• Jared B.

    I was left dissatisfied with Mr. Crim’s review of Fr. Sirico’s book. It was very heavy on his opinions about Fr. Sirico’s ideas while being very light on presenting any of Fr. Sirico’s actual ideas. He quotes the book very little, and practically every quote offered isn’t even a complete sentence.

    I think the article fails as a review or critique because it does to little to present—much less engage or critique—anything that the author actually said. We’re expected to Fr. Sirico’s point of view outright because it’s contaminated by the Austrian school of thought, and the rest is left to rather unenlightening snide remarks (example: “Given the scarcity of authentic socialists and convinced statists at this point in time, it’s hard to see precisely whom the author feels a need to convince by his historical overview.”)

    It’s not an entirely unfair review—I think you could certainly read the book and legitimately agree with everything Crim has to say about it—but it’s not so much a critique as an unexamined dismissal, one that only works if you share all or most the reviewer’s set of assumptions…which might benefit from their own examination, review and critique.

  • Dan C

    Let me engage one aspect of Fr. Sirico’s book that fails to square with the Gospel: the laudatory praises he provides to wealth and the wealthy. He moves past a defense of wealth to a praise of wealth, as a good in and of itself. I am unclear how that answers the Catholic claim to be be not “of this world.” Quite frankly, more than sexual libertinism, economic libertinism and greedy self-aggrandizement is actually more concerningly “of this world” and part of the “world of flesh” often illuminated by Paul.

    How do I know? Well, while Catholics split on abortion and sexual matters, it is the money matters of the past 4 years that have really nearly rent the American Church in two. More than even abortion.

    About a such excessive over-the-top praise of wealth: Sorry, that ain’t in the Gospel I read.

    • http://natewinchester.wordpress.com/ Nate Winchester

      So the gospels say we shouldn’t provide food, clothing or shelter to others? Because all that… is wealth! The very computer you just typed your comment on, and am now reading this comment (or others), is wealth. It’s a far greater wealth than even the richest of the days of the gospel had. You think your damned for that?

      Let’s go on! Cars. Indoor plumbing. Heating and air. Paperback books. You think all this and more are not good in and of themselves? Because that’s the only way to read your comment. That you think it was wrong that our technology and civilization ever advanced out of the first century. (or I guess even earlier than that since the Romans had acquaducts)

      Yes, how can anyone look at lowering death rates, increased childhood survival rates, better disease survivability, more comfortable lives and so on, and not see it all as good. You’re right, Christians should have no part in that. I blame the Catholic Church and all it’s stupid science from the middle ages. They were clearly too much of the world.

      (yes, that last bit was sarcasm)

      • Sean O

        Get a grip Nate. Dan is worried about excessive wealth & opulence and the praise of this condition. I believe Dan worries about our sinful hoarding of wealth by a few, while many live lives on the margin with great and unnecessary economic pressures on them.

        Our economy should be about securing the thriving & development of families & individuals. Instead it is often about using people for wealth accumulation. People are primary, not corps & the creation of fortunes. We need perspective & a sense of proportion. Our current economy lacks these things and this brings needless suffering to our people & much harsher pain to people around the world.

        • http://natewinchester.wordpress.com/ Nate Winchester

          Economists mean certain things when they talk about “wealth”. Since Dan C didn’t provide any larger context beyond the post (and judging from the post and other comments, it seems Sirico is speaking very much in an economist tone), I can only conclude that his statement “a praise of wealth, as a good in and of itself” is referring to what economists always praise: people receiving the goods [products] and services they want. Hard to read it as anything but a condemnation of modern civilization, which I pointed out his church did help to build.

          I believe Dan worries about our sinful hoarding of wealth by a few, while many live lives on the margin with great and unnecessary economic pressures on them.

          Oh, so he wants to make poor people worse off. (“When property is honest, the law can make the creator of wealth poorer by making and only by making the customer and partners he serves and benefits poorer.”) Why that’s so much better. What’s the road to hell paved with?

          We need perspective & a sense of proportion.

          Funny, that’s what I was just doing to Dan’s random anti-capitalist screed (or, whatever it is supposed to be). Wealth is bad? Well here’s some perspective – everything around you right now, is wealth.

          Our current economy lacks these things and this brings needless suffering to our people & much harsher pain to people around the world.

          Yes, we need to be in a perfect world where man stops being inhumane to man and subjecting him to pointless suffering. Boy it would be great to be in a world with less greed. And wrath. Pride, lust, envy, sloth and gluttony. I’m also in favor of less puppy kicking. And chocolate ice cream for everyone. It’s both banal, and pointless, to make statements that everyone agrees with. It doesn’t contribute anything but derailment.

          Not sure how the idea that Dan C was contributing less than nothing is any better, but if that’s the case you want to make…

          • ivan_the_mad

            You certainly did put some words into Dan C’s mouth. You know what they say about assumptions …

            • http://natewinchester.wordpress.com/ Nate Winchester

              No more than he put in Sirico’s (I at least had the decency to directly quote Dan). Once you establish the rules, don’t complain when others play by them.

              • ivan_the_mad

                Well, that’s … special. I have not frequently encountered somebody who both admits to and justifies making shit up.

                • http://natewinchester.wordpress.com/ Nate Winchester

                  How did someone else put it…

                  “Light fluff devoid of content but that makes so much more room for the smug. A slow golf clap for you.”

                  Congrats, Ivan, you’ve the making of a fine politician. Or media hack.

                  • ivan_the_mad

                    “you’ve the making of a fine politician” Now, now, there’s no call for such vulgar language.

                    • http://natewinchester.wordpress.com/ Nate Winchester

                      You’re right, I should go apologize to next politician I see.

                    • Jmac

                      C’mon Nate, this is getting stupid. People just brought up the common complaint about the growing income divide, and the super-rich. There’s no reason to fly off the handle like this.

                    • http://natewinchester.wordpress.com/ Nate Winchester

                      No, Dan C brought up that Wealth was not a good in and of itself, and I pointed out that according to how economists define the term, it kind of is, unless you’re just insane, a Luddite, or Amish (neither of the latter two comment much on the internet, however).

  • tz

    Watch Fr.Sirico praise Thatcher. She brought the Abortion holocaust to Britain.

  • Dan C

    Nate,

    Did you read the book? Becaause I did. And identifying wealth (Joh Galt-level wealth) is what he praises. He is clearly making a case for this in a neo-Calvinist manner. You can shout me down. Good luck with the Evangelist Luke.

    • http://natewinchester.wordpress.com/ Nate Winchester

      That’s what I was curious about the wider context. So he means wealth in the manner of “lots of money” and not in the manner that economists mean? Can you post quotes confirming this?

      Though I’m arguing less with Luke and more just remembering Proverbs.
      “Poor is he who works with a negligent hand, but the hand of the diligent makes rich.” Prov. 10:4

      And as I’ve pointed out to you before, the poor in most western nations (and in the USA definitely) have more wealth on average than even the richest person of Jesus’ time. Which means either I’m not the one with a Lukean problem, or wealth is at worst, a morally neutral thing.

      • Dan C

        He has a book in which he purportedly is defining the ethical context of capitlaism. In such a letter to capitalists, one would expect some identification of responsibility that capitalism requires. But…alas, no.

        He is making an argument that ended in 1988, pretending as is common among the right, that there is a mainstream liberal notion that attacks wealth and intends a Soviet-style existence. Nowhere is such a commentary. The only discussions arguing against welath are anarch-communists from the Catholic Worker and Z magazine on the left and distriubtionists on the right. And a joint convention of all such adherents would be under 1000 people. In short, Fr. sirico is fighting phantoms. And in doing so, with his over-the-top defense of the John Galts of the planet, embraces a philosophy that establishes wealth as described as morally praiseworthy, which differs from either morally neutral, and wven further distances itself from the Sermon on the Mount of Luke.

        Yes, shout me down as you wish, but Luke and Acts are hard bells to unring in one’s Christian economic philosophy. Sirico embraces a philosophy opposed to the writings of Luke.

        • http://natewinchester.wordpress.com/ Nate Winchester

          I do not see, as I requested, any quotes or context where he defines wealth. I see a lot of talk about what you think he says, but not a single quote to back it up. You should reread Jared B’s quote up above as it applies just as well to your hack attack.

          Yes, shout me down as you wish,

          I am on the internet and have yet to use all caps. (the signal for “shouting) Considering that anyone can read you at their leisure, it’s literally impossible for me to “shout you down”. You… have a bit of a problem with delusions? Besides, the wise man doesn’t want the fool shouted down, for the fool provides much mirth and proof to the wise man’s wisdom by contrast.

          but Luke and Acts are hard bells to unring in one’s Christian economic philosophy. Sirico embraces a philosophy opposed to the writings of Luke.

          Considering both in this post and below, I have to wonder just how apt your reading comprehension is.

        • sal magundi

          excellent post Dan, esp. this bit:

          “pretending as is common among the right, that there is a mainstream liberal notion that attacks wealth and intends a Soviet-style existence. … In short, Fr. sirico is fighting phantoms.”

      • Dan C

        Your entire philosophy is more than that one line from Proverbs. You do mot see poverty and economic alienation in the US. You see no disequity excepting government taxation. You promote unfettered capitalism, hate unions, and defend wealth acquisition at each point. You have no defense of the Lucan beautitudes.

        • http://natewinchester.wordpress.com/ Nate Winchester

          Your entire philosophy is more than that one line from Proverbs.

          Yes, by logic, anyone’s entire philosophy is more than a single line of Proverbs. But it’s usually considered polite on the internet to try and stick to the topic at hand (or Chuck Norris) rather than give entire treatise on each individual’s idiosyncrasies.

          You do mot see poverty and economic alienation in the US.

          So you have vast psychic powers and know what’s in my mind or what I do with my spare time? Tell me, oh great prophet, what did I see yesterday before noon? Tell me, what did I hear the Wed of two weeks ago before I went to sleep? Tell me, what did I learn or study in July? Dude, either stop stalking me and go get a better hobby, or stop pretending to be the judge of all men. You’re not nearly Jewish enough to be him.

          You see no disequity excepting government taxation.

          Yes, I consider all men equally tall except for those blasted taxes. Boy you got me there. Oh wait, that was sarcasm. All those previous times on just this page when I contrasted wealth among people today with that of the past, yeah there was no noticing of inequality there.

          You promote unfettered capitalism, hate unions, and defend wealth acquisition at each point.

          Such as…? Can you provide a single quote of me saying any of those things? Or is this more of your mind’s fevered desires about what it wants to read?

          You have no defense of the Lucan beautitudes.

          Why would I need to defend them? Not even many atheists bother critiquing them. Though I guess we could look at them…

          Let’s see… start off with “woe to the rich”. Ok, you’ve quoted that enough…

          Woe to you who are well fed now, for you will go hungry.

          Tell me, Dan C: you have a full belly? Guess you’re as bad as a rich person then.

          Woe to you who laugh now, for you will mourn and weep.

          Hope you’re never laugh, Dan C. Else you’d be as bad as those awful rich people. (I guess comedians are minions of Satan, well… Carlos Mencia probably.)

          Woe to you when everyone speaks well of you, for that is how their ancestors treated the false prophets.

          Oh… seen that on these very boards, towards you, Dan C. Looks like you’re in for an awfully lot of woe.

          Of course, the version I’ve read doesn’t have anything about “be sure to cause woe to ___”, but that could just be the Protestant version.

          Now, any sane person can see that all I’ve done, is taken your standards, and applied them out evenly. So “by the measure you use”, what I wonder will be measured out to you? I have no idea, I don’t bother judging other people’s servants. Boss suggested that to me once.

  • Gary

    Can we hear form Mr. Shea on what appears to be his defense of having this post-Christian (anti-Christian) goverment focibly take (tax) more money from some to enrich Big Brother, further its powers and then redistribute what little is left over it in ways that foster dependency and immorality (e.g.: take this hand out but with a side of contraception, abortion, discouragement of marriage…). The bishops bought into goverment welfarism with their support for mandated universal health care and now we all find ourselves forced to pay for contraceptives, abortifacients and other means of abortion.

    • Hezekiah Garrett

      Yeah, Mark! Why are you scared to defend the things Gary imagines you’ve said?

  • Elmwood

    The problem with Fr. Sirico is that he is using GOP style economics to leaven the faith instead of using catholic social teaching to leaven economic thought. Follow the money: the Acton institute is highly subsidized by GOP friendly donors. I doubt a priest could get the media attention and funding of the Acton institute by endorsing distributism. As far as I’m concerned the Acton Institute is propoganda for the GOP and Wall Street.


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