26 January, 2015

Catholic Social Doctrine: From the Beginning through Leo XIII

The social apostolate of Christ’s one Church began while that Church’s Founder was still on this earth. In fact, even before the Incarnation, during the Old Testament dispensation, the law of God and His prophets insisted continually on justice and charity toward the poor. For example, the law of Moses proclaims that every seventh year “every creditor shall release what he has lent to his neighbor” (Deuteronomy 15:2) and nearly every prophet denounces those “who oppress the poor, who crush the needy” (Amos 4:2). In fact, social justice was linked with faithfulness to the God of Israel and the keeping of His covenant.

A Potential Step in the Right Direction

On 19 July, [2010], British Prime Minister, David Cameron gave a speech that should perk up the ears of Distributists, especially any that live in United Kingdom. Mr. Cameron’s “Big Society” initiative seeks to divest responsibilities and authorities absorbed by the British Parliament and transfer them to the local level. Of course, this is already being harshly criticized by groups with operational ties and other vested interests in the central government, but this initiative has the potential to unleash precisely the sort of philosophical shift that men like Chesterton and Belloc knew would be necessary if Distributism were to ever have a chance. Now, I don’t assume that Mr. Cameron is a Distributist – he may or may not be – but I can’t help picturing Messrs. Chesterton and Belloc smiling.

Steps and Stumbles

[In 2010], I wrote about a potentially exciting movement supported by the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, David Cameron. This was branded as the “Big Society,” and it promised that the central government was going to distribute political authority from itself to the local level. It consisted of several programs to assist local councils in taking on additional responsibilities that were currently being handled at the central level. The idea was that the common citizen, working with local government, would be capable of dealing with local issues and would no longer be dependent on the central government to deal with every problem. If it could be handled at a local level, the local level would be empowered to handle it. This was not a fully distributist plan, but it had the potential to be a step in that direction.

15 January, 2015

Catholic Social Doctrine: An Introduction

Within the body of truths taught by the Catholic Church, truths about what we must believe and about how we are to live, there are those truths commonly called Catholic social teaching or the Church’s social doctrine. They are an important and integral part of Catholic doctrine, but not so well known or so well understood as they might be. In this series of articles I will be presenting this teaching by way of expounding the principal documents in which it has been embodied by successive popes. In this first article I will give an introduction to the teaching, including what I think are important points we should remember to prevent misunderstanding, and to perhaps lessen the disagreements which sometimes arise in this area.

03 January, 2015

Stocks: The Myth of Ownership

In response to my article on the nature of capitalism, I received some responses objecting to my statement that part of the definition of capitalism is that laws facilitate the separation of ownership from work. Well, not only do the laws of capitalism facilitate the separation of ownership from work, but they even seem to separate ownership from the rights of ownership.