Thursday 19th April 2018

Home » Frontpage » Currently Reading:

The Catholic Worker And Bono

October 29, 2013 Frontpage No Comments

By JAMES K. FITZPATRICK

I have a soft spot for the Catholic Worker movement, even though most members of the group would be poles apart from me politically. I have felt this way for decades now. While on our frequent walking tours of Manhattan, my late wife and I would stop to drop a few dollars into the collection bottle sitting in the window at the Worker’s St. Joseph House in the Bowery section of the city. The volunteers would always give me a big smile and a thank you as they handed me a copy of their newspaper. I often wondered how they would react if they knew I voted for both Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan.
Why my soft spot? I find it hard to be antagonistic toward people who do this work, who live in some of the most downtrodden sections of the country to provide for the poor. They walk the walk, practice what they preach, in an effort to follow Jesus’ instruction to care for the least of our brethren.
I wouldn’t quarrel in the least with Jeff Dietrich, a member of Catholic Worker retiring after 40 years of service, when he described life in the movement in the September 14 issue of the National Catholic Reporter as one that involves “struggle and disappointment that strips away your illusions but never achieves your expectations, much less your hopes…a never-ending process fraught with pitfalls and foibles…a journey that begs for a providential combination of grace, guts, and luck.” They are doing the Lord’s work.
But my soft spot does not prevent me from pondering a scenario wherein thoughtful and informed members of the Catholic Worker were obliged to read and comment upon the column by Michael Tanner in the September 18 online edition of National Review. It is no secret that the Catholic Worker sees free-market capitalism as the source of great injustice in the world; that its adherents favor, if not outright socialism, at least the full range of the social-welfare programs associated with the Democratic Party. Many modern Catholics on the left agree.
Enter Michael Tanner: I would go so far as to argue that he makes a convincing case that free-market capitalism achieves the goals of the Catholic Worker movement better than any other economic system devised by man. What intrigues me is how Catholics on the left would deal with Tanner’s thesis. As they say, we are all entitled to our opinion, but not to our facts. Tanner has the facts on his side.
He begins with a quotation from Bono, whom he describes as “singer, celebrity, and global anti-poverty activist. When speaking at Georgetown’s Global Social Enterprise Initiative recently, Bono observed, ‘Commerce is real….Aid is just a stop-gap. Commerce and entrepreneurial capitalism takes more people out of poverty than aid. . . . In dealing with poverty here and around the world, welfare and foreign aid are a Band-Aid. Free enterprise is a cure.”
Tanner takes it from there. He writes, capitalism “has done more to empower people and raise living standards than any other force in history. Throughout most of human history, nearly everyone was poor. Even our wealthiest ancestors enjoyed lower standards of living than ordinary people in America today. It was not until the beginning of the 19th century that the masses started to enjoy real and growing prosperity.”
Why the beginning of the 19th century? Tanner states flatly, “Capitalism and its offspring, the Industrial Revolution.” He underscores this point with a quotation from Charles Murray: “Everywhere that capitalism subsequently took hold, national wealth began to increase and poverty began to fall. Everywhere that capitalism didn’t take hold, people remained impoverished. Everywhere that capitalism has been rejected since then, poverty has increased.”
The track record backs up Murray. Capitalism was rejected in Russia, Cuba, China, East Germany, and Vietnam. Poverty and economic decline followed. Economic growth began in China, East Germany, and Russia when they rejected centralized, planned economies. Poverty remains in Cuba, which clings to its Marxist command economy. That’s not theory; it is fact.
Tanner: “In China alone, 680 million people have been rescued from poverty, and the extreme-poverty rate has gone from 84 percent in 1980 to less than 10 percent today. In Africa, inflation-adjusted per capita incomes rose by an astonishing 97 percent between 1999 and 2010. Hunger in India shrank by 90 percent after the country replaced 40 years’ worth of socialist stagnation with capitalist reforms in 1991.” He calls our attention to the “classic comparisons between East and West Germany before the Wall fell, or now, between North and South Korea.”
The Cato Institute’s annual Economic Freedom of the World Index compared incomes in the most economically free countries with those in socialist, planned economies. It found that “the poorest 10 percent of the population in the most economically free countries had an income more than twice the average income in the least economically free nations.”
It would be a mistake to gloss over that finding of the Cato Institute. It deserves emphasis. The poorest 10 percent in free-market countries such as the United States and Canada have incomes twice the average incomes in countries such as Cuba and North Korea. It is a finding that speaks volumes.
Capitalism is not a system of exploitation, argues Tanner, but one that “unleashes and incentivizes innovation, creativity, and discovery. People become rich by providing goods and services that are desired by others.” The rich are not, in the main, those who have inherited their wealth or “lucked out in the lottery of life,” as many on the left would have us believe. Such people exist, but Tanner points out that a “third of the wealthiest 10 percent in America are entrepreneurs or managers of non-financial businesses. Nearly 16 percent are doctors or other medical professionals. Lawyers made up slightly more than 8 percent, and engineers, scientists, and computer professionals another 6.6 percent.”
In capitalism, an individual’s success is not determined by “caste or hereditary social status. Consider that 80 percent of American millionaires are from the first generation of their family to obtain such wealth. . . . To cite just one example, despite America’s deplorable history of slavery and racism, there are at least 35,000 African-American millionaires today.”
One would think that Catholics on the left would feel an obligation to deal with what Tanner has to say. Platitudes about “sharing” and “non-exploitative” economic systems, such as those favored by American leftists, are as relevant as the old Maoist Red Guard posters depicting smiling peasants distributing abundant crops and newly built housing units to the masses. China’s standard of living did not start to rise until the Red Guard central planners who commissioned those posters were sent packing. Economic systems have to work. It is not enough that they sound high-minded and well-intentioned.
One need not agree with everything Milton Friedman said to concede that he was correct when he pointed out that “the only cases in which the masses have escaped from . . . grinding poverty . . . in recorded history are where they had capitalism and largely free trade. If you want to know where the masses are the worst off, it’s exactly in the kind of societies that depart from that.”

Share Button

2017 The Wanderer Printing Co.

Priests are performing exorcisms over the phone, cardinal claims

Priests have been carrying out exorcisms over the phone as demand continues to rise, a Cardinal has said. Speaking at the Vatican’s annual exorcist training conference in Rome, Cardinal Ernest Simoni said priests are delivering prayers of liberation, part of…Continue Reading

Twitter suspends right-wing commentator Mark Dice for saying transsexualism is a mental illness

April 16, 2018 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Right-wing commentator Mark Dice, famous for YouTube video interviews with random passers-by in public spaces, says that his Twitter account was suspended Thursday of last week after he implied that transgenderism is a mental illness.…Continue Reading

Pope: ‘Troubled’ over Syria, praying for Alfie Evans

At the Regina Caeli, Pope Francis calls for greater commitment from the international community for a joint action for peace in Syria. He also asks that Alfie, who is suffering from a degenerative disease and whom doctors want to deny…Continue Reading

There’s no ‘bridge’ between modernism and faithful Catholicism

April 13, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – The Catholic Church today is suffering greatly from a split among the faithful.  This split is evident in matters pertaining to the liturgy, doctrine, social teaching, morality, theology, and even in how the Faithful view…Continue Reading

Trump Unleashes Military Strikes on Syria Over Chemical Attack

President Donald Trump said he had approved military strikes on Syria in retaliation for an apparent chemical attack by the regime of Bashar al-Assad on a rebel town. “A short time ago I ordered the United States armed forces to…Continue Reading

Full text of Pope Francis’ letter to Chilean bishops

Vatican City, Apr 11, 2018 / 04:16 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- In a letter addressed to Chile’s bishops, Pope Francis admitted to making “serious mistakes” in handling the nation’s massive sex abuse crisis and asked for forgiveness. The pope summoned Chile’s…Continue Reading

Citing growing interest in Traditional Latin Mass, Archbishop Chaput creates quasi-parish

Philadelphia, Pa., Apr 12, 2018 / 12:49 am (CNA/EWTN News).- A new quasi-parish for Catholics interested in the Traditional Latin Mass will open in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia at a church that had been part of a 2014 parish merger.…Continue Reading

Cecile Richards speaking at Catholic university in SF Archdiocese

Cecile Richards, a national leader for women’s rights and social and economic justice, has been added to the Institute for Leadership Studies (ILS) 2018 Spring Leadership Lecture Series at Dominican University of California. The series is presented by Dominican in…Continue Reading

Pope Francis releases exhortation on holiness

VATICAN CITY — God calls all Christians to be saints — not plastic statues of saints, but real people who make time for prayer and who show loving care for others in the simplest gestures, Pope Francis said in his…Continue Reading

Cuomo Loots A Catholic Charity

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has a disturbing new way to raise revenue: using government muscle to squeeze private organizations into “voluntarily” writing billion-dollar checks. That’s what he did to Fidelis Care, a nonprofit health plan affiliated with the Catholic Church, and…Continue Reading

Chappaquiddick And Us

Ah, you can always predict The New York Times;  from covering up the crimes of Stalin, courtesy of their Pulitzer Prize winning reporter Walter Duranty, their goal is to ever protect the left.  Thus, it is unsurprising that they published a hit…Continue Reading

Catholic morality has been replaced by a destructive sexuality

During the course of his journalistic and literary career, Cork writer Seán O’Faoláin (1900-1991) was fond of lists, often with a view to lampooning the excessive strictures of his era. He was 20-years-old and a university student before he learned…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 . . .

The surprising reason why LGBT and abortion activists have been close allies from the beginning

CLEVELAND, Ohio, April 17, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – The pro-abortion and LGBT movements are linked spiritually, ideologically and politically, a Christian pro-family advocate says. Because of this, it has become more important than ever before for pro-life and family advocates to unite against these enemies of life and the family. Former abortion volunteer and Christian convert Linda Harvey explained to a recent pro-life conference how the LGBT and abortion movements have the common elements of rejecting God’s…Continue Reading

A plea for mercy: Thomas Evans asks Pope Francis to save little Alfie

ROME, April 16, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) — Alfie Evans’ father has said he is knocking “on the Church’s door” asking for help to save his son from being euthanized, and is pleading that his “voice be brought to the Holy Father” so that Alfie can be transferred to “the Pope’s hospital” in Rome. In a letter sent on Sunday to the archbishop of Liverpool, Thomas Evans also confirmed that he and Alfie are both

Syrian patriarchs condemn ‘unjust aggression’ of Friday allied airstrikes, ask for prayers

Damascus, Syria, Apr 15, 2018 / 03:12 am (CNA/EWTN News).- The airstrikes carried out by the United States, the United Kingdom and France against Syria on Friday constituted “unjust” and “brutal” aggression, the patriarchs of the major Christian Churches in Syria have said in a joint statement. President Donald Trump ordered the airstrikes along with the U.K. and France in a joint show of military force following the suspected use of chemical warfare by the…Continue Reading

FULL TEXT: Cardinal Burke’s talk on the limits of papal power

ROME, April 13, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) — What is the extent of papal power? Are there any limits, and if so how is the violation of those limits judged and corrected? These and other questions were addressed by Cardinal Raymond Burke last Saturday, April 7, at a conference in Rome titled ‘Catholic Church: Where are you heading?’ The afternoon symposium, sponsored by the ‘Frie

Trump supporters slam decision to launch strikes against Syria

Prominent supporters of President Trump are expressing skepticism over his decision to launch airstrikes against Syria, slamming the move as overly aggressive and unnecessary. Fox News hosts Tucker Carlson and Laura Ingraham both questioned Trump’s decision Friday to launch strikes in retaliation for a chemical weapons attack last weekend that the U.S. has attributed to the Syrian government. Carlson noted the move was inconsistent with the president’s message during his 2016 campaign, and Ingraham said

Advertisement(2)

A Book Review… Edith Stein’s Love Of Wisdom

By MITCHELL KALPAKGIAN Edith Stein: The Life and Legacy of St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, by Maria Ruiz Scaperlanda (Sophia Institute Press: Manchester, NH, 2017), 221 pp.; paperback $15.95. Available from www.SophiaInstitute.com or 1-800-888-9344. An engaging, comprehensive introduction to the life, writings, thought, and martyrdom of a Jewish convert to the Catholic faith beatified…Continue Reading

Neither Left Nor Right, But Catholic… The Illusion Of Independent Thinking

By STEPHEN M. KRASON (Editor’s Note: Stephen M. Krason’s “Neither Left nor Right, but Catholic” column appears monthly [sometimes bimonthly]. He is professor of political science and legal studies and associate director of the Veritas Center for Ethics in Public Life at Franciscan University of Steubenville. He is also co-founder and president of the Society…Continue Reading

A Book Review… The Interruption Of A Catholic Renaissance

By JUDE DOUGHERTY Douthat, Ross. To Change the Church: Pope Francis and the Future of Catholicism. New York: Simon and Schuster, 2018. xvii + 234 pp. Available at Amazon.com. (Editor’s Note: Please also see James K. Fitzpatrick’s review of the Douthat book in The Wanderer, March 1, 2018, p. 1.) + + + The Archdiocese…Continue Reading

The Incredible Enlarging Child

By DONALD DeMARCO Psychologists who study perception tell us that we interpret things against a background. We notice what is called the figure, but we interpret the figure in relation to a background which we do not notice. A candle is holy when set on an altar, romantic on a piano, eerie in a jack-o-lantern,…Continue Reading

Has The War Party Hooked Trump?

By PATRICK J. BUCHANAN With his Sunday, April 8 tweet that Bashar Assad, “Animal Assad,” ordered a gas attack on Syrian civilians, and Vladimir Putin was morally complicit in the atrocity, President Donald Trump just painted himself and us into a corner. “Many dead, including women and children, in mindless chemical attack in Syria,” tweeted…Continue Reading

Advertisement

Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

Raymond Cardinal Burke… Pope Francis Is “Increasing The Confusion”

(Editor’s Note: Below is the full text of an April 5 interview Raymond Cardinal Burke granted to an Italian Catholic publication, La Nuova Bussola Quotidiana. LifeSiteNews reprinted that interview with permission of Riccardo Cascioli, La Nuova Bussola Quotidiana’s editor, and we provide it here. All rights reserved. (Diane Montagna did the translation for LifeSiteNews.) + + + ROME (LifeSiteNews) —…Continue Reading

The Sheep Of The Lord’s Flock

By FR. ROBERT ALTIER Fourth Sunday Of Easter (YR B) Readings: Acts 4:8-12 1 John 3:1-2 John 10:11-18 Our faith is one of mystery and what might appear to some as contradictions. Of course, there are no contradictions; paradox would probably be the better word to describe it. Our readings today describe several paradoxes for our consideration. First, we hear…Continue Reading

A Leaven In The World… Confusion, Straw Men Mar Papal Document

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK Pope Francis gets high marks in his latest apostolic exhortation on personal holiness, Gaudete et Exsultate (GE), for defending solid teaching on at least one embattled doctrinal truth: “Jesus wanted us to conclude by asking the Father to ‘deliver us from evil.’ That final word does not refer to evil in the abstract; a more…Continue Reading

The Sacraments Instituted By Christ… Christ Is The Fulfillment Of The Sacrifices Of The Old Law

By RAYMOND DE SOUZA, KM Part 24 In the two previous articles, we considered the three most important ceremonies of the Old Law, namely, the Sacrifice of the Covenant, the Pasch, and the Day of Atonement. In the New Testament, the Sacrifice of Calvary is closely connected to those three central Jewish sacrifices. In this article, we will see how…Continue Reading

Overview Of The Eight Beatitudes

By DON FIER The dignity of the human person, as we saw last week, “is rooted in his creation in the image and likeness of God” (Catechism of the Catholic Church [CCC], n. 1700). Precisely because he is “endowed with a spiritual soul, with intellect and with free will, the human person is from his very conception ordered to God…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. Pedro Calungsod

By CAROLE BRESLIN Guam, a small island about 1,600 miles east of the Philippines, is an unincorporated territory of the United States. This small island, which has played an important role in U.S. military activities in Southeast Asia since the early twenty-first century, was recently a pawn in the political chess game with North Korea. The Jesuits first came to…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. Agnes Of Montepulciano

By CAROLE BRESLIN When St. Therese of Lisieux was only 15 years old, she begged her father to let her enter a convent. Her parents, Saints Louis Martin and Marie-Azélie Guérin, were faithful Catholics and raised their children to cherish the religious life. About six hundred years before St. Therese was born, another saint had the same ambition: to join…Continue Reading