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October 25, 2011

The "Note on Financial Reform"

Others have called attention to the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace's "Note on Financial Reform."  (The Note is available here.)  The responses to and readings of the Note have been, I think, what one would have predicted:  Some are crowing that "the Vatican" has endorsed the demands and aims of the "Occupy Wall Street" participants, others are insisting that the Note is misguided Euro-talk and, in any event, carries little authority.  And so it goes.

There can be no doubt, I think, that it is entirely appropriate for the Church (or, in this case, for particular offices in Vatican City) to call attention to economic and social problems, to remind persons of good will of the content and foundations of Christian humanism, to challenge governments and persons alike to act in ways that are consistent with morality and the truth about the human person, and to share well-considered judgments or suggestions regarding sound policy.  It also seems clear -- with respect to this business about "supranational authorities" -- that the post-Westphalian set-up is not an article of faith (even if a commitment to the rule of law and the requirement that secular authority democratic have legitimacy should be).

That said, and at the risk of being accused by some friends in the left-of-center sectors of the Catholic blogosphere of "ranting" or being a "neo-con", I'll confess that I think (a) many are (perhaps strategically and tactically) mis- and over-reading the Note in order to overstate the consonance between its vision and the current policies of the Democratic Party in the United States and its special-interest constituencies; (b) many are making the mistake that was widely made with respect to the Pope's Caritas, i.e., imagining that the Church proposes a list of "economic policy proposals" that can be conveniently lifted, to the extent they strike the lifter as attractive, without any attached moral anthropology (which might, in turn, come with some unwelcome implications for, say, religious liberty, the family, education, etc.); and (c) it is a mistake to think that the Note, with its focus on world-wide financial markets, somehow baptizes our and other governments' current overspending, or the self-interested (dare we say "greedy"?) and damaging positions being staked out by, e.g., public-employee unions.

A final thought:  When a document like the Note is released, it is often "played," like a good card, in policy and other debates by people who do not, in fact, believe that the Church has the teaching authority it claims.  (Maureen Dowd, for example, does this kind of thing a lot.)  Such "playing" of writings by Church leaders and teachers is, to me, irritating.  I do believe, after all, that even (what strike me as) the somewhat wooly-headed proposals and diagnoses that are sometimes offered on various subjects by Catholic bishops, councils, conferences, etc., demand and deserve my respectful engagement, even when not my embrace or submission.  But, I do not think these proposals and diagnoses should be invoked or deployed as authoritative by people who deny that the Church has anything worth listening to -- let alone submitted to -- when it comes to, say, the obligation of a political community to extend the law's equal protection against private violence to the disabled and the unborn.

UPDATE:  As usual, John Allen has an interesting take:

Focusing on how much papal muscle the note can flex, however, risks ignoring what is at least an equally revealing question: Whatever you make of it, does the note seem to reflect important currents in Catholic social and political thought anywhere in the world?

The answer is yes, and it happens to be where two-thirds of the Catholics on the planet today live: the southern hemisphere, also known as the developing world. . . .

Posted by Rick Garnett on October 25, 2011 at 12:05 PM in Garnett, Rick | Permalink

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Is it ok for someone to deny that the Church has the teaching authority it claims it has but think that on a given occasion the authors of a given document have made a good case for a correct position? This seems perfectly intellible to me. It also seems like a position far easier to defend than that any particular author(s) are specially authoritative on a wide range of issues.

One pointing to such a document in defending a position might not be claiming that the authors are generally *authoritative*; they might simply be claiming that the authors got something right on this occasion.

Posted by: Fritz Warfield | Oct 25, 2011 12:38:52 PM

Hi Professor Garnett,

I agree with you that the solutions put forth in this document are not likely to be practical ones, even though I think the paper does a fine job of laying out the flaws with the world financial system. I also agree with you that the Church has every right to put out such a document and make their views known (they may not have the technical competence in economics but those who are supposed to have that knowledge are the parties that got us in this mess).

However, I find it ironic that this document was released in the same week that President Obama annouced the withdrawal of our troops from Iraq by the end of this year. The same folks who will denounce this Vatican document are likely to be the same ones who twisted Catholic Just War teaching to justify the original invasion of Iraq and to denounce the patriotism and Catholicism of those who disagreed with them. If the Occupy Wall Street crowd and the Maureen Dowds of the world are wrong to misread the teaching authority of this document (and they likely will be) then they will have been equaled by the contemptible actions of those who used the "prudential judgment" theory to justify an illegal, stupid, criminal invasion that has killed or injured 35,000 of our troops and who knows how many Iraqi civilians. They also used prudential judgement to stand largely mute on torture.

Posted by: Edward Dougherty | Oct 25, 2011 12:55:48 PM

Randian!

Posted by: Sean Michael Summers | Oct 25, 2011 1:41:08 PM

Ed, I was trying (but failed, I guess) to make a different point. In my view, it's not productive, usually, to point out that the political and other opponents of people who think and do some stupid things *also* think and do some stupid things. (I'm not sure who the "they" is who allegedly stood mute on the morality of torture. It is not my impression that *Catholic* conservative thinkers did, but that's just an impression.) My point was just that Catholic documents should not be waved as authoritative by people who do not, in fact, think that they are.

Posted by: Rick Garnett | Oct 25, 2011 1:42:39 PM

SMS -- ah, you caught me. I just can't escape the corrupting influence of those late 1970s and early 80s Rush records. =-)

Posted by: Rick Garnett | Oct 25, 2011 1:43:54 PM

Dear Fritz -- certainly, it is "alright" for someone who thinks the Church lacks teaching authority to nevertheless conclude that a particular Church-document's argument is, on the merits, the right one, and one that should be embraced. My point, as I wrote in my response above to Ed, is more narrow -- I regret the disingenuous and tactical citation of church documents the conclusions of which the speaker likes *as authoritative* by speakers who do not, in fact, think these documents are authoritative and who do not, in fact, accept the anthropological and ontological foundations on which those documents are built. It's not a particularly profound point I think: I'm just reporting the fact that I am irritated by a specific tactic, and that I wish people wouldn't do it.

Posted by: Rick Garnett | Oct 25, 2011 1:49:06 PM

If this "Note" is an utterly minor, unauthoritative, in-no-way binding collection of thoughts of non-experts who just happen to be part of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, what was the point of releasing it to the totally predictable reception that it is getting? What is the good that is supposed to come of this document?

Posted by: David Nickol | Oct 25, 2011 2:13:11 PM

David, I did not say (of course) that this Note is, in fact, "utterly minor, unauthoritative, [etc.]", (though I am glad that it is *not* "binding" in its particulars and premises). I hope that the good that was hoped-for (whether or not this hope was well-founded) was a reminder to the world that (a) "the person" and the "common good" (correctly understood) are key to the discussion and (b) there's no reason for Christians to be completely locked in to certainly historically contingent visions of state-sovereignty.

Posted by: Rick Garnett | Oct 25, 2011 2:32:03 PM

Rick,

I paraphrasing (and no doubt exaggerating) the general response from the right, not necessarily your comments. But I do wonder if it might have been more helpful to release your points a and b, or make a statement of principle, than to lay out a 6000-word plan of their own about the world's economic system.

John Allen has an interesting take on what it all means.

**********
One can certainly debate the merits of those perceptions, or the policy moves that might flow from them. Yet to dismiss all this as nothing more than the rogue perceptions of an isolated Vatican department ignores the demographic and cultural realities of the church in the 21st century.

This is not the dying echo of warmed-over European socialism. For better or worse, it's the first ripple of a southern [hemisphere] wave.
**********
http://ncronline.org/news/vatican/vatican-note-economy-first-ripple-southern-wave

Posted by: David Nickol | Oct 25, 2011 4:50:01 PM

David, I agree with you that Allen is onto something. Thanks for the link.

Posted by: Rick Garnett | Oct 25, 2011 4:52:52 PM

I think it needs to be noted that conservative Catholics in America do not "think with the Church" in matters of peace and justice. I think conservative Catholics need to face up to that. While such non-binding, yet authoritative statements are made in matters of, for example, a papal suggestion that the Iraq War is a bad idea, the papal teachings in "Truth in Love," and this groups' statement, it is easy to go and find conservative blogdom's ongoing denial of these varied ideas.

Weigel, still nearly unaminously promoted by conservatives, loved the Iraq War, created an infamous competency test for Catholic American bishops who suggested it was a bad idea, fisked the "Truth in Love' document in an exegetical way that should leave him embarassed, and now is trying to warp this document to fit a libertarian-disposed conservative audience. He is only one emblematic conservative choosing to do so.

Conservative Catholics need to admit to themselves that they do not think like the Roman Curia, including the Pope himself, on such things as war and peace. This is an ideal starting place before beginning to advance their agenda, and is the honest starting place for the promotion of the novel ideas suggested by conservative Catholic economic thinkers. They are not standing or thinking with the Church on these matters.

Posted by: Dan C | Oct 25, 2011 5:23:42 PM

Dan- in my view, you are painting with too broad a brush. We all in modernity (like all everywhere) struggle to "think with the Church", and I don't think it is plausible to say that "conservative" Catholics in America fall short more often than do "liberal" Catholics (though, of course, many of both do).

Posted by: Rick Garnett | Oct 25, 2011 6:24:21 PM

You misunderstand. While I disagree with conservative thought passionately on matters of peace and justice, this is not my point.

My point is simple. The Vatican/curial/even magisterial view on matters of economics is clear. Benedict and his predecessor do not support conservative thought in the US on matters of peace and justice.

And it is not too broad-one can read way of the following and find folks who disagree with this authoritative line: Sirico, Hudson, Donahue, Reno, Novak, Weigel, Zuhlsdorff, Scalia, anyone writing for National Review who is Catholic. I think these folks have staked their claim outside Church teaching on matters of peace and justice.

That is independent of whether these ideas are correct or not-it needs to be honestly noted though as their stepping point of idea development.

I made no comparison to liberals.

Posted by: Dan C | Oct 25, 2011 6:53:26 PM

Dan - actually, I don't misunderstand. And, your brush *is*, actually, too broad. And, in any event, I am happy to join you in embracing the magisterial teachings of the Pope and his Blessed predecessor.

Posted by: Rick Garnett | Oct 25, 2011 7:09:54 PM


Conservative discourse has been stymied from reflection and critique by the constant dogmatizing of positions that are novel in Catholic thought historically-that of libertarian-disposed Catholicism. Examples include the Acton Institute-inspired declarations of "envy" and declarations of increasing taxes modestly as violations of the "thou shalt not covet commandments.".

This paper is a clear counter point to such high-minded judgementalism that is routine.

Posted by: Dan C | Oct 25, 2011 7:14:05 PM

As a recent returnee to the Church, I have had the good fortune of reading many of the social justice encyclicals with eyes untainted by the conservative/liberal battles within Catholicism. With little knowledge I had of them until about three and a half years ago--except for a few that I read with great interest while I was a Protestant, e.g., Evangelium Vitae--I fully expected to find what my Catholic-Social-Thought friends on the Evangelical Left had told me I would find: a program for social democracy and its economic policies as integral to a Christian understanding of justice. So, I nearly fell out of my chair when I read Rerum Novarum's defense of private property, rejection of socialism, and affirmation of the natural family as foundational to civil society, as well as its modesty in suggesting "policy proposals" with any degree of specificity. On the other hand, I was struck by its analysis of the ills of its time: it was the result of a modernist philosophical anthropology and understanding of the moral life that the industrial revolution had uncritically assimilated, and which resulted in the horrible treatment of workers. RN was, in essence, a brief against the economic, moral, social and anthropological beliefs of the Left. It was, of course, an affirmation of something to which the Left gravitates, and rightfully so: a defense of the rights of workers and their place in civil society. But its RN's prescription that is subversive of the Left's solutions, since those solutions are, ironically, dependent on an understanding of humanity that the Libertarians embraced as well. Trying to find categories of American political life in Vatican documents is like, in the words of the country singer Johnny Lee, "looking for love in all the wrong places."

Posted by: Francis Beckwith | Oct 25, 2011 11:27:43 PM

DanC,

Conservative Catholic thinkers who I read (and a few of them I know personally) stand head-and-shoulders above any other-category of Catholic thinker in terms of supporting social justice as Christ taught it. To a person, they believe in caring for the sick, elderly, poor, troubled and disadvantaged. Not only do they believe in it, they live their beliefs everyday (usually anonymously in their giving, but always in their public communication).

Where I think the false-charges which you and others level at them comes from is ignorance of the means and a blindness to the outcomes.

The usual Catholic Social Justice thinker will say something like: "We must take care of the poor, hungry and sick! To do so, let us impose a solution upon the rich, so we may accomplish our goal quickly now."

The unusual Catholic Social Justice thinker (aka Conservative Catholic) will say something like: "We must take care of the poor, hungry and sick! Let us provide good men and women with the proper moral compass, and then step-back and watch those gifted people unleash their God-given talents upon the world and in so doing, benefit the poor, hungry and sick."

The net-objective remains the same: Taking care of the poor, hungry and sick.

How that is accomplished is entirely different.

And, more so, history has proven that the Conservative Catholic's chosen philosophy has indeed lifted more humanity from poverty, illness and hunger for a longer sustained time than any other philosophy ever attempted by mankind. It is very, very hard to argue against that fact.

I have no knowledge of any Conservative Catholic who stands publicly or privately opposed, in any way, to the teachings of the Sermon on the Mount, the Ten Commandments, etc.

And yet, I know literally hundreds of Liberal Catholics who besmirch and abuse those very same Conservative Catholics for the method they believe best satisfies the moral goal. Meanwhile, I regret to admit that the Liberal Catholics I know refuse, almost to a person, to even acknowledge that a Conservative Catholic could believe fervently in Christ's teaching on the poor and needy. How sad, but how true.

To those criticizing Conservative Catholics as being outside the teachings of the Church, I am reminded that the cursed life of a liar is not marked by having no friends who trust him, but rather that since he knows himself, he is cursed never to trust another.

Posted by: Brian | Oct 26, 2011 2:24:01 PM

Hi Brian,

I don't doubt that many "conservative" Catholics do beleive in Christ's teaching on the poor and needy. The problem is that many of them do not appear in the print media and don't speak for their side of this issue.

Certainly people should be allowed to unleash their talents in the creation of businesses and the like to benefit the poor and needy-I've been working for someone who did just that for the last 14 years. I certainly beleieve in capitalism as long as it is properly regulated.

Where I think Dan and myself are irritated in this issue is that the same folks who are running down this document (and by that, I mean they are going beyond criticizing the contents to saying that it should not even be regarded as something the Church has to say on this issue). The document is very much in line with Benedict's recent other writings on this same issue. By the way, I'm a bit quesay on all the talk of a world authority myself.

These folks (the ones at First Things, the EPPC, National Review and Acton, to name a few) are more than happy to stress fidelity to teaching on their issues. However, when it is something such as the invasion of Iraq, torture and yes, the teachings on the poor and needy with some of them-I saw Senator Sanoturm in one of the recent debate look absolutely frozen when asked about this subject-fidelity goes out the window and that old standby-prudential judgement-takes over. Never mind that our bungled invasion of Iraq has resulted in the needless deaths and injuries of so many-the Magisterum hasn't taught on war so any advocacy is all right no matter how disasterous the results.

Professor Garnett, I am glad to see that you are a fellow Rush fan. I have both the Moving Pictures 2011 calendar and the Signals 2012 calendar in my cube and you should read Neil Peart's books sometime, though I'll warn you that he takes a far dimmer view on organized religion than we do.

Posted by: Edward Dougherty | Oct 26, 2011 3:52:10 PM

Ed -- I'm sorry to disappoint, but I'm afraid I cannot pretend to *really* be a Rush fan. I was just making fun, given all their Randian lyrics. (That said, I *was* in a cover band, in 1985, that did a lot of Rush stuff -- including all (!!) of 2112.) Peart's drumming talents are amazing (as are Lifeson's guitar chops), though I'm sure (after all, he likes Rand) he's off-base when he starts in on serious matters.

On serious things, I have to insist that it is not fair, and not accurate, to suggest that "the ones at First Things" throw "fidelity . . . out the window" when it comes to the teachings on the poor. You are right, of course, that Catholics were and are divided with respect to the decision -- given what we knew and thought we knew at the time -- to go to war in Iraq, it is also not accurate, in my view, to charge that those who supported did so because they "threw fidelity out the window", rather than because they tried to work through and apply the Church's jus-ad-bellum teachings. (To say this is not to say, especially in hindsight, that going to war in Iraq was the right call.)

Posted by: Rick Garnett | Oct 26, 2011 4:00:59 PM

Brian,

But Catholic Social Teaching clearly sees a role for *GOVERNMENT* which, it seems to me, is not found in your brief sketch of the way conservatives approach problems of social and economic justice. For example, take this paragraph from the Declaration on Procured Abortion"

**********
On the contrary, it is the task of law to pursue a reform of society and of conditions of life in all milieux, starting with the most deprived, so that always and everywhere it may be possible to give every child coming into this world a welcome worthy of a person. Help for families and for unmarried mothers, assured grants for children, a statute for illegitimate children and reasonable arrangements for adoption - a whole positive policy must be put into force so that there will always be a concrete, honorable and possible alternative to abortion.
**********

If Barack Obama said that, instead of the CDF, I doubt that a great many conservative Catholics would say, "Sure, I disagree with him on many things, but it's definitely the task of law to pursue a reform of society and of conditions of life in all milieux, starting with the most deprived . . . " They'd say, "That's SOCIALISM!"

Posted by: David Nickol | Oct 26, 2011 4:05:43 PM

David,
Don’t you know that the “Declaration on Procured Abortion” is the statement of a minor office in the Vatican bureaucracy that bears no resemblance to actual Church teaching and can be safely ignored?

Posted by: Dave Cochran | Oct 26, 2011 4:13:46 PM

This game is fun! Guess who said it:

"To remedy these wrongs the socialists, working on the poor man's envy of the rich, are striving to do away with private property, and contend that individual possessions should become the common property of all, to be administered by the State or by municipal bodies. They hold that by thus transferring property from private individuals to the community, the present mischievous state of things will be set to rights, inasmuch as each citizen will then get his fair share of whatever there is to enjoy. But their contentions are so clearly powerless to end the controversy that were they carried into effect the working man himself would be among the first to suffer. They are, moreover, emphatically unjust, for they would rob the lawful possessor, distort the functions of the State, and create utter confusion in the community."

A. George Weigel
B. Paul Ryan
C. Ayn Rand
D. Leo XIII

Posted by: Mike | Oct 26, 2011 5:40:19 PM

Mike - well said.

Posted by: Rick Garnett | Oct 26, 2011 6:28:55 PM

David,

I accept your selection so we can debate the view of Conservative vs. Liberal Catholic.

First, you use the phrase: "But Catholic Social Teaching clearly sees a role for *GOVERNMENT*..." and you capitalize "GOVERNMENT" whereas every conservative I know would have capitalized "a role". The emphasis should not be on government -- but on the limited role government should play.

In the example you gave, the meaning is as clear as day to me.

I believe I, as a Conservative Catholic, can support both the spirit and the letter of the statement.

I read it as making clear that any laws should be written to "always be a concrete, honorable and possible alternative to abortion." Stopping abortions, that is the ending of human life, is an absolute legal minimum. In the words of the statement, stopping abortion is a legitimate "task of law to pursue."

Now, once the law establishes the banning of abortions, a Conservative view is to look to the parents, families, communities, states, countries and the world so that "always and everywhere it may be possible to give every child coming into this world a welcome worthy of a person."

On the above we would agree, I believe. This is my statement made earlier -- Conservatives and Liberals almost always AGREE on the end. It is the means to the end where we diverge.

A conservative would believe that we should make clear and unambiguous law that provides for the value of human life. Secular law should make it abundantly clear that human life is sacred, beautiful and a gift from God. Once that is understood, a conservative like me believes that humanity can act accordingly based on the moral law. No further secular laws should be needed. Inside our soul's we have a moral law that guides our actions. And, if we depend on secular law -- we risk a greater evil the more we depend on that secular law.

For instance, a liberal (in my view) would ALSO believe that we should make clear and unambiguous law that provides for the value of human life. But they cannot resist the temptation to add more secular laws. After all, if passing one law is good and honorable -- passing 1,000 must be better and more honorable, right? So, why not also make clear - by rule and authority of our government and its law -- how many times the diaper should be changed for the baby and then provide the governmental resources to do so? Let's pass a law on what food the baby should be fed and then provide the baby the food from the resources of others? We should also require doctor check-ups and shots and then pay for those from the resources of the other society members.

Rinse and repeat for water, sewer, housing, transportation, entertainment, education, clothing, electricity, etc.

To be sure, Catholic philosophy on both end of the spectrum envision A ROLE for government. But conservatives feel it is not the primary role.

In fact, neither does the Church. The philosophy of subsidiarity dictates that the authority and responsibility for actions should be pushed down to the lowest level of decision making.

If there was ever such a thing (there is not, but I will use it for instructional purposes) of assigning a weighted-average responsibility+authority score to cover all actions in life, I dare say the following would be the going-in positions for conservatives vs. liberal Catholic philosophy:

Share of responsibility and authority for actions:

..................Conservative.....Liberal
Individual...........85%............15%
Family.............. 8%..............5%
Community............3%..............5%
City...............1.5%.............20%
State..............1.5%.............20%
Nation.............0.5%.............20%
World..............0.5%.............15%

By this scoring, for conservatives, under the "nation" level, we would put relatively few items -- national defense, infrastructure, judiciary, etc. PS: As a conservative, I don't have a problem with a "world organization" as long as its role is almost entirely contained to a specific, highly defined space.

By this scoring, for liberals, under the "nation" level, national government authority/responsibility expands 30-fold to cover education, food safety, job pay scales, car-seat regulations, etc.

Again, this is only an attempt to be illustrative by relaying the differences in personal responsibilities viewed by a conservative Catholic vs. my experience with Liberal Catholics.

I find great support for Conservative Catholic philosophy in my reading of scripture. Jesus gave the rich young man both his wealth -- and 100% authority and responsibility for his own well-being when he invited him to give-up his riches and follow Him.

At no point did Jesus send out His apostles with the great instruction to take the wealth by force from the rich man and re-distribute to the poor. Even though this would accomplish two great/moral things: save the rich man and help the poor.

When the rich man left dejected, Jesus looked at him leaving and sighed -- noting that it was harder for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven than for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle.

I feel the same for that young man -- so sad that he was offered life everlasting, and rejected it. But I feel the same as Jesus -- I look at the young man sadly and let him own his decision. Neither do I contradict Jesus and wish that the disciples were sent after him to take his wealth and re-distribute it.

Posted by: Brian | Oct 26, 2011 7:00:44 PM

Mike quoted the following: "To remedy these wrongs the socialists, working on the poor man's envy of the rich, are striving to do away with private property, and contend that individual possessions should become the common property of all, to be administered by the State or by municipal bodies . . . . "

Mike and Rick,

I don't see the relevance. I am not arguing for socialism, nor is Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi, or anyone else on the American scene who has significant power of any chance of gaining significant power.

Posted by: David Nickol | Oct 27, 2011 10:48:08 AM

David, I think the relevance of Mike's quote is because, at present, many are seeking to exploit both justified resentments at "Wall Street" and "envy of the rich." And, the resonance with OWS rhetoric of the following is, I think, obvious: "They hold that by thus transferring property from private individuals to the community, the present mischievous state of things will be set to rights, inasmuch as each citizen will then get his fair share of whatever there is to enjoy. But their contentions are so clearly powerless to end the controversy that were they carried into effect the working man himself would be among the first to suffer. They are, moreover, emphatically unjust, for they would rob the lawful possessor, distort the functions of the State, and create utter confusion in the community."

Posted by: Rick Garnett | Oct 27, 2011 10:56:15 AM

Rick,

I disagree about the relevance of the quote, in that OWS is not calling for socialism. OWS is not calling for much of anything, but rather protesting the way things are. One of the major controversies of the moment is whether the rich should pay more taxes. It is perfectly legitimate, in my opinion, to hold that they should. To call for a return to, say, the tax levels before the Bush tax cuts is in no way "socialism." It seems to me the intent in using the quote, which is a condemnation of socialism, is to try to imply taxation, or higher taxes for some, or progressive taxation, is somehow illegitimate or not in keeping with Catholic Social Teaching. But there is no anti-tax provision to Catholic Social Teaching. Taxation is not theft. We did not live under socialism in the United States in the Eisenhower years when the marginal tax rate was 91%. Whether or not those earning over $1 million a year now should pay higher taxes is purely a prudential judgment that has nothing whatsoever to do with Rerum Novarum.

Posted by: David Nickol | Oct 27, 2011 2:13:49 PM

"Whether or not those earning over $1 million a year now should pay higher taxes is purely a prudential judgment that has nothing whatsoever to do with [Caritas in Veritate/Justice and Peace/Populorum Progressio]." I didn't know David was a Novak/Weigel/Bainbridge Catholic. Welcome!

Exit question: who "on the American scene who has significant power of any chance of gaining significant power" thinks there is not "a role for *GOVERNMENT*" as it relates to economic regulation (or even justice)? About as many as are avowed "socialists," I'd wager.

Posted by: Mike | Oct 27, 2011 3:09:12 PM

I find it hard to believe that I am the only person who finds it alarming that Pope Benedict has not responded to this statement from a committee that does not recognize that it is God, not Caesar, Who defines what is Good.

Posted by: Nancy D. | Oct 28, 2011 2:42:14 PM

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