Man vs. Nature?

Friday, September 3, 2010 \AM\.\Fri\.

In my latest piece at IC, I examine the inhuman agenda behind the fight against “climate change.”

Read it here!


Caritas in Veritate 25, By the Numbers II

Tuesday, July 27, 2010 \AM\.\Tue\.

In yesterday’s post, we examined the claim, made by Pope Benedict in Caritas in Veritate 25, that globalization has led countries to deregulate their labor markets, which in turn has led to cuts in social spending. It turned out that the Pope’s first claim (that globalization led to deregulation) was consistent with the data, whereas his second claim (deregulation led to cuts in social spending) was not. Countries with freer labor markets tend, on average, to devote a greater percentage of GDP to social spending than do countries where labor markets are highly regulated (and, since countries with freer labor markets tend to be richer as well, the increase is even larger in absolute terms).

In addition to speaking of labor market deregulation, Caritas in Veritate also makes reference to countries adopting “favorable fiscal regimes” as a part of global competition, and suggests that this also has led to a decline in social spending. Evaluating these claims is a bit more difficult than evaluating the Pope’s claims about labor markets, because it is not entirely clear what the Pope has in mind when he speaks of “favorable fiscal regimes.”

One possibility is that the Pope is thinking here primarily about taxes, and that adopting a “favorable fiscal regime” consists in lowering taxes, particularly taxes on business, in order to attract foreign investment.

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Caritas in Veritate 25, By the Numbers

Monday, July 26, 2010 \PM\.\Mon\.

My co-blogger Tim recently highlighted the following statement from Pope Benedict’s latest social encyclical, Caritas in Veritate:

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.

Now in this passage, the Pope makes a number of factual and causal claims. First, he claims that the global market has led countries to “attempt to attract foreign businesses” by adopting “favourable fiscal regimes and deregulation of the labour market.” Second, the Pope claims that these reforms (i.e. adopting “favourable fiscal regimes and deregulation of the labour market”) have led to “a downsizing of social security systems” and “cuts in social spending.”

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Pope Benedict XVI on Economic Situation- Not for Faint of Heart Libs or Conservatives

Thursday, July 8, 2010 \PM\.\Thu\.

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:

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Set Me Free (From Ideologies) Part 2

Wednesday, April 28, 2010 \PM\.\Wed\.

 

To follow up on my first installment of “Set Me Free (From Ideologies), I am going to draw again from the rich well of Pope Benedict’s powerful encyclical Caritas In Veritate.  In this case it would seem that in paragraph #25 the Pope is sounding kinda liberal if we would attempt to fit the views expressed into one or another of our American political ideologies. Read the rest of this entry »


Speculating on Gomez

Tuesday, April 6, 2010 \PM\.\Tue\.

First of all, I need to introduce myself: my name is Michael Denton and I’m from what Tito calls the People’s Republic of Cajunland and what I call paradise: South Louisiana. As for my qualifications: well, like most other bloggers, I really have no idea what I’m talking about. If that’s a problem for you…well, then you probably don’t need to be reading blogs.

Anyway, today we heard the anticipated news that Los Angeles will soon see Cardinal Mahoney replaced with San Antonio’s Archbishop Jose Gomez. To read all about it, I suggest you head over to Rocco Palmo‘s site, as he is one of the few bloggers who actually does know what he’s talking about. In sum, Abp. Gomez is from the “conservative” order of Opus Dei and could be very different from his predecessor, who built a monstrous cathedral (not in a good way) and is known for hosting a Conference that annually provides Youtube clips for Catholics wishing to show others just how bad liturgical abuse can be. I don’t know if that’s very interesting though. While the liturgical element is certainly important, as the “Spirit of Vatican II” types are losing their foremost defender, I think we knew beforehand that Benedict was going install a replacement very different from Mahoney in liturgical views.

More important is how they’re similar.

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Sweatshop Economics Must Not Continue

Thursday, February 4, 2010 \PM\.\Thu\.

I don’t believe any good Catholic would say they are happy with the situation of so many sweatshops operating in China et al.  The problem is what to do (or not do) about it.  I am giving my students a research project premised on a single sentence- “How can I avoid buying sweatshop products?”.  We are simultaneously studying the good Pope Benedict XVI’s “Caritas In Veritate”- specifically paragraphs #21, 22, 25, 27, 35, 36, 37, 38, 40, 41, 44, 48, 49, 51, 60, 63, 64, 65, 75, and 76. You can follow along at home!

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The Earth Charter: The Replacement of God with Man

Sunday, January 17, 2010 \AM\.\Sun\.

“The Christian… imagines the better future of the human species… in the image of heavenly joy… We, on the other hand, will have this heaven on earth.” — Moses Hess, 19th century communist and mentor to Karl Marx.

It wasn’t too long ago that a co-blogger of mine suggested that the new environmentalism, especially what some might call the hysteria over climate change, was the new paganism. This accusation has been made frequently of the secular environmental movement. But this environmental movement is only one branch of what I am absolutely convinced is not only a “new paganism”, but a new religion of man. In previous posts I also wrote of a new religion centered around identity politics, and this too is but another branch.

Some of you may be familiar with “The Earth Charter.” Now, it isn’t necessarily that I believe everything on this list is an unworthy goal. But it deeply reflects a mindset and a world view in which God has been completely removed from the core, and is instead either regulated to the periphery or is entirely absent. When Thomas Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence, we at least had reference to a Creator, and his other writings made clear that the rights and liberties of the people were essentially worthless if they did not believe that they had come from God, and that their violation would incur his wrath.

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One Catholic’s View of Health Care

Saturday, September 19, 2009 \AM\.\Sat\.

I have been wanting to say something about the health care debate for sometime, but I have refrained from doing so for one simple reason; not only do I not know enough about the issue, but I am not certain where to even look for relevant knowledge about it. There are two, sometimes more, narratives about what the government is proposing that are so completely at odds, but put forward with such ferocity and vehemence, that it is difficult to know how much of the truth each side is portraying.

Thus I am left to wander about with my own hazy speculation. All I can speak to are my own principles and what little I do know about the state of health care and the dimensions of the problem, neither of which are adequate for the task at hand, but I will proceed anyway and let the discussion develop as it may.

One thing I believe that the vast majority of Catholics can agree to is that, somehow, some way, everyone is entitled by way of their human dignity to health care. Among the things that Christ will judge us for at the end of time is whether or not we helped Him, through the least of our brethren, while he was sick; did we care for Him, or turn our backs on Him?

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Res et Explicatio for A.D. 7-23-2009

Thursday, July 23, 2009 \AM\.\Thu\.

Salvete AC readers!

Buckle Up! Because here are today’s Top Picks in the Catholic world:

1. I want to welcome Blackadder to American Catholic.  Yes, it’s belated, but needed nonetheless.  He has been an excellent addition to our fledgling website.  He’s written many exceptional posts over at Vox Nova and we are glad to have him here with us.  He also writes at the fine political group blog, Southern Appeal.

2. Meaningless word of the day, Ecumenism.

A close second, Interreligious Dialogue.

…which dovetails very well into my third pick…

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The Class Analysis

Thursday, July 16, 2009 \AM\.\Thu\.

At the request of my friend and fellow contributor to The American Catholic, Darwin Catholic, I will elaborate more on some of the general points I introduced to the discussion over his latest post about economic morality. For those who did not follow the exchange (of me versus everyone, understandable on this somewhat more conservative blog), I questioned the accuracy of any scientific theory of economics that did not take into account class conflict (or, as some insist on saying, “class struggle”). Darwin and others responded by questioning the validity of the very category of class. Hence, we have a great deal of ground to cover – I hope you will bear with me, and that we all end up learning something.

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More on “Ecoscience”

Monday, July 13, 2009 \PM\.\Mon\.

I wasn’t sure whether or not to post this as an update to my earlier post on John Holdren, but I thought it was interesting enough to warrant its own posting.

I’ve read some of the scanned pages of Ecoscience, the 1977 book co-authored by Holdren that calls for horrifying coercive measures for population control. Interestingly, Holdren & Co. felt the need to address pro-life arguments in their book. Their moral reasoning only proves, yet again, how dangerous (not to mention illogical) some ‘scientists’ can become when they venture into moral philosophy. This provides us an opportunity to take a tour through the inhuman humanism condemned by Pope Benedict in Caritas in Veritate.

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Bullet Points on Caritas

Wednesday, July 8, 2009 \AM\.\Wed\.

L'Osservatore Romano

A  helpful post courtesy of Father Z here on the major points of Caritas gleaned from L’Osservatore Romano.  I found this very useful.



An Encyclical Prediction

Tuesday, July 7, 2009 \PM\.\Tue\.

Thus far I’ve only had the chance to read the first couple pages of Caritas in Veritate, however seeing the first rounds of blog and media reaction rolling forth from both sides of the Catholic political spectrum I would like to indulge in revisitting a prediction from the beginning of the year:

9. The much discussed social encyclical will finally be issued — and all sides of the Catholic political spectrum will within several days claim that it supports the positions they already held.

Regardless of one’s political position, if the main thing one gets from reading the encyclical is, “I am right, and my opponents are all fools or villains” then you probably aren’t reading very carefully. Hopefully most Catholics taking the time to discuss Caritas in Veritate will take the time to read at a deeper level than that.


Caritas in Veritate Is Here

Tuesday, July 7, 2009 \AM\.\Tue\.

Link here. As with all of Benedict’s encyclicals, I am sure there will be much to reflect upon. Let the discussions begin!


Exclusive Sneak Peek of Caritas in Veritate

Wednesday, July 1, 2009 \AM\.\Wed\.

Caritas in Veritate

[Updates at the bottom of this posting.]

The much anticipated new encyclical that Pope Benedict XVI recently signed, his third, on June 29th titled Caritas in Veritate, or Charity in Truth, will be released soon by Ignatius Press (the English version) on July  6th or 7th of 2009 A.D.  In searching for information regarding this encyclical I found bits and pieces here and there but nothing exhaustive or concise that came close to satisfying my curiosity.  So I’ve gathered all of my information and have presented it the best way possible in this posting.  With tongue in cheek I labeled this preview of Caritas in Veritate as an ‘Exclusive Sneak Peek’*.

Caritas in Veritate will be a social encyclical examining some of the social changes that have occurred since Pope Paul VI’s encyclical Populorum Progressio, particularly globalization.  The encyclical will have Pope Benedict XVI articulating the need to bolster humanism that brings together the social and economic development of humans and to reduce the disproportionate gap between poor and rich.  One other major theme of this encyclical will be that of global justice.

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“Caritas in Veritate” Soon To Be Released

Sunday, June 28, 2009 \PM\.\Sun\.

After a few delays, Pope Benedict’s long-awaited third encyclical on economic and social issues is set to be signed tomorrow, June 29, and released to the public on July 6 or 7, according to Catholic News Agency.

We here at American Catholic have had our share of lively debates over the meaning and application of Catholic social doctrine. I anticipate that they will continue following the release of this encyclical. This is a historical event of great importance to Catholics all over the world. Like some of his predecessors, and particularly Pius XI, Pope Benedict will be addressing the world on social and economic matters in the midst of a world wide economic crisis.

It was the crisis itself that reportedly caused the delay in the completion of the encyclical, and as it would be reasonable to assume, it is now clear that much of it will deal directly with the breakdown of the financial system in particular, and with the phenomenon of globalization in general.

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