One of the places a post-Christian conservatism can go

…is into the weirdest recesses of pagan race worship. A reader writes:

Well, my college age nephew just left Catholic Church and joined some religion called “Asatru Folk Assembly” because he said that Christianity is becoming “Anti-Western” and a “stupid Third World religion”. Please say a prayer for him.

The reader adds:

I consider myself a conservative but I really dislike all the recent attacks against Christianity by many younger, college- age conservatives.

Someone just posted this to the College Republicans email list which is causing quite the controversy

When people stop believing in God, they don’t believe in nothing. They believe in anything–including nutjob racist white supremacy garbage. Christ winds up being valued only as a sort of totem for the triumph of “white culture” and ultimately is seen as an enemy because he loves people from every nation, language, tribe and tongue. This is the mentality that gave us the German Christian Movement under the Nazi regime. Evil. Glad to see the College Republics fighting this filth. Sad to see that it could have so much as a toehold there to begin with.

Father, call this young man back out of this spiritual darkness and into your light through Christ our Lord. Mother Mary, pray for him.

  • http://www.jonathanfsullivan.com/ Jonathan F. Sullivan

    Jaw. Floor.

  • kenofken

    For what it’s worth, and likely not much around here, the AFA is widely reviled in the pagan community. They are not at all representative of us as a community. They have been the matter of considerable debate in our own forums of late, and you would find that the overwhelming majority reject their values.

    Having research the group a bit, I can tell you that they are, like so many modern hate movements, very clever and circumspect in how they describe themselves. They claim they are not “white supremecists” or “racists”, but they clearly ARE racialist. They see race as a central determinant in who is fit to follow their gods, and they express deep concern for “the peoples of the North” and “European heritage” and the Northern European peoples as a cultural and biological group.” It’s members also have a curious tendency to turn up at meetings and functions of groups that are more open and virulent in their white supremecy beliefs. It boils down to the same Aryan race theory that informed the Nazi regime and all subsequent anti-Semitic and white supremacy hate groups.

    • Newp Ort

      Your comment is appreciated. Good to see that although our differences may be great, both of our communities can recognize ridiculous recist crap when we see it.

  • kenofken

    Pagan groups have done an excellent job at deconstructing and exposing the AFA and its leaders for what they are:

    http://ladylibertyslamp.wordpress.com/2013/09/10/stephen-mcnallen-and-the-asatru-folk-assembly-racist-heathenry/

  • Dan C

    Good. This is the discussion we need. Christianity may be at its best when it is a ghetto religion.

    This differs from Barron’s Haute Catholicism (which is a really cool DVD series, by the way). This differs from in style from Neuhaus’s approach to Catholicism.

    The answer to this is:
    “Yes! We are not only a ghetto religion, but a great one. Get over it. And because of this, not despite this, the Church will always prevail.”

    • kenofken

      Don’t adopt the idea of “ghetto religion” for the Church! I’m getting an image of Francis wearing a “dookie rope” and low pants. On the slight, but not impossible chance that he did that as a show of solidarity with inner city youth, that would only drive more conservatives to join white power pagan groups. And nobody wants that!

      • Dan C

        You must not know about Greg Boyle of LA. Another Jesuit.

        The Catholic Worker has largely been in ghettoes.

        Mary Scullion, RSM of Philadelphia has serving and living in homeless shelters since the 1980′s. She is a remarkable example of the creative power of Catholic caritas.

        The Zwicks in the Houston Catholic Worker. The Schaeffer-Duffy’s of Worcester.

        This is just my meager memory in America. One of Catholicism’s natural homes is with the poor, which explains much in Luke and Acts (written by Luke). Read through the eyes of solidarity with the poor, Luke and Acts are enlivened.

        Francis is likely the first pope with extensive experience with the poor in my lifetime.

        • kenofken

          Don’t take everything I say too seriously! I get the theology of the Church as regards the poor. I was educated by Carmelites in the 80s, who were all about that sort of thing, and probably even flirting with liberation theology. The street level Catholic religious are about the only ones I hold respect for, for the reason that they walk their talk.

          • Chesire11

            “If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole body were hearing, where would the sense of smell be?” 1 Cor (12:10)

        • Stu

          Dan,

          We actually share a common outlook there. I too want to see the Church aligned more with the poor in building up small communities instead of one big “Federal community.” And it’s actually something that I am working towards putting myself right in the middle of.

          Though I do believe part of that is a restoration of liturgy to something more transcendental and awesome as I think that ultimately is the winning the combination. Saint Jean Vianney, to me, is the model.

          • Dan C

            I wish you the best! Ince was a time that Chrisitan charities were so dominant, the Roman Emperor Julian had to create alternatives to compete. Such is as it should be in the future.

            Great work!

            • Stu

              Amen.

      • Almario Javier

        On the other hand, if we fear that living out the Christian message for fear conservatives might abandon us, that’s not exactly a good thing to do. There is always a reckoning with these sorts of things. Who does a conservative love more – Christ, or conservatism? If he would abandon Christ for the sake of his conservatism, then that’s just as bad as someone who leaves it for the sake of worshiping the Orgasm.

    • Chesire11

      That is one of the great glories of the Church – we are not simply a Church of the rich, nor of the poor. We are both. We are not narrowly confined to one part of the human condition, all human conditions abide in, and are “baptized” by the Church.

      • Dan C

        Very egalitarian. Yet Christ has a special representation of the poor. They are different than the rich. The poor are blessed. So says Luke. Lazarus sits on Abraham’s lap and the rich man, for that is how we know him, is in The fire pit. We only know their class distinction.

        The poor are special. Even Islam has this aspect.

        • Chesire11

          Very condescending. Yes, Christ does have a “special” representation, but not an exclusive representation of the poor. The poor are blessed because they are not at as great risk of temptation to materialism as are the rich. All the extraneous distractions are stripped away and the essence of their humanity is unobscured by ephemera. The rich man languishes in the pit, not because he was rich, but because he was indifferent to Lazarus’ fate, and used his wealth to indulge himself, rather than to serve God’s will.

          Every soul is special, and the poor are an occasion of virtue to the wealthy, their condition elicits charity from those at risk of material seduction.

          • Dan C

            Oddly, one is never told of the rich man’s sins or vices. Only his state in life. Re-read that. Russell Salzman does a better job than I on this at First Things.

            Christ is known in the Mystical Body of the Church, the Eucharist, the priest, and the poor. This last has been known since Gospel times.

            God loves us all. Yet the poor get a special mention. A woman, who was inadvertently stuck in a lefty book discussion group and hated the left did help with an insight. She was the mother of several children, one developmentally disabled. She loved all her children, but the disabled one she had a special love for that child. She said that might be kind of how God operates with respect to the poor.

            • Roki

              The rich get plenty of mention too: Christ calls the “Rich Young Man” who goes away sad because his possessions are many; it is harder to fit a camel through the eye of a needle than for the rich to enter heaven; etc.

              It’s pretty clear to me that the difference between rich and poor is not whether they are loved by God, or how much; but rather in the kind of conversion they need.

              The poor are called to receive healing and restitution, while the rich are called to reform their use of their goods. Both are called to believe, to follow, and to live according to justice and charity.

  • Steve

    “he said that Christianity is becoming “Anti-Western” and a “stupid Third World religion”.”

    I don’t get the anti-Western part, but it’s not surprising for Christianity to be a poor man’s religion. I mean, that’s how it started, and that’s where it’s strongest.

  • Almario Javier

    Honestly, if that’s his complaint, well, let’s just put it out that one of the earliest converts was Ethiopian, the first Popes were Jewish by ethnicity, and of course, Our Lord Himself became incarnate as a Jewish man of a Jewish mother. The Church has never been exclusively European or exclusively Western.

  • The Next to Last Samurai

    All this modern-pagan stuff always sounds forced to me. What do the rest of you folk (grin) think?

  • Ben Warren

    May I recommend someone tell him that St. Thomas implicitly but firmly condemned the graduated income tax in the Summa? Far from being a trashy and poor religion, faithful Catholicism conduces to riches and military power.

    This is a real issue. Most bishops sympathize with or even love the democratic left, contrary to the plain condemnation of the Summa (I-II, Q. 96, Art. 4). When bishops foul up, in one way or another way, some group or groups will be tempted. If the leadership of the Church instead were full of white supremecists, instead of their counterparts from the opposite end of the political spectrum, the Church would naturally lose all but the whites.

    • jacobus

      The Summa isn’t the Catechism and St Thomas isn’t St Paul.

      In fact, every Bishop from every po duck diocese in the middle of nowhere as more authority than St. Thomas.

      • Ben Warren

        The real villains here are the bishops for failing to condemn the left. Catholics who don’t tithe might be risking Hell. So, not exactly Joel Osteen, but close.

        And, the Summa is “to be followed in a special way, at all times”, and superior to bishops, particularly the clowns we have today:

        http://www.thomasaquinas.edu/a-liberating-education/popes-st-thomas

        • Chesire11

          Take care, friend. Though our faith must inform our politics, it is all too easy for our politics to co-opt our religion. ALL politics are fundamentally about ordering things according to the ways of this world.

          I’m not trying to scold, be snarky, nor am I denouncing you or your politics. I am truly, sincerely, and charitably concerned that many of the faithful in our hyper-partisan environment are tempted in this way. When our faith aligns too closely with any political system, or ideology we are very close to falling into idolatry. We see quite plainly what happened when Catholics of a liberal political bent allowed their politics to eclipse the Faith in their hearts, political conservatives are no more immune from such affliction than are those of the left.

          • Ben Warren

            Thank you, but I promise that I am not in love with the world. I have suffered because leftists are oppressive and villains. Catholicism is clearly on today’s political right wing. Giving to the poor is admirable, but plundering the rich is clearly wrong. It is the main outrage over which our bishops’ silence is deafening.

            There is nothing immoral or irreligious about holy rulers. Dante put them in the fifth section of Heaven, if I recall. A Catholic ruler who stuck up for property would be glorious and holy indeed.

            Mr. Shea is right to abhor the Republicans for torture and their support of unjust war, and perhaps a vote for them is intrinsically evil. But voting Democratic is certainly intrinsically evil. Democrats, and all left-of-center partisans today, ought to be warned, then excommunicated, but the bishops are too twisted to do it.

            • Dan C

              Fantastic! Where do you stand on Benedict and his first and third encyclicals.

              From the point of our Pope Emeritus, that Catholicism is right wing might be a challenge to actually…you know…support. With theology from our last theologian-pope, unless you reject his theology. Do you? Have you read his encyclicals?

              • Ben Warren

                I have not necessarily read them. Would you please be so gracious as to provide specific passages that contradict my argument?

                • Dan C

                  21. Paul VI had an articulated vision of development. He understood the term to indicate the goal of rescuing peoples, first and foremost, from hunger, deprivation, endemic diseases and illiteracy. From the economic point of view, this meant their active participation, on equal terms, in the international economic process; from the social point of view, it meant their evolution into educated societies marked by solidarity; from the political point of view, it meant the consolidation of democratic regimes capable of ensuring freedom and peace. After so many years, as we observe with concern the developments and perspectives of the succession of crises that afflict the world today, we ask to what extent Paul VI’s expectations have been fulfilled by the model of development adopted in recent decades. We recognize, therefore, that the Church had good reason to be concerned about the capacity of a purely technological society to set realistic goals and to make good use of the instruments at its disposal. Profit is useful if it serves as a means towards an end that provides a sense both of how to produce it and how to make good use of it. Once profit becomes the exclusive goal, if it is produced by improper means and without the common good as its ultimate end, it risks destroying wealth and creating poverty. The economic development that Paul VI hoped to see was meant to produce real growth, of benefit to everyone and genuinely sustainable. It is true that growth has taken place, and it continues to be a positive factor that has lifted billions of people out of misery — recently it has given many countries the possibility of becoming effective players in international politics. Yet it must be acknowledged that this same economic growth has been and continues to be weighed down by malfunctions and dramatic problems, highlighted even further by the current crisis. This presents us with choices that cannot be postponed concerning nothing less than the destiny of man, who, moreover, cannot prescind from his nature. The technical forces in play, the global interrelations, the damaging effects on the real economy of badly managed and largely speculative financial dealing, large-scale migration of peoples, often provoked by some particular circumstance and then given insufficient attention, the unregulated exploitation of the earth’s resources: all this leads us today to reflect on the measures that would be necessary to provide a solution to problems that are not only new in comparison to those addressed by Pope Paul VI, but also, and above all, of decisive impact upon the present and future good of humanity. The different aspects of the crisis, its solutions, and any new development that the future may bring, are increasingly interconnected, they imply one another, they require new efforts of holistic understanding and a new humanistic synthesis. The complexity and gravity of the present economic situation rightly cause us concern, but we must adopt a realistic attitude as we take up with confidence and hope the new responsibilities to which we are called by the prospect of a world in need of profound cultural renewal, a world that needs to rediscover fundamental values on which to build a better future. The current crisis obliges us to re-plan our journey, to set ourselves new rules and to discover new forms of commitment, to build on positive experiences and to reject negative ones. The crisis thus becomes an opportunity for discernment, in which to shape a new vision for the future. In this spirit, with confidence rather than resignation, it is appropriate to address the difficulties of the present time.

                  • Ben Warren

                    Pope Honorius was condemned by Pope St. Leo II. I think Paul VI was a bungling theologian, and I respectfully but very frankly tell you I think you are, unfortunately, very stupid and very ill-formed for citing him. If Catholic lands are to avoid the fate of Cuba, a future pope must condemn Paul VI and other popes for any support they may have had for oppressing the rich. That is my frank view.

                    Further, I decline to argue the issue further with you. I will suggest you read De Regno, by St. Thomas, from which one with a sound conscience can easily realize that the Church is right wing. Otherwise, you ought to be excommunicated for disagreeing.

                    • Marthe Lépine

                      You don’t sound Catholic… Where are you really coming from? It would help in the discussion to know that.

                    • Ben Warren

                      I have been tempted to join the SSPX, but I have not. I usually go to an FSSP mass.
                      http://www.traditioninaction.org/SOD/j080sdLeoII_6-3.htm

                    • Dan C

                      In an argument with average lay folks, one would find at least respect if one avoided trashing the intellect of one’s sparring partner.

                      Also, it is unclear that any of the points you reference should I disagree with your again idiosyncratic vision, are excommunicable.

                    • Benjamin Warren

                      The FSSP might well love to threaten you with excommunication. Recommendation enough for me.

                      I respectfully think it is very important to inform you that I think you sound very incompetent. I _do_ care, but right-wingers are badly abused by leftists, and sick of it.

                      You might consider the Index of Economic Freedom, and the correlation between wealth and economic freedom.

                    • Dan C

                      The FSSP cannot excommunicate me.

                    • Benjamin Warren

                      Unfortunately, leftists are about as bad as wife beaters, and possibly worse. Wife beating is evil, but it doesn’t turn a country into Cuba.

                    • Dan C

                      Back to my pending excommunication. As a Simian, I lack deep knowledge of the summa and scholasticism and canon law but I do know that not only the Vatican excommunicates, but the local ordinary, too.

                      But, your answer clearly stated you didn’t know that, either.

                    • freddy

                      Oh, those poor, poor rich people! I had no idea of their awful plight! They must be suffering terribly! What can we do? I know! We could have a bake sale, organize a protest march, and write uplifting songs. We must join in solidarity with our wealthy brothers and sisters, since, as Jesus said, “the rich you will always have with you…”
                      Thank you, Mr. Warren, for my morning giggle.
                      And by the way, I’m a member of an FSSP parish. Our pastor has never mentioned the income tax, but don’t get him started on usury!

                    • Rachel

                      wow, I don’t know if you are trying to be silly or serious because you are confirming some of the worst stereotypes of trads. Leftists are not the entire problem. The right is just as bad. Remember what Our Lord said about taking the plank out of your own eyes.

                    • Dan C

                      Your frank view is idiosyncratic and in grave error. You seem ignorant of the Gospels. And I giggled when you said I was not smart.

                    • Benjamin Warren

                      No, it isn’t idiosyncratic. It is the view of the FSSP, one priest of which might be worth a dozen typical secular priests.
                      People like you, unfortunately, are incompetent when it comes to economics. The left promotes moral hazard at the very best. St. Thomas condemned your point of view at least twice, and said that leftists deserve among the greatest punishment. Please read De Regno.

                    • Dan C

                      “It is the view of the FSSP…” of which you are a priest?

                      And this is written as an FSSP point of view? Where?

                    • Benjamin Warren

                      They condemn the graduated income tax. I don’t know about their position on the popes.

                      Few are saved. Read St. Leonard of Port Maurice.

                    • Dan C

                      The FSSP is an order. They are but priests. And I suspect the order holds no position on graduated income tax, and let me assure you: they respect the popes, and Vatican 2, at least publically.

                      Some priests, and I am struggling to find evidence of one, may actually reject graduated income taxes. But Inhave not yet easily found it.

                      They cannot and do not excommunicate. Such is the role of the ordinary.

                      You lack some fundamentals, which I, of Simian Intellect, seem to know. About your beloved order, of matters of communion and ex-communion.

                    • Benjamin Warren

                      I didn’t say your intellect was simian. Fr. Longua rejects the graduated income tax, and the priests of the Fraternity are faithful to their superiors and highly organized.

                      The Vatican excommunicates. If an FSSP bishop were pope, I believe he would work to excommunicate leftists.

                    • Dan C

                      Who and how many are saved is not revealed in our faith. It is the duty of Catholics to pray and thus to hope most and almost all are saved. Again, we face a fundamental hole in your theology. Revelation has failed to provide us with an after-life census count. And, again the Simian trumps you with basic religion.

                    • Benjamin Warren

                      St. Leonard.

                    • Dan C

                      It matters not a whit what a saint or a Marian apparition says, we have no new revelation since the Gospels. And who is in Hell and how many is one such matter undetermined.

                      Private revlations are not binding upon the faithful, in fact, one should avoid them, even of saints.

                      That is part of the catechism. No one knows how many or how few are saved. We are told to hope and pray for all- that is magisterial too.

                      I am impressed that such a high intellect ad yours is so uninformed about basic religion.

                    • Chesire11

                      How many is “few”?

                      Does St. Leonard specify a ratio?

                    • HornOrSilk

                      We don’t know if few are saved. Read St Gregory of Nyssa. The pick and choose game which only looks at those who say what I want is not theology, btw. It’s ideology.

                    • Jordan

                      “Secular priests”…haha, what are those?

                    • CJ

                      Priests who aren’t monks.

                    • Jordan

                      Right, I gotcha. At first I thought he was just being derogatory (as in they’re not really priests if they’re not a certian group’s “truly” orthodox priests); also, I guess I didn’t understand exactly what kind of group/organization FSSP was (knew of them though).

                    • HornOrSilk

                      Secular vs religious. Religious are in a religious order.

                    • chezami

                      Wow. Talk about dripping with Pharisaic pride. Bye!

                    • Almario Javier

                      Where do they say that? How do you know it’s not the opinion of just one priest?

                    • Peter

                      I was unaware that the FSSP had its own body of doctrine other than the, lets say, Catechism of the Catholic Church.

                      I do know another Traditionalist group that DOES have it’s own body of doctrine, I think their location is somewhere in Switzerland – maybe Econe?

                      We must have been really screwed before the FSSP came along – considering the fact that they didn’t exist before 25 years ago.

                    • HornOrSilk

                      This is questionable, many, like St Robert Bellarmine (was he a poor theologian?) doubted the condemnation of Honorius and think we have interpolations put into texts to make it appear he was condemned. Honorius was no monothelite, as St Maximus, the leader against the monothelites, made clear, and this is why St Maximus defended the Pope.

                      Secondly St Thomas is not the Church. His thinking is not one and the same as what defines orthodoxy. Theologians know this, ideologues do not.

                    • Chesire11

                      …yours in Christ,

                      Ben

                    • Peter

                      Ben, I get it now, Let’s just condemn all the Pope’s who disagree with you. In fact, how about we make you the new Prefect of the Congregation of the Faith. You know so much more than the Pope’s whom the Holy Spirit has brought into the Church to guide it in one of history’s most troublesome times.

                      Which other Pope’s were heretics? Can you list them for me because I need to burn all my copies of their heretical writings?

                      Thanks for your guidance.

                • Dan C

                  Also paragraphs 22, 23, and 24. This one too:

                  25. From the social point of view, systems of protection and welfare, already present in many countries in Paul VI’s day, are finding it hard and could find it even harder in the future to pursue their goals of true social justice in today’s profoundly changed environment. The global market has stimulated first and foremost, on the part of rich countries, a search for areas in which to outsource production at low cost with a view to reducing the prices of many goods, increasing purchasing power and thus accelerating the rate of development in terms of greater availability of consumer goods for the domestic market. Consequently, the market has prompted new forms of competition between States as they seek to attract foreign businesses to set up production centres, by means of a variety of instruments, including favourable fiscal regimes and deregulation of the labour market. These processes have led to a downsizing of social security systems as the price to be paid for seeking greater competitive advantage in the global market, with consequent grave danger for the rights of workers, for fundamental human rights and for the solidarity associated with the traditional forms of the social State. Systems of social security can lose the capacity to carry out their task, both in emerging countries and in those that were among the earliest to develop, as well as in poor countries. Here budgetary policies, with cuts in social spending often made under pressure from international financial institutions, can leave citizens powerless in the face of old and new risks; such powerlessness is increased by the lack of effective protection on the part of workers’ associations. Through the combination of social and economic change, trade union organizations experience greater difficulty in carrying out their task of representing the interests of workers, partly because Governments, for reasons of economic utility, often limit the freedom or the negotiating capacity of labour unions. Hence traditional networks of solidarity have more and more obstacles to overcome. The repeated calls issued within the Church’s social doctrine, beginning with Rerum Novarum[60], for the promotion of workers’ associations that can defend their rights must therefore be honoured today even more than in the past, as a prompt and far-sighted response to the urgent need for new forms of cooperation at the international level, as well as the local level.

                • Dan C

                  You probably should read the whole deal. Benedict is best embraced in his entirety.

                  His full synthesis of many of the right’s most hated encyclicals as well as Humane Vitae as part and parcel of this new synthesis is theologically symphonic.

                  • Ben Warren

                    I have read some of H.H. Pope Em. Benedict, and frankly I think he was an incompetent theologian, with very turgid prose, relatively low intelligence, and probably ignorant of Aristotle’s logical treatises, as well as Porphyry’s Isagoge.

                    • Marthe Lépine

                      Wow! By what authority are you saying all this? Who are you to condemn Pope Em Benedict? What I see here is an enormous superiority complex!

                    • Dan C

                      The Church you fantasize about is not the Roman Catholic Church. Looking for Fr. john Gault in union with Rome is impossible.

                      Luke 16:19-31describes a situation that should terrify us. We are confronted with Lazarus (who gets a name) and the rich man. All we get is a description of common class differences-wealth and poverty. We get no litany of sins, just a sense of the rich man’s wealth.

                      We are part of a Church that challenges us on wealth and poverty.

                    • chezami

                      Massive arrogance. One more Reactionary I will never miss.

                    • HornOrSilk

                      Massive, massive arrogance. Someone who claims Pope Benedict was a “poor theologian”? No one who has any theological acumen would be able to say that. Someone who is trained in theology will be able to spot good theologians, even if the theologian disagrees with them. Only poor thinkers consider “they come to a different conclusion than me” as indication of “poor theology.” And they also don’t criticize some of the top theologians of the era without knowledge of the people they criticize: I mean, if he read Benedict’s theological writings, he clearly would know Benedict certainly studied Aristotle and the Igagoge. These were BASIC elements of theological studies when he was in seminary.

                    • BillyT92679

                      Or a massive troll. This seems really trollish. I disagree with TMLutas a lot for example, but I cannot deny his logical appraoch to economics. He’s very bright.
                      This guy just is being whackamole for whack’s sake

                    • Peter

                      Ben, that is probably the stupidest and most arrogant comment I have heard in a long time.

            • Chesire11

              The political right wing worships Mammon as readily as the left worships Bacchus, and are just as welcoming of converts. Though Rerum Novarum castigates those who would deny a man’s right to private property, it likewise reproves those who would treat wealth as an end in itself, rather than a means by which to manifest God’s will in the world.

              There is much in the Church that resonates with, and rebels against both left and right. We are neither conservative, nor liberal – we are Catholic, and that is something altogether different.

            • Peter

              All left-of-center politicians? That’s a really harsh judgment, and I don’t think all of them support abortion. Pro-abortion politicians most definitely should be warned and excommunicated, but to say that all of them should be is a little radical, don’t you think?

      • Peter

        St. Thomas is a doctor of the Church. In fact, Pope Leo XIII endorsed Thomism and instructed that his method be taught in the seminaries. As a doctor of the Church, he is an eminent example of the teaching of the Church, much more than any Bishop is – other than the Pope. St. Thomas was arguably both the greatest Philosopher and Theologian in the history of the Catholic Church.

    • jacobus

      Neither St Thomas nor his Summa are infallible.

    • Dan C

      Yes and populurum progressio, deus est caritas, and caritas in veritate all more than implicitly suggest that a graduated income tax is just the beginning.

      Faithful Catholicism conduces to the Cross, dude. We are not Joel Osteen, or the Moral Majority of the 1980′s. We are a ghetto religion, and are at our best when the poor are understood as Christ.

      75% of our image of the Nativity comes from Nativity stories written for the faith of poor Chrisitians. Acts, likewise, our roadmap for Christianity, written for poor asia minor communities.

      Wealth is warned against strongly in the Gospel. The poor (undiluted with any modifier) are “blessed.”

      • Ben Warren

        Wrong.

        http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew+5&version=NIV

        Some sympathize with the poor more than I do, and there probably is no point in arguing over sympathy. The fact of the matter is that the bishops are the real villains here for failing to condemn the graduated income tax and politicians who adhere to it.

        • Dan C

          Unless you took an exacto knife to Matthew 25, your bible indicates that you will be judged with regard to how you treat the poor.

          • Ben Warren

            I praised tithing, and leftists make tithing difficult. They ought to be warned, then excommunicated.

            • Chesire11

              Fortunately, authority to excommunicate does not lie with you!

            • Dan C

              Charity to the poor is neither tithing nor made difficult by taxes.

              • Martial_Artist

                The second half of your statement, being an unqualified blanket assertion, is wholly dependent upon the characteristics of the taxation (i.e., its level, presence or lack of progressivity, etc., etc.). It is therefore capable of neither proof nor disproof.

                As to your comment yesterday about Benedict XVI and John Paul II, I stand ready to be corrected, and would invite you to adduce those citations in the relevant encyclicals in which either Pope stated that we, as faithful Catholics, should dictate through the ballot box how our fellow citizens are to be taxed.

                • Dan C

                  Truth in Love, paragraphs 21 onward describe the responsibilities of societies towards the needy, etc. You have asked if they indicate whether a progressive tax is to be done. Not exactly, but they indicate that govenrments, the weakthy, etc, must pursue justice beyond just charity. Benedict defaults to high regulation, high socialized economies, well beyond what the right even thinks Obama does.

                  Taxes are moral. A progressive tax, known throughout the Western world is moral. That is likely the next point.

                  • Martial_Artist

                    Dan C,
                    Thank you for the response. I will read at least that section of the encyclical, and apply it to my thinking. Having said that, and keeping in mind the responsibility to respect the dignity of my fellow man (including those with whom I might disagree) I have generally viewed Christ’s injunction to meet the needs of the poor, heal the sick, visit the prisoner, etc., as a primarily personal responsibility, as opposed to using the ballot box as a means to impose my judgment on how my neighbor is to do so. Ergo, I am quite likely to read Caritas in Veritate in its totality before attempting to apply it to my life.

                    Pax et bonum,
                    Keith Töpfer

                    • HornOrSilk

                      Here is something to consider. Christ wants us to work for the poor. You agree. You consider it a personal responsibility, and it is, but personal doesn’t mean individual. Personal is relational, and the person is meant to make all opportunities to help the poor. One way is through justice, to help make for a more just state so they don’t have to be so poor in the first place. It’s not helping the poor to give daily handouts and forcing them to be poor due to the structures of society if those structures can be changed.

        • Dan C

          Seriously, have you read Luke?

          Matthew says a different beautitude, not a better one. Your bible passge quoted Matthew.

          You seem lost without the quoted sections:

          Luke 6:20

          And turning His gaze toward His disciples, He began to say, “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God….”

          • Ben Warren

            I stand corrected on this point.

          • Peter

            There is a modifier, and that is in Matthew. There is a different list of beatitudes but the same message. I don’t think that Our Lord meant one thing in Matthew and something different in Luke.

        • Dan C

          In short, you are wrong. Or deceitful with misrepresenting Gospel passges.

      • Peter

        Any modifier? I seem to remember that Our Lord said “the poor in spirit”.

        BTW, if you are in America, you are RICH! How many of our brothers and sisters in the 3rd and 4th world are starving while you have 3 meals a day, a roof over your head, transportation, medical care. So instead of self-righteously condemning conservatives who merely have a different view of how to spread the wealth than you do, wake up and don’t forget something else Our Lord said in the Sermon on the Mount, “Judge not lest you too be judged.”

        We in America are rich, and live in the richest society in recorded history.

        Also, Americans have the food to feed the entire world. What’s the problem? It’s that in many countries the Generalissimo confiscates the food the UN brings and holds the citizens’ food hostage.

        BTW, I am consecrated to our friend Lady Poverty and am a former Randian. I firmly believe in the preferential option for the poor, the rejection of the love of money and service of God instead of mammon. At the same time I also reject the socialist model of stealing from the haves to give to the have nots. The Church rejects the Randian laissez-faire Capitalist economic system, she also explicitly rejects Communism and Socialism.

        • Dan C

          When it is a policy discussion, we can have at it. When I am discussing with libertarians, such as Benjamin Warren and the Maryial Artist as below, one must begin with more simple discussions. Libertarianism is not a Catholic option. Nor is classical liberalism, a theory prompting the form known as “papal social encyclicals.”

          As for your biblical exegesis, you do not know Luke. Luke is specifically discussing the poor. How do we know this? In a few lines, Luke has a mirror image version of this beautitude, “woe to the rich.” you can dismiss this message as significant, but the rich are routinely held in low esteem in the Gospel, over and over.

          In terms of first world pverty, I defer to Mother Theresa’s compassionate responses and JP2 and Benedict’s discussions on such over your dismissal of its existence.

          How did we get here? How about the caudillos we funded across the planet, or the Soviet Union?

          I have seen poverty here in the US, and in Haiti. I recommend spending time with the poor in a Catholic Worker to go to the school of the poor, as Peter Maurin would call it. You learned nothing on social responsibility from Benedict.

    • http://canfrancisbringmeback.wordpress.com/ ganganelli

      Please explain how you think the Summa condemns the graduated income tax? That’s a new one to me.

      Furthermore, the graduated income tax is inherently just as everyone pays the same rate on the same income. I’m continually amazed how few people realize how a progressive income tax works(or should work without the special exemptions that have been carved out for the predator class).

      • Benjamin Warren

        Unfortunately you’re oppressive. Read the section of the Summa I listed. Proportionate is the key word.

        • http://canfrancisbringmeback.wordpress.com/ ganganelli

          Yes I read it. The graduated income tax is designed to have everyone pay the same amount on the same income. As the Summa alludes to, your first 10k of income should be taxed at the same rate as my first 10k of income. And so on and so forth.

          Unfortunately, politicians like to carve out exclusions that benefit the wealthy so that if my 10k of income is “capital gains” it will be given a lower rate than your 10k of income from work. I agree that the Summa is opposed to that.

          • Benjamin Warren

            Nonsense. The graduated income tax plunders the rich. It is not proportionate, and I am sick of arguing about it.

            • http://canfrancisbringmeback.wordpress.com/ ganganelli

              LOL….I wouldn’t mind being the CEO of a government chartered corporation with government granted privileges paying the highest tax rate on say 40 million of income. I would take that “plundering” any day of the week.

              • Benjamin Warren

                You are hell-bound, friend.

                • Chesire11

                  That, my friend, is a reprehensible comment. It is not for YOU to judge the fate of another’s soul, and again I would warn you, and would urge you to avail yourself of the confessional as soon as possible.

                • http://canfrancisbringmeback.wordpress.com/ ganganelli

                  Sounds like a guilty conscience, my friend. You would do well to learn the social teaching of the Catholic Church. I would start with Pope Leo XIII’s encyclical Rerum Novarum.

                  • Dan C

                    his quote when faced with B16 and “Truth in Love”: incompetent theologian and of low intelligence.

                  • Dan C

                    Wow, you scored damnation! I only was excommunicated three times. But once got a super-special excommunication levied against me by the FSSP.

                    • http://canfrancisbringmeback.wordpress.com/ ganganelli

                      Yep…I must have touched a nerve. Being around these types has given me a much greater understanding of Jesus’ statement that it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle then for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of God.

                      Most of them will give up on their Catholicism rather than give up their Randian belief systems.

                    • chezami

                      Seriously? Damning somebody to hell over a disagreement about tax rates? And tax rates on the rich. America! What a country!

                • chezami

                  Another reader I can do without, who never will be missed.

            • Chesire11

              What a peculiarly ineffective form of “plundering” that not only leaves its “victims” in possession of great wealth, but actually allows for, and indeed, facilitates the accumulation of ever greater wealth!

              These liberal highwaymen, don’t appear to have much of a gift for despoiling.

          • jaybird1951

            The theory behind a lower rate for capital gains is that the stock price is the result of the company’s profit performance, which has already been taxed. Accordingly, most industrial countries, but not the US, either do not tax dividends or give the dividend holders a tax credit for the earnings tax paid by the company. The purpose is to avoid double taxation.

    • Mike Boyle

      On the off-hand chance you are not a troll, I would point out that St. Thomas also condemned any lending of money with interest as a sin. See II-II, Q.78–Articles 1 & 2. Thus, every financial institution in the world, from the small town bank to Barclays is fundamentally sinful, and every Catholic who works for such an institution is materially cooperating with mortal sin.
      I suspect that quite a few folks on the “right” could be classified as supporting the financial industry, don’t you think?

  • vox borealis

    That is one looney site, but the blog is kind of amusing, in that “you can’t look away” manner. And I have not read so much about Odin and Leif Erikson in quite some time.

  • Dave G.

    Conservatives have always gone to these type of places. Didn’t you know? It’s not the Thing that Used to be Conservatism. As some readers are aptly pointing out, it’s the thing that has Always Been Conservatism. I’ve heard stories like this my whole life. Conservatives have always been a mere push (or should I say putsch) away from donning swastikas and white hoods. Dumb too. Except for William F. Buckley, Jr., he was usually off the hook with the dumb charge. Otherwise, stupid and racist. Sexist as well. We all know about wanting their women barefoot and pregnant. So good to see we’re finally waking up to the truth. It’s just we need to stop with the whole Used to be rubbish, and accept that, as far as the popular narrative has gone, it’s always been that way. Oh, and we won’t even get into the time honored charge that any good Christian Conservative would gladly nail Jesus to the cross for the American Dream. That’s for future posts.

  • faithandfamilyfirst

    Wow. The comments to this post are some of the nastiest and most depressing that I have read in a long time. I need a break. I know there has to be a Star Wars musical video somewhere in the archives.

    • kenofken

      I’m just thoroughly impressed that the topic of “racialism in folkish heathenry” segued seamlessly into arguments of the Catholic theology of wealth and modern tax policy! I’ll have to remember that the next time I have trouble drawing a panel of economists and theologians out of their shell. “Hey, how about them white power Odinists?”


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