Thursday 24th April 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:

">Canadian Aborted Babies Incinerated In Oregon Waste-to-energy Facility To Provide Electricity

BY PETER BAKLINSKI Wed Apr 23, 2014 13:06 EST VICTORIA, British Columbia, April 23, 2014 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The British Columbia Health Ministry has admitted that the remains of babies destroyed by abortion in B.C. facilities are ending up in a waste-to-power…Continue Reading

Conference of Catholic Leaders Focuses On Future of Schools

April 22, 2014 10:31 PM By Peter Smith / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette More than 6,000 Catholic teachers, administrators and other educators launched a three-day national conference Tuesday morning at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center with spirited worship, upbeat talks and…Continue Reading

Parents’ group wants Catholic teachers to withdraw from World Pride Parade

BY THE CANADIAN PRESS APRIL 21, 2014  TORONTO – A parents’ group is calling on Ontario’s Catholic teachers’ union to withdraw from participation in this summer’s World Pride Parade in Toronto. Parents As First Educators president Teresa Pierre announced a petition…Continue Reading

‘Nothing Is Ever Without Hope,’ Ailing Cardinal George Tells Catholics On Easter

By Kate ThayerTribune reporter5:35 p.m. CDT, April 20, 2014 Battling cancer and celebrating what could be his last Easter Sunday Mass as Chicago’s Catholic leader, Cardinal Francis George said he was in good spirits and that the holiday teaches “nothing is…Continue Reading

Good Friday Reflection on the Nature of Sin

By Michael Terheyden 4/18/2014 Catholic Online (www.catholic.org) So when we look upon the crucified Christ today, let us take a long, hard look at the sin which resides in our heart and in our world. Let us then cast it aside and…Continue Reading

Roman Catholic bishops from England and Wales call for Church to allow priests to marry

JONATHAN BROWN  Thursday 17 April 2014 Roman Catholic bishops have called for the Church to take the historic step of allowing priests to be married amid growing signs of liberal reform under Pope Francis. The controversial issue is set to…Continue Reading

">Radical abortion bill dies in Colo. Senate after call to prayer, action

Denver, Colo., Apr 16, 2014 / 09:42 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Amid growing protests led in large part by the Catholic Church, the Colorado Senate on April 16 killed a controversial bill that could have banned all pro-life laws in the…Continue Reading

Catholic Priest Creates Arabic App to Support Persecuted Christians

BY MORGAN LEE , CHRISTIAN POST REPORTER April 16, 2014|11:13 pm A self-described Italian “technologic” priest has launched an Arab language version of his Catholic app that he hopes will support Christians in heavily persecuted Middle Eastern countries where printed breviaries are banned.…Continue Reading

Denver Archbishop Rallies Coloradans Against ‘Extreme’ Abortion Bill

Denver, Colo., Apr 16, 2014 / 12:32 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- The Archbishop of Denver on April 15 rallied opposition to a Colorado bill he says is “both extreme and dangerously ambiguous” in its ban on all abortion regulations and other…Continue Reading

CATHOLIC PARENTS BEG MASS. DCF TO LET THEIR HOSTAGE DAUGHTER CELEBRATE EASTER, FILE ‘HABEAS CORPUS’ MOTION

By: Raquel Okyay 4/16/2014 08:41 AM Parents of the ailing Connecticut teen held captive by Massachusetts authorities for more than a year are pleading with the bureaucrat captors to let them celebrate Holy Week and Easter with their daughter, whose health…Continue Reading

Common Core stirs controversy for Catholic schools

By Peter Doocy Published April 15, 2014 FoxNews.com Classrooms at some Catholic schools are undergoing a transformation, as decades-old traditions are being updated with Common Core state standards. Although the standards are not federally mandated for Catholic schools, dozens of dioceses…Continue Reading

Catholic League’s Donohue: Church’s Pedophilia Crisis Is Over

Monday, 14 Apr 2014 06:14 PM By Bill Hoffmann The Catholic Church has far less of a problem with the sexual abuse of minors than other major institutions, says Bill Donohue, president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil…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'


Pope Francis . . .

Pope Francis: Let The Joy Of The Risen Lord Be Imprinted In Our Hearts And Lives

pope276

2014-04-21 Vatican Radio (Vatican Radio) Pope Francis began his Regina Coeli address on Monday by saying Happy Easter !Christ is risen! He is truly risen .” The Holy Father told the faithful gathered in Saint Peter’s Square that the dominant feeling that shines in the Gospel accounts of the Resurrection is one of the joy and wonder, and he went…Continue Reading

Hope For The Dead

By ANDREW P. NAPOLITANO What is the connection between freedom and rising from the dead? When America was in its infancy and struggling to find a culture and frustrated at governance from Great Britain, the word most frequently uttered in speeches and pamphlets and editorials was not safety or taxes or peace; it was freedom.…Continue Reading

Business: A “Noble Vocation”

By JAMES K. FITZPATRICK There are two ways for a publication to provide a forum for a point of view that challenges the views of its editors. One is to pick an article that casts the other side in an unfavorable light, as peevish, unenlightened, and narrow-minded, the proverbial straw man. The other is to…Continue Reading

What God Has Put Together

By JOHN F. KIPPLEY (Editor’s Note: John F. Kippley is the author of Sex and the Marriage Covenant: A Basis for Morality and other books and articles. With his wife Sheila, he is a coauthor of Natural Family Planning: The Complete Approach. The commentary below is reprinted with permission from his blog at johnkippley.com. All…Continue Reading

Communicating With C.S. Lewis

By DWIGHT LONGENECKER (Editor’s Note: Fr. Dwight Longenecker is a parish priest in Greenville, S.C. Connect to his blog, subscribe to his weekly newsletter, listen to his radio show, browse his books, and be in touch at www.dwightlongenecker.com. (ZENIT News Agency made this text available. All rights reserved.) +    +    + “Have you heard? Fr.…Continue Reading

Contraception: The Ultimate Judas Kiss

By REY FLORES “Every time a married couple engages in the act of coitus, that act signifies life. By the union of their flesh, they express without words not only their unity, but the sacrament of new life. But when they contracept with a contraceptive mentality, their motive is to use the act which expresses…Continue Reading

Advertisement

Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

The Bread Of Angels

By FR. ROBERT ALTIER Third Sunday Of Easter (YR A) Readings: Acts 2:14, 22-33 1 Peter 1:17-21 Luke 24:13-35 In the first reading we hear the words of St. Peter as he addresses the crowd that gathered on Pentecost because of the sound they heard when the Holy Spirit descended upon the apostles. Peter begins to explain to the people…Continue Reading

Office For The Liturgical Celebrations Of The Supreme Pontiff . . . The Way Of The Cross At The Colosseum Led By Pope Francis

“The Face Of Christ, The Face Of Man” (Editor’s Note: The following meditations for the Good Friday meditations in Rome were written by the Most Rev. Giancarlo Maria Bregantini, archbishop of Campobasso-Boiano, at the request of Pope Francis. (Because of space limitations, The Wanderer is reprinting only the meditations for the final stations, those immediately dealing with Christ’s crucifixion and…Continue Reading

A Leaven In The World . . . “Resurrexit Sicut Dixit!”

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK Alleluia! He is risen as He said! Alleluia! A most joyful and grace-filled Easter celebration to all of our readers and their families. The octave of Easter is one long Easter day, the Sunday of Sundays. On this extended Easter “Day,” and every Sunday throughout the year, we identify ourselves as members of the one…Continue Reading

Mary’s Perpetual Virginity . . . Did Joseph Know Her As A Husband Knows His Wife?

By RAYMOND DE SOUZA, KM Part 3 “And he [Joseph] did not know her till she brought forth her firstborn son. And he called his name Jesus” — Matt. 1:25. It seems pretty evident for those non-Catholic Christians who disagree with Luther and Zwingli on the issue of Mary’s perpetual virginity that, after the birth of Jesus, Mary would have…Continue Reading

Catechism Of the Catholic Church: Prologue

By Don Fier “Father, . . . this is eternal life, that they should know you, the only true God, and the one whom you sent, Jesus Christ” (John 17:3). This Scripture verse, the opening words of the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC), succinctly and beautifully expresses its very purpose. The CCC’s first paragraph goes on to expand on…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . St. Adalbert

By CAROLE BRESLIN We will all die as a result of original sin — and we will be judged at the time of our death. There are two judgments that we will face after we end our existence on this earth. First, we will face the particular judgment at the time of our death, where we will then go to…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. Bernadette Soubirous

By CAROLE BRESLIN Throughout the history of mankind, God has chosen the lesser person to be His messenger, prophet, or king. He chose, Moses, the stutterer, to lead the Jewish people out of the slavery of the Egyptians. He chose Ruth, the pagan Moabite, to be an ancestor of Jesus. He chose King David, the youngest of Jesse’s sons, to…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