One of the Works of Mercy…

is to ransom the captive.  To do that, it helps to know where and who the captive is:

It doesn’t have to be this way.

Think different. The Catholic Church has done it for millennia.

  • Mark S. (not for Shea)

    We didn’t end slavery. We just outsourced it.

  • Dan C

    Peter Maurin has noted that the Church sits on the “dynamite” of its Truth. It just needs to unlock that dynamite.

    He spoke with regard to economics and peace for his age.

    Economic oppression is the ancient technique of oppression and dehumanization, indignifying man (in the true sense of that word-denying man’s imagio Dei) and until the past 200 years, the Church lacked consistency in its actions and its words on this matter.

    The Church in its officialdom has supported error (and not some minor difficulties with the occasional penny placed in some distant office of a politically unpopular group like ACORN which is a right wing obsession). The Vatican (Ratzinger and JP2) blew off Romero and sent signals he lacked support to the world. The result there was later reflected in JP2′s millenial penitential service. And its not just the distant group in the Vatican. In Rwanda’s genocidal massacre, the local Churches had unfortunate roles.

    The Church has Truth but its actions in the Name of Christ and His Mystical Body, The Church, are on occasion shameful and require penance.

    The Church has extensive writings, examples in its saints, and remains a guardian of Truth which is rightly termed “dynamite” by Maurin. Of note, Maurin refers to this “dynamite” as unused by the Church. That was in the 1930′s, and has changed only in small ways since then. It also has a bad habit of siding with the powerful over the weak, leaving on display the sins of its members and leaders. In spite of this, The Church’s Truth still stands out.

    The Church’s Truth lights the way to the Kingdom. It indicates that “might” doesn’t mean “right” and that the poor are the inheritors of the Kingdom, that is, all that will be renewed at the end of time. I pray I will be ready to beg a small share of that Kingdom.

    I offer this reflection as a careful qualifier to any suggestion of hubris that may arise from Mr. Shea’s true comments.

    • S. Murphy

      Mark had a post a while back about how the Church’s indefectability as the Bride of Christ wasn’t to our credit as Catholics. Good points.

  • Jeff

    I try to instill in my Navy subordinates the concept of slavery they rightfully abhor from the old south is alive today in the whorehouses overseas. Those that may have no scruples about paying for sex may think twice when they realize they are essentially slave renters.

    • S. Murphy

      And ransoming the captive, in the literal sense, is now considered trafficking in its own right, and will get you court-martialed. And anything heroic and romantic will definitely get you court-martialed, if the local crooks or police don’t kill you in the process, cause an international incident, etc, etc, so all you can do is report anything you see to your chain of command, who I guess are supposed to report it to the Embassy.

  • Gabriel Austin

    The question is: what can one do about these problems? Is it better that these poor people earn nothing at all?

    Mother Teresa had the beginnings of an answer: one begins small, and slowly.

    We live in a fallen world. We will not be held accountable for major injustices; only for those we can work to prevent; and these are chiefly local.

    • Joseph

      Actually, because of the corporate outsourcing of slavery, we’ve inflated prices of food, shelter, and clothing to our new serfdoms. So those who had “nothing” before, could still manage to buy a bag of rice that would feed their family for a month. Now, that bag of rice has inflated, so only the slaves can afford it. The sick and elderly no longer can, so they are left in trash heaps on the side of the road to die.

      • Amy

        I don’t think Gabriel is trying to deny the grave injustices that exist, but the question remains: what does the average person do? And for what am I guilty?

        If I buy a computer which, logically, is produced in a factory with underpaid, overworked laborers, am I guilty of slavery? What is the alternative? Are there computers that are produced using fair labor practices? Am I obligated to stop using computers altogether?

    • http://ohnimus.wordpress.com Christian Ohnimus

      One of those examples was within the most populace state of America, another committed by an ally whom we’ve directly enabled. Why exactly shouldn’t we be held accountable?

  • nate

    Ugh.
    So depressing (as I type on a laptop and drink imported coffee…).

    • S. Murphy

      There was a story on NPR recently about the workers that make iPhones… a guy with an iPhone supposedly found that it wasn’t blank – there were pictures of the factory workers on it. So he went there and interviewed some of them, and got this first-hand account of how bad their working conditions are.
      Anyway, some other iPhone user started a change.org petition to pressure Apple to pressure the factories in China to improve conditions. Don’t know if stuff like this will help in the long run. And it needs to be in conjunction with efforts to create local Distributist conditions, buying fair trade, etc.
      Some things though, like computers, are always going to require an industrial base. So letting Apple (and whoever else – I’m sure other brands have similar issues) know you won’t buy their next new toy if they don’t take better care of their overseas wage-slaves is part of the deal. And then follow through.

  • Dan C

    Totally with you, Nate.

    I think that this is an example of capitalism at its routine. When such a system is uncritically defended, or a “free market fixes all” solution set is proposed, one must remember that this is the price.

    I disagree that this is a good thing, or even a beginning toward something better.

  • Confederate Papist

    Mark’s right; distributism is the answer.

    • Noah D

      This is true, but I’ll ask the same question I asked of my libertarian comrades (when I was one of them): Distributopia or Anarchotopia – how do we get *there* from *here*?

      Coffee and OJ, I *might* be able to find a more ethical source for. Cotton? Good luck. The tag tells me where it was made, and nothing about the content beyond the textile percentage itself. Much of my clothing I get at Goodwill. I don’t use bath salts or wear diamonds. Computers and phones made from ethically mined materials, assembled in ethically run factories? Where?

      • Amy

        You can get coffee (chocolate, tea, and other products) from Equal Exchange or Serrv and mark that you found them through Catholic Relief Services and CRS will get a percentage of the sale.

        http://www.crsfairtrade.org

      • Amy

        Mystic Monks also have fair trade coffee (and you support monks!)

        http://www.mysticmonkcoffee.com

  • Babs

    Do what you can. If you can buy into a local coop, great. If you can sew, fantastic. Just do what you can today, God will multiply your efforts!

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