Wednesday 22nd October 2014

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:

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

Cardinal Burke: Synod’s mid-term report “lacks a solid foundation in the Sacred Scriptures and the Magisterium”

Yesterday’s presentation of the mid-term report (Relatio post disceptationem) of the Extraordinary Synod of Bishops on the Family was met with a remarkable level of interest among both Catholic and non-Catholic media outlets. The Vatican Radio site, in its introduction to…Continue Reading

Having Patience for the Sausage-Making Synod

The midterm report on the deliberations of the Synod on the Family has appeared and there is a fair amount of hysteria all around. John Thavis, a veteran Vatican reporter who should know better, has declared this statement “an earthquake,…Continue Reading

Advice for the Pope in Light of the Synod

The Holy Father has been very good in lecturing priests and telling us what to do. We are to go out into the world and “make a mess.” We are to “smell like the sheep.” We are to welcome all…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 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

Pope Francis: Middle East Without Christians Unthinkable

pope562

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis convened a Consistory of Cardinals on Monday morning in the Vatican. Originally scheduled in order to proceed with the causes of candidates for beatification, the Holy Father expanded the agenda of the meeting to include discussion of the ongoing crisis in the Middle East. In remarks to the gathered Cardinals at the morning session of the…Continue Reading

At Closing Mass For The Synod Pope Francis Beatifies Paul VI

pope561

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Sunday celebrated the Closing Mass for the Extraordinary Synod on the Family. During the Mass in Saint Peter’s Square, the Holy Father beatified his predecessor, Pope Paul VI, whom he described as a “great Pope,” a “courageous Christian” and a “tireless apostle.” Below, please find the complete English text of Pope Francis’s homily for the…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

The Government And Freedom

By ANDREW P. NAPOLITANO This past week, FBI Director James Comey gave an interview to 60 Minutes during which he revealed a flawed understanding of personal freedom. He rightly distinguished what FBI agents do in their investigations of federal crimes from what the NSA does in its intelligence gathering, when the two federal agencies are…Continue Reading

Religious Freedom In Belarus . . . Strict Controls, “An Invisible Ghetto,” Continue

By FR. JOHN FLYNN, LC (Editor’s Note: Fr. John Flynn, LC, wrote this commentary for ZENIT News Agency. Fr. Flynn, a regular ZENIT contributor, holds degrees from the University of New South Wales and from the Pontifical Gregorian University.) + + + Current events in the Middle East have drawn attention to the plight of…Continue Reading

Advertisement

Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

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

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: R.H.T. of Florida writes to say that “this week’s question [The Wanderer dated October 16, 2014] about Doctors Without Borders caught my attention. If R.B. from Michigan is interested in supporting an organization like Doctors Without Borders, but one that is absolutely committed to strict adherence to the Catholic Church’s rules on things like abortion, contraception, etc., I…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