Friday 20th October 2017

Home » Our Catholic Faith » Currently Reading:

The Economy Is Part Of The Church’s Evangelizing Mission

January 29, 2014 Our Catholic Faith No Comments

By REINHARD CARDINAL MARX

(Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in the January 10 issue of L’Osservatore Romano and has been translated from Italian by Catholic News Agency. All rights reserved. Cardinal Marx is the archbishop of Munich and Freising.)

+    +    +

A society in which the praise of greed is invited is on the road to alienation. Evangelii Gaudium is a declaration of spiritual government, a document full of positive dynamism and encouragement to bear witness to the Gospel. Secular media have also welcomed the text very attentively, making reference especially to the socio-ethical aspects. The world debate over these affirmations of the Holy Father continues to be intense.
“Such an economy kills.” With this brief phrase, Pope Francis brought about a clamor. And in fact, it is not as often tends to be asserted: Roma locuta, causa finita est. No, exactly the opposite. Pope Francis, with this affirmation, has kick-started an extensive debate. And how important they are today, precisely these world debates on paths for a common future. Without an orientation toward our common global responsibility, not even political work in favor of the common good of the world can progress.
The global climate conference of Warsaw and the research of Bali for a new global agreement from the World Trade Organization demonstrate this. For as difficult as it might be, we have to find paths that lead to basic political conditions oriented to the good of the peoples, in particular for the poorest.
Precisely in the era of globalization, the Catholic Church, which is present and works in the entire world, has a special task. It can contribute to starting debates on the future of the world, and accompanying them. With its arguments and points of view, it must participate in public arenas, but it cannot retreat for fear of the whipping wind of criticism and opposition to a special religious world, so to speak.
It is in this line that the “interference” of Pope Francis, with the apostolic exhortation Evangelii Gaudium, is heard throughout the world.
Even if the Pope is referring first and foremost to the Church and its action, there are also reactions in all parts of society. The way in which the Church sees the world and wishes to transform it does not find only approval, but also criticism. That’s fine. Christianity is, in fact, a public issue. The Gospel must be announced to all of creation.
For this, politics, the economy, and culture are part of the evangelizing mission of the Church. Some feel annoyed and upset. They would like to limit religion to the issue of the salvation of the soul and consider faith and the Church merely vestiges of a time that in reality should have been overcome by enlightenment and progress.
Certainly they will not be offended if the Church and the Pope cannot and do not want to agree with that opinion. And precisely for this it is good that a message from the Pope so broad, shrewd, and engaging might find enthusiastic approval, but also open criticism.
Most of all, the affirmations on the economy have characterized the debate of the last weeks. At the center of the debate is the accusation that the Church, in the end, does not understand capitalism, which in the end has made the world better. It despises the rich and in substance does not contribute to the improvement of the life conditions of the poor. For social problems it has only one response: caritas.
Is it this that Pope Francis proposes in his exhortation?
Is this truly the red line that begins with the Gospel and passes through the announcement of the Church up to Catholic social teaching? I am unable to understand how a similar affirmation can stand up. But let us proceed with order.
The debate on the crisis of capitalism was not born because of papal pronouncements, but because, as of the 1990s, we have experienced an ever sharper development toward a financial capitalism, which has brought a catastrophic crisis. Economists also have deplored the new capitalism “of gambling.” “Such an economy kills,” says the Pope.
Yes, this capitalism destroys human lives and harms the common good. After a phase of unrestrained self-awareness of such an accelerated capitalism, for which also the concept of social market economics was already a socialist aberration — all of this supported by the mainstream of economists — the crisis hit, which I think, however, still has not brought about a truly new orientation. I mean to say: Capitalism and market economies are not the same thing. The very word capitalism is misleading, just as are all “isms,” which try to be able to define the whole of life from a particular point.
What vision of the economy and of society is that which takes capital as its starting point, and renders acting persons marginal conditions, or factors of cost?
Whoever reduces economic action to capitalism not only has chosen the morally wrong starting point, but is also wrong in the long term from the economic point of view.

A Prophetic Exhortation

But let us return to Pope Francis. The Pope does not want to write a social encyclical, it is not an economic treatise: He is driven by evangelization. He is interested in announcing the Good News of Jesus Christ, which must have effects on the entire lives of persons.
In his exhortation, he recalls the great tradition of Catholic social teaching. And he specifies: “Neither the Pope nor the Church has a monopoly on the interpretation of social realities or the proposal of solutions to contemporary problems.”
Francis inserts himself fully in the tradition of his Predecessors, even if his style is more similar to a prophetic exhortation, to an encouragement to think and to act in a new world.
This exhortation from the Pope is directed to the inside and to the outside, and in both directions it is upsetting and full of consequences. To the inside, namely the Church, he explains clearly that evangelization cannot mean only presenting to people the contents of the faith of the catechism and administering the sacraments to them; rather, finding also a new way of living, a new community, and a new conception of the future of all men.
The Gospel isn’t — as some deem and desire — a continuation of religion with other means. A complete evangelization is needed, which includes culture, society, politics, and economy.
What this means for the Church in a modern, pluralistic, free and open society is not yet well understood and much less put into practice. And the Pope’s exhortation to the outside, namely the world, collides with restless reactions. In fact, with an integral approach, individual interests and differentiation are always disturbed. Self-sufficient, partial systems, such as economics or politics, defend themselves from external interference. In fact, we are naturally accustomed to the differentiation of areas of life that sociologists describe for the modern world.
And yet we hear: If we want to be a collectivity, a people, a community of peoples on this planet, then we cannot start from our own interests and separate, differentiated areas of life, but we must dare to look at the whole. Moreover, in this way it becomes visible that differentiation is not so important, because in the modern era a new comprehensive vision has developed, under the table: the economization of all areas of life. It is precisely this which the Pope justly criticizes.
And lastly, economization hasn’t meant and doesn’t mean anything more than rendering the rhythm of society dependent on the interests of the exploitation of capital, and this at a global level. Or, in substance, rendering capitalism the overall global parameter, and this is on the background of a factious ideology, which intends progress as a process of evolution of that capitalism, to which men, their cultures, and their lifestyles must adapt.
Capitalism, in substance, is considered as a natural event, and it is the task of men and of politics to adapt. The creation of markets, political correction of the results of the market, regulation, and the ordering of capital markets are all things that seem annoying or as a necessary evil.
Still, to think that pure markets exist in some places, that they bring about good through free competition is merely an ideology. Capitalism should not become the model for society because — to say it in an exasperated way — it doesn’t take into account individual destinies, of the weak and of the poor.
This is what the Pope criticizes. Exactly because for us the Christian image of man begins from liberty and responsibility, we cannot give space to such ideas. It has nothing to do with refusing the market economy, which is necessary and sensible, but it has to serve man. This is what the texts of the social teaching of the Church talk about; this is the spiritual basis of the social market economy, characterized from the ordo-liberalism, which in turn was inspired by Christian impulses.
But in the world economic debate, these ideas have never developed a real role.
That markets are products of civilization, management tasks, that the economy must serve the common good, that material bases are presumptions, but cannot indicate the objective of human coexistence: All of these are arguments of debate which are necessary, important, and which help advance precisely today. If the new culture of the world would be represented of a false capitalism, is there no wonder that the Pope is criticized?
The cautionary exhortation of the Pope is compatible with the goal of developing a comprehensive social policy of a global order for the economy, oriented toward the conviction that every man is always in need of a new opportunity, and that he obtains it.
But where are the protagonists for such a program? The agreement of Bali, after long years of confrontation, seems to put the right accents to ensure globally a lobby in favor of the poorest. But where are the political parties, especially those that define themselves as starting from the Christian image of man, when it comes to doing it properly, and of introducing him in the debate at a global level? Where are Christians, men and women, who engage in the field of politics, economy, and society?

Reorder Priorities

It is true: Criticizing capitalism is not a solution. We need programs that put the market, the company, and the state in a new relationship with each other, and all of this at a global level. This is what, for example, Benedict XVI asked for.
No, the Church does not despise the rich, as several commentators have written. But it reminds us that material goods are only a means to an end and cannot represent the sense of life. A society in which the praise of greed is invited is on the road to alienation and divides persons.
Fundamentally, democracy and the market economy have been born on the soil of Christianity, and are not necessarily contrary to the spirit of the Gospel. But ancient demons reappear in their aberrations in the direction of primitive capitalism.
Yes, it is true that debates on the ideals of poverty and on options for the poor accompany the history of the Church. But it is not true that the Pope, in defending this option, wants to leave the poor poorer; indeed he exhorts that they not be excluded; to create a society of inclusion and participation; and to combat poverty in a way not only charitable, but also structural.
Because of this, the position of the Church should be next to the poor, because only starting from them and with them can we look at the whole of society, economy, and politics; otherwise we lose sight of what is a priority. And it is this what interests the Pope, also in the challenge of evangelization.
At the forefront, it is not about charitable efforts in favor of the poor, but about evangelization, about involvement of the poor, who live physically and/or existentially in the peripheries. They are not objects of our assistance, but they need to find a place in the Church and in society. If we do not try to see through the eyes of the poor we do not see the world in a correct way. Without this, we see an incomplete picture of reality. This is what the Pope notes, in continuity with the Gospel.
The call to think beyond capitalism is not a struggle against the market economy or a renunciation of any economic reason, but, precisely before the real crisis of capitalism, it is an important and necessary intervention of the Pope, an invitation to reorder priorities and to see the world as a commitment of construction, which should be assumed freely and responsibly.
The future is not capitalism, but a world community, which leaves always more space to the model of a responsible freedom and that does not accept that peoples, groups, and individuals are excluded and marginalized.
Is it really something so wrong and out of this world?

Share Button

2017 The Wanderer Printing Co.

Fr. Perrone: without an intense, devout life, Catholics will not survive the age

The saintly priest, learned theologian, and catechist extraordinaire, Fr. John A. Hardon, was fond of saying that without an intense, devout life Catholics will not survive the age. I admit that at the time I thought this a ruse to…Continue Reading

Cardinal Burke: Be agents of Mary’s Immaculate Heart to combat ‘diabolical forces’

BUCKFAST ABBEY, England (LifeSiteNews) — Cardinal Raymond Burke has summoned the faithful to become “agents” of the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary in order to combat the “diabolical forces” that have been “unleashed upon the world” and are…Continue Reading

Callista Gingrich confirmed as US Ambassador to the Vatican

Washington D.C., Oct 16, 2017 / 04:46 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- On Monday, the U.S. Senate confirmed Callista Gingrich, wife of former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, as the next U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See. The vote was 70-23. In a…Continue Reading

Pope Francis canonizes 35 new saints

(Vatican Radio) Inviting all faithful to practice Christian love every day, Pope Francis on Sunday canonized 35 new saints, nearly all of them martyrs, holding them up as models who “point the way”. To the over 35,000 pilgrims gathered in…Continue Reading

President Trump: Our ‘religious heritage’ will be ‘cherished, protected, and defended’

WASHINGTON, D.C., October 13, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – President Trump said this morning that his administration is “stopping cold the attacks on Judeo-Christian values” in a rousing speech at the Values Voter Summit. In his first major speech to a socially conservative conference…Continue Reading

Capuchin Priest Who Ministered Under Soviet Rule Moves Closer to Sainthood

VATICAN CITY — On Monday, Pope Francis advanced nine causes for sainthood, including a Capuchin priest who ministered underground across the Soviet Union for nearly 40 years. Father Serafin Kaszuba was born June 17, 1910, in Zamarstynów, near Lviv, in…Continue Reading

Notre Dame student fears losing birth control coverage under university health plan

The Trump administration’s plan to roll back mandatory insurance coverage for birth control faces a new federal court challenge. Washington state’s attorney general sued Monday to stop the new rules from taking effect. California and Massachusetts have already filed similar complaints. Last…Continue Reading

European Nation to Unite in Prayer for Its Salvation

On Saturday, October 7, up to one million Poles are expected to line the country’s border to pray the rosary. They will be joined in prayer by many others in Poland and throughout the world. This extraordinary display of public…Continue Reading

A big-money Catholic group just said it’s yanking all of its cash out of fossil fuels

A coalition of 40 Catholic institutions on Tuesday announced a decision to pull their money from — or block future investment in — fossil fuels. The Global Catholic Climate Movement called it the biggest collective announcement of divestment by Catholic…Continue Reading

Cardinal Burke Returned to Vatican Court, but not as Prefect

VATICAN CITY, September 30, 2017 (LifeSiteNews): Pope Francis has reinstated Cardinal Burke as a member of the Apostolic Signatura, the Vatican’s highest court. Cardinal Burke, dismissed as Prefect of the Apostolic Signatura nearly three years ago, has been appointed to…Continue Reading

Cardinal Burke to offer Mass at conference exactly 100 years after major Fatima miracle

BUCKFAST ABBEY, United Kingdom, September 29, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – Exactly 100 years after the “miracle of the sun” at Fatima, Cardinal Raymond Burke will offer Mass at a Marian conference celebrating the centennial of the messages of Our Lady to…Continue Reading

RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN POPE AND CARDINAL A ‘CARICATURE’ SAYS BURKE, BUT CATHOLICS WANT CLEARER PRESENTATION OF DOCTRINE

‘I find universally that there’s a great deal of confusion, also people feeling that the Church is not a secure point of reference’ Cardinal Raymond Burke has told an Australian newspaper that media portrayals of his relationship with Pope Francis…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

Today . . .

Priest who signed Filial Correction: It was ‘the Catholic thing to do’

BUCKFAST ABBEY, England (LifeSiteNews) — The number of signatories of the Filial Correction charging Pope Francis with spreading seven heresies, at least by omission, has now risen to 245 professors and clergy. That is up from 62 at the time of its publication on September 24, and 40 when it was delivered to Pope Francis on August 11 at his Santa Marta residence. Critics of the Filial Correction have accused the signatories of standing as “judges over the…Continue Reading

Trump admin makes protecting citizens “from conception to natural death” top priority

WASHINGTON, D.C., October 16, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — In a stunning change of direction from the Obama administration, the Trump Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has not only declared that human life begins “at conception,” but has made protecting citizens “from conception to natural death” one of its top priorities. While the Obama HHS under Kathleen Sebelius

Pope invites prisoners to lunch, they break free instead

Bologna, Italy, Oct 17, 2017 / 03:01 am (CNA/EWTN News).- They were supposed to be having lunch with Pope Francis. During his Oct. 1 trip to Bologna, the Holy Father was scheduled to dine with 20 prisoners from a local drug rehabilitation facility, along with refugees and the poor of the area, during a “Lunch of Solidarity” at San Petronio Basilica. Instead, two of the Italian prisoners shirked their invitation for what they saw as…Continue Reading

A biblical interpretation of Fatima’s Miracle of the Sun

BUCKFAST ABBEY, England, October 13, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — The Miracle of the Sun which took place in Fatima, Portugal, exactly one hundred years ago today (on October 13, 1917), was one of the most extraordinary events of the 20th century. An estimated 70,000 people witnessed the Miracle of the Sun, both believers drawn by the Blessed Virgin Mary’s promise to the three shepherd children the previous July that she would perform a miracle in October,…Continue Reading

“Together Around the Table”: German Catholic Initiative Invites Protestants to Communion

Ecumenism has gone wrong one more time in Germany and has escalated into denial of the truth about the Eucharist: in the German Diocese, Stuttgart-Rottenburg, an initiative by a Catholic theologian has invited Protestants to receive Communion on a large scale. “Here on sight, we begin with a hospitable Church by inviting each other openly and cordially to Communion and the Celebration of the Last Supper [Abendmahl]” reads the “Ravensburger Manifesto” signed on October 8.…Continue Reading

Advertisement(2)

Fr. Solanus Casey To Be Beatified November 18

The beatification Mass for Fr. Solanus Casey is scheduled for November 18 at Ford Field in Detroit. “Not unlike the [1987] Silverdome Mass celebrated by St. John Paul, this, too, will be a history-making liturgy,” said Archbishop Allen Vigneron of Detroit. “The beatification of Fr. Solanus Casey is an incomparable grace for the Church in the…Continue Reading

Poverty As An Evil And Poverty As A Good

By PHILIP TROWER On November 19 the Church will celebrate the first “World Day of the Poor” which the Holy Father instituted last year at the end of the Jubilee of Mercy by means of the apostolic letter Misericordia et Misera. Then on the June 13 he issued a papal message entitled Do not Be…Continue Reading

Neither Left Nor Right, But Catholic. . . The Many Assaults On The Rule Of Law

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

A Book Review… The Spiritual Riches Of A Heroic Priest

By MITCHELL KALPAKGIAN With God in America, by Walter J. Ciszek, SJ; editors John M. Dejak and Marc Lindeijer, SJ. (Loyola Press: Chicago 60657, 2016), 253 pp.; $19.95. Available from www.loyolapress.com or call 1-800-621-1008. An anthology of Fr. Walter Ciszek’s unpublished works in the form of writings delivered at retreats, reflections on biblical passages, letters…Continue Reading

On The Importance Of Placing Second

By DONALD DeMARCO The second, to be mathematically precise, is the time required for a cesium-133 atom to complete 9,192,631,770 oscillations. A lot more can happen within a second than most people realize. Science’s notion of exactitude has little in common with the ordinary man’s understanding of life. Fascinating as this fact is, as well…Continue Reading

Advertisement

Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

Love God And Neighbor

By FR. ROBERT ALTIER Thirtieth Sunday In Ordinary Time (YR A) Readings: Exodus 22:20-26 1 Thess. 1:5c-10 Matt. 22:34-40 In the second reading today St. Paul reminds the Thessalonians about the nature of their conversion. They had turned from idols to worship the Living and True God. By itself that is wonderful, but it becomes extraordinary when we hear that…Continue Reading

Sinner, Please Don’t Let This Harvest Pass

By MSGR. CHARLES POPE (Editor’s Note: Msgr. Charles Pope is the pastor of Holy Comforter-St. Cyprian, Washington, D.C. Monsignor kindly gave The Wanderer permission to reprint this essay from his blog of October 7. All rights reserved.) + + + There is an urgency and clarity about Sunday’s Gospel that is often lacking in modern Christians, including the clergy. The…Continue Reading

A Leaven In The World… Two Academics Enter the Lists Against The Filial Correction

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK, M.A. The battle is joined and the duel of the academics over the fate of the Filial Correction is heating up. On one side of the ring we have Robert Fastiggi, Ph.D., and Dawn Eden Goldstein, STD. On the other side we have, as of this writing, 235 signatories of the Correction. Many of these…Continue Reading

The Sacred Liturgy . . . The Liturgy Of The Church Militant

By RAYMOND DE SOUZA Part 3 Have you, Wanderer reader, even attended Mass in one of the Eastern Rites of the Church? If you haven’t, look online for a parish of the Byzantine Rite to see how beautiful the worship of God can be among our Eastern Rite brethren. Just make sure it is Catholic, and not Orthodox, because both…Continue Reading

Scriptural Basis Of The Sacrament Of Holy Orders

By DON FIER Part 3 In our previous installment on the scriptural background for the Sacrament of Holy Orders, we examined the circumstances leading to a shift in the Old Testament from a priesthood entrusted to the heads of households and patriarchs to a ministerial priesthood divinely delegated to Aaron and his descendants within the tribe of Levi. Likewise, we…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. Catherine Of Alexandria

By CAROLE BRESLIN The list of saints is long, and includes both men and women from all walks of life and from all disciplines. For some saints, there is a plenitude of documents and accounts of their lives from which we can draw much information. For most of the saints from the early centuries of the Church, however, there is…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. Edward The Confessor

By CAROLE BRESLIN In the Middle Ages, England not only endured the raids of the Vikings, but also suffered from the raids initiated by Denmark and Normandy to control the small kingdom across the straights. Battles and intrigues were frequent, leaving little peace until the time of King Edward the Confessor. Even his reign experienced the plots and conspiracies so…Continue Reading