Thursday, July 24, 2008

Discussions of Distributivism

The following continues a discussion regarding the Pope’s actions and abilities in regards to economics. My reply to the last comment is as follows:

Maybe I was a bit unclear, so I hope I can be clearer this time. I'll address your discussion with Christians momentarily.

Informing Catholics on how to make moral choices is a job of parish priests, bishops, cardinals and popes. The popes do issue plenty of statements, formally and informally, regarding things like economic theory. Papal encyclicals, for instance, have addressed everything from Communism to Birth Control to Economics and everything in between.

These encyclicals are not necessarily considered "infallible", but pastoral in nature as teaching from the Pope. These are to be taken seriously by Catholics although many of the rank and file do not read the encyclicals.

Past popes have discussed the benefits of private property. Look at John Paul II's Centesimus Annus, which discusses the benefits of free markets. If my copy of The Church and the Market, by Thomas Woods, was handy I'd quote some more, but I can't find it. Check out that book if you want to learn more.

As for infallibility, the last time a Pope has declared anything EX CATHEDRA (from the Chair of Peter, as the rabbis who used to sit before teaching did in OT times) was Pope Pius XII, defining the Assumption of Mary.

Jesus Christ did not create the papacy to be a magic eight ball to answer intellectual questions to us: he did so as a physical head of His Church. The Pope is the ultimate arbiter of difficult questions arising from Scripture as well as modern issues that may not have been addressed during Christ’s time on earth (like in vitro fertilization). And being a physical head is a full time job, as so many of Her members are in active or passive resistance of him.


As far as the Christians you know who support horrible things or turn a blind eye to injustices, keep in mind that their actions do not support the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We are all imperfect. The teachings, however, remain the same. The Bible has remained intact for almost 1600 years throughout the fall of the Roman Empire, and while some disciplinary things have changed in the Church, the dogmas taught have always remained the same.

If you want to find some Catholic teachers in the past that have used logic and reason, you will find more than you can ever count. However, as a primer I suggest St Augustine and St Thomas Aquinas.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...


I was the one who posted on distributism on Gary North's site. I posted the four 'requirements' so to speak of distributism. I am catholic as well and have had some issues in discussing economics with people.
my email is