Question: Did Pope Benedict Attack Capitalism in His 2013 World Peace Day Message? Answer: No!
application. She proclaims an authentic view of human freedom as having to always be exercised within a moral constitution. Freedom must be ordered toward choosing what is good, respecting the truth about the human person, human flourishing, the family and the real common good.
Freedom must be exercised in deference toward our obligations in solidarity to one another. The Church calls us to a preferential love for the poor, a demonstrated concern for their well being and the development of a social and economic order which includes them within its embrace and promise of advancement. She upholds the dignity of all human work and the basic right to a living, just or family wage.
In recent encyclicals the market economy has been recognized as having a real potential for promoting all of these goods - when properly understood and morally structured. However, the Catholic Church does not take a position on which economic theory is the "best" among many.
She properly and prophetically stood against the materialism of the atheistic Marxist system. She has also properly and prophetically cautioned Nations which have adopted a form of liberal capitalism that there are dangers in any form of economism or materialism which promotes the use of persons as products and fails to recognize the value of being over acquiring.
She reminds our consumerist western culture that the market economy must always be placed at the service of the person, the family and the common good, lest capitalism devolve from offering economic freedom and opportunity and become inhuman in its application, devolving into greed.
Markets can only be free when free people are engaged in them. Freedom is a good of the person. A free economy should also seek to continually expand by opening the way for the participation for as many people as possible, while promoting enterprise and initiative.
Also, though we are to give a love of preference to the poor, recognizing our solidarity with them, this call to solidarity is to be applied through the application of the principle of subsidiarity, rejecting all forms of dehumanizing collectivism, either of the left or the right. Subsidiarity in both governance and economic participation rejects the usurping by a larger entity of participation which can be done at the lowest practicable level.
The West, with all of its promise of freedom, flirts with an instrumentalist materialism devoid of any understanding that the market was made for man not man for the market. In this kind of mistaken approach to a free market economic order the accumulation of capital can come to be viewed as prior to the flourishing of the person, the family and the common good. In its wake, the poor can be forgotten and peace threatened.
Pope Benedicts few words properly addressed this kind of an errant approach to the market economy. The market economy can be a force for good when humanized and expanded to offer participation to more and more men and women. However, if Pope Benedict's few words caused a stir, I will conclude with a even stronger words used by his predecessor, Blessed John Paul II, when addressing the same danger.He was also correct in issuing a caution and his words need to be heard as well.
On the hundreth anniversary of Pope Leo XIII's encyclical on economic concerns, Blessed John Paul wrote: "Returning now to the initial question: can it perhaps be said that, after the failure of Communism, capitalism is the victorious social system, and that capitalism should be the goal of the countries now making efforts to rebuild their economy and society? Is this the model, which ought to be proposed to the countries of the Third World, which are searching for the path to true economic and civil progress? The answer is obviously complex."
"If by capitalism is meant an economic system, which recognizes the fundamental and positive role of business, the market, private property, as well as free human creativity in the economic sector, then the answer is certainly in the affirmative, even though it would perhaps be more appropriate to speak of a `business economy,' `market economy,' or simply `free economy'."
"But, if by `capitalism' is meant a system in which freedom in the economic sector is not circumscribed within a strong juridical framework which places it at the service of human freedom in its totality and sees it as a particular aspect of that freedom, the core of which is ethical and religious, then the reply is certainly negative."(Centesimus Annus, n. 42)
Pope Benedict's profound letter on World Peace Day should be read by every world leader. It should also be ACCURATELY reported on. Did Pope Benedict attack Capitalism in his 2013 World Peace Day Message? The answer is No! He spoke the truth. He issued a caution, reaffirmed the truth about human freedom and insisted upon the primacy of the person, the family and the true common good.
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Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
Missionary Intention: Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.
Keywords: capitalism, free economy, marxism, collectivism, social doctrine, social teaching, World Day of Peace, pope Benedict XVI, Blessed are the Peacemakers, economism, materialism, Deacon Keith Fournier
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