Saturday 25th October 2014

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

Comment on this Article:

Chaldean Catholic patriarch suspends 10 priests, including 1 from El Cajon

SAN DIEGO – The head of the Chaldean Catholic Church has suspended 10 priests, including one from El Cajon. Chaldean Catholic Patriarch Louis Sako issued a decree a month ago, demanding the priests return to Iraq or be suspended. Wednesday…Continue Reading

Retired Pope Says Interreligious Dialogue No Substitute For Mission

VATICAN CITY – Retired Pope Benedict XVI said dialogue with other religions is no substitute for spreading the Gospel to non-Christian cultures, and warned against relativistic ideas of religious truth as “lethal to faith.” He also said the true motivation…Continue Reading

California Forces Churches to Directly Fund Abortions, Churches Refuse to Comply

To the dismay of California’s people of faith, the California Department of Managed Health Care has reclassified abortion as a “basic health service” under the Affordable Care Act and ordered all insurance plans in the state to begin covering surgical…Continue Reading

Relax. God’s Still In Charge.

It’s an enormous challenge to maintain pristine doctrinal purity while at the same time respond to the experiential, personal, and difficult needs of married couples and families. Behind every arcane discussion of gradualism and natural law there are parents and…Continue Reading

Cardinal Burke: The “Relatio Synodi” Is “A Significant Improvement Over The Text Of The ‘Relatio Post Disceptationem'”

In a third short interview with CWR, conducted by e-mail late yesterday, Cardinal Raymond L. Burke, the Prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura, offers his impression of the Relatio Synodi, comments on reports that the Synod has…Continue Reading

Synod Final Document Reaffirms Church Teaching

The final document of the Extraordinary Synod was released Saturday as the Synod Fathers voted to approve all 62 paragraphs, but with three paragraphs not receiving the normally required two-thirds majority vote. The three paragraphs, which in the past would…Continue Reading

Catholic Synod: Gay Rights Groups ‘Disappointed’

Catholic gay rights groups say they are disappointed after bishops rejected proposals for wider acceptance of gay people, which had the Pope’s backing. The call to “accept and value” homosexuals was in a draft report, but failed to win the…Continue Reading

">

Cardinal Burke Confirms: Yes, Pope Has Demoted Me.

“Pope has done a lot of harm by not saying openly what his position is” Synod “designed to change Church’s teaching“ We post here for the record of current events all the quotes published by BuzzFeed from their interview with…Continue Reading

Cardinal Burke’s Major Interview to Il Foglio on the Synod

The world likes Cardinal Raymond Leo Burke very little or not at all.  And , if it is possible, the Church likes him even less than does the world.  On the other hand, this 66-year-old American from Richland Center, Wisconsin,…Continue Reading

Pope Paul VI to be beatified Oct. 19, 2014

popep6

Pope Francis will officially declare Pope Paul VI Blessed on Sunday, Oct. 19, during the closing ‎Mass of the 3rd Extraordinary Synod of Bishops on the family.  Pope Paul VI was cleared for ‎beatification when Pope Francis on May 9…Continue Reading

Church Militant . . . Synod On The Family

Houston, we have a problem

Angry over voter lawsuit, city demands to pick through sermons, other communications from pastors who aren’t involved Monday, October 13, 2014 HOUSTON – Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys have filed a motion in a Texas court to stop an attempt by…Continue Reading

Untitled 5 Untitled 2

Attention Readers:

  Welcome to our new website. Readers who are familiar with The Wanderer know we have been providing Catholic news and orthodox commentary for over 145 years in our weekly print edition. Now we are introducing the online daily version of our print journal.


  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 subscribe 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 145 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

'From our friends at The Foundry'


Today . . .

Pope: No To Death Penalty And To Inhuman Prison Conditions

pope626

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Thursday called on all men and women of good will to fight for the abolishment of the death penalty in “all of its forms” and for the improvement of prison conditions. The Pope was addressing a group of members of the International Association of Criminal Law whom he received in the Vatican. In his discourse…Continue Reading

Pope At Santa Marta: The Limitless Language Of God’s Love

pope563

(Vatican Radio) “We cannot be Christians without the grace of the Holy Spirit” who gives us the strength to love, said Pope Francis at Mass Thursday morning at Santa Marta. Emer McCarthy reports: Pope Francis centered his homily on St. Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians in which the Apostle describes his experience of Jesus, an experience “that led him to…Continue Reading

Pope At Audience: The Church, The Body Of Christ

pope625

(Vatican Radio) Divisions, jealousies, misunderstandings and marginalization do not help the Church to grow as the Body of Christ, they shatter it into many pieces, they dismember it. Instead we should remember that we – as the Body of Christ – are called to appreciate the gifts and the quality of others in our communities. The Church as the Body…Continue Reading

Pope To Consistory: We Are Witnessing A Phenomenon Of Terrorism

In Briefing, Fr. Lombardi Says Interventions Reaffirmed That You Cannot Kill in the Name of God Vatican City, October 20, 2014 (Zenit.org) Deborah Castellano Lubov Dedicating this morning’s Consistory of Cardinals to the Middle East, and particularly the region’s Christians, Pope Francis has called on the international community to do their part as well as his fellow prelates to protect…Continue Reading

Culture Of Life 101 . . . “Does Contraception Lead To Abortion?”

By BRIAN CLOWES (Editor’s Note: Brian Clowes has been director of research and training at Human Life International since 1995. For an electronic copy of chapter 21 of The Facts of Life, “Contraception,” e-mail him at bclowes@hli.org.) + + + “No matter how thin you slice it, ladies and gentlemen, family planning is a euphemism.…Continue Reading

The Purpose Of Education

By JAMES K. FITZPATRICK It struck me many times during the 30 years I spent teaching history at a public high school in the suburbs of New York City that my understanding of the purpose of an education was starkly different from that of the education establishment. The establishment stressed the importance of teaching students…Continue Reading

Musings And Concerns On The Synod

By MSGR. CHARLES POPE (Editor’s Note: Msgr. Charles Pope is the pastor of Holy Comforter-St. Cyprian Parish in Washington, D.C. This October 9 commentary is reprinted with his permission. The Wanderer went to press this week on October 16, prior to the Extraordinary Synod of Bishops’ final report and three days before the synod concluded…Continue Reading

Neither Left Nor Right, But Catholic . . . Is The Church In The U.S. Unwittingly Helping To Promote The Secularist-Leftist Agenda?

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

Our Judicial Dictatorship

By PATRICK J. BUCHANAN Do the states have the right to outlaw same-sex marriage? Not long ago the question would have been seen as absurd. For every state regarded homosexual acts as crimes. Moreover, the laws prohibiting same-sex marriage had all been enacted democratically, by statewide referenda, like Proposition 8 in California, or by Congress…Continue Reading

Advertisement

Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

Catholic Replies

Q. I am certain that there are no inaccuracies in your recent reply about wholesale anointing of the sick. However, I would like to call your attention to an address by Pope Francis last February 26. According to the text reprinted in The Wanderer of March 6, the Holy Father said that “every elderly person, every person over the age…Continue Reading

Purgatory: A Place Of Mercy

By FR. ROBERT ALTIER The Feast Of All Souls Readings: Wisdom 3:1-9 Romans 5:5-11 John 6:37-40 Today we have the great privilege of praying in a special way for those who have died yet still await the fullness of life in Heaven. We remember today the holy souls who are in Purgatory. It is rare that we hear about Purgatory…Continue Reading

Pope’s Message To Bishop Of Avila . . . St. Teresa Tells Everyone: “Do Not Cease To Be Joyful!”

VATICAN CITY (ZENIT) — Here is a translation of the message that Pope Francis sent October 15 to the bishop of Avila, Spain, Jesus Garcia Burillo, on the occasion of the opening of the Teresian Jubilee Year for the fifth centenary of the birth of St. Teresa of Jesus, doctor of the Church. The saint’s liturgical memorial is observed October…Continue Reading

A Leaven In The World . . . Being Exposed To Synod’s Deliberations Is Not For The Fainthearted

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK “But the one who peers into the perfect law of liberty and fixes his attention there, and does not become a forgetful listener but one who lives it out — he will be blessed in what he does” (James 1:25). “Peering into freedom’s ideal law,” as St. James’ letter exhorts and as the fathers of…Continue Reading

Debunking The Myth… Sola Scriptura Is Unscriptural

By RAYMOND DE SOUZA, KM Part 3 Evidently, Jesus did not stay with the apostles and disciples for long after the Resurrection. He founded a Church, His Church. Now, did He found it as a visible Church, with authority to guide, teach, and sanctify the people? Or didn’t He? Either He did or He didn’t. It is one or the…Continue Reading

Cast A Gauntlet – Sola Scriptura: Part 1

Catholic Heroes . . . St. Anthony Mary Claret

By CAROLE BRESLIN St. Anthony Mary Claret has something in common with at least three other saints. Like St. Peter Claver, he was born in northeastern Spain — over 200 years later. Like St. Pio of Pietrelcina, when he heard Confessions, he frequently could read the souls of the penitents, asking them about a sin that they had not confessed.…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . St. Ignatius Of Antioch

By CAROLE BRESLIN Who are the fathers of the Church? They were holy men of God; most were bishops, although some were priests and one man, St. Justin the Martyr, was a layman. They lived primarily in the first three centuries of Christianity, but one of the fathers died in 750, generally considered the end of the Church fathers’ era.…Continue Reading

What to Do If Your Boyfriend Wants You to Get an Abortion?

by Krisi Burton Brown | Washington, DC | LifeNews.com | 2/20/14 4:00 PM Washington, DC (LiveActionNews) — Note: This article is for any girl or woman who is feeling pressured into having an abortion. If you are a guy who is trying to find out how to stop an abortion, please see this article written for dads. 1.  Stand your…Continue Reading

It’s Time to Build Schools, from the Ground Up

February 13, 2014 by Anthony Esolen   It might have been worth repairing, if it had once been noble and beautiful, or at least conceived in an orderly way, for ordinary human purposes. But it wasn’t. It was constructed upon false principles. Its walls looked like those of a bad factory. It smelled like a warehouse. It could be terribly…Continue Reading

Why I am Pro-Life

February 4, 2014   Pro-Lifers   By Therese Recinella   Editor’s note. This tribute was posted on Therese Recinella’s Facebook account. She is graciously allowing us to reprint it in NRL News Today.   There are many things that I could say about my Dad, but what I want people to know is this: My parents faithfully raised 8 children…Continue Reading

Fathers . . . The Essential Role of the Father

Posted on February 10, 2014 by The Catholic Gentleman 13 Comments   Divorce rates skyrocketing; adultery rampant; non-married cohabitating couples; children abandoned by their fathers or mothers; “same-sex unions” adopting children and calling this the “modern family”; pornography invading homes, leading to powerful addictions and total alienation from other members of the family: all of this is a bird’s eye view…Continue Reading

How Much is One Billion Dollars?

This article appeared in the March 20, 1941 issue of The Wanderer. (Well, 70 years later we can add 15 trillion into the example.) Here’s a simple and homely illustration of what one billion dollars amounts to: Suppose we take an imaginary boy, aged 15 years, and assign to him the task of counting one billion dollars in one-dollar bills.…Continue Reading

Planned Parenthood

This article appeared in The Wanderer, April 3, 1941.  (WOW, Look what we have 70 years later.) A group which calls itself the National Committee for Planned Parenthood has begun a nationwide campaign to have the promotion of birth control included in State and national health programs. The committee—which, according to propaganda sheets reaching our desk has a branch in…Continue Reading

Questions of Non-Catholics . . . Answered by Father Richard Felix, O.S.B.

Reprinted from The Wanderer April 10, 1941 Why Does God allow us to be tempted? God allows us to be tempted so that we may prove our attachment to him and merit a higher place in heaven. Temptations are the lot of all men; they are the battle ground upon which heaven is won or lost. “The kingdom of heaven…Continue Reading