What are we to make of a theologian who says this?

“But in Europe, in the nineteenth century, the two models were joined by a third, socialism, which quickly split into two different branches, one totalitarian and the other democratic. Democratic socialism managed to fit within the two existing models as a welcome counterweight to the radical liberal positions, which it developed and corrected. It also managed to appeal to various denominations. In England it became the political party of the Catholics, who had never felt at home among either the Protestant conservatives or the liberals. In Wilhelmine Germany, too, Catholic groups felt closer to democratic socialism than to the rigidly Prussian and Protestant conservative forces. In many respects, democratic socialism was and is close to Catholic social doctrine and has in any case made a remarkable contribution to the formation of a social consciousness.”

  • Steven Schloeder

    Is a pope infallible in matters of political history? :^)

    • Mark Shea

      Who said anything about infallibility? The question is, “Are the kneejerk Manichaean shibboleths of American political conservatives infallible?”

    • Joseph H. M. Ortiz

      Apropos here, I daresay, is the view expressed by the Thomist Catholic Jacques Maritain in his book Peasant of the Garonne (second chapter): “A healthy Christian politics … would undoubtedly seem to go pretty far to the left as regards certain technical solutions, … and in its demands for the transformation of the present economic regime. In reality, however, it would have absolutely original positions, proceeding, in the spiritual and moral order, from very different principles than the conceptions of the world, life, the family, and the city, which prevail in the various parties of the left.”

    • http://www.vox-nova.com Brett Salkeld

      The question isn’t whether or not he’s infallible. It’s whether or not he’s correct. Somehow people on the right think demonstrating that a statement is not infallible is the same as demonstrating that a statement is false. That’s also why they get so upset when the left says certain things which aren’t infallible aren’t infallible.

      Not to defend the left’s treatment of infallibility. But that’s another topic. It is unfortunate I even need to include this paragraph in order to pre-empt attacks on myself as a “lefty.” No self-criticism allowed! (Not that I’m a righty.)

  • Steven Schloeder

    Don’t worry, Mark — I am a fan of the CDU and CSU in Germany, and the whole Catholic political response to the Papal Encyclicals among the various Christian Social – Democratic Parties throughout Europe. I only wish we had some viable way of mapping on the American political landscape. The Tea Party and Paulites are in as much need of serious CST catecheses as anyone else in America.

    • Mark Shea

      No argument from me.

    • http://dymphnaswelt.blogspot.com Phil

      Can a catholic really be a fan of the (CD)U after Merkel literally wrecked the party, broke almost every promise and was (and still is) eager to eradicate whats left of a christian doctrine in the program of the party? Not that there’s any other votable party at least under the five to six conventional ones, but under Angela Merkel the CDU betrayed almost every christian value.

      • http://blog.derherralipius.com/ Alipius

        Das ist richtig ;-)

      • Mercury

        One still finds conservative Christians every now and then, especially among the CSU, but it does seem the Union is hell-bent on erasing their raison d’etre.

    • David R

      There’s a portion of Ron Paul supporters who are unacquainted with CST, but so are the majority of Americans and the majority of Catholics. But nothing in CST demands that the state be responsible for fulfilling my Christian moral obligations. I’m not saying that there is no role for the state, but it’s possible to have a fine nation without government welfare, especially for corporations.

      • Mr Michael Moon

        Actually, Gaudium et Spes has quite a bit on that, I recall, as does Populorum Progressio. Welfare for corporations though? I don’t think so. But the state being responsible for righting an unfair distribution of wealth? There is aplenty, especially in the most recent encyclical.

        • David R

          Perhaps you need to spot the delineation between the government “righting an unfair distribution of wealth” and the government righting the systemic issues that enable an unfair distribution of wealth. After all, the former is a policy matter, on which the Magisterium is fallible, while the latter is a moral issue, on which the Magisterium is infallible.

    • Mercury

      CDU has abandoned the C in their name. They’re all about gay marriage nowadays, and every other leftist dream, just slower. Also, like the other big parties, they want further and further integration into the disgusting nondemocratic entity that the EU has become. I’d like to see the party shattered and rebuilt by actual Christians and Conservatives. They’d get the old CDU Stammwähler as well as many others who don’t vote CDU because they see them as unprincipled and bloated (and they are).

  • Marthe Lépine

    I like that quote, but, Mark, forgive my ignorance (for I do not know where the quote comes from) and please add a link so I can read the whole document. It seems like a good “antidote” to the knew-jerk near phobic panic reaction that the word “socialism” raises in the mind of most US citizens…

  • Kirt Higdon

    In Wilhelmine Germany, the Catholic Center Party was an alternative to both the Prussian conservatives and the Socialists. At the beginning of the Nazi regime, the Center Party supported the enabling act which shifted total power to Hitler in the wake of the Reichstag fire and set the stage for the outlawing of the Center Party itself. Post WWII, the party made an honorable comeback as the CDU/CSU under Adenaur, but now – not so honorable, indeed not recognizably Catholic. If “social democracy” as exemplified by the CDU/CSU in Germany, the Labor Party in Britain, or the Democrats in the US is the best Catholics can come up with in politics these days, they need to do some serious soul-searching.

    • Jamie R

      What’s wrong with German social democracy?

      • Kirt Higdon

        “What’s wrong with German social democracy?” Check out Mercury’s posts. And obviously these evils are not confined to Germany. Social democracy is the status quo paradigm in Europe (with the exception of Russia and a few other former East bloc countries), all of the Americas (with minor qualifications), Australia and New Zealand, and (albeit with major qualifications) India and Japan. And this is true whether or not the party in power at any given time claims to be social democratic. Even the parties which preach against it when they are out of power (e.g. the Republicans in the US) practice it when they are in power. In the countries where it is the paradigm, social democracy is practically co-extensive with the culture of death. All that said and much as I would prefer some radical decentralizing project in both government and the economy, there is no quick magic formula to get from here to there. We’re stuck with social democracy like the Roman Christians were stuck with Caesarism. We just need to give prophetic witness as appropriate and work to reform the system when the possibility presents itself. And pray – always pray.

        • Jamie R

          Other than vague statements that the CDU has stopped being Christian, you actually haven’t stated any problems with social democracy. German social democracy is cheaper than our entitlement programs; their laws are generally more pro-business than ours. Their health care system is vastly cheaper and more efficient than ours. While the rest of the world is in a deep recession, Germany is thriving; in part because they look out for their poor, keep inflation low, and reasonably regulate their banking sector. So again, what’s wrong with the soziale Marktwirtschaft?

          • Kirt Higdon

            I’d suggest you read Mercury’s comments below. I don’t dispute that Germany’s social democracy is more efficient than ours. German efficiency is not just a myth; East Germany was the most efficient and prosperous of the Communist countries back in the day. But in current times, even Brazilian social democracy is more efficient than ours and the Brazilians have no such reputation. The bottom line though is not economic efficiency (the common falacy of materialists of right and left) but adherence to the law of God. Countries which have widespread contraception with the full encouragement and financing of their social democratic regimes (and yes this includes the US, Germany, Brazil and many others) are violating the law of God and committing auto-genocide in the process.

            • Jamie R

              I have no idea what abortion has to do with the discussion. Monarchies, fascists, communists, and objectivists are perfectly capable of murdering babies. The German social market economy is an approach to the economy, not an approach to the question of killing babies. German social market economy, as a secular approach to organizing an economy, is still closer to Catholic social teaching than any other secular approach to organizing an economy. Unless you take the hard-line, ‘everything is economics’ approach pushed by folks like the Freakonomics authors, the legality of abortion in Germany has nothing to do with the closeness of their secular economic system to Catholic social democracy.

              • Kirt Higdon

                Catholic social teaching is clearly not limited to economics. Economics as such is the least important part of it. You can’t treat the murder of babies and the government financing of contraception as minor faults of an otherwise near ideal economic system.

                • Jamie R

                  It’s not a minor fault. It has literally nothing to do with it. If abortion is an essential failing for German social market economy, then it’s also a failing of literally every other economic system, except the Vatican’s, and I don’t think many other countries could run off tithes. We’re talking about economic and political systems. We’re comparing secular economic and political systems to a set of Catholic ideals. We can still make comparisons between these things, even if there’s a large gap. So, for America, moving towards the German system would be a move closer to Catholic social teaching; so would a move towards a more pro-life society.

              • Mercury

                I’d say that German Christian social democracy was a wonderful idea, but it being effective was precipitated on the idea that people would still be … Christian. What you now have is a libertine society that almost literally worships contraception, yet a social system that presupposed a hard-working, family-oriented populance. It is obvious that such a system only works well as long as people are reproducing. When they are not, all it means is prosperity for a few generations followed by a crash. Guess where Germany is going?

                And I absolutely love Germany with all of my heart. That’s what makes it so tough.

    • Mercury

      Bingo.

      I would imagine that the pope is talking of the various Christian Democratic parties across Europe, which were especially dominant in Germany and Italy, maybe France (?). I would say that the CDU/CSU does NOT find its British equivalent in the Labour Party (which is like the German SPD, a party that is directly derived from Protestant and godless socialists in the 19th century), but perhaps more like non-Thatcherite Tories.

      Undoubtedly the Center Party and then the CDU/CSU conceived of a “Sozialstaat” vaguely built upon Church teachings, but was also very much pro-free market etc. The Pope is not talking about any kind of socialism that does not respect the free market, but basically a state that provides for and assists people out of a sense of Christian common good.

      Also, Prussian and Protestant conservatism meant keeping power in the hands of some old families, suppressing the Church as much as possible in the interests of the Prussian state ideology, etc.

      There’s really nothing equivalent to the old Christian Democrats in the US, because Catholics never had that kind of power base. The Democrats may have been like that sometimes, back before they adopted ’68 radicalism, but not really.

      The sad fact is that these parties no loner exist. The CDU can give as much of a crap about the Church as the SPD. In fact, Frau Merkel even presumes to tell the pope what he needs to do about scandals and about Church teaching. The party itslef has become extremely hostile to outward expressions of Christian belief, especially in terms of the marriage debate and anything resembling opposition to the sexual revolution. They sometimes speak of how Islam is posing itself to outdo Christianity in Germany, but aren’t willing to do anything about it exacpt make some extremely sensible minimal requirements, which are decried by the SPD as Nazi-like.

      And no respectable CDU politician would say a peep about what contraception, that sacrament of the Germans, has done to their country, with its 1.3 birthrate. The country literally has no future, like many European countries, and the “Christian” democrats / socialists have been entirely complicit. Adenauer would be ashamed.

      But yes, Americans need to understand that “democratic socialism” is what brought Europeans into prosperity after the War – it’s essentially a free market with generous social programs. One difference though is that in Germany and some other countries, the money was not squandered, so people traditionally felt like their taxes were being used wisely. Now, the whole thing is broken, as no one is reproducing (except Muslims who tend to be beneficiaries of the system and not contributors – in some cases this is a concerted effort), and the major parties are all shills for Brussels.

      In the end, they have failed.

  • JQ Tomanek

    I, too, would like further explanation of what the Holy Father means. The reason I ask is because encyclicals from prior popes have been very clear socialism at least as it was practiced during their days on earth. H. Pesch, a Jesuit economist and founder of Solidarism, mentioned that while socialization of the means of production will not work, the socialization of people is a must. And this makes good sense to me. Could democratic socialism mean the “socialization of people”?

    • Dan C

      I recommend his encyclical Love in Truth.

  • Faith

    This is an interesting quote. I am in the middle of reading Ross Douthat’s Bad Religion. I’m too lazy/rushed to go dig out the quote, but he talks about how the Democratic Socialist impulses of Catholics largely influenced the development of European style healthcare, etc. While this seems like a good thing, it also possibly precipitated a steep drop in practicing Catholics and Europe is leading the way in post-Christian mores. Whereas, Douthat points out, in the U.S. which tends to be more religious than Europe, people have had to rely on their churches, communities and family more than the government in times of crisis. So there seems to be a relationship between how big the government is and how religious its citizens are. I think that was an interesting observation.

  • Nate

    You should remember what our betters told us about this: that the Holy Father wrote this in two colors–gold and red. This was from a document that ‘resembled a duck billed platypus,’ says our betters. The passage you have here is one that was written in ‘red’, it was just written to ‘accommodate’ a bunch of hippies that were controlling his thought.

    Sheesh! We all know this! That’s what we ‘make’ of it. Gawl.

  • deiseach

    See, this is what happens: an American hears “Socialist” and immediately visualises the Oktober Revolution and Stalinist Russia. A European hears “Socialist” and wonders what variety: everything from Britain’s “New Labour” (which carefully pruned away anything that might prevent them getting elected and ended up as I Can’t Believe It’s Not New Tories!) to hard-core minority parties like the Irish Communist Party (membership: three men and a dog). The European continental political parties also run the gamut from “champagne socialists” to Marxist-Leninist.

    • http://www.virtue-quest.com/ Robert King

      membership: three men and a dog

      … to say nothing of the boat.

    • http://backoftheworld.com Ryan M.

      And to be fair, the dog just shows up to the meetings for the free kibble…

  • Dan C

    I think the pope could very well be incorrect in his assessment and the folks at Acton may be correct, but any pretense that that is already known or part of the Tradition or that critiques of the view of liberalism (which in America is termed conservativism) is a dip into the sin of envy is untrue and unfair. Again, Acton and its theories are further from The Tradition than liberation theology. Their presence, Ryan’s acceptance and his persistent use of religion as a tool for politics, leaves so much opportunity reciprocally on the left for economic discussion as to ensure chaos and division among Catholic for a decade.

    Let’s have at it!

  • Franciscan

    Here’s the statement in full context:

    http://www.firstthings.com/article/2008/04/europe-and-its-discontents—50

    Here’s an interesting comment on the excerpt made by a member at the Catholic Answers Forums:

    http://forums.catholic.com/showpost.php?s=e895575d7f34e274b92c3231788718fd&p=8707645&postcount=3

    I don’t have time to look it over carefully, but thought it worth “putting out there” for now.

  • Dan C

    The pope received a government paycheck as a theologian in Germany. He was a Taker.

  • http://www.frdenis.blogspot.ca Fr. Denis Lemieux

    Well, for starters he wasn’t Pope when he wrote this, so discussing whether this is an infallible or authoritative statement are off track already. He wrote this particular book in his capacity as a private theologian. The quote itself is a classically Ratzingerian nuanced presentation of the history of modern ideas. Read carefully and within the context of the book, it does not advocate any particular position but traces out the respective merits and de-merits of the various political and economic solutions and syntheses offered in the past 200 years or so.

    • Marya

      In fact, after the passage quoted above, he goes on to discuss the collapse of totalitarian systems such as Communism, focusing on the yet-unresolved traces of Marxist thought in Europe and elsewhere: “The essential problem of our times, for Europe and for the world, is that although the fallacy of the Communist economy has been recognized, its moral and religious fallacy has not been addressed. The unresolved issue of Marxism lives on: the crumbling of man’s original uncertainties about God, himself, and the universe. The decline of a moral conscience grounded in absolute values is still our problem, and left untreated, it can lead to the self-destruction of the European conscience, which we must begin to consider as a real danger—above and beyond the decline predicted by Spengler”.

  • Jared B.

    Fr. Lemieux beat me to the punch, I was about to say the same thing. I don’t read any endorsement of socialism (Christian Democratic or otherwise), just a statement of facts. Even the last part, “In many respects, democratic socialism was and is close to Catholic social doctrine” is a statement of fact and of course is true, in the context that it was said, which was comparing democratic socialism to Prussian-style conservatism or atheist/agnostic Liberalism.

    Democratic Socialism has been *important* in the history of Europe—to ignore that is to badly misunderstand European politics—and that is not at all the same as saying that it is *good*, or coterminous with Catholic social teaching. The preponderance of papal condemnations of socialism (even John XXIII said “no Catholic could subscribe even to moderate Socialism” in Mater et Magistra) make such a reading of Ratzinger impossible.

    They also ought to make it more, not less safe to talk about the kinds of things brought up in the initial quote. A Catholic ought to be able to objectively analyze the influence of various strains of socialism on societies and even their relationship with CST without any hint of accusation of personally *being* a socialist, sheesh.

  • Bo

    It’s up to E. Michael Jones to figure this out

  • Dan C

    1. It is clear this is not written from a standpoint of papal infallibility. He has written two encyclicals approaching in one (God is Love) and directly addressing in the second (Love in Truth) an attack on liberal economic structures (lasses faire capitalism) and remarks about the requirements of a government, an economy, and an individual in these structures as to their moral requirements. Socialism is not condemned and may be approved in its European form.
    2. Papal infallibility is historically rarely asserted. But this is known. Perhaps one is commenting on the teaching magisterium of the office of the papacy and it’s moral role in the life of the believer. One should be strongly guided by such teachings. Love in Truth provides this.
    3. Acton Institute economics is laissez faire capitalism and is the critiqued “liberal economics” of the popes since the 19th century. Socialism is supported more out of the official magisterium than Acton’s economic theories. But, this too is known, if uncomfortablyacknowledged.

  • R.C.

    Mark,

    One thing we ought to make of such statements is that the definitions of words change over time and across continents.

    Neither “Democratic Socialism” nor “(Protestant) Conservatism” nor “Liberalism” mean, in modern U.S. politics, anything close to the definitions in use in the quote. Modern U.S. Conservatism has (at least) 3 camps, of which only one resembles what would then have been called “Protestant” Conservatism. Another resembles “Classical” Liberalism, but that isn’t quite the “Liberalism” referenced in the quote, either. “Democratic Socialism” is closest to the very non-liberal modern U.S. “Liberalism” in all methodological ways, with the only difference being that the understood goals being pursued by those methodologies are very different, which means that while the methods are the same, they are applied rather differently. This naturally produces rhetoric and outcomes vastly different from those intended by popes and theologians.

    So one must not use the terms anachronistically and (not sure if this is a word) ana-geographically. Otherwise one falls afoul of Inigo Montoya: “You keep on using those words. I do not think they mean what you think they mean.”

    But there is another, more vital, consideration:

    All ideological stances in a fallen world are unstable; they tend to decay towards stances not envisioned by their most noble-minded original proponents. You, to your credit, have been quick to note the rot increasingly evident in modern U.S. political conservatism.

    (Your detractors correctly point out that, were a reader not familiar with your other views, the visceral disgust you show for many things right-of-center would lead a person to conclude you embraced most things left-of-center. You’re closer to being the Ann Coulter of Catholic blogging, but you come across as the James Carville of Catholic blogging precisely because you’re more like the Fr. Spike of Catholic blogging than you are either of the former, and you don’t always footnote your opinions lambasting the right with links to your even fiercer excoriations of the left. And before you protest about the reference to Fr. Spike, allow me to caution that while I do believe the comparison to that character from Screwtape is accurate in your case, Mark, I also believe it’s accurate in all its details; both the “fatal defect” mentioned by Screwtape himself and the caveat given by Lewis in the Preface.)

    So, to reiterate, you’ve done good work pointing out the rot in U.S. political conservatism. Well and good. But all such ideologies are unstable, inasmuch as they all center around virtues which they believe the general public has forgotten…and then make those virtues into gods and thus into devils.

    The hitch is, some ideologies are more unstable than others; they have a faster rate of decay. Comparing the strange brew which makes up U.S. conservatism (parts Classical Liberalism, parts Founding Fathers restorationism, parts Social Conservatism, parts fiscal sanity, and in all cases evidencing far more voluntary charity for the poor than the political left in America ever shows) to the more common brew called “Democratic Socialism,” we find that the latter starts out looking more noble but has a tendency to decay more quickly than the former.

    The reasons are straightforward, and were given by F.A.Hayek’s Road to Serfdom and Thomas Sowell’s Knowledge and Decisions pretty succinctly: The simultaneous extension of government’s powers into economic realms and concentration of those powers in a central bureaucracy for economic coordination purposes do two things:
    1. Isolate decision-makers from the information required to make good decisions (most particularly the feedback consequences of bad decisions)
    2. Attract to positions of power those most interested in exercising meddlesome or totalitarian power in the lives of their countrymen

    (I am not certain about Sowell, but Hayek was not a Christian, let alone a Catholic, and thus in himself represents part of what causes Conservatism to decay. Still, “all truth is God’s truth.”)

    So what do we say about “a theologian” who gives us a quote like you proffer?

    He’s well-intentioned, to be sure.

    But he is (of course) outside his field of infallibility. (You’d never say otherwise.)

    He is, moreover, failing to account for some of the sad realities of this fallen world, especially of noble political ideologies within it.

    And, because of the geography- and time-specific definitions of words, the quote doesn’t translate well to modern American experience in any event.

    Satisfied?

    • R.C.

      Argh! Never trust someone else’s guess!

      I initially assumed this was a recent Benedict quote. Then I had my buddy here else tell me they thought it was from a much earlier source. So I just posted under that assumption…and then come to find it was a recent Benedict quote. I have now been promised a beer bought on my behalf, and those of you detecting my error in the preceding post have a mea culpa, mea maxima culpa from me.

      (I hate not being able to edit posts. One has to eat humble pie so often. Oh, well.)

    • Dan C

      Much of what you say is correct. Particularly the bit on the decaying of movements.

      You are incorrect about the popes critiquing Classical Liberlism. This has long been a critique since the 19th century. This is precisely Classical Liberalism to which is referred.

      It is now an old study (and only one) that determined that the religious give more than the secular, right or left, and this may be incorrect. Secondly, those who deliver charitable work are rarely, if ever, conservative, sacrificing pay for important work. There are few conservatives working in “charity professions” in the ghetto, the trailer park, or the reservation.

      • R.C.

        There are zillions of conservatives working in charity professions, if by “working” you mean “volunteering.”

        Those who draw a paycheck from assistance-distribution bureaucracies are, admittedly, mostly left-leaning.

  • http://davidgriffey.blogspot.com/ Dave G.

    What to think? Probably that we are dealing with a theologian who is a product of his place and time just like any other theologian.

  • Irenist

    Never mind the Germans. My preferred European model would be something like what prevailed in Ireland in past decades, when the two major parties (Fianna Fail and Fine Gael) both seem to have settled for a situation in which the poor received relatively generous welfare benefits, but abortion and divorce were illegal.

    • Kirt Higdon

      I think there were two major factors which ruined Ireland. One was the corruption of the Catholic Church; the other was joining the EU. The scandals which hit the Church in Ireland seemed much worse than anywhere else, including the US.

  • Marthe Lépine

    From my observation point up North, I find it interesting to see how often, whenever the Pope writes or says something inconvenient, so many Americans claiming that they, of course, know better… As Jesus’ representative on earth, given to us as our “top pastor”, whenever the Pope speaks, should we not pay more attention than a quick dismissal, claiming that he speaks from a different culture, is not an economist, etc. etc. And those comments seem to come so quickly that they do seem like knee-jerk reactions… In my own opinion, teaching the Gospel does have something to do with speaking about things such as a primary concern for the poor, or a reminder that people are not just servants of the economy, but that things should rather go the other way around, or even making suggestions about a just distribution of the earth’s resources, which after all do belong to all – and these are just a few examples. Each time the Pope dares to suggest something that makes conservative people uncomfortable, the same argument surfaces: is it infallible or not, and if it not infallible it just gets ignored, because, of course, you in the US always know better. Just a reminder: I was around when Humanae Vitae was published, and a lot of people – I still remember, even if it was 43 years ago, an information session in my own parish church – would bring up that same argument and conclude that Catholics should just “follow their conscience” about the use of contraception since the Pope obviously did not understand the real life problems of married couples. And look at where that attitude has brought us!

  • EMS

    The US Christian Democratic party is socially conservative and economically liberal. I intend doing a write-in for their candidate, as it is the only party that seems to combine the good parts of Democrats and Republicans. I suspect that a majority of Catholics would support them, if their platform was known. I suspect that many other voters would also agree with them.

    As for the pope’s comment, I wonder what Ryan and others would say about St. Paul. See 2Cor 8, 9-15: “I am about to give you some advice on this matter of rich and poor . . . Your plenty at the present time should supply their [the poor] need so that their surplus may one day supply your need, with equality as the result. It is written, ‘He who gathered much had no excess and he who gathered little had no lack.’” Talk about being a socialist!

    • Irenist

      EMS… the US Christian Democrats sound intriguing. Who is their candidate?

      • EMS

        Check out their website: http://cdpunitedstates.webs.com. Their candidate is Joe Schriner. If they don’t have enough to qualify for your state’s ballot, he can be a write-in. The blog A Different Perspective has a had a number of posts about them. And they’re starting an online magazine. If enough people start talking about them, maybe they can be a viable 3rd party. There is no law, though sometimes it seems like it, that says that the two major parties have to be Democrats and Republicans. People have forgotten that the Republicans started as a third party with a predominantly single issue slavery. From a historical perspective, it’s interesting that the platforms of both parties have flipflopped from the platforms of a 100 years ago.

        • Kirt Higdon

          Thanks for letting us know about this, but I was not too impressed upon visiting their website. Most of their statements are either cliched or vague. There are no specific proposals on changing the status quo and if these people got in, unless they have a well hidden agenda, I would not expect the status quo to change in the least.

    • Tim

      It’s not socialism that Paul is advocating, it’s individual (Christian) charity. Paul is talking to Christians, not governments.

  • Marthe Lépine

    OK, Kirt, so why don’t you contribute some proposals? They are just beginning, trying to get people together and start a conversation about those things.

  • http://thetroglodyte.com/ Scott W (thetrog)

    What are we to make of the theologian? He pays attention to history.

    In many respects, democratic socialism was and is close to Catholic social doctrine and has in any case made a remarkable contribution to the formation of a social consciousness.

    Yeah… Undoubtedly. And, by implication, in some respects it’s not. So I guess we can also add that said theologian is perceptive and nuanced and thoughtful and deliberate. If only we had a po…


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