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No Kool-Aid in Kansas? August 1, 2012

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, episcopate, General Catholic, Society, Virtue.
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CatholicCulture is reporting that the bishops of Kansas seemed to have some sensible things to say regarding economic policy and the upcoming election:

Reflecting on the economy and the election, the bishops of Kansas outline principles of Catholic social teaching and note that “unlike issues involving intrinsic evils such as abortion, same-sex marriage, and threats to religious liberty and conscience rights, Catholics of good will may have legitimate disagreements about how to apply Church teaching in the economic sphere.[Right off the bat, they get it right.  Thank you!  There is a massive difference between core doctrinal issues of morality like abortion, and prudential issues like how to best provide for the poor or how to structure an economy.  Catholycs have tried for decades to confuse these issues, proclaiming prudential issues to be de fide and de fide issues to be prudential.  They have sadly been terribly successful at this effort.  It is refreshing to see clarity with regard to doctrine, as opposed to the execrable Forming Consciences document.]

“While the Church does not endorse specific solutions to our economic challenges, she has much to offer when it comes to the necessary relationship between the economy and morality,” the bishops note. “The Church’s duty is to articulate principles; it is the duty of the lay faithful in their mission to renew the face of the earth to put those principles into action.” [Once again, thank you.  That is precisely right. It is not for the bishops to get into fine details of policy, demanding specific levels of growth in some programs and cuts in others (as the “lost in the 60s” Bishop Stephen Blaire continues to do), but to provide the moral framework for lay Catholics to then act in the public arena.  This is what Bishop Morlino of Madison, WI, said in respect to Rep. Paul Ryan’s budget, which is ‘morally acceptable’ from a Catholic moral view point.]

The bishops then turn to the debt:

The United States has become a debtor nation with an unsustainable national debt. Most of this debt burden is unjustly transferred from one generation to the next. The potential for a collapse of our economy, resulting from a failure to address our spiraling debt, imperils everyone, but places the poor at the most serious risk[Exactly right – if the economy finally implodes (or implodes further) under the strain of this massive debt at all levels of government, no one will suffer more than the poorest. The middle class will also be very hard hit.  The potential for suffering of cataclysmic proportions continues to grow every day that the monstrous debt accumulates more and more.  Continuing expenditures at the current levels is profoundly immoral.]

As we expect individual households to live within their means, we have the right to expect that the government will also live within its means as an indispensable part of our nation’s economic recovery. It is irresponsible for those elected to positions of political leadership to fail to address realistically and effectively government debt and unfunded obligations. [It is also irresponsible and inappropriate for prelates in the Church to continue to advocate for the continued expansion of the very programs that are leading to these unfunded obligations.  I’m glad the bishops of Kansas used that term, for it makes plain they are referring to the socialist-type wealth transfer programs that so many of their brother bishops are still so enamored of.  It is not the bishops role to advocate for one program versus another, they should make plain moral guidelines and leave it to the laity to satisfy those guidelines] Our nation, at all levels of government, is on an unsustainable fiscal path that, left unreformed, will eventually lead to an economic calamity with disastrous consequences for everyone.

It seems, at least publicly, that there is a growing minority of bishops who understand their role better than the Bernadin model of left-friendly political activism.  That is not to say there are not huge problems, or that these bishops represent even close to a majority of the USCCB at this point, but it is a trend that I think – and hope and pray – is in the right direction.

But the Americanist heresy, or a tendency towards it, is very deeply ingrained in the Church in this country, especially among the ‘professional Catholic’ set.  It will take much prayer, penance, and patient example to finally extirpate this tendency in the Church in the US.

 

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