26 December, 2022

Is this a time to despair?

This last decade has been a time of increasing disruption and conflict in societies around the world. Political and social divisions have only grown more intense and opposing sides are making graver accusations against each other. The idea of having any level of bipartisan compromise is becoming less realistic every day. We’ve seen governments throughout the “free world” exercise extreme totalitarian levels of control and coercion against their own subjects, including denying access to religious services. Local economies were shut down resulting in the loss of many small independent businesses while large corporations like Walmart and Amazon were allowed to thrive. People were denied routine medical services. Those who were in support groups for addictions or emotional issues were denied access to them, resulting in an increase of drug abuse and suicides. Evidence is now proving that the large technological corporations that control the primary means of social communication around the world have cooperated with governments to silence dissenting views, proving that those who were accused of being crazy conspiracy theorists for saying this were correct. Society was divided to the point where friends and families were torn apart over conflicting views of how societies should deal with a disease, with one side being called evil “grandma killers.” Our leaders and celebrities told us all to “trust the science,” even though certain scientific dissent on the official positions were censored. Celebrities suggested that those who disagreed with the official position should be reduced to second-class citizens who would not get full rights and should even be denied emergency health services. In addition to this, our society is increasingly divided on what it should accept as social norms. Finally, it seems that at least half of the population is fine with all of this. We may be tempted to ask, as we head into the new year, is this a time to despair?

15 December, 2022

Real and Ideal in Catholic Social Doctrine


Capitalism and communism are equally representative forms of this tendency of the world today not only to ignore Christianity, but to supplant it. To speak more precisely, the civilization of capitalism, as it was developed during the nineteenth century through the application to industry of the discoveries of experimental science, has created the ideal of an increasingly daring scientism trying to achieve by means of purely human efforts that reconquest of Paradise which is part of the eschatological expectation of believing Christians.[1]
- Louis Bouyer

One of the difficulties affecting our contemporary understanding of the Church's social doctrine is our failure to understand that doctrine in the context of the gigantic shift in Western civilization that reached its climax between, roughly, the middle of the 18th and the middle of the 19th centuries. Catholic social teaching in its modern form originated as that shift was becoming consolidated, and as a result that teaching simultaneously harks back to another and lost era as a kind of ideal, and at the same time offers necessary moral guidance for those living in the reality of the new type of civilization.