Like Benedict XVI, Catholic Pope Francis also urged world governments to implement income redistribution or redistribution of wealth. Pope Benedict XVI once said: a more just and peaceful world requires “adequate mechanisms for the redistribution of wealth”.
If that’s the case, what would prevent world governments from adopting and implementing populist measures and pro-poor policies that run counter to the Christian values and people’s right to practice religion?
What would prevent tyrannical governments from forcing Catholic hospitals to conduct abortion and provide pro-poor reproductive health services to their employees or to the general public?
Be very careful what you pray for…
Now the 76-year-old pontiff, who was recently named Time magazine’s 2013 ‘Person of the Year’ for (perhaps) making socialism “cool”, believes that an overhaul of the financial system and redistribution of wealth are the solution to global poverty and economic inequality. However, Pope Francis failed to explain the root cause of the global financial crisis and economic inequity. He simply blamed the “new tyranny” of unfettered capitalism and urged the rich to share their wealth.
The ultra-leftists from the British Guardian and American The Daily Kos praised and loved the Catholic pontiff for bashing NON-EXISTENT capitalism.
The problem is, the recent financial crunch and the subprime mortgage crisis was not caused by what the Pope called “unfettered capitalism”, which does not exist in any country in the world today, but by expansive, intrusive government regulations.
For instance, a new study conducted by the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) found that United States’ Community Reinvestment Act, passed by the Democrats, led to risky lending. In the name of helping the poor and solving economic inequality, the ‘democratic’ CRA forced lenders to make bad loans in poor communities– or to extend loans to people regardless of their capacity to pay.
The authors of said study asked: “Did the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) Lead to Risky Lending?” Their findings: “Yes, it did. … We find that adherence to the act led to riskier lending by banks.”
Here’s an excerpt of the 2012 study:
Yes, it did. We use exogenous variation in banks’ incentives to conform to the standards of the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) around regulatory exam dates to trace out the effect of the CRA on lending activity. Our empirical strategy compares lending behavior of banks undergoing CRA exams within a given census tract in a given month to the behavior of banks operating in the same census tract-month that do not face these exams. We find that adherence to the act led to riskier lending by banks: in the six quarters surrounding the CRA exams lending is elevated on average by about 5 percent every quarter and loans in these quarters default by about 15 percent more often. These patterns are accentuated in CRA-eligible census tracts and are concentrated among large banks. The effects are strongest during the time period when the market for private securitization was booming.
Now, what would happen if world governments radically implemented the Pope’s political advice?
Well, the truth is, nearly all countries in the world today currently implement socialistic or populist policies and programs aimed at redistributing wealth and [allegedly] combating poverty and economic inequality.
Socialist countries like Cuba, Venezuela and South Africa recently imposed high degree of socialistic policies. In Venezuela, Chavez grounded his socialist dogma in his Christian faith and even called Jesus Christ a ‘socialist’. Just recently, Venezuela’s dear fuhrer Nicholas Maduro ordered the raid of remaining privately owned companies (like a toilet paper company) and military occupation of several businesses (like a chain of electronics stores) in the name of fighting supply shortages, helping the poor and state-forced wealth redistribution.
Pope Francis should single out and praise Venezuela for radically implementing his socialist policies.
Also, the Jesuits are known for their socialistic tendencies and doctrines, and they’re responsible for the spread of socialism in Latin America. Pope Francis is a Jesuit and was trained by the Jesuits.
Author John Findlater wrote: “The Jesuits aimed to set up [in Paraguay] a completely communistic system, in the sense that no individual rights were recognized and there was no private property. Everything belonged to the State, and was supposed to be shared in common. But in reality much the greater part of the proceeds of good sold was always remitted to the Camarilla [advisers to the Spanish kings]; and the Guaranis [Indians of Paraguay, northern Argentina, and southern Brazil] got only the bare necessities of life in return for their toil and sweat.”
Since the Catholic pontiff urged redistribution of wealth and adoption of policies, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines should stop criticizing the B.S. Aquino government and its recently passed Reproductive Health Law!
Weren’t the socialist and statist proponents of this RH measure motivated by their desire to help the poor, especially low-income women, and to redistribute wealth?
The Declaration Policy of the law clearly states:
The State recognizes and guarantees the human rights of all persons including their right to equality and nondiscrimination of these rights, the right to sustainable human development, the right to health which includes reproductive health, the right to education and information, and the right to choose and make decisions for themselves in accordance with their religious convictions, ethics, cultural beliefs, and the demands of responsible parenthood.
Now let me ask those who still find some reason to rationalize and justify the Pope’s socialistic (NOT Marxist) statements: What would prevent world governments, particularly the Philippine government, from
implementing more anti-rights, anti-freedom populist policies and programs that actually and in reality hurt the poor?
What would prevent world governments from implementing socialistic policies that contravene Christian doctrines (e.g., more aggressive RH laws) and violate people’s freedom of religion?
I stated the following in a previous blog:
Historically speaking, the Vatican City advocates welfare statism or socialistic reforms to help the poor while rejecting RH programs or pro-contraception policies. What the Vatican City fails to understand is that RH programs and population control policies are just part of the entire Welfare State conception that it strongly advocates. How can the Church reject states’ RH program when this is utterly consistent with its pro-poor, pro-welfare advocacy?
The Church’s pro-welfare policy was formulated by Pope Paul VI in his 1967 Encyclical Populorum Progressio. In the world of Paul’s vision, the primary function of governments would be to carry out the principle that “created goods should flow fairly to all”. But isn’t the Philippine government trying to “create goods” for poor Filipinos and women by passing the RH bill? This is what Bernas is actually trying to defend when he cited the Compendium on the Social Doctrine of the Catholic Church that says: “Because of its historical and cultural ties to a nation, a religious community (like the Catholic Church) might be given special recognition on the part of the State. Such recognition must in no way create discrimination within the civil or social order for other religious groups” and “Those responsible for government are required to interpret the common good of their country not only according to the guidelines of the majority but also according to the effective good of all the members of the community, including the minority.”
In fact, rabid supporters of the RH law believe that the measure aims to address social inequality and poverty. For example, the following statement of De La Salle University faculty supporting the measure states: “The right to life is a fundamental Christian tenet that finds full meaning when combined with the inherent rights of humans to a decent, safe, and productive existence as well as to an all-round development. Thus, beyond protecting the very important right of the unborn, it must extend to a recognition that a life that is weighed down by poverty, sickness, and social inequality–now compounded by environmental stresses–deprives humans of agency to transform themselves and the world for the common good.”
What the DLSU faculty members are trying to say is: It’s perfectly moral and fine to redistribute wealth, to control the medical industry, and to force Catholics and Catholic hospitals to violate their religious doctrines and their right to practice religion so long as their pet project seeks to help the poor and fight poverty. That is, they believe in that Machiavellian doctrine: the end justifies the means.
To a rabid leftist or communist, “adequate mechanisms for the redistribution of wealth” mean nationalization of industries, abolition of private property and ‘equitable’ land reform, radical progressive taxation, and more regulations.
However, any Catholic apologist can always rationalize the Pope’s use of “redistribution of wealth” and say, “well, that’s not what the Pope meant.”
But what did he mean anyway? How did he use the term ‘wealth redistribution’? Does the Pope have his own politico-economic definition of said term? Plus, there can be no “redistribution of wealth” without State action or intervention.
Charity is not the same as redistributive action or policy. The first is voluntary, whereas the second is coerced or state-mandated. There is no such thing as “redistributive charity”. Thus, the Pope was actually urging world governments to adopt “adequate mechanisms for the redistribution of wealth”.
There’s a big difference between simply urging the rich to share their wealth and urging world governments to radically impose income redistribution and to legislate morality. Charity by the rich and those who have in life is and should be voluntary and should not be enforced/imposed by the State or by anyone. State-imposed income redistribution is all about government force and against the concept/essence of charity or generosity. Well, the Left are known for being generous with other people’s money.
The truth is, the rich (meaning: those who honestly earned their economic status honestly and through their business acumen and sheer entrepreneurial ability) don’t just contribute more to society; they also pay all the taxes. This is the case in the United States in which a very recent report reveals that the rich do not just pay the most taxes; they actually pay all the taxes.
How does someone pay negative taxes? The CBO’s formula offsets whatever taxes are paid with “refundable tax credits.” Some of these are due to “government transfers” of money back to the taxpayer in the form of social security and food stamps.
That’s not to say the rich are going broke. Hardly.
According to the CBO, the wealthiest 1 percent of Americans saw before-tax income grow more than 16 percent from 2009 to 2010, which isn’t such a surprise since thestock market was coming off the bottom. Most of the rest of the country only saw gross incomes grow about 1 percent. When it comes to federal taxes,the top bracket paid 69 percent of the total last year. The bottom bracket paid 0.4 percent.
I believe that if the Pope were given the chance to implement his socialistic politics– or if he had the globalist dictatorial power to impose his political doctrines and beliefs, he’d probably bring extreme misery and poverty throughout the world and kill millions. Yes, he’d go to HELL, wherever the hell that is!
Fortunately, there are good verses in the Bible that contradict the Pope’s statements.
From Luke 12:13-15: “Someone in the crowd said to him, ‘Teacher, tell my brother to share the inheritance with me.’ He replied to him, ‘Friend, who appointed me as your judge and arbitrator?’ Then he said to the crowd, ‘Take care to guard against all greed, for though one may be rich, one’s life does not consist of possessions.’”
Here’s a question for the Pope: Who are you to appoint State governments or politicians/bureaucrats to act as wealth redistributive agents? Or: Who are you to appoint yourself as the global agent or advocate of “wealth redistribution”?
A Bloomberg opinion writer exposes how the Pope contradicted some of the Bible’s ‘rational’ verses. From his article entitled Why is Pope Francis Promoting Sin, Harvard economist and professor Lant Pritchett wrote:
By dwelling on inequality, the pope is promoting envy. The Catholic Church, I had always understood, disapproves of envy, deeming it one of the seven deadly sins. I would have expected Francis to urge people to think of themselves in relation to God and to their own fullest potential. Encouraging people to measure themselves against others only leads to grief. Resenting the success of others is a sin in itself.
The first sin outside the Garden of Eden was Cain’s slaying of his younger brother, Abel, out of envy that the Lord had accepted Abel’s offering but not his. God told Cain: “If you act rightly, you will be accepted; but if not, sin lies in wait at the door.” (Genesis 4:7) Worry about your standing with God, not about what others have or don’t have.
The Ten Commandments conclude with: “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, his male or female slave, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.” (Exodus 20:17)
Just recently, Pope Francis issued a statement defending his anti-capitalist, pro-socialist remarks, saying he’s not a Marxist.
In the United States, influential and politically powerful conservatives like Rush Limbaugh called the Pope a “Marxist” for bashing the tyranny of “unfettered capitalism”.
On his radio show Limbaugh said: “This is just pure Marxism coming out of the mouth of the pope. Unfettered capitalism? That doesn’t exist anywhere. Unfettered capitalism is a liberal socialist phrase to describe the United States. Unfettered, unregulated.”
In response, the Catholic pontiff offered the Italian newspaper La Stampa this measured explanation: ”
“Marxist ideology is wrong. But I have met many Marxists in my life who are good people, so I don’t feel offended.” Then Pope Francis went on to say “there is nothing in the exhortation that cannot be found in the social doctrine of the church.”
While the American conservatives were right in saying that “unfettered capitalism” does not exist anywhere, I disagree with their evaluation of Pope Francis’ ideological affiliation.
Yes, the Pope may not be a “Marxist”, by definition, but that doesn’t mean he’s not a socialist. Socialism existed long before Karl Marx. There were socialist thinkers and practitioners from the time of Plato to Hegel.
Karl Marx did not invent “socialism” or “communism”. He merely conceptualized and popularized his own brand/type of “socialism” or “collectivism”. That is, Marxism is just one of the many types of Socialism. Remember that Plato was one of the first– thinkers of collectivism or communal system.
As for the Catholic Pope, he simply (perhaps unwittingly) introduced a “cool” alternative to (or substitute for) Marxism. The Pope doesn’t have to be a Marxist to advocate socialistic programs/policies. But he’s certainly one of the most influential modern-day Socialist Thinkers. In fact, he definitely has the potential to rival Karl Marx.