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Amo

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Christians/Politics/& the common good
« on: Fri Mar 16, 2012 - 08:15:35 »
The following article can be found at -

http://fare.tunes.org/liberty/library/toptt.html

The Only Path To Tomorrow

Ayn Rand

Readers Digest, January 1944, pp. 88-90

The greatest threat to mankind and civilization is the spread of the totalitarian philosophy. Its best ally is not the devotion of its followers but the confusion of its enemies. To fight it, we must understand it.

Totalitarianism is collectivism. Collectivism means the subjugation of the individual to a group — whether to a race, class or state does not matter. Collectivism holds that man must be chained to collective action and collective thought for the sake of what is called ``the common good.´´

Throughout history, no tyrant ever rose to power except on the claim of representing ``the common good.´´ Napoleon ``served the common good´´ of France. Hitler is ``serving the common good´´ of Germany. Horrors which no man would dare consider for his own selfish sake are perpetrated with a clear conscience by ``altruists´´ who justify themselves by-the common good.

No tyrant has ever lasted long by force of arms alone. Men have been enslaved primarily by spiritual weapons. And the greatest of these is the collectivist doctrine that the supremacy of the state over the individual constitutes the common good. No dictator could rise if men held as a sacred faith the conviction that they have inalienable rights of which they cannot be deprived for any cause whatsoever, by any man whatsoever, neither by evildoer nor supposed benefactor.

This is the basic tenet of individualism, as opposed to collectivism. Individualism holds that man is an independent entity with an inalienable right to the pursuit of his own happiness in a society where men deal with one another as equals.

The American system is founded on individualism. If it is to survive, we must understand the principles of individualism and hold them as our standard in any public question, in every issue we face. We must have a positive credo, a clear consistent faith.

We must learn to reject as total evil the conception that the common good is served by the abolition of individual rights. General happiness cannot be created out of general suffering and self-immolation. The only happy society is one of happy individuals. One cannot have a healthy forest made up of rotten trees.

The power of society must always be limited by the basic, inalienable rights of the individual.

The right of liberty means man's right to individual action, individual choice, individual initiative and individual property. Without the right to private property no independent action is possible.

The right to the pursuit of happiness means man's right to live for himself, to choose what constitutes his own, private, personal happiness and to work for its achievement. Each individual is the sole and final judge in this choice. A man's happiness cannot be prescribed to him by another man or by any number of other men.

These rights are the unconditional, personal, private, individual possession of every man, granted to him by the fact of his birth and requiring no other sanction. Such was the conception of the founders of our country, who placed individual rights above any and all collective claims. Society can only be a traffic policeman in the intercourse of men with one another.

From the beginning of history, two antagonists have stood face to face, two opposite types of men: the Active and the Passive. The Active Man is the producer, the creator, the originator, the individualist. His basic need is independence — in order to think and work. He neither needs nor seeks power over other men — nor can he be made to work under any form of compulsion. Every type of good work — from laying bricks to writing a symphony — is done by the Active Man. Degrees of human ability vary, but the basic principle remains the same: the degree of a man's independence and initiative determines his talent as a worker and his worth as a man.

The Passive Man is found on every level of society, in mansions and in slums, and his identification mark is his dread of independence. He is a parasite who expects to be taken care of by others, who wishes to be given directives, to obey, to submit, to be regulated, to be told. He welcomes collectivism, which eliminates any chance that he might have to think or act on his own initiative.

When a society is based on the needs of the Passive Man it destroys the Active; but when the Active is destroyed, the Passive can no longer be cared for. When a society is based on the needs of the Active Man, he carries the Passive ones along on his energy and raises them as he rises, as the whole society rises. This has been the pattern of all human progress.

Some humanitarians demand a collective state because of their pity for the incompetent or Passive Man. For his sake they wish to harness the Active. But the Active Man cannot function in harness. And once he is destroyed, the destruction of the Passive Man follows automatically. So if pity is the humanitarians' first consideration, then in the name of pity, if nothing else, they should leave the Active Man free to function, in order to help the Passive. There is no other way to help him in the long run.

The history of mankind is the history of the struggle between the Active Man and the Passive, between the individual and the collective. The countries which have produced the happiest men, the highest standards of living and the greatest cultural advances have been the countries where the power of the collective — of the government, of the state — was limited and the individual was given freedom of independent action. As examples: The rise of Rome, with its conception of law based on a citizen's rights, over the collectivist barbarism of its time. The rise of England, with a system of government based on the Magna Carta, over collectivist, totalitarian Spain. The rise of the United States to a degree of achievement unequaled in history — by grace of the individual freedom and independence which our Constitution gave each citizen against the collective.

While men are still pondering upon the causes of the rise and fall of civilizations, every page of history cries to us that there is but one source of progress: Individual Man in independent action. Collectivism is the ancient principle of savagery. A savage's whole existence is ruled by the leaders of his tribe. Civilization is the process of setting man free from men.

We are now facing a choice: to go forward or to go back.

Collectivism is not the ``New Order of Tomorrow.´´ It is the order of a very dark yesterday. But there is a New Order of Tomorrow. It belongs to Individual Man — the only creator of any tomorrows humanity has ever been granted.

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Christians/Politics/& the common good
« on: Fri Mar 16, 2012 - 08:15:35 »

Amo

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Re: Christians/Politics/& the common good
« Reply #1 on: Fri Mar 16, 2012 - 08:27:46 »
THE CHURCH OF ROME, AND THE COMMON GOOD

Excerpts from -
CONGREGATION FOR THE DOCTRINE OF THE FAITH
DOCTRINAL NOTE
on some questions regarding
The Participation of Catholics in Political Life

Indeed, all can contribute, by voting in elections for lawmakers and government officials, and in other ways as well, to the development of political solutions and legislative choices which, in their opinion, will benefit the common good.

The consequence of this fundamental teaching of the Second Vatican Council is that the lay faithful are never to relinquish their participation in ‘public life’, that is, in the many different economic, social, legislative, administrative and cultural areas, which are intended to promote organically and institutionally the common good

2. Civil society today is undergoing a complex cultural process as the end of an era brings with it a time of uncertainty in the face of something new. The great strides made in our time give evidence of humanity’s progress in attaining conditions of life which are more in keeping with human dignity.  The growth in the sense of responsibility towards countries still on the path of development is without doubt an important sign, illustrative of a greater sensitivity to the common good. 

At the same time, the value of tolerance is disingenuously invoked when a large number of citizens, Catholics among them, are asked not to base their contribution to society and political life – through the legitimate means available to everyone in a democracy – on their particular understanding of the human person and the common good. The history of the twentieth century demonstrates that those citizens were right who recognized the falsehood of relativism, and with it, the notion that there is no moral law rooted in the nature of the human person, which must govern our understanding of man, the common good and the state. 

3. Such relativism, of course, has nothing to do with the legitimate freedom of Catholic citizens to choose among the various political opinions that are compatible with faith and the natural moral law, and to select, according to their own criteria, what best corresponds to the needs of the common good. 

The Christian faith is an integral unity, and thus it is incoherent to isolate some particular element to the detriment of the whole of Catholic doctrine. A political commitment to a single isolated aspect of the Church’s social doctrine does not exhaust one’s responsibility towards the common good. 


In addition, there is the right to religious freedom and the development of an economy that is at the service of the human person and of the common good, with respect for social justice, the principles of human solidarity and subsidiarity, according to which the rights of all individuals, families, and organizations and their practical implementation must be acknowledged


5. While a plurality of methodologies reflective of different sensibilities and cultures can be legitimate in approaching such questions, no Catholic can appeal to the principle of pluralism or to the autonomy of lay involvement in political life to support policies affecting the common good which compromise or undermine fundamental ethical requirements. 

They do not require from those who defend them the profession of the Christian faith, although the Church’s teaching confirms and defends them always and everywhere as part of her service to the truth about man and about the common good of civil society. 

6. The appeal often made to the rightful autonomy of the participation of lay Catholics in politics needs to be clarified. Promoting the common good of society, according to one’s conscience, has nothing to do with confessionalism or religious intolerance. 

Those who, on the basis of respect for individual conscience, would view the moral duty of Christians to act according to their conscience as something that disqualifies them from political life, denying the legitimacy of their political involvement following from their convictions about the common good, would be guilty of a form of intolerant secularism. 

In a society in which truth is neither mentioned nor sought, every form of authentic exercise of freedom will be weakened, opening the way to libertine and individualistic distortions and undermining the protection of the good of the human person and of the entire society.

 









Christian Forums and Message Board

Re: Christians/Politics/& the common good
« Reply #1 on: Fri Mar 16, 2012 - 08:27:46 »

Amo

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Re: Christians/Politics/& the common good
« Reply #2 on: Fri Mar 16, 2012 - 08:36:57 »
Excerpts from -
ENCYCLICAL LETTER
CARITAS IN VERITATE
OF THE SUPREME PONTIFF
BENEDICT XVI
TO THE BISHOPS
PRIESTS AND DEACONS
MEN AND WOMEN RELIGIOUS
THE LAY FAITHFUL
AND ALL PEOPLE OF GOOD WILL
ON INTEGRAL HUMAN DEVELOPMENT
IN CHARITY AND TRUTH


6. “Caritas in veritate

Amo

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Re: Christians/Politics/& the common good
« Reply #3 on: Sat Mar 17, 2012 - 11:28:22 »
More on Catholicism and the common good -

http://www.scborromeo.org/ccc/p3s1c2a2.htm

Christian Forums and Message Board

Re: Christians/Politics/& the common good
« Reply #3 on: Sat Mar 17, 2012 - 11:28:22 »
Pinterest: GraceCentered.com

Amo

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Re: Christians/Politics/& the common good
« Reply #4 on: Sat Mar 17, 2012 - 11:51:34 »

Christian Forums and Message Board

Re: Christians/Politics/& the common good
« Reply #4 on: Sat Mar 17, 2012 - 11:51:34 »



Offline Jett22

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Re: Christians/Politics/& the common good
« Reply #5 on: Mon Mar 19, 2012 - 08:12:13 »
I have only read the Ayn Rand article above and wanted to say, "Good stuff".  Thanks for sharing.

I want to make my 13 year old memorize it. heh

Offline Captain Shays

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Re: Christians/Politics/& the common good
« Reply #6 on: Mon Mar 19, 2012 - 13:44:00 »
Great stuff. Thank you

Amo

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Re: Christians/Politics/& the common good
« Reply #7 on: Tue Mar 20, 2012 - 19:30:31 »
It would be good stuff, if it were a relic of history.  To the contrary though, it is a clear and present danger not only in this country, but on a global scale.  The globalists are very serious about establishing their version of the common good by law upon all.  The following is more of the same.

Excerpts from -
Ioannes Paulus PP. II
Centesimus annus
To His Venerable Brothers
in the Episcopate
the Priests and Deacons
Families of Men and Women religious
all the Christian Faithful
and to all men and women
of good will
on the hundredth anniversary of
Rerum Novarum


I. CHARACTERISTICS OF "RERUM NOVARUM"



Work thus belongs to the vocation of every person; indeed, man expresses and fulfils himself by working. At the same time, work has a "social" dimension through its intimate relationship not only to the family, but also to the common good, since "it may truly be said that it is only by the labour of working-men that States grow rich".14 These are themes that I have taken up and developed in my Encyclical Laborem exercens.15

Another important principle is undoubtedly that of the right to "private property".16 The amount of space devoted to this subject in the Encyclical shows the importance attached to it. The Pope is well aware that private property is not an absolute value, nor does he fail to proclaim the necessary complementary principles, such as the universal destination of the earth's goods.17

9. To these rights Pope Leo XIII adds another right regarding the condition of the working class, one which I wish to mention because of its importance: namely, the right to discharge freely one's religious duties. The Pope wished to proclaim this right within the context of the other rights and duties of workers, notwithstanding the general opinion, even in his day, that such questions pertained exclusively to an individual's private life. He affirms the need for Sunday rest so that people may turn their thoughts to heavenly things and to the worship which they owe to Almighty God.28 No one can take away this human right, which is based on a commandment; in the words of the Pope: "no man may with impunity violate that human dignity which God himself treats with great reverence", and consequently, the State must guarantee to the worker the exercise of this freedom.29

It would not be mistaken to see in this clear statement a springboard for the principle of the right to religious freedom, which was to become the subject of many solemn International Declarations and Conventions,30 as well as of the Second Vatican Council's well-known Declaration and of my own repeated teaching.31 In this regard, one may ask whether existing laws and the practice of industrialized societies effectively ensure in our own day the exercise of this basic right to Sunday rest.

If Pope Leo XIII calls upon the State to remedy the condition of the poor in accordance with justice, he does so because of his timely awareness that the State has the duty of watching over the common good and of ensuring that every sector of social life, not excluding the economic one, contributes to achieving that good, while respecting the rightful autonomy of each sector.


II. TOWARDS THE "NEW THINGS" OF TODAY

In contrast, from the Christian vision of the human person there necessarily follows a correct picture of society. According to Rerum novarum and the whole social doctrine of the Church, the social nature of man is not completely fulfilled in the State, but is realized in various intermediary groups, beginning with the family and including economic, social, political and cultural groups which stem from human nature itself and have their own autonomy, always with a view to the common good. This is what I have called the "subjectivity" of society which, together with the subjectivity of the individual, was cancelled out by "Real Socialism".40


However, what is condemned in class struggle is the idea that conflict is not restrained by ethical or juridical considerations, or by respect for the dignity of others (and consequently of oneself); a reasonable compromise is thus excluded, and what is pursued is not the general good of society, but a partisan interest which replaces the common good and sets out to destroy whatever stands in its way.

21. Lastly, it should be remembered that after the Second World War, and in reaction to its horrors, there arose a more lively sense of human rights, which found recognition in a number of International Documents52 and, one might say, in the drawing up of a new "right of nations", to which the Holy See has constantly contributed. The focal point of this evolution has been the United Nations Organization. Not only has there been a development in awareness of the rights of individuals, but also in awareness of the rights of nations, as well as a clearer realization of the need to act in order to remedy the grave imbalances that exist between the various geographical areas of the world. In a certain sense, these imbalances have shifted the centre of the social question from the national to the international level.53

IV. PRIVATE PROPERTY AND THE UNIVERSAL DESTINATION OF MATERIAL GOODS


30. In Rerum novarum, Leo XIII strongly affirmed the natural character of the right to private property, using various arguments against the socialism of his time.65 This right, which is fundamental for the autonomy and development of the person, has always been defended by the Church up to our own day. At the same time, the Church teaches that the possession of material goods is not an absolute right, and that its limits are inscribed in its very nature as a human right.

While the Pope proclaimed the right to private ownership, he affirmed with equal clarity that the "use" of goods, while marked by freedom, is subordinated to their original common destination as created goods, as well as to the will of Jesus Christ as expressed in the Gospel. Pope Leo wrote: "those whom fortune favours are admonished ... that they should tremble at the warnings of Jesus Christ ... and that a most strict account must be given to the Supreme Judge for the use of all they possess"; and quoting Saint Thomas Aquinas, he added: "But if the question be asked, how must one's possessions be used? the Church replies without hesitation that man should not consider his material possessions as his own, but as common to all...", because "above the laws and judgments of men stands the law, the judgment of Christ".66

The Successors of Leo XIII have repeated this twofold affirmation: the necessity and therefore the legitimacy of private ownership, as well as the limits which are imposed on it.67 The Second Vatican Council likewise clearly restated the traditional doctrine in words which bear repeating: "In making use of the exterior things we lawfully possess, we ought to regard them not just as our own but also as common, in the sense that they can profit not only the owners but others too"; and a little later we read: "Private property or some ownership of external goods affords each person the scope needed for personal and family autonomy, and should be regarded as an extension of human freedom ... Of its nature private property also has a social function which is based on the law of the common purpose of goods".68 I have returned to this same doctrine, first in my address to the Third Conference of the Latin American Bishops at Puebla, and later in the Encyclicals Laborem exercens and Sollicitudo rei socialis.69

31. Re-reading this teaching on the right to property and the common destination of material wealth as it applies to the present time, the question can be raised concerning the origin of the material goods which sustain human life, satisfy people's needs and are an object of their rights.

The original source of all that is good is the very act of God, who created both the earth and man, and who gave the earth to man so that he might have dominion over it by his work and enjoy its fruits (Gen 1:28). God gave the earth to the whole human race for the sustenance of all its members, without excluding or favouring anyone. This is the foundation of the universal destination of the earth's goods. The earth, by reason of its fruitfulness and its capacity to satisfy human needs, is God's first gift for the sustenance of human life. But the earth does not yield its fruits without a particular human response to God's gift, that is to say, without work. It is through work that man, using his intelligence and exercising his freedom, succeeds in dominating the earth and making it a fitting home.

Mention has just been made of the fact that people work with each other, sharing in a "community of work" which embraces ever widening circles. A person who produces something other than for his own use generally does so in order that others may use it after they have paid a just price, mutually agreed upon through free bargaining. It is precisely the ability to foresee both the needs of others and the combinations of productive factors most adapted to satisfying those needs that constitutes another important source of wealth in modern society. Besides, many goods cannot be adequately produced through the work of an isolated individual; they require the cooperation of many people in working towards a common goal. Organizing such a productive effort, planning its duration in time, making sure that it corresponds in a positive way to the demands which it must satisfy, and taking the necessary risks — all this too is a source of wealth in today's society. In this way, the role of disciplined and creative human work and, as an essential part of that work, initiative and entrepreneurial ability becomes increasingly evident and decisive.70

34....Even prior to the logic of a fair exchange of goods and the forms of justice appropriate to it, there exists something which is due to man because he is man, by reason of his lofty dignity. Inseparable from that required "something" is the possibility to survive and, at the same time, to make an active contribution to the common good of humanity.

40. It is the task of the State to provide for the defence and preservation of common goods such as the natural and human environments, which cannot be safeguarded simply by market forces. Just as in the time of primitive capitalism the State had the duty of defending the basic rights of workers, so now, with the new capitalism, the State and all of society have the duty of defending those collective goods which, among others, constitute the essential framework for the legitimate pursuit of personal goals on the part of each individual.


43. The Church has no models to present; models that are real and truly effective can only arise within the framework of different historical situations, through the efforts of all those who responsibly confront concrete problems in all their social, economic, political and cultural aspects, as these interact with one another.84 For such a task the Church offers her social teaching as an indispensable and ideal orientation, a teaching which, as already mentioned, recognizes the positive value of the market and of enterprise, but which at the same time points out that these need to be oriented towards the common good.

In the light of today's "new things", we have re-read the relationship between individual or private property and the universal destination of material wealth.

V. STATE AND CULTURE

44. Pope Leo XIII was aware of the need for a sound theory of the State in order to ensure the normal development of man's spiritual and temporal activities, both of which are indispensable.89 For this reason, in one passage of Rerum novarum he presents the organization of society according to the three powers — legislative, executive and judicial — , something which at the time represented a novelty in Church teaching.90 Such an ordering reflects a realistic vision of man's social nature, which calls for legislation capable of protecting the freedom of all. To that end, it is preferable that each power be balanced by other powers and by other spheres of responsibility which keep it within proper bounds. This is the principle of the "rule of law", in which the law is sovereign, and not the arbitrary will of individuals.

Even in countries with democratic forms of government, these rights are not always fully respected. Here we are referring not only to the scandal of abortion, but also to different aspects of a crisis within democracies themselves, which seem at times to have lost the ability to make decisions aimed at the common good. Certain demands which arise within society are sometimes not examined in accordance with criteria of justice and morality, but rather on the basis of the electoral or financial power of the groups promoting them. With time, such distortions of political conduct create distrust and apathy, with a subsequent decline in the political participation and civic spirit of the general population, which feels abused and disillusioned. As a result, there is a growing inability to situate particular interests within the framework of a coherent vision of the common good. The latter is not simply the sum total of particular interests; rather it involves an assessment and integration of those interests on the basis of a balanced hierarchy of values; ultimately, it demands a correct understanding of the dignity and the rights of the person.98

The Church respects the legitimate autonomy of the democratic order and is not entitled to express preferences for this or that institutional or constitutional solution. Her contribution to the political order is precisely her vision of the dignity of the person revealed in all its fulness in the mystery of the Incarnate Word.99

Malfunctions and defects in the Social Assistance State are the result of an inadequate understanding of the tasks proper to the State. Here again the principle of subsidiarity must be respected: a community of a higher order should not interfere in the internal life of a community of a lower order, depriving the latter of its functions, but rather should support it in case of need and help to coordinate its activity with the activities of the rest of society, always with a view to the common good.100

In order to overcome today's widespread individualistic mentality, what is required is a concrete commitment to solidarity and charity, beginning in the family with the mutual support of husband and wife and the care which the different generations give to one another.


VI. MAN IS THE WAY OF THE CHURCH


Thus the Church's social teaching is itself a valid instrument of evangelization. As such, it proclaims God and his mystery of salvation in Christ to every human being, and for that very reason reveals man to himself. In this light, and only in this light, does it concern itself with everything else: the human rights of the individual, and in particular of the "working class", the family and education, the duties of the State, the ordering of national and international society, economic life, culture, war and peace, and respect for life from the moment of conception until death.


It is not merely a matter of "giving from one's surplus", but of helping entire peoples which are presently excluded or marginalized to enter into the sphere of economic and human development. For this to happen, it is not enough to draw on the surplus goods which in fact our world abundantly produces; it requires above all a change of life-styles, of models of production and consumption, and of the established structures of power which today govern societies. Nor is it a matter of eliminating instruments of social organization which have proved useful, but rather of orienting them according to an adequate notion of the common good in relation to the whole human family. Today we are facing the so-called "globalization" of the economy, a phenomenon which is not to be dismissed, since it can create unusual opportunities for greater prosperity. There is a growing feeling, however, that this increasing internationalization of the economy ought to be accompanied by effective international agencies which will oversee and direct the economy to the common good, something that an individual State, even if it were the most powerful on earth, would not be in a position to do.


In concluding this Encyclical I again give thanks to Almighty God, who has granted his Church the light and strength to accompany humanity on its earthly journey towards its eternal destiny. In the third Millennium too, the Church will be faithful in making man's way her own, knowing that she does not walk alone, but with Christ her Lord. It is Christ who made man's way his own, and who guides him, even when he is unaware of it. Mary, the Mother of the Redeemer, constantly remained beside Christ in his journey towards the human family and in its midst, and she goes before the Church on the pilgrimage of faith. May her maternal intercession accompany humanity towards the next Millennium, in fidelity to him who "is the same yesterday and today and for ever" (cf. Heb 13:8), Jesus Christ our Lord, in whose name I cordially impart my blessing to all.

Given in Rome, at Saint Peter's, on 1 May, the Memorial of Saint Joseph the Worker, in the year 1991, the thirteenth of my Pontificate.
JOHN PAUL II





Amo

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Re: Christians/Politics/& the common good
« Reply #8 on: Tue Mar 20, 2012 - 19:45:10 »
VI. MAN IS THE WAY OF THE CHURCH


Thus the Church's social teaching is itself a valid instrument of evangelization. As such, it proclaims God and his mystery of salvation in Christ to every human being, and for that very reason reveals man to himself. In this light, and only in this light, does it concern itself with everything else: the human rights of the individual, and in particular of the "working class", the family and education, the duties of the State, the ordering of national and international society, economic life, culture, war and peace, and respect for life from the moment of conception until death.

The above is taken from the previous post concerning the quotes from JOHN PAUL II.  It rang a bell concerning something I had read in the past about the history of the US.  The following is a quote from the same -

The colonists, including their philosohy in their religion, as the people up to that time had always done, were neither skeptics nor sensualilsts, but Christains. The school that bows to the senses as the sole inerpreter of truth had little share in colonizing our America. The colonists from Main to Carolina, the adventurous companies of Smith, the proscribed Puritans that freighted the fleet of Winthrop, the Quaker outlaws that fled from jails with a Newgate prisoner as their sovereign-all had faith in God and in the soul. The system which had been revealed in Judea-the system which combines and perfects the symbolic wisdom of the Orient and the reflectve genius of Greece- the system, conforming to reason, yet kindling enthusiasm; always hastening reform, yet always conservative; proclaiming absolute equality among men, yet not suddenly abolishing the unequal institutions of society; guaranteeing absolute freedom, yet invoking the inexorable restrictions of duty; in the highest degree theoretical, and yet in the highest degree practical; awakening the inner man to a consciousness of his destiny, and yet adapted with exact harmony to the outward world; at once divine and human-this system was professed in every part of our widely extended country, and cradled our freedom.
     Our fathers were not only Christains; they were, even in Maryland by a vast majority, elsehwere almost unanimously, Protestants. Now the Protestant reformation, considered in its largest influence on politics, was the awakening of the common people to freedom of mind.
     During the decline of the Roman empire, the opressed invoked the power of Christianity to resist the supremacy of brute force; and the merciful priest assumed the office of protector.  The tribunes of Rome, appointed by the people, had been declared inviolable by the popular vote; the new tribunes of humanity, deriving their office from religion, and ordained by religion to a still more venerable sanctity, defended the poor man's house against lust by the sacrament of marriage;  restrained arbitrary passion by a menace of the misery due to sin unrepented of and unatoned; and taught respect for the race by sprinkling every new-born child with the water of life, confirming every youth, bearing the oil of consolation to every death-bed, and sharing freely with every human being the consecrated emblem of God present with man.
     But from protectors priests grew to be usurpers.  Expressing all moral truth by the mysteries of symbols, and reserving to themselves the administration of seven sacraments, they claimed a monopoly of thought and exercised an absolute spiritual dominion.  Human bondage was strongly riveted; for they had fastened it on the affections, the understanding, and the reason.  Ordaining thier own successors, they ruled human destiny at birth, on entering active life, at marriage, when frailty breathed its confession, when faith aspired to communion with God, and at death. (History of the United States, Bancroft Vol. 1.)



Amo

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Re: Christians/Politics/& the common good
« Reply #9 on: Sat Mar 24, 2012 - 12:37:33 »
Excerpts from -
Sollicitudo rei socialis
To the Bishops, Priests
Religious Families, sons and daughters of the Church
and all people of good will
for the twentieth anniversary of
"Populorum Progressio"


I. INTRODUCTION


It builds up gradually, as the Church, in the fullness of the word revealed by Christ Jesus3 and with the assistance of the Holy Spirit (cf. Jn 14:16, 26; 16:13-15), reads events as they unfold in the course of history. She thus seeks to lead people to respond, with the support also of rational reflection and of the human sciences, to their vocation as responsible builders of earthly society.


II. ORIGINALITY OF THE ENCYCLICAL POPULORUM PROGRESSIO


With regard to the content and themes once again set forth by the Encyclical, the following should be emphasized: the awareness of the duty of the Church, as "an expert in humanity," "to scrutinize the signs of the times and to interpret them in the light of the Gospel"; the awareness, equally profound, of her mission of "service," a mission distinct from the function of the State, even when she is concerned with people's concrete situation"; the reference to the notorious inequalities in the situations of those same people; the confirmation of the Council's teaching, a faithful echo of the centuries - old tradition of the Church regarding the "universal purpose of goods"

To ignore this demand could encourage the temptation among the victims of injustice to respond with violence, as happens at the origin of many wars. Peoples excluded from the fair distribution of the goods originally destined for all could ask themselves: why not respond with violence to those who first treat us with violence?

On the contrary, in a different world, ruled by concern for the common good of all humanity, or by concern for the "spiritual and human development of all" instead of by the quest for individual profit, peace would be possible as the result of a "more perfect justice among people."


III. SURVEY OF THE CONTEMPORARY WORLD


Such phraseology, beyond its more or less objective value, undoubtedly conceals a moral content, before which the Church, which is a "sacrament or sign and instrument...of the unity of the whole human race 32 cannot remain indifference.

It should be noted that in today's world, among other rights, the right of economic initiative is often suppressed. Yet it is a right which is important not only for the individual but also for the common good. Experience shows us that the denial of this right, or its limitation in the name of an alleged "equality" of everyone in society, diminishes, or in practice absolutely destroys the spirit of initiative, that is to say the creative subjectivity of the citizen.

It is precisely within these countries that one encounters, though on a lesser scale, the more specific manifestations of under development. Thus it should be obvious that development either becomes shared in common by every part of the world or it undergoes a process of regression even in zones marked by constant progress. This tells us a great deal about the nature of authentic development: either all the nations of the world participate, or it will not be true development.

This is one of the reasons why the Church's social doctrine adopts a critical attitude towards both liberal capitalism and Marxist collectivism. For from the point of view of development the question naturally arises: in what way and to what extent are these two systems capable of changes and updatings such as to favor or promote a true and integral development of individuals and peoples in modern society? In fact, these changes and updatings are urgent and essential for the cause of a development common to all.

It is this awareness which in spite of difficulties, uncertainties and at times contradictions gave rise to the International Movement of Non-Aligned Nations, which, in its positive aspect, would like to affirm in an effective way the right of every people to its own identity, independence and security, as well as the right to share, on a basis of equality and solidarity, in the goods intended for all.

The developing countries, instead of becoming autonomous nations concerned with their own progress towards a just sharing in the goods and services meant for all, become parts of a machine, cogs on a gigantic wheel. This is often true also in the field of social communications, which, being run by centers mostly in the northern hemisphere, do not always give due consideration to the priorities and problems of such countries or respect their cultural make-up. They frequently impose a distorted vision of life and of man and thus fail to respond to the demands of true development.

It is this abnormal situation, the result of a war and of an unacceptably exaggerated concern for security, which deadens the impulse towards united cooperation by all for the common good of the human race, to the detriment especially of peaceful peoples who are impeded from their rightful access to the goods meant for all.

It is timely to mention - and it is no exaggeration - the a leadership role among nations can only be justified by the possibility and willingness to contribute widely and generously to the common good.


If a nation were to succumb more or less deliberately to the temptation to close in upon itself and failed to meet the responsibilities following from its superior position in the community of nations, it would fall seriously short of its clear ethical duty. This is readily apparent in the circumstances of history, where believers discern the dispositions of Divine Providence, ready to make use of the nations for the realization of its plans, so as to render "vain the designs of the peoples".

When the West gives the impression of abandoning itself to forms of growing and selfish isolation, and the East in its turn seems to ignore for questionable reasons its duty to cooperate in the task of alleviating human misery, then we are up against not only a betrayal of humanity's legitimate expectations - a betrayal that is a harbinger of unforeseeable consequences - but also a real desertion of a moral obligation.


IV. AUTHENTIC HUMAN DEVELOPMENT

Of course, the difference between "being" and "having," the danger inherent in a mere multiplication or replacement of things possessed compared to the value of "being," need not turn into a contradiction. One of the greatest injustices in the contemporary world consists precisely in this: that the ones who possess much are relatively few and those who possess almost nothing are many. It is the injustice of the poor distribution of the goods and services originally intended for all.

It is logical to conclude, at least on the part of those who believe in the word of God, that today's "development" is to be seen as a moment in the story which began at creation, a story which is constantly endangered by reason of infidelity to the Creator's will, and especially by the temptation to idolatry. But this "development" fundamentally corresponds to the first premises. Anyone wishing to renounce the difficult yet noble task of improving the lot of man in his totality, and of all people, with the excuse that the struggle is difficult and that constant effort is required, or simply because of the experience of defeat and the need to begin again, that person would be betraying the will of God the Creator. In this regard, in the Encyclical Laborem Exercens I referred to man's vocation to work, in order to emphasize the idea that it is always man who is the protagonist of development.


V. A THEOLOGICAL READING OF MODERN PROBLEMS


35. Precisely because of the essentially moral character of development, it is clear that the obstacles to development likewise have a moral character. If in the years since the publication of Pope Paul's Encyclical there has been no development - or very little, irregular, or even contradictory development - the reasons are not only economic. As has already been said, political motives also enter in. For the decisions which either accelerate or slow down the development of peoples are really political in character. In order to overcome the misguided mechanisms mentioned earlier and to replace them with new ones which will be more just and in conformity with the common good of humanity, an effective political will is needed. Unfortunately, after analyzing the situation we have to conclude that this political will has been insufficient.

36. It is important to note therefore that a world which is divided into blocs, sustained by rigid ideologies, and in which instead of interdependence and solidarity different forms of imperialism hold sway, can only be a world subject to structures of sin. The sum total of the negative factors working against a true awareness of the universal common good, and the need to further it, gives the impression of creating, in persons and institutions, an obstacle which is difficult to overcome.

One would hope that also men and women without an explicit faith would be convinced that the obstacles to integral development are not only economic but rest on more profound attitudes which human beings can make into absolute values. Thus one would hope that all those who, to some degree or other, are responsible for ensuring a "more human life" for their fellow human beings, whether or not they are inspired by a religious faith, will become fully aware of the urgent need to change the spiritual attitudes which define each individual's relationship with self, with neighbor, with even the remotest human communities, and with nature itself; and all of this in view of higher values such as the common good or, to quote the felicitous expression of the Encyclical Populorum Progressio, the full development "of the whole individual and of all people."

It is above all a question of interdependence, sensed as a system determining relationships in the contemporary world, in its economic, cultural, political and religious elements, and accepted as a moral category. When interdependence becomes recognized in this way, the correlative response as a moral and social attitude, as a "virtue," is solidarity. This then is not a feeling of vague compassion or shallow distress at the misfortunes of so many people, both near and far. On the contrary, it is a firm and persevering determination to commit oneself to the common good; that is to say to the good of all and of each individual, because we are all really responsible for all. This determination is based on the solid conviction that what is hindering full development is that desire for profit and that thirst for power already mentioned. These attitudes and "structures of sin" are only conquered - presupposing the help of divine grace - by a diametrically opposed attitude: a commitment to the good of one's neighbor with the readiness, in the gospel sense, to "lose oneself" for the sake of the other instead of exploiting him, and to "serve him" instead of oppressing him for one's own advantage.

39. The exercise of solidarity within each society is valid when its members recognize one another as persons. Those who are more influential, because they have a greater share of goods and common services, should feel responsible for the weaker and be ready to share with them all they possess. Those who are weaker, for their part, in the same spirit of solidarity, should not adopt a purely passive attitude or one that is destructive of the social fabric, but, while claiming their legitimate rights, should do what they can for the good of all. The intermediate groups, in their turn, should not selfishly insist on their particular interests, but respect the interests of others.

Positive signs in the contemporary world are the growing awareness of the solidarity of the poor among themselves, their efforts to support one another, and their public demonstrations on the social scene which, without recourse to violence, present their own needs and rights in the face of the inefficiency or corruption of the public authorities. By virtue of her own evangelical duty the Church feels called to take her stand beside the poor, to discern the justice of their requests, and to help satisfy them, without losing sight of the good of groups in the context of the common good.

The same criterion is applied by analogy in international relationships. Interdependence must be transformed into solidarity, based upon the principle that the goods of creation are meant for all. That which human industry produces through the processing of raw materials, with the contribution of work, must serve equally for the good of all.

Surmounting every type of imperialism and determination to preserve their own hegemony, the stronger and richer nations must have a sense of moral responsibility for the other nations, so that a real international system may be established which will rest on the foundation of the equality of all peoples and on the necessary respect for their legitimate differences. The economically weaker countries, or those still at subsistence level, must be enabled, with the assistance of other peoples and of the international community, to make a contribution of their own to the common good with their treasures of humanity and culture, which otherwise would be lost for ever.

VI. SOME PARTICULAR GUIDELINES


But the Church is an "expert in humanity," and this leads her necessarily to extend her religious mission to the various fields in which men and women expend their efforts in search of the always relative happiness which is possible in this world, in line with their dignity as persons.

It is necessary to state once more the characteristic principle of Christian social doctrine: 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. Likewise, in this concern for the poor, one must not overlook that special form of poverty which consists in being deprived of fundamental human rights, in particular the right to religious freedom and also the right to freedom of economic initiative.

In this respect I wish to mention specifically: the reform of the international trade system, which is mortgaged to protectionism and increasing bilateralism; the reform of the world monetary and financial system, today recognized as inadequate; the question of technological exchanges and their proper use; the need for a review of the structure of the existing international organizations, in the framework of an international juridical order. [/u][/color]

In the opinion of many, the international organizations seem to be at a stage of their existence when their operating methods, operating costs and effectiveness need careful review and possible correction. Obviously, such a delicate process cannot be put into effect without the collaboration of all. This presupposes the overcoming of political rivalries and the renouncing of all desire to manipulate these organizations, which exist solely for the common good.

An essential condition for global solidarity is autonomy and free self-determination, also within associations such as those indicated. But at the same time solidarity demands a readiness to accept the sacrifices necessary for the good of the whole world community. [/b]


VII. CONCLUSION

49. I have called the current Marian Year in order that the Catholic faithful may look more and more to Mary, who goes before us on the pilgrimage of faith90 and with maternal care intercedes for us before her Son, our Redeemer. I wish to entrust to her and to her intercession this difficult moment of the modern world, and the efforts that are being made and will be made, often with great suffering, in order to contribute to the true development of peoples proposed and proclaimed by my predecessor Paul VI.


In keeping with Christian piety through the ages, we present to the Blessed Virgin difficult individual situations, so that she may place them before her Son, asking that he alleviate and change them. But we also present to her social situations and the international crisis itself, in their worrying aspects of poverty, unemployment, shortage of food, the arms race, contempt for human rights, and situations or dangers of conflict, partial or total. In a filial spirit we wish to place all this before her "eyes of mercy," repeating once more with faith and hope the ancient antiphon: "Holy Mother of God, despise not our petitions in our necessities, but deliver us always from all dangers, O glorious and blessed Virgin."

Mary most holy, our Mother and Queen, is the one who turns to her Son and says: "They have no more wine" (Jn 2:3). She is also the one who praises God the Father, because "he has put down the mighty from their thrones and exalted those of low degree; he has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he has sent empty away" (Lk 1:52-53). Her maternal concern extends to the personal and social aspects of people's life on earth.91

Before the Most Blessed Trinity, I entrust to Mary all that I have written in this Encyclical, and I invite all to reflect and actively commit themselves to promoting the true development of peoples, as the prayer of the Mass for this intention states so well: "Father, you have given all peoples one common origin, and your will is to gather them as one family in yourself.

Given in Rome, at St. Peter's, on December 30 of the year 1987, the tenth of my Pontificate.
JOHN PAUL II 


























Amo

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Re: Christians/Politics/& the common good
« Reply #10 on: Sun Mar 25, 2012 - 08:34:36 »
More Excerpts from -
ENCYCLICAL LETTER
CARITAS IN VERITATE
OF THE SUPREME PONTIFF
BENEDICT XVI
TO THE BISHOPS
PRIESTS AND DEACONS
MEN AND WOMEN RELIGIOUS
THE LAY FAITHFUL
AND ALL PEOPLE OF GOOD WILL
ON INTEGRAL HUMAN DEVELOPMENT
IN CHARITY AND TRUTH


Man's earthly activity, when inspired and sustained by charity, contributes to the building of the universal city of God, which is the goal of the history of the human family. In an increasingly globalized society, the common good and the effort to obtain it cannot fail to assume the dimensions of the whole human family, that is to say, the community of peoples and nations, in such a way as to shape the earthly city in unity and peace, rendering it to some degree an anticipation and a prefiguration of the undivided city of God.

His was certainly a social teaching of great importance: he underlined the indispensable importance of the Gospel for building a society according to freedom and justice, in the ideal and historical perspective of a civilization animated by love. Paul VI clearly understood that the social question had become worldwide  and he grasped the interconnection between the impetus towards the unification of humanity and the Christian ideal of a single family of peoples in solidarity and fraternity.

, but only on Christ, to whom every authentic vocation to integral human development must be directed. The Gospel is fundamental for development, because in the Gospel, Christ, “in the very revelation of the mystery of the Father and of his love, fully reveals humanity to itself

Amo

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Re: Christians/Politics/& the common good
« Reply #11 on: Fri Mar 30, 2012 - 12:33:09 »
The highlights are mine.  The following may be found at - http://www.scborromeo.org/ccc/p3s1c2a2.htm

CATECHISM OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH
SECOND EDITION
PART THREE
LIFE IN CHRIST

SECTION ONE
MAN'S VOCATION LIFE IN THE SPIRIT

CHAPTER TWO
THE HUMAN COMMUNITY

ARTICLE 2
PARTICIPATION IN SOCIAL LIFE

I. AUTHORITY

1897 "Human society can be neither well-ordered nor prosperous unless it has some people invested with legitimate authority to preserve its institutions and to devote themselves as far as is necessary to work and care for the good of all."15

By "authority" one means the quality by virtue of which persons or institutions make laws and give orders to men and expect obedience from them.

1898 Every human community needs an authority to govern it.16 The foundation of such authority lies in human nature. It is necessary for the unity of the state. Its role is to ensure as far as possible the common good of the society.

1899 The authority required by the moral order derives from God: "Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore he who resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment."17

1900 The duty of obedience requires all to give due honor to authority and to treat those who are charged to exercise it with respect, and, insofar as it is deserved, with gratitude and good-will.

    Pope St. Clement of Rome provides the Church's most ancient prayer for political authorities:18 "Grant to them, Lord, health, peace, concord, and stability, so that they may exercise without offense the sovereignty that you have given them. Master, heavenly King of the ages, you give glory, honor, and power over the things of earth to the sons of men. Direct, Lord, their counsel, following what is pleasing and acceptable in your sight, so that by exercising with devotion and in peace and gentleness the power that you have given to them, they may find favor with you."19

1901 If authority belongs to the order established by God, "the choice of the political regime and the appointment of rulers are left to the free decision of the citizens."20

The diversity of political regimes is morally acceptable, provided they serve the legitimate good of the communities that adopt them. Regimes whose nature is contrary to the natural law, to the public order, and to the fundamental rights of persons cannot achieve the common good of the nations on which they have been imposed.

1902 Authority does not derive its moral legitimacy from itself. It must not behave in a despotic manner, but must act for the common good as a "moral force based on freedom and a sense of responsibility":21

    A human law has the character of law to the extent that it accords with right reason, and thus derives from the eternal law. Insofar as it falls short of right reason it is said to be an unjust law, and thus has not so much the nature of law as of a kind of violence.22

1903 Authority is exercised legitimately only when it seeks the common good of the group concerned and if it employs morally licit means to attain it. If rulers were to enact unjust laws or take measures contrary to the moral order, such arrangements would not be binding in conscience. In such a case, "authority breaks down completely and results in shameful abuse."23

1904 "It is preferable that each power be balanced by other powers and by other spheres of responsibility which keep it within proper bounds. This is the principle of the 'rule of law,' in which the law is sovereign and not the arbitrary will of men."24

II. THE COMMON GOOD

1905 In keeping with the social nature of man, the good of each individual is necessarily related to the common good, which in turn can be defined only in reference to the human person:

    Do not live entirely isolated, having retreated into yourselves, as if you were already justified, but gather instead to seek the common good together.25

1906 By common good is to be understood "the sum total of social conditions which allow people, either as groups or as individuals, to reach their fulfillment more fully and more easily."26 The common good concerns the life of all. It calls for prudence from each, and even more from those who exercise the office of authority. It consists of three essential elements:

1907 First, the common good presupposes respect for the person as such. In the name of the common good, public authorities are bound to respect the fundamental and inalienable rights of the human person. Society should permit each of its members to fulfill his vocation. In particular, the common good resides in the conditions for the exercise of the natural freedoms indispensable for the development of the human vocation, such as "the right to act according to a sound norm of conscience and to safeguard . . . privacy, and rightful freedom also in matters of religion."27

1908 Second, the common good requires the social well-being and development of the group itself. Development is the epitome of all social duties. Certainly, it is the proper function of authority to arbitrate, in the name of the common good, between various particular interests; but it should make accessible to each what is needed to lead a truly human life: food, clothing, health, work, education and culture, suitable information, the right to establish a family, and so on.28

1909 Finally, the common good requires peace, that is, the stability and security of a just order. It presupposes that authority should ensure by morally acceptable means the security of society and its members. It is the basis of the right to legitimate personal and collective defense.

1910 Each human community possesses a common good which permits it to be recognized as such; it is in the political community that its most complete realization is found. It is the role of the state to defend and promote the common good of civil society, its citizens, and intermediate bodies.

1911 Human interdependence is increasing and gradually spreading throughout the world. The unity of the human family, embracing people who enjoy equal natural dignity, implies a universal common good. This good calls for an organization of the community of nations able to "provide for the different needs of men; this will involve the sphere of social life to which belong questions of food, hygiene, education, . . . and certain situations arising here and there, as for example . . . alleviating the miseries of refugees dispersed throughout the world, and assisting migrants and their families."29

1912 The common good is always oriented towards the progress of persons: "The order of things must be subordinate to the order of persons, and not the other way around."30 This order is founded on truth, built up in justice, and animated by love.

III. RESPONSIBILITY AND PARTICIPATION

1913 "Participation" is the voluntary and generous engagement of a person in social interchange. It is necessary that all participate, each according to his position and role, in promoting the common good. This obligation is inherent in the dignity of the human person.

1914 Participation is achieved first of all by taking charge of the areas for which one assumes personal responsibility: by the care taken for the education of his family, by conscientious work, and so forth, man participates in the good of others and of society.31

1915 As far as possible citizens should take an active part in public life. The manner of this participation may vary from one country or culture to another. "One must pay tribute to those nations whose systems permit the largest possible number of the citizens to take part in public life in a climate of genuine freedom."32

1916 As with any ethical obligation, the participation of all in realizing the common good calls for a continually renewed conversion of the social partners. Fraud and other subterfuges, by which some people evade the constraints of the law and the prescriptions of societal obligation, must be firmly condemned because they are incompatible with the requirements of justice. Much care should be taken to promote institutions that improve the conditions of human life.33

1917 It is incumbent on those who exercise authority to strengthen the values that inspire the confidence of the members of the group and encourage them to put themselves at the service of others. Participation begins with education and culture. "One is entitled to think that the future of humanity is in the hands of those who are capable of providing the generations to come with reasons for life and optimism."34

IN BRIEF

1918 "There is no authority except from God, and those authorities that exist have been instituted by God" (Rom 13:1).

1919 Every human community needs an authority in order to endure and develop.

1920 "The political community and public authority are based on human nature and therefore . . . belong to an order established by God" (GS 74 § 3).

1921 Authority is exercised legitimately if it is committed to the common good of society. To attain this it must employ morally acceptable means.

1922 The diversity of political regimes is legitimate, provided they contribute to the good of the community.

1923 Political authority must be exercised within the limits of the moral order and must guarantee the conditions for the exercise of freedom.

1924 The common good comprises "the sum total of social conditions which allow people, either as groups or as individuals, to reach their fulfillment more fully and more easily" (GS 26 1).

1925 The common good consists of three essential elements: respect for and promotion of the fundamental rights of the person; prosperity, or the development of the spiritual and temporal goods of society; the peace and security of the group and of its members.

1926 The dignity of the human person requires the pursuit of the common good. Everyone should be concerned to create and support institutions that improve the conditions of human life.

1927 It is the role of the state to defend and promote the common good of civil society. The common good of the whole human family calls for an organization of society on the international level.

15 John XXIII, PT 46.
16 Cf. Leo XIII, Immortale Dei; Diuturnum illud.
17 Rom 13:1-2; cf. 1 Pet 2:13-17.
18 Cf. as early as 1 Tim 2:1-2.
19 St. Clement of Rome, Ad Cor. 61:SCh 167,198-200.
20 GS 74 § 3.
21 GS 74 § 2.
22 St. Thomas Aquinas, STh I-II,93 3, ad 2.
23 John XXIII PT 51.
24 CA 44.
25 Ep. Barnabae, 4,10:PG 2,734.
26 GS 26 § 1; cf. GS 74 § 1.
27 GS 26 § 2.
28 Cf. GS 26 § 2.
29 GS 84 § 2.
30 GS 26 § 3.
31 Cf. CA 43.
32 GS 31 § 3.
33 Cf. GS 30 § 1.
34 GS 31 § 3.

Copyright permission for posting of the English translation of the CATECHISM OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH on the Saint Charles Borromeo Catholic Church web site was granted by Amministrazione Del Patrimonio Della Sede Apostolica, case number 130389.

Amo

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Re: Christians/Politics/& the common good
« Reply #12 on: Fri Mar 30, 2012 - 12:36:26 »
The following can be found at - http://aynrandlexicon.com/lexicon/common_good.html

“Common Good

Amo

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Re: Christians/Politics/& the common good
« Reply #13 on: Fri Mar 30, 2012 - 12:40:00 »
Highlights mine. The following can be found at - http://www.historyplace.com/worldwar2/riseofhitler/25points.htm

The 25 Points of Hitler's Nazi Party

        1. We demand the union of all Germans in a Great Germany on the basis of the principle of self-determination of all peoples.

        2. We demand that the German people have rights equal to those of other nations; and that the Peace Treaties of Versailles and St. Germain shall be abrogated.

        3. We demand land and territory (colonies) for the maintenance of our people and the settlement of our surplus population.

        4. Only those who are our fellow countrymen can become citizens. Only those who have German blood, regardless of creed, can be our countrymen. Hence no Jew can be a countryman.

        5. Those who are not citizens must live in Germany as foreigners and must be subject to the law of aliens.

        6. The right to choose the government and determine the laws of the State shall belong only to citizens. We therefore demand that no public office, of whatever nature, whether in the central government, the province, or the municipality, shall be held by anyone who is not a citizen.

        We wage war against the corrupt parliamentary administration whereby men are appointed to posts by favor of the party without regard to character and fitness.

        7. We demand that the State shall above all undertake to ensure that every citizen shall have the possibility of living decently and earning a livelihood. If it should not be possible to feed the whole population, then aliens (non-citizens) must be expelled from the Reich.

        8. Any further immigration of non-Germans must be prevented. We demand that all non-Germans who have entered Germany since August 2, 1914, shall be compelled to leave the Reich immediately.

        9. All citizens must possess equal rights and duties.

        10. The first duty of every citizen must be to work mentally or physically. No individual shall do any work that offends against the interest of the community to the benefit of all.

        Therefore we demand:

        11. That all unearned income, and all income that does not arise from work, be abolished.

        12. Since every war imposes on the people fearful sacrifices in blood and treasure, all personal profit arising from the war must be regarded as treason to the people. We therefore demand the total confiscation of all war profits.

        13. We demand the nationalization of all trusts.

        14. We demand profit-sharing in large industries.

        15. We demand a generous increase in old-age pensions.

        16. We demand the creation and maintenance of a sound middle-class, the immediate communalization of large stores which will be rented cheaply to small tradespeople, and the strongest consideration must be given to ensure that small traders shall deliver the supplies needed by the State, the provinces and municipalities.

        17. We demand an agrarian reform in accordance with our national requirements, and the enactment of a law to expropriate the owners without compensation of any land needed for the common purpose. The abolition of ground rents, and the prohibition of all speculation in land.

        18. We demand that ruthless war be waged against those who work to the injury of the common welfare. Traitors, usurers, profiteers, etc., are to be punished with death, regardless of creed or race.

        19. We demand that Roman law, which serves a materialist ordering of the world, be replaced by German common law.

        20. In order to make it possible for every capable and industrious German to obtain higher education, and thus the opportunity to reach into positions of leadership, the State must assume the responsibility of organizing thoroughly the entire cultural system of the people. The curricula of all educational establishments shall be adapted to practical life. The conception of the State Idea (science of citizenship) must be taught in the schools from the very beginning. We demand that specially talented children of poor parents, whatever their station or occupation, be educated at the expense of the State.

        21. The State has the duty to help raise the standard of national health by providing maternity welfare centers, by prohibiting juvenile labor, by increasing physical fitness through the introduction of compulsory games and gymnastics, and by the greatest possible encouragement of associations concerned with the physical education of the young.

        22. We demand the abolition of the regular army and the creation of a national (folk) army.

        23. We demand that there be a legal campaign against those who propagate deliberate political lies and disseminate them through the press. In order to make possible the creation of a German press, we demand:

        (a) All editors and their assistants on newspapers published in the German language shall be German citizens.

        (b) Non-German newspapers shall only be published with the express permission of the State. They must not be published in the German language.

        (c) All financial interests in or in any way affecting German newspapers shall be forbidden to non-Germans by law, and we demand that the punishment for transgressing this law be the immediate suppression of the newspaper and the expulsion of the non-Germans from the Reich.

        Newspapers transgressing against the common welfare shall be suppressed. We demand legal action against those tendencies in art and literature that have a disruptive influence upon the life of our folk, and that any organizations that offend against the foregoing demands shall be dissolved.

        24. We demand freedom for all religious faiths in the state, insofar as they do not endanger its existence or offend the moral and ethical sense of the Germanic race.

        The party as such represents the point of view of a positive Christianity without binding itself to any one particular confession. It fights against the Jewish materialist spirit within and without, and is convinced that a lasting recovery of our folk can only come about from within on the pinciple:

        COMMON GOOD BEFORE INDIVIDUAL GOOD

        25. In order to carry out this program we demand: the creation of a strong central authority in the State, the unconditional authority by the political central parliament of the whole State and all its organizations.

        The formation of professional committees and of committees representing the several estates of the realm, to ensure that the laws promulgated by the central authority shall be carried out by the federal states.

        The leaders of the party undertake to promote the execution of the foregoing points at all costs, if necessary at the sacrifice of their own lives.

Amo

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Re: Christians/Politics/& the common good
« Reply #14 on: Sat Mar 31, 2012 - 10:34:12 »
Excerpts from -
Laborem exercens
To His Venerable Brothers
in the Episcopate
to the Priests to the Religious Families
to the sons and daughters of the Church
and to all Men and Women of good will
on Human Work
on the ninetieth anniversary of Rerum Novarum

I. INTRODUCTION
1. Human Work on the Ninetieth Anniversary of Rerum Novarum


There are many factors of a general nature: the widespread introduction of automation into many spheres of production, the increase in the cost of energy and raw materials, the growing realization that the heritage of nature is limited and that it is being intolerably polluted, and the emergence on the political scene of peoples who, after centuries of subjection, are demanding their rightful place among the nations and in international decision-making. These new conditions and demands will require a reordering and adjustment of the structures of the modern economy and of the distribution of work. Unfortunately, for millions of skilled workers these changes may perhaps mean unemployment, at least for a time, or the need for retraining. They will very probably involve a reduction or a less rapid increase in material well-being for the more developed countries. But they can also bring relief and hope to the millions who today live in conditions of shameful and unworthy poverty.

It is not for the Church to analyze scientifically the consequences that these changes may have on human society. But the Church considers it her task always to call attention to the dignity and rights of those who work, to condemn situations in which that dignity and those rights are violated, and to help to guide the above-mentioned changes so as to ensure authentic progress by man and society.


2. In the Organic Development of the Church's Social Action

It is certainly true that work, as a human issue, is at the very centre of the "social question" to which, for almost a hundred years, since the publication of the above-mentioned Encyclical, the Church's teaching and the many undertakings connected with her apostolic mission have been especially directed.


During the years that separate us from the publication of the Encyclical Rerum Novarum, the social question has not ceased to engage the Church's attention. Evidence of this are the many documents of the Magisterium issued by the Popes and by the Second Vatican Council, pronouncements by individual Episcopates, and the activity of the various centres of thought and of practical apostolic initiatives, both on the international level and at the level of the local Churches. It is difficult to list here in detail all the manifestations of the commitment of the Church and of Christians in the social question, for they are too numerous. As a result of the Council, the main coordinating centre in this field is the Pontifical Commission Justice and Peace, which has corresponding bodies within the individual Bishops' Conferences.

However, if one studies the development of the question of social justice, one cannot fail to note that, whereas during the period between Rerum Novarum and Pius XI's Quadragesimo Anno the Church's teaching concentrates mainly on the just solution of the "labour question" within individual nations, in the next period the Church's teaching widens its horizon to take in the whole world. The disproportionate distribution of wealth and poverty and the existence of some countries and continents that are developed and of others that are not call for a levelling out and for a search for ways to ensure just development for all.


A complete analysis of the situation of the world today shows in an even deeper and fuller way the meaning of the previous analysis of social injustices; and it is the meaning that must be given today to efforts to build justice on earth, not concealing thereby unjust structures but demanding that they be examined and transformed on a more universal scale.

10. Work and Society: Family and Nation

The third sphere of values that emerges from this point of view-that of the subject of work-concerns the great society to which man belongs on the basis of particular cultural and historical links. This society-even when it has not yet taken on the mature form of a nation-is not only the great "educator" of every man, even though an indirect one (because each individual absorbs within the family the contents and values that go to make up the culture of a given nation); it is also a great historical and social incarnation of the work of all generations. All of this brings it about that man combines his deepest human identity with membership of a nation, and intends his work also to increase the common good developed together with his compatriots, thus realizing that in this way work serves to add to the heritage of the whole human family, of all the people living in the world.

13. Economism and Materialism

It was this practical error that struck a blow first and foremost against human labour, against the working man, and caused the ethically just social reaction already spoken of above. The same error, which is now part of history, and which was connected with the period of primitive capitalism and liberalism, can nevertheless be repeated in other circumstances of time and place, if people's thinking starts from the same theoretical or practical premises. The only chance there seems to be for radically overcoming this error is through adequate changes both in theory and in practice, changes in line with the definite conviction of the primacy of the person over things, and of human labour over capital as a whole collection of means of production.

14. Work and Ownership

Thus the issue of ownership or property enters from the beginning into the whole of this difficult historical process. The Encyclical Rerum Novarum, which has the social question as its theme, stresses this issue also, recalling and confirming the Church's teaching on ownership, on the right to private property even when it is a question of the means of production. The Encyclical Mater et Magistra did the same.

The above principle, as it was then stated and as it is still taught by the Church, diverges radically from the programme of collectivism as proclaimed by Marxism and put into pratice in various countries in the decades following the time of Leo XIII's Encyclical. At the same time it differs from the programme of capitalism practised by liberalism and by the political systems inspired by it. In the latter case, the difference consists in the way the right to ownership or property is understood. Christian tradition has never upheld this right as absolute and untouchable. On the contrary, it has always understood this right within the broader context of the right common to all to use the goods of the whole of creation: the right to private property is subordinated to the right to common use, to the fact that goods are meant for everyone.

Furthermore, in the Church's teaching, ownership has never been understood in a way that could constitute grounds for social conflict in labour. As mentioned above, property is acquired first of all through work in order that it may serve work. This concerns in a special way ownership of the means of production. Isolating these means as a separate property in order to set it up in the form of "capital" in opposition to "labour"-and even to practise exploitation of labour-is contrary to the very nature of these means and their possession. They cannot be possessed against labour, they cannot even be possessed for possession's sake, because the only legitimate title to their possession- whether in the form of private ownerhip or in the form of public or collective ownership-is that they should serve labour, and thus, by serving labour, that they should make possible the achievement of the first principle of this order, namely, the universal destination of goods and the right to common use of them. From this point of view, therefore, in consideration of human labour and of common access to the goods meant for man, one cannot exclude the socialization, in suitable conditions, of certain means of production. In the course of the decades since the publication of the Encyclical Rerum Novarum, the Church's teaching has always recalled all these principles, going back to the arguments formulated in a much older tradition, for example, the well-known arguments of the Summa Theologiae of Saint Thomas Aquinas22.

In the present document, which has human work as its main theme, it is right to confirm all the effort with which the Church's teaching has striven and continues to strive always to ensure the priority of work and, thereby, man's character as a subject in social life and, especially, in the dynamic structure of the whole economic process. From this point of view the position of "rigid" capitalism continues to remain unacceptable, namely the position that defends the exclusive right to private ownership of the means of production as an untouchable "dogma" of economic life.

In the light of the above, the many proposals put forward by experts in Catholic social teaching and by the highest Magisterium of the Church take on special significance23: proposals for joint ownership of the means of work, sharing by the workers in the management and/or profits of businesses, so-called shareholding by labour, etc.

Therefore, while the position of "rigid" capitalism must undergo continual revision, in order to be reformed from the point of view of human rights, both human rights in the widest sense and those linked with man's work, it must be stated that, from the same point of view, these many deeply desired reforms cannot be achieved by an a priori elimination of private ownership of the means of production. For it must be noted that merely taking these means of production (capital) out of the hands of their private owners is not enough to ensure their satisfactory socialization. They cease to be the property of a certain social group, namely the private owners, and become the property of organized society, coming under the administration and direct control of another group of people, namely those who, though not owning them, from the fact of exercising power in society manage them on the level of the whole national or the local economy.

This group in authority may carry out its task satisfactorily from the point of view of the priority of labour; but it may also carry it out badly by claiming for itself a monopoly of the administration and disposal of the means of production and not refraining even from offending basic human rights. Thus, merely converting the means of production into State property in the collectivist system is by no means equivalent to "socializing" that property. We can speak of socializing only when the subject character of society is ensured, that is to say, when on the basis of his work each person is fully entitled to consider himself a part-owner of the great workbench at which he is working with every one else. A way towards that goal could be found by associating labour with the ownership of capital, as far as possible, and by producing a wide range of intermediate bodies with economic, social and cultural purposes; they would be bodies enjoying real autonomy with regard to the public powers, pursuing their specific aims in honest collaboration with each other and in subordination to the demands of the common good, and they would be living communities both in form and in substance, in the sense that the members of each body would be looked upon and treated as persons and encouraged to take an active part in the life of the body24.
























« Last Edit: Sun Apr 01, 2012 - 11:49:15 by Amo »

Amo

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Re: Christians/Politics/& the common good
« Reply #15 on: Sun Apr 01, 2012 - 12:11:31 »
PART ONE
Excerpts from -
ON THE DEVELOPMENT OF PEOPLES
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.



Offline Voluntary Joe

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Re: Christians/Politics/& the common good
« Reply #16 on: Tue Apr 03, 2012 - 07:11:42 »
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.

Amo

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Re: Christians/Politics/& the common good
« Reply #17 on: Wed Apr 04, 2012 - 17:42:56 »
PART TWO
Excerpts from -
ON THE DEVELOPMENT OF PEOPLES
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.
PAUL PP. VI




Amo

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Re: Christians/Politics/& the common good
« Reply #18 on: Sun Apr 08, 2012 - 10:00:13 »
Another look at excerpts from - CONGREGATION FOR THE DOCTRINE OF THE FAITH

DOCTRINAL NOTE
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

Amo

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

http://www.catholicnews.com/data/stories/cns/1201596.htm

"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.


Faith.Man

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Re: Christians/Politics/& the common good
« Reply #21 on: Sun May 13, 2012 - 14:41:09 »


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