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Author Topic: Christians/Politics/& the common good  (Read 3889 times)

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Re: Christians/Politics/& the common good
« Reply #15 on: April 01, 2012, 11:11:31 AM »
Excerpts from -
Populorum Progressio
Encyclical Letter of His Holiness Pope Paul VI promulgated on March 26, 1967

Then quite recently, in Our desire to carry out the wishes of the Council and give specific expression to the Holy See's contribution to this great cause of peoples in development, We considered it Our duty to set up a Pontifical Commission in the Church's central administration, charged with "bringing to the whole of God's People the full knowledge of the part expected of them at the present time, so as to further the progress of poorer peoples, to encourage social justice among nations, to offer to less developed nations the means whereby they can further their own progress":[8] its name, which is also its programme, is Justice and Peace. We think that this can and should bring together men of good will with our Catholic sons and our Christian brothers. So it is to all that We address this solemn appeal for concrete action towards man's complete development and the development of all mankind.

10. Furthermore, the conflict between traditional civilizations and the new elements of industrial civilization break down structures which do not adapt themselves to new conditions. Their framework, sometimes rigid, was the indispensable prop to personal and family life; older people remain attached to it, the young escape from it, as from a useless barrier, to turn eagerly to new forms of life in society. The conflict of the generations is made more serious by a tragic dilemma: whether to retain ancestral institutions and convictions and renounce progress, or to admit techniques and civilizations from outside and reject along with the traditions of the past all their human richness. In effect, the moral, spiritual and religious supports of the past too often give way without securing in return any guarantee of a place in the new world .

11. In this confusion the temptation becomes stronger to risk being swept away towards types of messianism which give promises but create illusions. The resulting dangers are patent: violent popular reactions, agitation towards insurrection, and a drifting towards totalitarian ideologies. Such are the data of the problem. Its seriousness is evident to all.

13. However, local and individual undertakings are no longer enough. The present situation of the world demands concerted action based on a clear vision of all economic, social, cultural, and spiritual aspects. Experienced in human affairs, the Church, without attempting to interfere in any way in the politics of States, "seeks but a solitary goal: to carry forward the work of Christ Himself under the lead of the befriending Spirit. And Christ entered this world to give witness to the truth, to rescue and not to sit in judgment, to serve and not to be served".[12] Founded to establish on earth the Kingdom of heaven and not to conquer any earthly power, the Church clearly states that the two realms are distinct, just as the two powers, ecclesiastical and civil, are supreme, each in its own domain.[13] But, since the Church lives in history, she ought to "scrutinize the signs of the times and interpret them in the light of the Gospel".[14] Sharing the noblest aspirations of men and suffering when she sees them not satisfied, she wishes to help them attain their full flowering, and that is why she offers men what she possesses as her characteristic attribute: a global vision of man and of the human race.

14 Development cannot be limited to mere economic growth. In order to be authentic, it must be complete: integral, that is, it has to promote the good of every man and of the whole man. As an eminent specialist has very rightly and emphatically declared: " We do not believe in separating the economic from the human, nor development from the civilizations in which it exists. What we hold important is man, each man and each group of men, and we even include the whole of humanity".[15]

16. However, this self-fulfillment is not something optional. Just as the whole of creation is ordained to its Creator, so spiritual beings should of their own accord orientate their lives to God, the first truth and the supreme good. Thus it is that human fulfillment constitutes, as it were, a summary of our duties. But there is much more: this harmonious enrichment of nature by personal and responsible effort is ordered to a further perfection. By reason of his union with Christ, the source of life, man attains to new fulfillment of himself, to a transcendent humanism which gives him his greatest possible perfection: this is the highest goal of personal development.

17. But each man is a member of society. He is part of the whole of mankind. It is not just certain individuals, but all men who are called to this fullness of development. Civilizations are born, develop and die. But humanity is advancing along the path of history like the waves of a rising tide encroaching gradually on the shore. We have inherited from past generations, and we have benefited from the work of our contemporaries: for this reason we have obligations towards all, and we cannot refuse to interest ourselves in those who will come after us to enlarge the human family. The reality of human solidarity, which is a benefit for us, also imposes a duty.

20. If further development calls for the work of more and more technicians, even more necessary is the deep thought and reflection of wise men in search of a new humanism which will enable modern man to find himself anew by embracing the higher values of love and friendship, of prayer and contemplation.[17] This is what will permit the fullness of authentic development, a development which is for each and all the transition from less human conditions to those which are more human.

21. Less human conditions: the lack of material necessities for those who are without the minimum essential for life, the moral deficiencies of those who are mutilated by selfishness. Less human conditions: oppressive social structures, whether due to the abuses of ownership or to the abuses of power, to the exploitation of workers or to unjust transactions. Conditions that are more human: the passage from misery towards the possession of necessities, victory over social scourges, the growth of knowledge, the acquisition of culture. Additional conditions that are more human: increased esteem for the dignity of others, the turning toward the spirit of poverty,[18] cooperation for the common good, the will and desire for peace. Conditions that are still more human: the acknowledgment by man of supreme values, and of God their source and their finality. Conditions that, finally and above all, are more human: faith, a gift of God accepted by the good will of man, and unity in the charity of Christ, Who calls us all to share as sons in the life of the living God, the Father of all men.

22. "Fill the earth and subdue it":[19] the Bible, from the first page on, teaches us that the whole of creation is for man, that it is his responsibility to develop it by intelligent effort and by means of his labor to perfect it, so to speak, for his use. If the world is made to furnish each individual with the means of livelihood and the instruments for his growth and progress, each man has therefore the right to find in the world what is necessary for himself. The recent Council 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"[20] All other rights whatsoever, including those of property and of free commerce, are to be subordinated to this principle. They should not hinder but on the contrary favor its application. It is a grave and urgent social duty to redirect them to their primary finality. [/size]

23. "If someone who has the riches of this world sees his brother in need and closes his heart to him, how does the love of God abide in him?."[21] It is well known how strong were the words used by the Fathers of the Church to describe the proper attitude of persons who possess anything towards persons in need. To quote Saint Ambrose: "You are not making a gift of your possessions to the poor person. You are handing over to him what is his. For what has been given in common for the use of all, you have arrogated to yourself. The world is given to all, and not only to the rich".[22] That is, private property does not constitute for anyone an absolute and unconditioned right. No one is justified in keeping for his exclusive use what he does not need, when others lack necessities. In a word, "according to the traditional doctrine as found in the Fathers of the Church and the great theologians, the right to property must never be exercised to the detriment of the common good". If there should arise a conflict "between acquired private rights and primary community exigencies", it is the responsibility of public authorities "to look for a solution, with the active participation of individuals and social groups".[23]

24. If certain landed estates impede the , general prosperity because they are extensive, unused or poorly used, or because they bring hardship to peoples or are detrimental to the interests of the country, the common good sometimes demands their expropriation.

26. But it is unfortunate that on these new conditions of society a system has been constructed which considers profit as the key motive for economic progress, competition as the supreme law of economics, and private ownership of the means of production as an absolute right that has no limits and carries no corresponding social obligation. This unchecked liberalism leads to dictatorship rightly denounced by Pius XI as producing "the international imperialism of money".[26] One cannot condemn such abuses too strongly by solemnly recalling once again that the economy is at the service of man.[27] But if it is true that a type of capitalism has been the source of excessive suffering, injustices and fratricidal conflicts whose effects still persist, it would also be wrong to attribute to industrialization itself evils that belong to the woeful system which accompanied it. On the contrary one must recognize in all justice the irreplaceable contribution made by the organization of labor and of industry to what development has accomplished.

33. Individual initiative alone and the mere free play of competition could never assure successful development. One must avoid the risk of increasing still more the wealth of the rich and the dominion of the strong, whilst leaving the poor in their misery and adding to the servitude of the oppressed. Hence programs are necessary in order " to encourage, stimulate, coordinate, supplement and integrate"[35] the activity of individuals and of intermediary bodies. It pertains to the public authorities to choose, even to lay down the objectives to be pursued, the ends to be achieved, and the means for attaining these, and it is for them to stimulate all the forces engaged in this common activity.

38. In the task of development, man, who finds his life's primary environment in the family, is often aided by professional organizations. If it is their objective to promote the interests of their members, their responsibility is also great with regard to the educative task which at the same time they can and ought to accomplish. By means of the information they provide and the formation they propose, they can do much to give to all a sense of the common good and of the consequent obligations that fall upon each person.

42. What must be aimed at is complete humanism.[44] And what is that if not the fully-rounded development of the whole man and of all men? A humanism closed in on itself, and not open to the values of the spirit and to God Who is their source, could achieve apparent success. True, man can organize the world apart from God, but "without God man can organize it in the end only to man's detriment. An isolated humanism is an inhuman humanism".

43. There can be no progress towards the complete development of man without the simultaneous development of all humanity in the spirit of solidarity. As We said at Bombay: " Man must meet man, nation meet nation, as brothers and sisters, as children of God. In this mutual understanding and friendship, in this sacred communion, we must also begin to work together to build the common future of the human race".[47] We also suggested a search for concrete and practical ways of organization and cooperation, so that all available resources be pooled and thus a true communion among all nations be achieved.

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Re: Christians/Politics/& the common good
« Reply #15 on: April 01, 2012, 11:11:31 AM »

Offline Voluntary Joe

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Re: Christians/Politics/& the common good
« Reply #16 on: April 03, 2012, 06:11:42 AM »
It's great to see Christians discussing Ayn Rand. More Christians really need to understand individualism, rational self-interest and the concept of self-ownership. People need to see that it's the initiation of the use of force, in all it's forms, that's the the problem, even when the government is the one initiating the force.

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Re: Christians/Politics/& the common good
« Reply #16 on: April 03, 2012, 06:11:42 AM »


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Re: Christians/Politics/& the common good
« Reply #17 on: April 04, 2012, 04:42:56 PM »
Excerpts from -
Populorum Progressio
Encyclical Letter of His Holiness Pope Paul VI promulgated on March 26, 1967

59. The teaching of Leo XIII in Rerum Novarum is always valid: if the positions of the contracting parties are too unequal, the consent of the parties does not suffice to guarantee the justice of their contract, and the rule of free agreement remains subservient to the demands of the natural law.[57] What was true of the just wage for the individual is also true of international contracts: an economy of exchange can no longer be based solely on the law of free competition, a law which, in its turn, too often creates an economic dictatorship. Freedom of trade is fair only if it is subject to the demands of social justice.

62. Among still other obstacles which are opposed to the formation of a world which is more just and which is better organized toward a universal solidarity, We wish to speak of nationalism and racism. It is only natural that communities which have recently reached their political independence should be jealous of a national unity which is still fragile, and that they should strive to protect it. Likewise, it is to be expected that nations endowed with an ancient culture should be proud of the patrimony which their history has bequeathed to them. But these legitimate feelings should be ennobled by that universal charity which embraces the entire human family. Nationalism isolates people from their true good. It would be especially harmful where the weakness of national economies demands rather the pooling of efforts, of knowledge and of funds, in order to implement programs of development and to increase commercial and cultural exchange.

65. Such is the goal we must attain. World unity, ever more effective, should allow all peoples to become the artisans of their destiny.

70. Our second recommendation is for those whose business calls them to countries recently opened to industrialization: industrialists, merchants, leaders or representatives of larger enterprises. It happens that they are not lacking in social sensitivity in their own country; why then do they return to the inhuman principles of individualism when they operate in less developed countries? Their advantaged situation should on the contrary move them to become the initiators of social progress and of human advancement in the area where their business calls them.

72. Hence, necessary technical competence must be accompanied by authentic signs of disinterested love. Freed of all nationalistic pride and of every appearance of racism, experts should learn how to work in close collaboration with all. They realize that their competence does not confer on them a superiority in every field. The civilization which formed them contains, without doubt, elements of universal humanism, but it is not the only civilization nor does it enjoy a monopoly of valuable elements.

73. Between civilizations, as between persons, sincere dialogue indeed creates brotherhood. The work of development will draw nations together in the attainment of goals pursued with a common effort if all, from governments and their representatives to the last expert, are inspired by brotherly love and moved by the sincere desire to build a civilization founded on world solidarity. A dialogue based on man, and not on commodities or technical skills, will then begin.

76. Excessive economic, social and cultural inequalities among peoples arouse tensions and conflicts, and are a danger to peace. As We said to the Fathers of the Council when We returned from Our journey of peace to the United Nations: "The condition of the peoples in process of development ought to be the object of our consideration; or better: our charity for the poor in the world -- and there are multitudes of them -- must become more considerate, more active, more generous".[64] To wage war on misery and to struggle against injustice is to promote, along with improved conditions, the human and spiritual progress of all men, and therefore the common good of humanity. Peace cannot be limited to a mere absence of war, the result of an ever precarious balance of forces. No, peace is something that is built up day after day, in the pursuit of an order intended by God, which implies a more perfect form of justice among men.[65]

78. This international collaboration on a world-wide scale requires institutions that will prepare, coordinate and direct it, until finally there is established an order of justice which is universally recognized. With all Our heart, We encourage these organizations which have undertaken this collaboration for the development of the peoples of the world, and Our wish is that they grow in prestige and authority. "Your vocation", as We said to the representatives of the United Nations in New York, "is to bring not some people but all peoples to treat each other as brothers... Who does not see the necessity of thus establishing progressively a world authority, capable of acting effectively in the juridical and political sectors?".[66]

81. First, We appeal to all Our sons. In countries undergoing development no less than in others, the laymen should take up as their own proper task the renewal of the temporal order. If the role of the Hierarchy is to teach and to interpret authentically the norms of morality to be followed in this matter, it belongs to the laymen, without waiting passively for orders and directives, to take the initiative freely and to infuse a Christian spirit into the mentality, customs, laws and structures of the community in which they live.

84. Government officials, it is your concern to mobilize your peoples to form a more effective world solidarity, and above all to make them accept the necessary taxes on their luxuries and their wasteful expenditures, in order to bring about development and to save the peace. Delegates to international organizations, it depends on you to see that the dangerous and futile rivalry of powers should give place to collaboration which is friendly, peaceful and free of vested interests, in order to achieve a responsible development of mankind, in which all men will have an opportunity to find their fulfillment.

85. If it is true that the world is in trouble because of the lack of thinking, then We call upon men of reflection and of learning, Catholics, Christians, those who hold God in honor, who thirst for an absolute, for justice and for truth: We call upon all men of good will. Following Christ, We make bold to ask you earnestly: " seek and you shall find",[69] open the paths which lead to mutual assistance among peoples, to a deepening of human knowledge, to an enlargement of heart, to a more brotherly way of living within a truly universal human society.

From the Vatican, on the Feast of Easter, the twenty-sixth day of March in the year one thousand nine hundred and sixty-seven.


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Re: Christians/Politics/& the common good
« Reply #18 on: April 08, 2012, 09:00:13 AM »
Another look at excerpts from - CONGREGATION FOR THE DOCTRINE OF THE FAITH

on some questions regarding
The Participation of Catholics in Political Life.......
This Note is directed to the Bishops of the Catholic Church and, in a particular way, to Catholic politicians and all lay members of the faithful called to participate in the political life of democratic societies.

(Quotes from the above are in black, my comments are in blue.)

I. A constant teaching
1. The commitment of Christians in the world has found a variety of expressions in the course of the past 2000 years. One such expression has been Christian involvement in political life: Christians, as one Early Church writer stated, play their full role as citizen. Among the saints, the Church venerates many men and women who served God through their generous commitment to politics and government. Among these, Saint Thomas More, who was proclaimed Patron of Statesmen and Politicians, gave witness by his martyrdom to the inalienable dignity of the human conscience.  Though subjected to various forms of psychological pressure, Saint Thomas More refused to compromise, never forsaking the constant fidelity to legitimate authority and institutions which distinguished him; he taught by his life and his death that «man cannot be separated from God, nor politics from morality.

Of course, as a Roman Catholic, the fidelity to legitimate authority and institutions spoken of above, would naturally be foremost the Roman Catholic Church itself.  “St

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Re: Christians/Politics/& the common good
« Reply #18 on: April 08, 2012, 09:00:13 AM »


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Re: Christians/Politics/& the common good
« Reply #19 on: April 21, 2012, 02:15:30 PM »
Here is an interesting quote from an article from the Vatican, which can be found at -


"VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- For Vatican historians, the roots of a Christian idea of religious liberty go way back: in fact, back 1,700 years to the Emperor Constantine's victory on Rome's Milvian Bridge and to his conversion.

At a Vatican conference in late April marking the anniversary, the head of the Pontifical Committee for Historical Sciences said Constantine's victory in 312 under the sign of the cross was "the foundation of a new world" marked by religious freedom for Christians and separation between church and state.

However, Norbertine Father Bernard Ardura, committee president, also admitted that "many centuries would be needed" before there was a widespread recognition of full religious freedom for everyone in a pluralistic society and before a respectful church-state separation was achieved.

In fact, said Cardinal Agostino Vallini, papal vicar for Rome, it wasn't until the Second Vatican Council that the Catholic Church fully, formally recognized everyone's right to religious freedom."

The following is an edict from Constantine after supposedly becoming a "Christian"

“Victor Constantinus Maximus Augustus, to the heretics:
Understand now, by this present statute, ye Novatians,
Valentinians, Marcionites, Paulians, ye who are called
Cataphrygians, and all ye who devise and support heresies by
means of your private assemblies, with what a tissue of falsehood
and vanity, with what destructive and venomous errors, your
doctrines are inseparably interwoven; so that through you the
healthy soul is stricken with disease, and the living becomes the prey
of everlasting death. Ye haters and enemies of truth and life, in
league with destruction: All your counsels are opposed to the truth,
but familiar with deeds of baseness; fit subjects for the fabulous
follies of the stage: and by these ye frame falsehoods, oppress the
innocent, and withhold the light from them that believe. Ever
trespassing under the mask of godliness, ye fill all things with
defilement: ye pierce the pure and guileless conscience with deadly
wounds, while ye withdraw, one may almost say, the very light of
day from the eyes of men. But why should I particularize, when to
speak of your criminality as it deserves, demands more time and
leisure than I can give? For so long and unmeasured is the
catalogue of your offenses, so hateful and altogether atrocious are
they, that a single day would not suffice to recount them all. And
indeed it is well to turn one’s ears and eyes from such a subject, lest
by a description of each particular evil, the pure sincerity and
freshness of one’s own faith be impaired. Why then do I still bear
with such abounding evil; especially since this protracted clemency
is the cause that some who were sound are become tainted with this
pestilent disease? Why not at once strike, as it were, at the root of
so great a mischief by a public manifestation of displeasure?
“Forasmuch, then, as it is no longer possible to bear with your
pernicious errors, we give warning by this present statute that none
of you henceforth presume to assemble yourselves together. We
have directed, accordingly, that you be deprived of all the houses in
which you are accustomed to hold your assemblies: and our care in
this respect extends so far as to forbid the holding of your
superstitious and senseless meetings, not in public merely, but in
any private house or place whatsoever. Let those of you, therefore,
who are desirous of embracing the true and pure religion, take the
far better course of entering the Catholic Church, and uniting with
it in holy fellowship,
whereby you will be enabled to arrive at the
knowledge of the truth. In any case, the delusions of your perverted
understandings must entirely cease to mingle with and mar the
felicity of our present times; I mean the impious and wretched
doublemindedness of heretics and schismatics. For it is an object
worthy of that prosperity which we enjoy through the favor of God,
to endeavor to bring back those who in time past were living in the
hope of future blessing, from all irregularity and error, to the right
path, from darkness to light, from vanity to truth, from death to
salvation. And in order that this remedy may be applied with
effectual power, we have commanded (as before said), that you be
positively deprived of every gathering point for your superstitious
meetings; I mean all the houses of prayer (if such be worthy of the
name) which belong to heretics, and that these be made over
without delay to the Catholic Church
; that any other places be
confiscated to the public service, and no facility whatever be left for
any future gathering; in order that from this day forward none of
your unlawful assemblies may presume to appear in any public or
private place. Let this edict be made public.

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Re: Christians/Politics/& the common good
« Reply #19 on: April 21, 2012, 02:15:30 PM »


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Re: Christians/Politics/& the common good
« Reply #21 on: May 13, 2012, 01:41:09 PM »

I like it when President Obama takes a day off.  He can't do anymore damage to our country!