon Harris, the Minister of Health, and others, committed to overturning…Continue Reading

Bill Nye the Science Guy Headlines Fundraiser for Planned Parenthood Abortion Biz

Bill Nye “the Science Guy,” a man who became famous for teaching children about science, has anything but children’s best interests at heart. Nye is an abortion activist who spoke Tuesday at fundraiser for Planned Parenthood in Texas. San Antonio…Continue Reading

Untitled 5 Untitled 2

Attention Readers:

  Welcome to our website. Readers who are familiar with The Wanderer know we have been providing Catholic news and orthodox commentary for 150 years in our weekly print edition.


  Our daily version offers only some of what we publish weekly in print. To take advantage of everything The Wanderer publishes, we encourage you to su
bscribe to our flagship weekly print edition, which is mailed every Friday or, if you want to view it in its entirety online, you can subscribe to the E-edition, which is a replica of the print edition.
 
  Our daily edition includes: a selection of material from recent issues of our print edition, news stories updated daily from renowned news sources, access to archives from The Wanderer from the past 10 years, available at a minimum charge (this will be expanded as time goes on). Also: regularly updated features where we go back in time and highlight various columns and news items covered in The Wanderer over the past 150 years. And: a comments section in which your remarks are encouraged, both good and bad, including suggestions.
 
  We encourage you to become a daily visitor to our site. If you appreciate our site, tell your friends. As Catholics we must band together to rediscover our faith and share it with the world if we are to effectively counter a society whose moral culture seems to have no boundaries and a government whose rapidly extending reach threatens to extinguish the rights of people of faith to practice their religion (witness the HHS mandate). Now more than ever, vehicles like The Wanderer are needed for clarification and guidance on the issues of the day.

Catholic, conservative, orthodox, and loyal to the Magisterium have been this journal’s hallmarks for five generations. God willing, our message will continue well into this century and beyond.

Joseph Matt
President, The Wanderer Printing Co.

Untitled 1

Interview With Cardinal Burke . . . Discriminating Mercy: Defending Christ And His Church With True Love

Cburke3

  By DON FIER (Editor’s Note: His Eminence Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke, Patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta and Founder of the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in La Crosse, Wis., graciously took time out of his busy schedule to grant The Wanderer a wide-ranging interview during a recent visit to the Shrine. Included among the topics…Continue Reading

Developing Lives Of Peace After The Heart Of Mary

By RAYMOND LEO CARDINAL BURKE (Editor’s Note: His Eminence Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke delivered the address below at the 32nd Annual Church Teaches Forum, “The Message of Fatima: Peace for the World,” Galt House, Louisville, Ky., July 22, 2017. The address is reprinted here with the kind permission of Cardinal Burke. All rights reserved. This is part one of the…Continue Reading

Catechism

Today . . .

Ireland votes to legalize abortion: ‘a tragedy of historic proportions’

baby2

IRELAND, May 26, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Irish citizens voted to legalize abortion on Friday, ending Ireland’s legacy as one of the world’s most pro-life nations. The votes are still being officially counted, but the pro-abortion campaign is declaring victory and pro-lifers are calling this a “tragedy of historic proportions.” “The 8th amendment did not create a right to life for the unborn child – it merely acknowledged that such a right exists, h

Irish Times exit poll projects Ireland has voted by landslide to repeal Eighth Amendment

Ireland has voted by a landslide margin to change the constitution so that abortion can be legalised, according to an exit poll conducted for The Irish Times by Ipsos/MRBI. The poll suggests that the margin of victory for the Yes side in the referendum will be 68 per cent to 32 per cent – a stunning victory for the Yes side after a long and often divisive campaign

Voting underway on Ireland’s abortion referendum

Voting was underway in Ireland on Friday on a referendum that could legalize abortions in the country, which currently bans the practice except in rare cases when the mother’s life is in danger. The referendum in the largely Roman Catholic country will decide whether to repeal a constitutional amendment, in place since 1983, that protects the life of fetuses from the moment of conception. If citizens vote to repeal the amendment, new abortion laws would…Continue Reading

Ireland . . . Abortion referendum: Last call for campaigners as voting starts

Both Yes and No campaigns have been holding events in Dublin on Thursday as the two sides prepare for the final day of campaigning before voting. Both sides are making their final appeals to voters ahead of the moratorium on broadcast coverage, which begins on at 2pm on Thursday. The ballot boxes are open from 7am to 10pm across the country and the results will be counted on Saturday morning

Cardinal Sarah: Ordaining married men would be a ‘break’ with Apostolic Tradition

CHARTRES, France, May 22, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Ordaining married men to the Catholic priesthood would be a break with apostolic tradition, a leading Catholic prelate has said. Robert Cardinal Sarah, prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, said that “serious consequences” would arise in the Church if she were to admit married men of sound reputation, or “viri probati” into the priesthood. The Cardinal, who is 72, made

Advertisement(2)

Can A Pope Change Moral Truth?

By PATRICK J. BUCHANAN (Editor’s Note: Please see commentary from The Wanderer on p. 4A.) + + + That joking retort we heard as children, “Is the Pope Catholic?” is starting to look like a serious question. Asked five years ago about a “gay lobby” in the Vatican, Pope Francis responded, “If a person is…Continue Reading

Teacher-Strike Movement . . . Looks Ahead To Using Experience Gained To Help Dems In November

By DEXTER DUGGAN PHOENIX — It looked like one of those YouTube man-at-the-beach interviews by Mark Dice where random clueless passers-by don’t know what country Mt. Rushmore is located in, or where Donald Trump lives. But these particular questions were posed to red-clad protesters outside the Arizona State Capitol. They had answers, all right, but…Continue Reading

Laboratory Rats And Their Masters

By GEORGE A. KENDALL I recently heard a story which upset me more and more the longer I thought about it. It concerned a young man getting ready to go off to college. The young man’s father is a very successful executive, and his son has been accepted for admission to his father’s alma mater,…Continue Reading

In Defense Of An Ancient And Universal Tradition Of The Church

By JAMES MONTI On Sunday, June 3, here in the U.S., we will be observing the Solemnity of Corpus Christi. In other places this same feast will be celebrated on the preceding Thursday, the day of the week originally chosen by Pope Urban IV (+1265) for this commemoration of the Holy Eucharist in accord with…Continue Reading

Iraqi “Republic”: No Christian Converts

By TERENCE P. JEFFREY (Editor’s Note: Terence P. Jeffrey is the editor-in-chief of CNSnews.com. His column is distributed by Creators.com.) + + + The 2017 State Department report on human rights in Iraq, which was released last month, begins by unambiguously declaring: “Iraq is a constitutional parliamentary republic.” It says, “The outcome of the 2014…Continue Reading

Advertisement

Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

The Sacraments Instituted By Christ… The Sacrament Of Confession

By RAYMOND DE SOUZA, KM Part 30 Confession is certainly the most controversial of all sacraments that Christ instituted for our salvation, especially among Protestants of every denomination. The most common objection is, “Why should I confess my sins to a man just like me, and perhaps a worse sinner?” The objector misses the point completely, since Confession is not…Continue Reading

Blessed Are The Pure In Heart

By DON FIER In our treatment up until now of the eight Beatitudes, it has been demonstrated that the first three, in keeping with the teaching of St. Thomas Aquinas, are mainly associated with “flight from and deliverance from sin. The next two…are the beatitudes of the active life of a Christian who, freed from evil, engages in the pursuit…Continue Reading

Catholic Replies

Q. Can you explain how the date for Easter is determined? It changes every year. — R.W., Massachusetts. A. Since the Council of Nicaea in 325, the date on which Easter falls is determined by the full moon. It is celebrated on the first Sunday following the first full moon occurring after the vernal equinox, that is, the time of…Continue Reading

The Tenth Anniversary of Summorum Pontificum… “Any Experience Of Rupture Must Come To An End”

By ARCHBISHOP ALEXANDER K. SAMPLE (Editor’s Note: The Most Rev. Alexander Sample of the Archdiocese of Portland, Ore., gave this homily for the Pontifical High Mass at the Basilica of the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, Washington, D.C., on April 28, 2018. (The occasion was a celebration of the tenth anniversary of Summorum Pontificum, Pope Benedict XVI’s apostolic letter that…Continue Reading

The Oneness Of God

By FR. ROBERT ALTIER Solemnity Of The Most Holy Trinity (YR B) Readings: Deut. 4:32-34, 39-40 Romans 8:14-17 Matt. 28:16-20 In the first reading today, Moses addresses the people of Israel, challenging them to think about what they might believe about God and about themselves in relation to God. The problem for the Jewish people, having come out of Egypt,…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… Blessed Louis-Zéphirin Moreau

By CAROLE BRESLIN In the late 19th century the Canadians endured a crisis of education called the Manitoba question. Prelates, priests, politicians, and laity joined in both the private and the public debate that lasted for years. The Catholic Church was deeply divided over the question of the schools and letters crossed the Atlantic to and from Rome in efforts…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… Blessed Ivan Merz

By CAROLE BRESLIN Our Lord paid the laborers the same wage whether they worked from early morning or began in the afternoon. The rewards were the same (Matthew, chapter 20). So too are the rewards for serving the Lord with zeal and perseverance. St. Augustine, converting at the age of 33, St. Mary Magdalene, St. Francis of Assisi — all…Continue Reading