Wednesday 1st April 2015

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

Comment on this Article:

Lying About Card. Burke

Both Michael Sean Winters of the Fishwrap and David Gibson of RNS posted intellectually dishonest hit pieces against Card. Burke. They purposely misread what Card. Burke said in order to put him in the worst light they could. At least…Continue Reading

Pope says prayers, not ‘gossip,’ needed for successful synod on family

By Carol Glatz Catholic News Service VATICAN CITY (CNS) — No matter how weary, wounded or sinful a family has become, the church will always do everything to try to help family members heal, convert and reconcile with the Lord,…Continue Reading

Cardinal Burke says confusion spreading among Catholics ‘in an alarming way’

LifeSiteNews: Since the extraordinary synod on the family, we have entered a period of uncertainty and confusion over several “hot-button” issues: communion for divorced and “remarried” couples, a change of attitude towards homosexual unions and an apparent relaxing of attitudes…Continue Reading

Bishop backs Catholic school’s removal of teacher over pro-marriage Facebook comments: cites Pope Francis

SOMERVILLE, NJ, March 23, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) – A Catholic school has decided not to rehire a theology teacher who rejected the argument in favor of gay “marriage” on her private Facebook page, her family has announced. The controversy began last…Continue Reading

Creepy Catholicism.

Martin O’Malley is the latest Catholic politician to come out as a duplicitous “Catholic.” Deacon Kandra posts an excerpt here from an interview in which O’Malley displays some amazingly twisted thinking to support homosexual marriage–even though he’s a Catholic. As far…Continue Reading

Polish Bishops’ Conference rejects Holy Communion for divorced and “remarried”

The Polish Bishops’ Conference has issued a communiqué firmly rejecting the proposals that divorced and “remarried” Catholics should be admitted to Holy Communion without amendment of life. The communiqué, published on 12th March, includes the following statement: “In view of the…Continue Reading

Celtic Catholic priest and friends pile on archbishop

On Monday March 16, KALW radio’s City Visions will host a program “Can Bay Area Catholics and Archbishop Cordileone find Common Ground?” Scheduled guests are the Reverend Vincent Pizzuto; Most Holy Redeemer parishioner and teachers’ union representative Ted DeSaulnier; and…Continue Reading

The Traditional Case for Capital Punishment

A group of Catholic publishers recently issued a joint statement urging an end to capital punishment. I have great respect for all of them – I have written for all of them at one point or another. I disagree with…Continue Reading

Cardinal Müller: Pope Is Not Above the Word of God and the Catholic Faith

Edit: Rorate tends to understate things.  They want a sober response.  We’d like to offer this translation of Giuseppe Nardi’s appreciation of their take on Cardinal Müller’s recent letter appearing in the Osservatore Romano and additional commentary from other important Italian…Continue Reading

Is the Synod Secretariat Stacking the Deck Again?

The Vatican today announced that the vice president of the John Paul II Pontifical Institute for the Study of Marriage and the Family will be a consulter to the Secretary General of the Synod of Bishops. Professor José Granados‘ appointment,…Continue Reading

Gay activist: Of course our goal is to ‘indoctrinate children into LGBTQ agenda’

TORONTO, March 13, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) — A homosexual activist has candidly admitted that gay-themed materials and policies pushed in grade schools across North America are for the sake of “indoctrinating” children into an unquestioning acceptance of homosexuality. “I am here…Continue Reading

Pope . . . giving holy Communion to remarried divorcees “won’t solve anything”

On the second anniversary of his pontificate, the Holy Father gave a lengthy interview to a Mexican television journalist. – CNA/Bohumil Petrik VATICAN CITY — In a new, wide-ranging interview published Friday on the second anniversary of his election, Pope…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

A Powerful Weapon: 15 Quotes on the Holy Rosary

We live in evil times. I hardly need elaborate the multitude of crises that fill the globe. Sadly, many are being swept away by this flood of evil and are succumbing to an overwhelming anxiety and discouragement. But no matter how tempting it is, we must not shrink back. We must pray and fast with a living faith and a firm confidence—and there is no better way to…Continue Reading

12 Ways to Become a Committed Catholic Man

There is a Catholic “man-crisis.” Large numbers of men who were baptized Catholic have left the Church and the majority of those who remain are “Casual Catholic Men”, men who do not know the Catholic faith and don’t practice it. This large-scale failure of Catholic men to commit themselves to Jesus Christ and His Church has contributed to the accelerating…Continue Reading

Today . . .

Bull of Indiction for the Jubilee of Mercy: 11 April in St. Peter’s Basilica

Vatican City, 31 March 2015 (VIS) – Following the first announcement of the next extraordinary Holy Year by Pope Francis on 13 March, the Holy Father will proceed with the official indiction of the Jubilee of Mercy with the publication of the Bull of Indiction on Saturday 11 April, at 5.30 pm in St. Peter’s Basilica. The rite of publication will involve the reading of various passages of the Bull before the Holy Door of…Continue Reading

Pope makes Curial nominations for Education, APSA

(Vatican Radio)  Pope Francis has named the former President of the Prefecture for Economic Affairs of the Holy See, Cardinal Giuseppe Versaldi, the new Prefect of the Congregation for Catholic Education. The Congregation for Catholic Education is responsible for houses of formation of religious and secular institutes; universities, faculties, institutes and higher schools of study, either ecclesial or civil dependent on ecclesial persons; and schools and educational institutes depending on ecclesiastical authorities. In addition, the Holy Father…Continue Reading

Pope Francis on Palm Sunday: remember persecuted Christians

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis remembered the persecuted Christians in the world on Sunday – Palm Sunday – during Mass in St. Peter’s Square. Following the proclamation of the Passion according to St. Mark, Pope Francis delivered a homily, in which he reflected on the plight of all those who endure humiliation because of their faithfulness to the Gospel, all those who face discrimination and pay a personal price for their fidelity to Christ. “We think…Continue Reading

Pope Francis: Palm Sunday Homily

pope742

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis delivered the homily at Mass in St. Peter’s Square on Sunday – Palm Sunday – the beginning of Holy Week, 2015. Please find, below, the official English translation of the Holy Father’s prepared remarks. ***************************** At the heart of this celebration, which seems so festive, are the words we heard in the hymn of the Letter to the Philippians: “He humbled himself” (2:8).  Jesus’ humiliation. These words show us God’s way…Continue Reading

Amendment By Consent

By ANDREW P. NAPOLITANO Here is a short pop quiz. When Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed Congress in March about the parameters of the secret negotiations between the United States and Iran over nuclear weapons and economic sanctions, how did he know what the negotiators were considering? Israel is not a party to those…Continue Reading

A Book Review… Solid Scholarship On The Middle Ages

By JUDE DOUGHERTY Fried, Johannes. The Middle Ages, trans. from the German by Peter Lewis. Cambridge, MA, Harvard University Press, 2015. Pp. Xi + 580. The Middle Ages are generally considered to be the period between 500 and 1500 AD. That thousand-year period in Johannes Fried’s narrative begins with Boethius under the reign of the…Continue Reading

“What Is Historical Church Teaching On Contraception?”

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.) + + + Part 1 “Contraception cannot be an expression of total self-giving, because in contraception, something is…Continue Reading

Transforming The St. Patrick’s Day Parades

By LAWRENCE P. GRAYSON St. Patrick’s Day, which is a holy day of obligation for Catholics in Ireland, has been corrupted in America by homosexual activists who flaunt their opposition to Catholic doctrine. Celebratory parades have been co-opted for dissident political purposes. Since the seventh century, St. Patrick has been revered as the patron saint…Continue Reading

How Far Can One Sink?

By DONALD DeMARCO “With [Premier] Wynne’s sex education curriculum, we have at last splashed down in a miasmal sewer in which it’s hard to sink any further.” So writes Harley Price, who has taught philosophy at a number of prestigious universities. Many, including outraged parents and indignant members of the medical establishment, agree with him.…Continue Reading

The Wanderer Interviews His Eminence Raymond Cardinal Burke . . .

burk10

By DON FIER Part 1 (Editor’s Note: Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke, Patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, who previously served as Prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura in Rome from June 2008 until November 2014, recently visited the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in La Crosse, Wis. Prior to that he served as Archbishop…Continue Reading

Advertisement

Message From Cardinal Burke

Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

John Paul II At World Youth Day In Denver . . . “The Outcome Of The Battle For Life Is Already Decided”

(Editor’s Note: Pope John Paul II gave the following homily at the Mass at Cherry Creek State Park, Denver, for World Youth Day VIII, on Sunday, August 15, 1993, the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. John Paul II died ten years ago on April 2, 2005 and we reprint his Denver WYD homily here to honor…Continue Reading

A Leaven In The World . . . The Lessons Of Holy Week On Faithful Love

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK As Holy Week is upon us once again, and we join in with the condemnation of the crowd, crying “Crucify Him, Crucify Him,” we relive the betrayal of sin which marks every human life. We accompany the Lord Jesus Christ on His way of the cross and journey with Him all the way to Calvary.…Continue Reading

Is Mary The Mother Of God… Or Only The Mother Of Jesus?

By RAYMOND DE SOUZA, KM Part 3 Responding to a common misconception among separated brethren and ill-informed Catholics: What did the Early Christians believe about the Catholic doctrine on the divine Motherhood? Those men, women, and children who sacrificed everything for the true faith in Jesus — even their very own lives? They were imprisoned, tortured, murdered. Some were burned…Continue Reading

Divine Revelation: Gradual And Progressive

By DON FIER We left off last week reflecting on God’s motive for revealing Himself to us in a supernatural manner. In a word, His sole motive was that of boundless love for mankind. God gratuitously and unconditionally chose to “communicate His own divine life to the men He freely created, in order to adopt them as His sons in…Continue Reading

Catholic Replies

Editor’s Note: As readers of this column know, we like to quote Fr. George Rutler from time to time because his weekly bulletin columns at the Church of St. Michael in New York City are sources of both information and inspiration. After starting his March 22 column by noting that history is “replete with the failures of famous figures,” such…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . St. Marguerite D’Youville

By CAROLE BRESLIN By 1701 the European colonies in North America had expanded beyond the Appalachian Mountains. The Anglo population in the English American colonies had reached 275,000. The French had recently established a colony in Detroit. Catholics, however, were persecuted as Massachusetts passed a law ordering all Roman Catholic priests to leave or face execution. New York passed a…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . St. Faustina And Divine Mercy

By CAROLE BRESLIN The Divine Mercy Chaplet had never been one of my favorite devotions until my aunt died. As she lay in the hospital during her final hours, I sat in the room, visiting with the endless stream of visitors who stopped in to see their fellow volunteer. By six o’clock, the room was quiet. I decided to read…Continue Reading