Laudato Si on True Freedom of Choice

Laudato Si on True Freedom of Choice June 25, 2015

204. The current global situation engenders a feeling of instability and uncertainty, which in turn becomes “a seedbed for collective selfishness”.[145] When people become self-centred and self-enclosed, their greed increases. The emptier a person’s heart is, the more he or she needs things to buy, own and consume. It becomes almost impossible to accept the limits imposed by reality. In this horizon, a genuine sense of the common good also disappears. As these attitudes become more widespread, social norms are respected only to the extent that they do not clash with personal needs. So our concern cannot be limited merely to the threat of extreme weather events, but must also extend to the catastrophic consequences of social unrest. Obsession with a consumerist lifestyle, above all when few people are capable of maintaining it, can only lead to violence and mutual destruction.

205. Yet all is not lost. Human beings, while capable of the worst, are also capable of rising above themselves, choosing again what is good, and making a new start, despite their mental and social conditioning. We are able to take an honest look at ourselves, to acknowledge our deep dissatisfaction, and to embark on new paths to authentic freedom. No system can completely suppress our openness to what is good, true and beautiful, or our God-given ability to respond to his grace at work deep in our hearts. I appeal to everyone throughout the world not to forget this dignity which is ours. No one has the right to take it from us.

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  • Peter

    When I was younger, I was a Randian before I encountered Jesus Christ. I remember an article she wrote called, “Of Living Death,” which was an attack on Paul VI’s Humanae Vitae and Populorum Progresso (forgive any misspelling). Of course, Paul VI rejected both contraception AND laissez-faire capitalism simultaneously. She said that, in fact, both letters came from the SAME perspective. She stated that Christianity rejects both laissez-faire capitalism and the ideas behind population control, and these rejections are intrinsic to Christianity in general and Catholicism in particular.

    Fast forward to today: Pope Francis has condemned both population control and capitalism. I think Rand was right: Christianity intrinsically rejects both population control and the more extreme forms of capitalism. Where Rand is wrong is that the Catholic Church was right about both the teachings of Humanae Vitae and Populorum Progresso.

    Our Christian faith teaches us that the standard of life is about giving glory to Almighty God, not material wealth.

    The previous Pope’s have publicly rejected contraception and abortion. The Left hated them for it. Now, Pope Francis has rejected more conservative forms of capitalism, which is actually a reflection of the teaching of the Catechism (2425). Movement conservatives on the right who are incensed by the Pope’s rejection of capitalism should remember it is not unique for Pope Francis to reject capitalism: Catholicism itself rejects capitalism, and this teaching has been the perennial teachings of the Popes SINCE Rerum Novarum. If Francis is a Marxist, so was Pope John Paul II.

    A religion which holds that poverty is a VIRTUE to be commended, as all religious and some laity embrace (including myself), MUST reject capitalism if it is to be consistent.

    One must not only choose between being a Catholic and using contraceptives, but also choose between being a Catholic and a Capitalist.

    To reject capitalism is not to embrace socialism. To reject Capitalism is to embrace the Good News of Jesus Christ, because Capitalism is intrinsically materialistic and offers only slavery seeming to be freedom. It is as much as a false gospel as Marxism. In capitalist nations, it is the marketplace which determines the direction of society, not the Good News of Jesus Christ.

    My challenge to those calling the Pope a “Marxist” is to ask themselves the question: Must we choose between Marxism and Capitalism? Can we not reject them BOTH? As a follower of Jesus Christ, I have rejected ALL forms of materialism. This includes both the materialism of the environmental movement as well the materialism of the capitalist. Instead, we must follow Jesus Christ, Who said, “Blessed are the POOR,” and “Woe to you who are rich”, and “It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to inherit the Kingdom of God”.

    I believe the hatred being shown Pope Francis is actually a manifestation of the compromises movement conservatives have made with mammon. Many of us (I am actually a Republican) have made their standard the teachings of talk radio hosts and not the Gospel of Jesus Christ. If one consistently follows the Gospel, one must reject capitalism.

    • Alma Peregrina
    • Andy

      When younger I was a “believer” in Rand – it seemed so clear and then I read some of JP II’s writings and realized my error. You stated eloquently what I have tried to say several times. Well done!

    • Dave G.

      Yep. Sell everything. Give it to the poor. Follow Jesus. It’s pretty simple.