Tuesday, July 07, 2009

The Pope's Encyclical

Pope Benedict has released his encyclical on economic justice. It's left of all the policies of the two main parties in the United States. He explicitly advocates income transfers to the poor via the government and government regulation and control of the marketplaces. But he equally explicitly argues against abortion and any kind of birth control. I wonder what American progressives think of that mix? I also wonder how real economic justice could come about in a world where women are not allowed much self-determination. But that's because I'm a horrible feminazi.

A few quotes from him:

In his encyclical, Benedict calls for charity guided by truth. "Charity demands justice: recognition and respect for the legitimate rights of individuals and peoples," he says. "Justice must be applied to every phase of economic activity, because this is always concerned with man and his needs," he writes. "Locating resources, financing, production, consumption and all the other phases in the economic cycle inevitably have moral implications. Thus every economic decision has a moral consequence."

The encyclical notes the globalization that has taken place since Paul's encyclical was issued over 40 years ago. Alas, "as society becomes ever more globalized, it makes us neighbors but does not make us brothers." True "development of peoples depends, above all, on a recognition that the human race is a single family working together in true communion, not simply a group of subjects who happen to live side by side." The goal of such development is "rescuing peoples, first and foremost, from hunger, deprivation, endemic diseases and illiteracy."

We are all gonna be brothers, I guess! Brother Echidne.

I'm pleased with the Pope's economic views, of course, even though I'm not sure what influence they will have on, say, the Catholics on the U.S. Supreme Court.