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Winter 2009: Religious Doublespeak - Economic Thought of the Catholic Church
Publish date: Feb 24, 2009
Summary: Language can be used to communicate both truth and lies. Learn about the religious doublespeak being used to pull the wool over the eyes of the world.
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In the previous religious doublespeak article, we learned that doublespeak is “language that makes the bad seem good, the negative appear positive, the unpleasant appear attractive or at least tolerable…Basic to doublespeak is incongruity, the incongruity between what is said or left unsaid and what really is...between the essential function of language—communication—and what doublespeak does: mislead, distort, deceive...obfuscate.”i
We learned that in order to understand what people mean, we need to understand where they are coming from, and that if we don’t understand a speaker’s background or their jargon, we may be missing some critical implications.
As an example, we looked at Pope Benedict XVI’s address from New York on April 19, 2008, and his use of the words “natural law,” “reason,” and “good will” as defined by Roman Catholic thought.
We learned that natural law is central to Roman Catholic theology and involves the control of all aspects of society. This “natural law,” we learned, is governed by “reason,” a term originating from the French Revolution and its “goddess of reason.” We read the horrifying statement that the Pope’s will stands for reason and that the theology of natural law recognizes only people of good will—good will towards Catholicism and its principles, that is.
In this issue, we will examine further evidence of the natural law theory upon which Roman Catholicism bases its economic, political, social, and ethical policies and attitudes.
The Economic Thought of the Roman Catholic ChurchCommon Property – Fascism
Thomas Aquinas is a Catholic philosopher and theologian who is considered by the Catholic Church to be its greatest theologian and a doctor of the Church. His thinking is apparently “foundational for understanding the economic thought of the Roman Church-State.”ii Aquinas believes in the socialist idea of communal possessions. He wrote in Summa Theologiae ii-ii 5th article, “the possession of all things in common is the natural law…‘the possession of all things in common and universal freedom’ are said to be of the natural law because, to wit, the distinction of possessions and slavery were not brought in by nature, but devised by human reason for the benefit of human life.”
“The community of goods,” wrote Thomas, “is ascribed to the natural law, not that the natural law dictates that all things should be possessed in common and that nothing should be possessed as one’s own, but because the division of possessions is not according to the natural law, but rather arose from human agreement, ...the ownership of possessions is not contrary to the natural law, but an addition thereto devised by human reason...Hence, whatever certain people have in superabundance is due, by natural law, to the purpose of succorring the poor” (2nd and 7th articles).
So, as Rome sees it, property is for common good. You may own it, but it is for common good. Whatever you have that is more than you need will be given to others. Does this mean in practical terms that if you own anything, you will be taxed to death so that the state may collect revenues to support those who have not?
It may also mean, as has happened in South Africa, that if your house is vacant, squatters may come in to occupy your home, and nothing is done to remove them, while you continue to pay the bills. Make no mistake, such things have happened.
Pius XI tells us this in his 1931 encyclical Quadragesimo Anno:
Under fascism, property owners may keep their property titles and deeds, but the use of their property is, as Leo XIII wrote, “common”. Fascism is a form of socialism that retains the forms and trappings of capitalism, but not its substance. Under fascism, property titles and deeds are intact, but the institution of private property has disappeared. Government regulations and mandates have replaced it. For this distinction between legal ownership and actual use, the fascists owe a debt to the Roman Church-State.iii
Redistribution of Wealth
John Paul II wrote this in Sollicitudo Rei Socialis (On Social Concern) in 1987:
...the goods of this world are originally meant for all. The right to private property is valid and necessary, but it does not nullify the value of this principle. Private property, in fact, is under a ‘social mortgage’, which means that it has an intrinsically social function, based upon and justified precisely by the principle of the universal destination of goods.iv
In the same document, Pope John Paul also wrote that in today’s world “we are faced with a serious problem of unequal distribution of the means of subsistence originally meant for everybody” (emphasis added).v
It sounds like the economic theory being espoused here is redistribution of wealth.
That is, in fact, exactly what it is. But it gets worse. Because the goods of some are due to others according to natural law, it is not considered sinful for the poor take the goods of their neighbors. Thomas continues in his Summa Theologiae ii-ii, 7th article, “In cases of need, all things are common property, so that there would seem to be no sin in taking another’s property, for need has made it common.”
Not only is such taking of another’s property not a sin, it is not even a crime, according to Thomas:
...it is lawful for a man to succor his own need by means of another’s property by taking it either openly or secretly; nor is this, properly speaking, theft and robbery... It is not theft, properly speaking, to take secretly and use another’s property in a case of extreme need; because that which he takes for the support of his life becomes his own property by reason of that need...In a case of a like need, a man may also take secretly another’s property in order to succor his neighbour in need (7th article).
According to this statement, your neighbor determines the need. And, according to Thomas Aquinas’ article, it is even lawful for you to steal for your neighbor’s need!
Roman Catholic economic thought, as developed by the popes in their encyclicals and by Roman Church-State councils, has contributed to these political viewpoints:
Feudalism and guild socialism in Europe during the Middle Ages and in the 20th century
Fascism in Italy, Spain, Portugal, Croatia, and Latin America
Nazism in Germany
Interventionismvi and the redistributive state in the West, including the United States
Liberation theologyvii in Latin America and Africa
The 36th US President Lyndon Johnson had this Marxist principle as his creed during his “Great Society”viii initiative: “We shall take from the haves and give to the have-nots, who need it so much.” The same attitude appears in the literature of fascism, Nazism, liberation theology, interventionism, and socialism.
Let us now look at two papal encyclicals that are particularly relevant to today’s political and economic issues: Pope Leo’s Rerum Novarum (1891) and Pope Paul VI’s Populorum Progressio (1967):
Those familiar with Rerum Novarum, outlined by Walter Veith in Total Onslaught’s New World Order, will know that it is one of the Roman Church-State’s most influential statements on economic matters, in which Rome lays down for all humankind “unerring rules for the right solution of the difficult problem of human solidarity.”ix Pius XI mentions in his encyclical Quadragesimo Anno (1931) that Rerum Novarum was instrumental in ending laissez-faire capitalismx in the twentieth century by ushering in the era of “effective interference” by the government. “Rerum Novarum...was the voice of moral authority needed to ensure the development of effective interference by all governments in the twentieth century.”xi
Let’s clarify what he is saying. It was because of Rerum Novarum that governments began to change in the 20th century. So much for arguments that we rest our ideas of Catholicism on outdated 19th century quotations. The attitudes dispalyed in these very quotations have been shaping our world today. See for yourself in this next quote from 1931:
Under the guidance and in light of Leo’s encyclical was thus evolved a truly Christian social science, which continues to be fostered and enriched daily by the tireless labours of those picked men whom we have named the auxiliaries of the Church...The doctrine of Rerum Novarum began little by little to penetrate among those who, being outside Catholic unity, do not recognize the authority of the Church; and these Catholic principles of sociology gradually became part of the intellectual heritage of the whole human race...Thus too, we rejoice that the Catholic truths proclaimed so vigorously by our illustrious Predecessor [Leo XIII in 1891’s Rerum Novarum], are advanced and advocated not merely in non-Catholic books and journals, but frequently also in legislative assemblies and in courts of justice” (emphasis added).xii
Remember this quote as we study what is currently happening in the world. Here is proof that Roman Catholic policies, principles, and doctrine have penetrated secular venues to such an extent that individuals who otherwise have no allegiance to or connection with the Roman Catholic Church are promoting its agenda. How many of those individuals don’t even know that they have been influenced to believe and think as someone else would have them believe and think? And how was this accomplished? The Roman Church-State tells us: “by the tireless labours of those picked men” who are “auxiliaries of the Church.”
These picked men, auxiliaries of the Church, can be none other than the Jesuits. They have sworn allegiance to the Pope, swearing to take any guise, even that of the Protestant, in order to achieve the Catholic Church’s aims.
According to Pope Benedict’s most recent encyclical, Caritas in Veritate, Pope Paul VI’s encyclical Populorum Progressio “deserves to be considered ‘the Rerum Novarum of the present age’”.xiii So what does it have to say that is so pivotal for our day?
...each man has therefore the right to find in the world what is necessary for himself. The recent Council [Editor’s Note: “The Council” refers to Vatican II which issued the Constitution entitled Gaudium et Spes] reminded us of this: “God intended the earth and all that it contains for the use of every human being and people. Thus, as all men follow justice and unite in charity, created goods should abound for them on a reasonable basis.” All other rights whatsoever, including those of property and of free commerce, are to be subordinated to this principle.xiv
Gaudium et Spes explains, “if one is in extreme necessity he has the right to procure for himself what he needs out of the riches of others.”xv Here once more, stealing is endorsed. And we are told by Pope Benedict that this document and its principles codified at Vatican II are to be considered today’s definitive statement on social doctrine.
Therefore, because private property is immoral, all men – individuals and governments – have the moral obligation to redistribute goods held unjustly by property owners (emphasis added).xvi
Pope Benedict’s 2009 encyclical Caritas in Veritate underscores this belief loud and clear by claiming that the current economic crisis was created primarily in and by the private sector. We will be looking at this most recent encyclical in our next issue.
Here is John Paul II in Laborem Exercens:
“[all men must have] access to those goods which are intended for common use: both the goods of nature and manufactured goods.”xviiIf it is not already abundantly clear, it is time to separate ourselves emotionally from our property. The time is coming when we will suffer heavy taxation or have our belongings taken away from us to support this new order. Today we are seeing this economic plan being put into practice before our eyes.
According to Second Vatican Council document Gaudium et Spes, “The complex circumstances of our day make it necessary for public authority to intervene more often in social, economic and cultural matters.”xviii
Aren’t we seeing this happening in the US?
“The experiment with economic freedom,” Pius XI wrote in 1965, “must end, and economic life must again be subjected to planning and government.”xixAnd indeed life as we have known it is ending.
The Environmental Disguise
As we look back at history since 1965, we can see that the Second Vatican Council has indeed succeeded in bringing the world around to Catholicism’s theories. And the environment is being used as a crisis point for implementing world domination strategies.
Under Agenda 21, established in 1992 at the Rio Earth Summit, a global infrastructure has been set in place that will manage, count, and control all of the world’s assets. This will include all agricultural lands and pastures, forests, deserts, water sources, city systems, production systems, air quality, and technology. It will affect every aspect of living, whether it be farming, manufacturing, research, medicine, or even people.
Agenda 21 and its program of action will, amongst other things, “turn freedom into bondage and life into misery as all of what we know today will be replaced with a planned electronic society in which our only value will be to produce,” says Joan Veon, author of Prince Charles: the Sustainable Prince.xx “In feudalistic times, only the king and nobility owned land and had freedom. So, too...feudalistic times will return and the lights of freedom will go out.”
Rome’s plans for redistribution of wealth will come, at least on the political frontier, using the environment as a cover.
We have looked at the social agenda of the Roman Church-State and seen that since the Reformation, the Vatican has been steadily working to regain its foothold as a world-dominating power. Ellen White says that “Rome never changes,”xxi but there are many voices who say it has. Because we have stopped listening, understanding, and believing God’s Word and His messengers, we have allowed ourselves to be duped by pleasant words.
Henry Grattan Guinness, the famous Irish theologian and missionary, wrote this in 1887:
Fifty years ago, the eminent statesman Sir Robert Peel said with remarkably clear foresight: “The day is not distant, and it may be very near, when we shall all have to fight the battle of the Reformation over again.” That day has come.
More than three centuries of emancipation from the yoke of Rome—three hundred years of Bible light and liberty—had made us over-confident, and led us to under-estimate the power and influence of the deadliest foe…Our fathers won this distinction through years of sore struggle and strife; they purchased it with their best blood, and prized it as men prize that which costs them dear. It had cost us nothing, we were born to it; we knew not its value by contrast as they did.
In the early part of this century the power of Rome was in these lands a thing of the past…The light of true knowledge had forever dispelled the dark fogs of superstition, so it was supposed; mediaeval tyrannies and cruelties cloaked under a pretence of religion could never again obtain a footing in these lands of light and liberty. We might despise and deride the corruptions and follies of Rome, but as to dreading her influence—no. She was too far gone and too feeble to inspire fear, or even watchfulness.
Our reformed faith is thus endangered both from without and from within, and it can be defended only by a resolute return to the true witness borne by saints and martyrs of other days. We must learn afresh with Divine prophecy God’s estimate of the character of the Church of Rome if we would be moved afresh to be witnesses for Christ as against this great apostasy.xxii
Adapted from They Have Made Void Thy Law Part 1 in Professor Walter Veith's Rekindling the Reformation series.
i. William Lutz, Doublespeak: Why No One Knows What Anyone’s Saying Anymore (New York: Harper Collins, 1996): 4.
ii. Henry William Spiegel, The Growth of Economic Thought, Revised (Durham: Duke University Press, 1983): 29.
iii. Pius XI, Quadragesimo Anno (1931): 58.
iv. John Paul II, Sollicitudo Rei Socialis, On Social Concern (1987) 42.
v. Ibid: 9.
vi. Interventionism is any act of government that both represents the initiation of physical force and, at the same time, stops short of imposing an all-round socialist economic system.
ix. Pius XI, Quadragesimo Anno (1931).
x. Laissez-faire capitalism is an economic system involving capitalism (ownership of property by private individuals) where individuals are allowed to “do as they wish” with little interference from government.
xi. John XXII, Mater et Magistra (1961): 46.
xii. Pius XI, Quadragesimo Anno (1931): 48.
xiii. Pope Benedict XVI, Caritas in veritate.
xiv. Paul VI, Populorum Progressio, On the Progress of Peoples (1967): 22.
xv. The Second Vatican Council, Gaudium et Spes, Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World (1965): 69.
xvi. Ibid: 40.
xvii. John Paul II, Laborem Exercens (1981): 46.
xviii. Second Vatican Council, Gaudium et Spes (1965): 75.
xvix. Pius XI, Quadragesimo Anno (1931): 66.
xx. Joan Veon, Prince Charles: the Sustainable Prince (Oklahoma: Hearthstone Publishing, 1998).
xxi. Review and Herald (June 1, 1886).
John W. Robbins, Ecclesiastical Megalomania: The Economic and Political Thought of the Roman Catholic Church, (The Trinity Foundation, 1999).
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