Well- here is a challenge for those Catholics who like to say they are orthodox AND political conservatives- even as the Pope calls us “to liberate ourselves from ideologies, which often oversimplify reality in artificial ways..”.
If you don’t like social security systems, and you don’t like trade union organizations, and you like deregulation of the labour market for the benefit of corporate outsourcing, and you believe that Man should conform to the “free market”- not the economy to Man- well you may need to go to the Vatican and line up for your spanking- or better yet- just repent of your ideological ways, and read the Church social doctrine with an open mind and an open heart- here’s the Pope’s view of things which stands consistently with what the Church has been teaching and advising ever since the first papal social encyclical back in the late 1800’s. From “Caritas in Veritate” the latest papal social encyclical from the Church paragraph #25:
“25. From the social point of view, systems of protection and welfare, already present in many countries in Paul VI’s day, are finding it hard and could find it even harder in the future to pursue their goals of true social justice in today’s profoundly changed environment. The global market has stimulated first and foremost, on the part of rich countries, a search for areas in which to outsource production at low cost with a view to reducing the prices of many goods, increasing purchasing power and thus accelerating the rate of development in terms of greater availability of consumer goods for the domestic market. Consequently, the market has prompted new forms of competition between States as they seek to attract foreign businesses to set up production centres, by means of a variety of instruments, including favourable fiscal regimes and deregulation of the labour market. These processes have led to a downsizing of social security systems as the price to be paid for seeking greater competitive advantage in the global market, with consequent grave danger for the rights of workers, for fundamental human rights and for the solidarity associated with the traditional forms of the social State. Systems of social security can lose the capacity to carry out their task, both in emerging countries and in those that were among the earliest to develop, as well as in poor countries. Here budgetary policies, with cuts in social spending often made under pressure from international financial institutions, can leave citizens powerless in the face of old and new risks; such powerlessness is increased by the lack of effective protection on the part of workers’ associations. Through the combination of social and economic change, trade union organizations experience greater difficulty in carrying out their task of representing the interests of workers, partly because Governments, for reasons of economic utility, often limit the freedom or the negotiating capacity of labour unions. Hence traditional networks of solidarity have more and more obstacles to overcome. The repeated calls issued within the Church’s social doctrine, beginning with Rerum Novarum, for the promotion of workers’ associations that can defend their rights must therefore be honoured today even more than in the past, as a prompt and far-sighted response to the urgent need for new forms of cooperation at the international level, as well as the local level.
The mobility of labour, associated with a climate of deregulation, is an important phenomenon with certain positive aspects, because it can stimulate wealth production and cultural exchange. Nevertheless, uncertainty over working conditions caused by mobility and deregulation, when it becomes endemic, tends to create new forms of psychological instability, giving rise to difficulty in forging coherent life-plans, including that of marriage. This leads to situations of human decline, to say nothing of the waste of social resources. In comparison with the casualties of industrial society in the past, unemployment today provokes new forms of economic marginalization, and the current crisis can only make this situation worse. Being out of work or dependent on public or private assistance for a prolonged period undermines the freedom and creativity of the person and his family and social relationships, causing great psychological and spiritual suffering. I would like to remind everyone, especially governments engaged in boosting the world’s economic and social assets, that the primary capital to be safeguarded and valued is man, the human person in his or her integrity: “Man is the source, the focus and the aim of all economic and social life”.
Does anyone really believe that the Catholic Church can understand human sexuality and biology well enough to apply moral teachings to such things as homosexuality and embryonic stem cell research- but is really too thick to comprehend economics and the moral application of basic principles to market and labor theory and practice? Doesn’t Scripture provide enough evidence that simply following our desires in any realm- be it sexual or economic is not enough- not nearly enough for a good end to result?? Every transaction of a sexual or economic kind has something more than mechanical operation at play when human beings are on the producing and receiving end of the deal. God created human sexuality for our good, God is also the God of economics, and He desires that the good of Man be “the source, the focus and the aim of all economic and social life.” Goodness usually requires some effort, some will to do right by others, not just blindly follow your impulses in bars or malls- hedonism and consumerism go hand-in-glove- and they only appear harmless if you look past the abortion clinics, broken homes, and sweat shop factories and harsh manual labor in harvests of shame. And, of course, we all do as we fix our attentions on smart and sexy advertisements for products and politicians. Well- I’m awake thanks in large measure to the Catholic social doctrine and social teachings, which serve our Lord purposes in giving us a glaring light to see the world in which we live. See the abortions? See the sweat shops and the human trafficking of poor and vulnerable people? Follow the trail of easy sex and cheap stuff- take courage and step away from the predictable Left or Right.