Tom, since you seem to have no problem criticizing people or calling them out for false views, what do you think about the Pope and the controversy over his comments on job creation and capitalism?
I’ll gladly answer that.
In fact, I’m very relieved this whole issue popped up around the Pope.
Because it has been weighing on my mind for many years.
And it’s been bothering me.
I was born, baptized, and raised a Catholic and I still am a practicing Catholic who attends weekly mass.
What I’m going to say I say with complete respect and deference for the Church and the Pontiff.
For many years, I’ve sat through numerous sermons delivered by various priests who basically preach a socialist world-view.
And since nothing could be farther from my own view, I’ve found this very disturbing.
After all, I’m supposed to believe in and trust the priest, right?
And now the Pope himself has weighed in, and I found myself disagreeing (and sighing) again.
So let me lay this out.
The Catholic Church teaches that the Pope has the power and authority to speak infallibly when he solemnly defines a dogma on Faith or morals.
However, this charism of infallibility does not apply to the Pope’s economic views, nor does it apply to an Apostolic Letter, the form in which Pope Francis chose to express his latest criticism of capitalism.
In addition, previous Popes have repeatedly condemned socialism and defended the right to private property. Thus, as a Catholic, I am on solid ground disagreeing with the current Pope on this issue.
For many years I have been bothered by this whole “capitalism is bad” nonsense and the idea that we need to just “give stuff away to poor people”.
It bothers me because giving things away to poor people doesn’t work. Capitalism does.
Giving somebody something for free (other than an opportunity) takes away their ability to learn how to rise up on their own and fend for themselves and their family.
It takes away what it means to be human.
(And yes, sometimes to struggle is to be human.)
Just giving somebody something creates a dependency.
And dependency is a form of slavery.
We weren’t meant to be slaves.
So why is it always preached backwards?
Capitalism actually works.
And works well.
No other system of economics has lifted more people out of poverty and made as many people rich (so that they can actually help the poor) as capitalism.
Capitalism equals personal freedom which equals the very heart of Catholic teaching.
When you are free, you are free to work, risk, save, spend, own, invest, and yes, give to charity to the maximum you desire.
The problem is NOT capitalism.
And certainly not “unfettered” capitalism.
In fact, it’s the exact opposite. The problem is that too many restrictions and interferences made by the government on capitalism have restricted its ability to function properly.
All those regulations interfere with the market and drive prices up, wrecking businesses and eliminating jobs.
Instead, if you let people succeed in a capitalist market, they are then able to hire others, create even more wealth for everyone, and give even more to charity.
So yes, it does indeed “trickle-down”.
Those who deny that deny reality.
(But unfortunately there is no lack of reality-deniers lately.)
So is it the Church that has it wrong?
Or just many of the churchmen preaching it?
“They are still waiting,” the Pope wrote in his encyclical.
And wait they will continue to do if capitalism continues to be thwarted.
Are we not supposed to teach a man HOW to fish?
Rather than just giving him a fish?
(If the fish comes from a government program it will no doubt cost 10x as much as the private sector could have delivered it for, and the person in need will probably only get half of it anyway. How efficient…)
Something to think about.
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