What the Catholic Church Actually Teaches

The Pontifical Council for Peace and Justice Is Causing John Paul the Great to Roll Over In His Grave

John Paul the Great led the Church in its battle to bring about the fall of the the Soviet Union by creating a spiritual and cultural renewal inside the Berlin Wall.

Many decades have passed since the Church won that battle in 1989.

The Church worked hard to defeat Socialism (a centrally managed economy) in the Soviet Union.  Now, the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace is advocating for a World Fed — a centrally managed currency.  Isn’t this a clear step towards Global Socialism?

Was the Church’s battle against the Soviet Union a temporary battle necessary to protect Catholic liberty in a particular atheist country?  Or did the Church authoritatively condemn Socialism and its cousin the Social Welfare State (which we have in the US) on principle?

Who should Catholics believe — John Paul II, who worked to oppose and strip power from Socialist governments and the Social Welfare states?  Or the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, which wants to centralize power even more than ever before?

During the height of the Cold War, in 1971, Richard Nixon took the United States off of the gold-exchange standard (a poor-man’s substitute for the true classical gold standard), giving government enormous power that it had never previously possessed.  The US government was able to run escalating federal deficits, grow enormous trade deficits, flood the country with foreign goods, and then ship bonds and dollars to foreign creditors flush with dollars from American consumers.  Next thing we knew, the US government was piling on mountains of debt on future generations of American children in order to build a social welfare state at the expense of current American jobs.

America’s easing off of the gold standard — culminating in the radical jump to full fiat currency in 1971 — allowed the US government to accrue power to build a Social Welfare State.  It helped several European and East Asian countries  with currencies pegged to the suddenly floating dollar to build Socialist states.  Low on money?  Go to the national bank.

Now, the Pontifical Council for Peace and Justice calls for a massive monetary, regulatory, and tax authority to be given enormous centralized power — a long-held dream of many Socialist European central planners.  It is our duty to issue a fraternal correction to the Pontifical Council for Peace and Justice informing them of the way in which (clueless and well-meaning as they may be) their plan violates Catholic Social Teaching.  Fraternal correction (recommended by Saint Paul to those that stray from orthodoxy) is not an act of belligerence but of charity — both to the corrected individual and to the Church at large.

This recommendation is obviously a textbook violation of the principle of subsidiarity.  It is clear that a centrally managed currency empowers governments to build Socialist and Social Welfare states.  Fallen human nature says that a government wielding a limitless credit card will spend a lot of money.  But has the Magisterium (which, unlike Notas issued by the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, actually does bind Catholic consciences) condemned the Socialist or Social Welfare states created by fiat currency?

Let’s see:

Leo XIII, founder of Catholic Social Teaching, in Quod Apostolici Muneris (On Socialism):

“You understand, venerable brethren, that We speak of that sect of men who, under various and almost barbarous names, are called socialists, communists, or nihilists, and who, spread over all the world, and bound together by the closest ties in a wicked confederacy, no longer seek the shelter of secret meetings, but, openly and boldly marching forth in the light of day, strive to bring to a head what they have long been planning — the overthrow of all civil society whatsoever.”

A bit strong?  Pope Leo XIII designated Socialism as in direct violation of Catholic Social Teaching and openly proclaimed that a society sought by Socialists was certainly not civil.

What about the US?  Fiat currency has built a Social Welfare State but not a full-fledged Socialist state.  What does the Magisterium say about that?

John Paul the Great in his Social Encyclical Centesimus Annus (The Hundredth Anniversary of Pope Leo XIII’s Rerum Novarum):

“In recent years the range of such intervention has vastly expanded, to the point of creating a new type of State, the so-called “Welfare State”… Malfunctions and defects in the Social Assistance State are the result of an inadequate understanding of the tasks proper to the State. Here again the principle of subsidiarity must be respected … the Social Assistance State leads to a loss of human energies and an inordinate increase of public agencies, which are dominated more by bureaucratic ways of thinking than by concern for serving their clients, and which are accompanied by an enormous increase in spending. In fact, it would appear that needs are best understood and satisfied by people who are closest to them and who act as neighbors to those in need. It should be added that certain kinds of demands often call for a response which is not simply material but which is capable of perceiving the deeper human need.”

And that, my friends, remains the official Social Teaching of the Roman Catholic Church.

It is time for the Pontifical Council of Justice and Peace to take the time to study and understand this important issue.

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