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Friday, December 6, 2013


I have about had it uptohere with people making statements about the Holy Father's Exhortation letter.

Even Rush Limbaugh is now trying to distance himself from his idiotic remark that the Pope was promoting Marxism by stating that he just offered an opinion based on what he read of a few blogs.

What a maroon.

I suspect he read the document and now, rather than being man enough to say "I should have read it first and THEN offered an opinion" he is simply denying that he made any kind of idiotic remark in the first place.

I am a Catholic - I have to forgive him.

What is amazing about this (to me) is the assertion by anyone - and I mean ANYONE - that the Pope is promoting Marxism.

I suspect that anyone doing that has never read the document by Pope Francis and thinks Marx was in a movie about ducks and soup.

I have asserted for years that most conservatives today hear any criticism of capitalism and go ballistic because they see any deviation from a totally free market as 'Marxism'.

And I have also asserted for years that most liberals have never read the communist manifesto Marx and Engels put together.

I look at my own personal history of development and what I know is I spouted for a long time the 'party line' fed to me that the Soviet Union, the biggest Marx-driven experiment, did not truly represent his philosophy and really was just horrible because Stalin was a psychopath. Then, I got challenged by someone who asked me to explain how the points outlined in the Communist Manifesto would be implemented.

uh oh.

SO...let's take a deep breath here for a moment people and review those points:

According to Wikipedia (because I did not have time to go home and get my hard copy off my bookshelf) the ten points proposed by Marx and Engels are as follows:

1.Abolition of property in land and application of all rents of land to public purposes.
2.A heavy progressive or graduated income tax.
3.Abolition of all right of inheritance.
4.Confiscation of the property of all emigrants and rebels.
5.Centralisation of credit in the hands of the State, by means of a national bank with State capital and an exclusive monopoly.
6.Centralisation of the means of communication and transport in the hands of the State.
7.Extension of factories and instruments of production owned by the State; the bringing into cultivation of waste-lands, and the improvement of the soil generally in accordance with a common plan.
8.Equal liability of all to labour. Establishment of industrial armies, especially for agriculture.
9.Combination of agriculture with manufacturing industries; gradual abolition of the distinction between town and country, by a more equitable distribution of the population over the country.
10.Free education for all children in public schools. Abolition of children's factory labour in its present form and combination of education with industrial production.[15]

Now, with the exception of #10, explain please how you affect #'s 1 through 9 without the exact behavior exhibited by Stalin in the USSR?

My belief that most modern day Marxists have never studiedhistory or theology is based on their seemingly cavalier dismissal of the moral truth of Original Sin.

See, here's the thing: You do not get to walk up to someone who has something they worked hard to get and say, "That now belongs to the state" without that person putting up a fight - even a weak one. This is why 30 million peasants were murdered under Stalin in the name of making their lives better.

Neither can you say, "Let's have a totally free market decide everything" without ending up with a bunch of Robber Barons running shirt waist factories stuffed to the brim with starving women and children making goods that they cannot afford.

And the ultimate reason you cannot just say to humankind, "Have at it" is because we are all beset by the same problem: CONCUPISCENCE.

The only way to combat this type of situation is by making sure we, as Catholics, have not made money our GOD. We cannot forget that our very purpose as Catholics is to SERVE rather than to BE SERVED. We must be willing to work for a society that acknowledges the primacy of GOD and the primacy of the HUMAN PERSON. You cannot have a society that spends its time worrying about whether or not a girl who thinks she is a boy can use the boys bathroom in a high school in Manteca when there are grown men spending thousands of dollars to fly to Thailand on their vacation in order to sexually molest 3 year olds. You cannot promote a government that tells you how to think, feel and believe or labels you a bigot and then have that SAME government be your only source of income and sustenance.

Capitalism, in and of itself, is not evil. It allows people to put their thinking caps on, work hard, achieve, spend as they see fit for what they determine to be important.

Socialism, however, is based on the belief that we do not have the capacity to determine what is important in any way, shape or form and I resent the hell out of the implication that I am too stupid to come out of the rain; that I need the government to tell me I might get sick if I stand out there too long so if I do they are going to arrest me.

Unbridled capitalism is not good. In fact, I may go so far as to assert that unbridled capitalism can be as evil as Socialism. It leads to immorality and exploitation.

Now, all this brings me back to Pope Francis' letter - the one my conservative friends are upset about and my liberal friends are claiming with gleeful rubbing of hands and bright eyes that state, "See I told you so...Paul Ryan hates the poor!".


The Holy Father reminds us of the reality that is today. He cautions us to never forget that our primary focus, as Catholics, is to be our daily encounter with the Living Jesus. We cannot forget the necessity for The Eucharist, for good solid catechises and for the need to know (and defend) The Faith. Without that knowledge, we cannot effectively evangelize.

He also states, quite emphatically, that our present leaders need to look at our economic situation WITH THE MIND OF CHRIST. We cannot justify exclusionary behavior or make money / production / power our GOD.

It seems to me, and I am hardly that smart a cookie, that he is asking me to BE a Catholic in all aspects of my life - how I talk, how I dress, how I spend my money.

He is suggesting, too, that if our world leaders did the same - went forward with their worldly plans of governance after putting on the Armor of Christ - that the world would be a very different place today.

Now tell me again, Rush....what is so damn Marxist about THAT?


R.L. G said...

If I had to guess, I would say that the Holy Father’s experience with the flavor of capitalism that is present in South America influences his thinking on economics. That some of us are a bit “sensitive” to those comments up in the Norte region is food for thought. And that is exactly what I am seeing, people being challenged on their ideas. Unfortunately, if you don’t bother to pick up a book and learn how things are in other places, you are apt to be threatened and defensive. Nothing is as it seems at times, and that is what leads some to equate altruism with love, and socialism with harmony. A dictionary, etymology reference, and encyclopedia can fix up a lot of misunderstandings.

Leslie Klinger said...

Robert, you are right that we are all being challenged. And, of course, it is wrong of me to have any expectation that those who comment on the Pope's letter have a background in Catholic Theology or teaching. Most people do not - including Catholics - and so often make judgements and decisions with shaky foundations. Was it Venerable Sheen who said no one really hates the Catholic Church; rather, people hate what they THINK is the Catholic Church?

R.L. G said...

Leslie, usually when there is a hot button topic things get hyperbolic. Rush Limbaugh is not a Catholic, and does not recognize any authority of the Pope as far as I know. Rumor has it that he is Methodist, but that may not mean much in today’s setting. He seems only to be interested in his messaging, and uses whatever is at hand to support that goal.

The thing that is interesting to me is the Holy Father’s use of the term “exclusion.” My understanding of economic systems is that they are by their very nature exclusionary; where to market, who to target, where and where not to apply labor. All of those decisions are sooner or later going to affect a “class” of people somewhere on the continuum of potential consumers, the poor and the labor force. If effects were “equal” then no business would be possible. Everything from the natural world to our societies are run on differences. Is there an economy extant that is free of inequality, or are there "acceptable" levels of inequality?

In the end, the only knob I can turn on this problem is how I personally react when I see the person who is down and out. Do I reach out my hand, or turn a blind eye?