Rorate Caeli

Papal reminders:
In politics, as in everything else,
follow the words "which will never pass away"

Poor Ireland! After all the struggles, the Republic became just a German province... From the Irish Independent:

The Fine Gael/Labour coalition Government is to implement in detail the outgoing Government's four-year austerity plan as approved by the EU-IMF, the Sunday Independent can reveal.

In what will amount to the most barefaced breach of election promises ever perpetrated by an incoming Government, the coalition partners' programme for government will cause uproar when it is published today.

While an attempt will be made to dress up the programme as a new plan by a new Government, when it is analysed it will be seen for what it is -- the continuation of the economic policies of Fianna Fail and the Greens, virtually in minute detail, as laid down by the EU-IMF.

It seems quite a dangerous setting: a representative commonwealth in which voting does not change a single thing. Voters always seem to fail to understand how compromised politicians are by the system that brought them materialistic bubbles and ruins in the first place. Which brings to mind a papal reminder:

The root and font of this defection in economic and social life from the Christian law, and of the consequent apostasy of great numbers of workers from the Catholic faith,
are the disordered passions of the soul, the sad result of original sin which has so destroyed the wonderful harmony of man's faculties that, easily led astray by his evil desires, he is strongly incited to prefer the passing goods of this world to the lasting goods of Heaven. Hence arises that unquenchable thirst for riches and temporal goods, which has at all times impelled men to break God's laws and trample upon the rights of their neighbors, but which, on account of the present system of economic life, is laying far more numerous snares for human frailty. Since the instability of economic life, and especially of its structure, exacts of those engaged in it most intense and unceasing effort, some have become so hardened to the stings of conscience as to hold that they are allowed, in any manner whatsoever, to increase their profits and use means, fair or foul, to protect their hard-won wealth against sudden changes of fortune. The easy gains that a market unrestricted by any law opens to everybody attracts large numbers to buying and selling goods, and they, their one aim being to make quick profits with the least expenditure of work, raise or lower prices by their uncontrolled business dealings so rapidly according to their own caprice and greed that they nullify the wisest forecasts of producers. The laws passed to promote corporate business, while dividing and limiting the risk of business, have given occasion to the most sordid license. For We observe that consciences are little affected by this reduced obligation of accountability; that furthermore, by hiding under the shelter of a joint name, the worst of injustices and frauds are penetrated; and that, too, directors of business companies, forgetful of their trust, betray the rights of those whose savings they have undertaken to administer. Lastly, We must not omit to mention those crafty men who, wholly unconcerned about any honest usefulness of their work, do not scruple to stimulate the baser human desires and, when they are aroused, use them for their own profit.

Strict and watchful moral restraint enforced vigorously by governmental authority could have banished these enormous evils and even forestalled them; this restraint, however, has too often been sadly lacking. For since the seeds of a new form of economy were bursting forth just when the principles of rationalism had been implanted and rooted in many minds, there quickly developed a body of economic teaching far removed from the true moral law, and, as a result, completely free rein was given to human passions.

Thus it came to pass that many, much more than ever before, were solely concerned with increasing their wealth by any means whatsoever, and that in seeking their own selfish interests before everything else they had no conscience about committing even the gravest of crimes against others. Those first entering upon this broad way that leads to destruction easily found numerous imitators of their iniquity by the example of their manifest success, by their insolent display of wealth, by their ridiculing the conscience of others, who, as they said, were troubled by silly scruples, or lastly by crushing more conscientious competitors.
...
No genuine cure can be furnished for this lamentable ruin of souls, which, so long as it continues, will frustrate all efforts to regenerate society, unless men return openly and sincerely to the teaching of the Gospel, to the precepts of Him Who alone has the words of everlasting life, words which will never pass away, even if Heaven and earth will pass away. All experts in social problems are seeking eagerly a structure so fashioned in accordance with the norms of reason that it can lead economic life back to sound and right order. But this order, which We Ourselves ardently long for and with all Our efforts promote, will be wholly defective and incomplete unless all the activities of men harmoniously unite to imitate and attain, in so far as it lies within human strength, the marvelous unity of the Divine plan. We mean that perfect order which the Church with great force and power preaches and which right human reason itself demands, that all things be directed to God as the first and supreme end of all created activity, and that all created good under God be considered as mere instruments to be used only in so far as they conduce to the attainment of the supreme end.
Pius XI
...Recess continues for several days... Have a Holy Lent!

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

Exactly right, in my opinion. I wonder how this compares with Benedict XVi's social encyclical? I've never read it entirely.

shane said...

Ironically in the 1940s Ireland was for a period the largest creditor nation per capita in the world.

Ah the bad old days.

Tom the Milkman said...

"Hence arises that unquenchable thirst for riches and temporal goods, which has at all times impelled men to break God's laws and trample upon the rights of their neighbors, but which, on account of the present system of economic life, is laying far more numerous snares for human frailty."

Preach, Holy Father! Preach to the proud West! The prophetic aspects of that magnificent papacy should be a burning interest to the whole world, alas.

Hibernicus said...

Ireland was better off by far when under British rule. Maybe when the Queen visits in a few months she can be persuaded to accept us back into her dominions?

Anonymous said...

Pius XI's Quadragesimo Anno went hand in hand with his Quas Primas and Mortalium Animos.

While Benedict XVI certainly has some good, wholesome things to say here, and presumably would still subscribe to Quadragesimo Anno, the sad fact is that he and his two immediate primary predecessors clearly have placed themselves at odds to some meaningful degree with Quas Primas and Mortalium Animos and what is meaningfully implicit within them. You can't have a functioning wristwatch with only some of the components.

With only one leg, at best, left of Pius XI's three-legged encyclical stool, there is little reason to be surprised at the continuing decline of what used to be Catholic Europe.

Joe B said...

Neither the West nor the East nor anybody else will give up the pursuit of a more comfortable life, so some great saint needs to figure out how to encourage the Zacharias (scripture's rich but holy tax collector) solution. This is the one real difference I see in the world of the last hundred years versus all the rest - we simply have a much higher standard of living. Yes, there are many exceptions, mostly due to corrupt or stupid political leaders, but the trend even there is away from horses, mules and camels toward cars, cellphones, and electrical devices. And you know we're not going back. Forget it. We'll just become more and more marginalized if that's our solution.

How do we save souls in wealthier and wealthier societies, church? Maybe the Lenten message is part of the solution - sacrifice temporarily for the good of your soul. But I have never read of Catholicism thriving in wealthy, leisurely societies, so I'm not optimistic. And yes, I'm as guilty as the next shlub. I'm not going to heat my house by burning firewood if I don't have to.

Joe B said...

Something tells me that a major part of this is the war on babies and families. Larger families are a natural preventative against too much leisure and wealth, and the benefits are better than wealth. So maybe it comes down to a stronger war on contraception, pornography, abortion, prostitution, etc., and a much better "packaging" of the benefits of larger families and a greater commitment to raising them. But can that be sold today? It seems the venerable old Mass somehow sells it, but then maybe those attracted to it have just already bought in. Still, I think that's a key component to saving souls in a wealthy society.

Jordanes551 said...

Nitpick alert!

"Zacchaeus" rather than "Zacharias."

Joe B said...

Thanks, Jordanes. I meant to look that up before posting but the same brain that failed in the original thought also failed in the corrective.

Anonymous said...

Dear Hibernicus,

be careful what you wish for. For even the Queen's Dominions are not what they used to be in Ireland's glory days.

See it is now illegal for the Catholic Church to run adoption centres in the UK because of its counter-cultural stands.

And the Queen presides over that and the ubiquitosity of a certain Sir Elton John and his paramour David whatever at her daughter-in-law's funeral.

Ireland but for a faithful remnant simply has learned to hate the Church. A clean break from the EU and a clear setting of moral financial principles, not the least of which being foundational policies restricting the amount one can borrow in comparison to his net worth and earning potential. This used to be called "living within one's means".

And so the encyclical is entirely appropriate for the current Irish (and global) malaise.

Oh that blind leaders would be dropped unceremoniously and immediately into the pit, to spare the few seeing and the easily-led blind away of it.

May the godless EU be drowned in the hoary waters of its godless mother (nee Babylonia) and the phoenix of Christendom arise above those chaotic waters soon.

Sincerely, Neophyte

Anonymous said...

Ah well, if England had lost the First World War German hegemony would have become a reality anyway. Not such a bad thing. Ireland is too small to be a sovereign nation:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prince_Joachim_of_Prussia#cite_note-1