Catholic, encyclical Caritas in Veritate, environmentalism, new world order, Obama, Pope Benedict XVI, redistribution of wealth, social issues, unions, Vatican Pontifical Council
No doubt you have heard that President Obama met with Pope Benedict XVI yesterday. By all accounts the meeting was cordial on both sides, and both men got their respective points across. This is in keeping with reports from the Vatican, that insiders there actually have great hope for working with this President, contrary to the beliefs and dare we say hopes of the reactionary conservative Catholic branch in this country. As one forum poster put it, “I just don’t understand why they were smiling at him like they actually were happy to have him there!” Another answered cryptically, “Why it’s perfectly understandable that the Pope would be friendly with Obama, the last Pope is friendly with the antichrist.” So much from the peanut gallery.
Such bizarre thoughts are no doubt fueled by the release of Pope Benedict’s encyclical, Caritas in Veritate, or Charity in Truth. In it, while addressing as one would expect, the usual issues of abortion and other life issues, the Pope took a bold step in calling for a move away from a free market economy so beloved by the religious right in this country. In fact, he called for what some would argue sounds much like a “new world order.”
Now, to some in the extreme right of the Roman Catholic Church, and surely to all those fundamentalist evangelicals, such talk is dare we say apocryphal? It brings forth all that noise about the antichrist and Armageddon and all that jazz. Right in line with the barely subtle argument that Obama will be the leader of the NWO and that will make him, according to some, the antichrist, which brings on Jesus and his legions returning from heaven, all just after I guess the faithful are gathered into the clouds in a twinkling, no doubt to get their horses to join in the Jesus army.
This all comes from our dear friend Jack van Impe, linked above. He’s been a preachin’ the end times for 50 or more years, always that said times were “any minute now.” He’s been claiming that Benedict was on the same page with him, though I find that highly doubtful. Jack has a way of stretching the scripture and most else he reads (400 periodicals a month he claims) a tad. So I’m not sure if the encyclical supports or not his current views of how close we are to Jesus return. He can improvise pretty darn quickly in my opinion.
In any event, the Catholic right is not so very pleased with the Pope’s pronouncements. More or less, they tend to be in favor of business, and free markets, and against any such nonsense as global warming, labor unions, and stuff like that. Worse, the Pope actually talked about REDISTRIBUTION of wealth. You remember the horror that caused with Plumber Joe and all the sanctimonious Fox Noise people as they screamed that Obama was a socialist about to “redistribute wealth” across the nation.
The political left, and religious left, as you might imagine are rather more warming to the Pope on this encyclical. They find much to be pleased with, and see in some sense that the Roman Church is acknowledging what they have believed for a long time, namely that the Church has always evinced a strong socially aware message to the world. Echoes of Rerum Novarum cannot be missed here.
A more reasoned approach comes from Catholic Culture, which sees this as a clash between Benedict and his more liberal Pontifical Council for peace and justice. Benedict, it is claimed rejected 2-3 drafts of the encyclical, determined to keep it within his theological framework. Still, it seems the progressives in the Church have much to be happy about, for it is being widely reported that it leans to left, and as we have seen again and again, perception is everything in politics.
I don’t know what all this means in practicalities since it doesn’t seem that the Vatican wields much power across the globe in terms of real pressure. But it is gratifying to see that the progressive arm of the church still seems to have some input into the decision making process, and it seems the Obama administration can feel that in some sense it has a ally in the Vatican City. Meanwhile, the ultra conservative left will attempt to spin this in a manner than most favorably supports their views.
It seems, that both sides got something, but on balance, I think politically the left is a bit happier today.
Great post, Sherry! I could care less which way this event leans…..I’m thrilled that Obama and the Pope had a meeting. The more poeple get together and exchange ideas, the better.
Truer words were never spoken Jeannelle. I’m convinced the solution to the global problems we face are increased multinational cooperation. Religion can fuel that, it certainly has in the past.
i have a hard time getting past Benedicts reinstatement of Richard Williamson – I dont know where it stands right now, but the fact that it even happened….
Yep, I agree DC. I’ve never been a fan of Benedict, he’s just another in the way too conservative for me tradition.
Anthony Kalnoky said:
What is Pope Benedict ‘way too conservative’ to you, Sherry? All the ‘complaints’ have been he’se too ‘liberal’. Catholic Social doctrine has always been ‘liberal’.
The Pope 50 years before the discovery of the America’s Condeming Slavery when it was The In thing to do in the entire world. Bondage when not slavery was The Norm in the 1400’s and on.
Ruth Hull Chatlien said:
I’m no Benedict fan either. The fact that he is meeting with Obama makes me like him minutely more. At least, I guess, he is still talking to us liberal heretics.
Indeed. I have to laugh at my conservative Catholic friends who are rather put out at the friendly meeting!
Anthony Kalnoky said:
But you fail to mention what Veritas in Ceritas found, Sherry! It is a Refutation of Excessive Capitalism, Which has massivelly robbed the poor and middle class in thne USA, and the World, as Result of Globalization/Mega Money Rule of the USA now.
Pope John Paul II The Great (The Reson Communism and the USSR collapsed, according to the Collapsor of the USSR, Russian Orthodox Gorbachov) also Very Similarly Blamed Capitalism as the Principal problem in the working poor getting poorer.
Good to reread the very Essence of Veritas in Ceritas, Sherry.
And Political labels of liberal/conservative belong in Politics, not in Theology.
Also, The Catholic Church is Very Very much against Capital Punishment, which is supported by only about 5 countries in the World: Red China – – Capital Punishment against politiscians convicted of graft —- Yemen, Saudia and a couple more backward countries.
And the Catholic Church is very much For Living Wage, not minimum wage.
Very activelly pursuing all, activelly, as well as War, torture, all injustice as Christ taught, not as congregations vote.
And a Pope 50 years before ‘discovery’ of the Americas, condemned Slavery, Very most publically, while it was the norm, widelly practiced.
That is to say, The Pope about 1450 Resoundingly Condemned Slavery.
The Catholic Church is Morality, Theology, not politics.
Anthony, I agree, the RCC has a fine record of statements in favor of many liberal positions on social issues. I applaud them for that. It’s just that the religious right really doesn’t agree with most of them, since they buy into the conservative political theology expressed by the Republican party. I tend to think that most Catholics actually support these issues, and obviously they support Obama as well.
Anthony Kalnoky said:
Its not the fine record of Statements, Sherry. It is the strongly proven Actions by The Church: Very Very strong Bishop’s opposition to Capital Punishment, across the USA; Texas and Virginia being highhest Capital Death rates in the world!
And Catholic Bishops Again last year opened more Inner City Schools to More non-Catholic Minority, Poor children. That was done 50 years ago by My Grade school Sisters, who operated Black Grade schoolls also in Mobile AL, before integration.
And Both recent Popes were 100% against all Reagan/George W false wars, and all Torture.
And strongly support Substantive, not minimum wage.
And Catholic Charities is by Far the vastest Charity in the world, with tiniest overhead. Tiny!
Etc, Etc. We are not for Gay Marriage, Because the Equipment ain’t right. And God does not want blessings of evil/wrong.
The Operative of Ceritas in Veritate is Morality, not Profits. Period! Not Both. Morality ONLY.
John Paul II the Great virtually condemned Capitalism more than Communism.
I don’t waste my time on phony ‘preachers’ like Jack van Impe! The Bible speaks of them going directly to Hell, with false teachings to tickle the ear.
Anthony, I have no quarrel with the fact that Catholic charities have done much in the world, and the Church has spoken clearly on war and the death penalty. I applaud them for that.
rick allen said:
It is, to put it mildly, a little discouraging that Catholic ethical and social doctrines are routinely forced into the conventional (and artificial) “conservative/progressive” dichotomy of American political factions, as if there were some philosophical inconsistency in advocating the sanctity of life, the value of chastity, and the importance of a just social order.
Anthony Kalnoky said:
Indeed, Rick, Politics should have nothing to do with Relogion, Theology except basic Morality, what is moral, what isn’t.
False profits are immoral. It is determining what profits are false that is the question, for others.
The Pope has spoken, in Writing, that too many avoid. Morality should rule, not profits.
Politics and theology are different critters. Belong in different corrals.
But Morality should Never be ignored. Ever.
Yes Rick, perhaps it is unfortunate but we do live in that kind of world. Some might restructure that to be orthodox and non-orthodox in relation to social issues I guess, but unfortunately, what you often find is that with those who profess an ultra-orthodoxy in church matters such as a return to the latin mass, denigration of much of Vatican II and wrong, etc, you often find a republican religious right conservative who favors the death penalty, applauds wars of agression against Muslims, and votes on only the issue of abortion as controlling all other decisions. I invite you to drop by Catholic Answers and get a load of some of what goes on there in the name of “orthodoxy”. The Vatican is none too pleased with the growing rigidity and cozy world that is ensuing between the GOP and the Catholic religious right. It is they we are determined to enter the political arena as a religious force, much as the evangelicals did via the “moral majority” some years ago.
Anthony Kalnoky said:
And, Sherry, Living wage, “War on Poverty”, Racial Justice, basic Human Rights, and basically all issues.
My College Professors and Nuns Marched in Freedom Marches with Blacks in the South Before 1954, before the Montgomery Bus Boycott.
And when Ki Klux Klan made the Big Mistake of coming out to my Jesuit Spring Hill College Campus, Mobile AL to burn a cross in early 1950’s, they had to split REAL QUICK as Men Peeled out of Men’s Dorms with Baseball Bats, ROTC Rifles, etc. Ku Klux never even thought of returning!
The Catholic Church is one of a Very Few respectors of Same Sex proclivity. Most churches just Bash them.
Anthony you know I never bash Catholicism, just some folks in Catholicism is all. The Church remains a much respected insitution and has played a seminal role in world culture and politics, much for the good.
rick allen said:
“…those who profess an ultra-orthodoxy in church matters such as a return to the latin mass, denigration of much of Vatican II and wrong, etc, you often find a republican religious right conservative who favors the death penalty, applauds wars of agression against Muslims, and votes on only the issue of abortion as controlling all other decisions.”
There is so much to unpack in a sentence like this. What can “ultra-orthodoxy” mean? Seems to me that, if one departs from the teaching of the Church, whether in sexual or social ethics, one becomes less orthodox, not more. People can claim what they like, but the Magisterium isn’t hidden or that hard to figure out. Clever people can of course twist anything to fit their desires.
How Latin comes into it is interesting. Personally, I love Latin, and would love more of it in the mass, but I don’t see what that has to do with “ultra-orthodoxy.” In fact, Vatican II calls for the retention of Latin in the mass; the ubiquity of the vernacular was a post-Vatican II development. And though I may have views about its utility, those views are just that, views, kind of like what kind of music I prefer. Whatever my views, I’m not given to dictating these things, and recognize that sometimes, like deciding what side of the street you drive on, it’s more important to get everyone on the same page than getting completely right that this page is better to be on than that one.
The obvious fact that there is in infidelity of the right as well as an infidelity of the left simply means we can’t “automatically” adhere to the faith by adhering to our parties or factions or whatever side of the asile we cling to.
the Ultra orthodox Rick, I would define as those who wish to push their agenda on the world, and wish all who don’t agree with Church teaching to be booted out. They don’t believe in personal conscience but believe the Church is authorized to tell them what to believe. That is my definition anyway. They are rigid to the point of being essentially fundamentalist in outlook although this is frowned upon by the Vatican. They are not afraid to speak against the Pope when he is not conservative enough on social issues. That is where I get the ultra from. They are completely and pretty much totally intolerant. They are the ones “informing” on those they consider unworthy of Eucharist. They speak of it quite a bit, and are quick to complain to bishops for “liberal” acting priests and religious.
I love latin too, but they define the English mass derived from Vatican II as horrid and unacceptable. They want all masses in latin and latin only. I’ll defer to your greater expertise if you claim it was post Vatican II, though I was not taught that.
I guess I see the right as unwilling to even dialog on these issues of difference. They routinely dismiss anything written by “liberal” Catholic periodicals and such as a waste of time and garbage.
Frankly, I speak of an internet faction that is probably unknown in most parishes. Some of them even joke about how their priests dislike them and call them troublemakers, but they are the ones we hear of when it comes to things like Notre Dame and Obama. They consider any vote for a pro-choice candidate to be evil, they consider Obama to be the anti-christ, and I’m quite serious about that. We had a whole thread on these issues at CAF and surprisingly many Catholics agreed that things are out of hand and becoming intolerant. There are quite a few articles and such written largely by Catholics talking about the increasing stridency among this small group. I wish it were not so. This kind of extremism is not helpful to us in this crisis of finding a way to understand each other and respect one another.
Thanks Rick, you do make good points always and certainly make me think. I respect your thoughts more than you realize.
Anthony Kalnoky said:
Just to clarify, Sherry, the ‘English Mass derived from Vatican II’ is a far Earlier form of Mass than the Tridentine of 500 years ago.
Vatican II expended a lot of research effort on earliest Masses. The Novus Ordo is in Fact a reconastructed from Research 2nd Century Mass, with the “Sign of Peace” begun by the Apostles as the Kiss of Peace in the East was left out by the Tridentine Mass of 5 centuries ago.
A couple of prayers said by the Priest, in Christ’s Stead, Were Used by the celebrant in the First 2 Centuries, documented the Paperback “Mass of the Early Christians”, Our Sunday Visitor, Mike Aquilina (A Convert). Fascinating reading: the positioning of the congregation, Pre-Dawn weekday Masses for Farmers, etc.
The Basics of the Mass have always been the same from the Last Supper Sadar Feast.
But the “Traditional” Tridentine Mass was Priest Centered new ideas, leaving the Congregation out as observers only.
Novus Ordo is quite Second Century, and Tridentine is very New, 1500’s.
OK? lol. Have fun with That..
By the way, the Tridentine Mass is Very Long, and tough to follow. I’ve had an Orthodox Leader ask me if it may be OK to Abbreviate the Very long Divine Liturgy. I said nope, don’t fool with History. Look what happenned when women were empowered as Bishops, Priests, and congregations began spliting. Nothing against women priests, but the truelly horrid Christmas Eve ‘service’ of a woman priest reading Christmas stories to kids took me aback. Kids stories Christmas Eve? What about Christmas? Was past kids bedtime; few were there. And Regionally Televised around DC.
Wow, thanks Anthony. I was Catholic during the Novus Ordo mass which is very very similar to what we do in the Episcopal Church. We moved the sign of peace from after the Our Father to before the consecration.
I like it better there, since it doesn’t distract from the solemnity of the consecration and eucharist. But I very much appreciate your explanation of the Tridentine mass.