Inside Catholic has been kind enough to publish a reworked and hopefully more coherent account of my thoughts on Locke and Catholic political thought. For those who didn’t want to wade through my verbose musings, this ought to be more readable.
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Posted by Bonchamps
On the eve before what no doubt will be a significant election for Americans, I think it would be appropriate to think once more about the binding nature of the fundamental principles of Catholic social teaching and their immediate implications for political and economic realities. Pope Benedict XVI’s most recent encyclical, Caritas in Veritate, would make for good meditation before heading out to vote tomorrow.
We often hear this notion of “prudential judgment” tossed around haphazardly, usually by those who search for an excuse to disregard some principle or implication of Catholic social doctrine. While very specific, concrete policy decisions like setting speed limits or requiring possession of specific resident documentation (e.g., state ID cards) are, indeed, underdetermined by Catholic social doctrine and are, therefore, up to prudential judgment, the bulk of what the Church teaches in social matters is binding on the faithful. But why should I, as a Catholic, care about what Pope Benedict XVI or, for that matter, what any pope or council has to say about political ideologies, human development, distributive justice, and economic life? The simple answer is, if you accept the doctrinal authority of the Church, then it follows that you will accept Catholic social teaching, for to reject a substantive part of the latter is to reject the former. The history of papal social teaching certainly confirms this.
In his 1912 encyclical, Singulari Quadam, Pope St. Pius X declared that the Church’s teaching authority extends beyond the exclusive domain of faith and into the domain of socio-economic affairs:
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Posted by MJAndrew
In the previous part of this series, I gave a detailed comparison of the views of John Locke and Pope Leo XIII on the state of nature, the origin of private property, and the proper use of private property. In this final part, I want to make a few more points regarding what I think can be called “Lockean” thought, at least as it exists in contemporary America, explore the relationship between the Catholic Church and the United States, and explain why I think all that has been considered thus far is relevant for our political situation today.
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Posted by Bonchamps
by Joe Hargrave
In the previous part I showed how Locke’s argument for government by consent was similar to, and may have even been influenced by, that of St. Robert Bellarmine. I also showed how some of the more well-known early-modern political theorists who dreamed of powerful authoritarian regimes also dreamed of obliterating the Church as an obstacle to their fruition. Now I will argue that there is a clear overlap between the political theory of John Locke, and that of Pope Leo XIII, the pope who is responsible for Catholic social teaching as we know it today. In the final part of this series I will address why these overlaps are important, and what they mean in our contemporary political situation.
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Posted by Bonchamps
by Joe Hargrave
With the political storm clouds gathering over the horizon for November, I want to take this opportunity to explain why I will be voting for GOP candidates (specifically Tea Party candidates when possible) at the midterm elections. It is not because I “believe in” the Republicans, or because I think that a Republican Congress is going to lead America into a new golden age. It is because the Obama/Democrat agenda must be slowed down, and more importantly, because I do not share the hierarchy of priorities or values of the left.
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Posted by Bonchamps
Do not miss the new book, Mercy without Borders: The Catholic Worker and Immigration, by Mark and Louise Zwick. Mercy without Borders tells the remarkable story of Casa Juan Diego, the Catholic Worker house of hospitality founded by the Zwicks in Houston, Texas.
When it comes to the preservation and continuation of the legacy of Dorothy Day, Peter Maurin, and the Catholic Worker, no one does it more faithfully than the Zwicks. Like Dorothy and Peter, the Zwicks are grounded in the intellectual tradition of the Catholic Church, promote and defend the Church’s teachings and devotions, and fulfill Christ’s mandate to love and minister to the least of his brethren. When my wife and I would volunteer at Casa Juan Diego (my wife serving as a translator and assistant in the medical clinic and I completing what Mark called the “humble chores”–writing thank you notes to donors, providing rides to clinics for those staying at Casa Juan Diego, and picking up supplies), I was struck by the Zwicks’ peace and deep faith in the power of the Gospel. They are the only people I have met about whom I have thought, “I am in the presence of living saints.” If you ever have occasion to visit Casa Juan Diego, be it for Mass, prayer, or ministry, you will see what I mean. When you do, you will see an instance of the full expression of the Catholic faith in action. For those who do not visit, Mercy without Borders should do just as well.
Today is my birthday, which means that while I get cake, ice cream, and annoyance for having to study on my birthday, you get to realize that the November elections are merely a month and a week away. In the Catholic blogosphere, this means that the “republicath” & “Catholyc” labels are getting dusted off for use in the political war.
For example, MM has launched an
humorless satirical website a mini-crusade against Thomas Peters & CatholicVote. Specifically, he’s angry about the very high rating they gave to Sharron Angle, a Republican running against Harry Reid. While I disagree with some of the exaggerations (if he thinks that’s a racist ad, he doesn’t watch much TV during October), I think his question is a good one: when ought a Catholic group be offering endorsements? Read the rest of this entry »