By Marilyn MacGruder Barnewall
December 1, 2013
News With Views
On November 26, 2013, two days before America’s celebratory day
of Thanksgiving for the freedoms our Founding Fathers gave this Great Nation,
Pope Francis I issued from the Vatican a 50,000 word “apostolic exhortation”
(an 84 page Papal opinion).
to capitalism and support for liberation theology was made quite clear.
You can download the Pope’s commentary here
Liberation theology was called a “Marxist myth” by the new
Pope’s predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI.
Conspiracy theorists can have a good night’s entertainment putting
together a case for a forced retirement for Pope Benedict so a new Pope,
Francis I who is more friendly to communist philosophies, could take control of
the Catholic Church to help the communist-based New World Order move into high
I’m not a conspiracy theorist, but the comments of Pope
Francis certainly raised the hair on the back of my neck. I realize he is from South America where Liberation
theology has a strong foothold, and I realize that His Holiness is far more
qualified than I in the Catechism of the Holy Mother Church. But based on Pope Francis I’s comments about
capitalism, I also realize that I am more qualified than he to define the
values and downfalls of the system of economics known as capitalism.
Before providing comments of Pope Francis I, some
definitional clarity of specific terms Pope Francis used is required. Anyone who reads my articles knows that I
strongly believe that defining one’s words is the only means by which truth can
be identified. According to an ancient
Chinese philosopher, wisdom begins with the understanding of the meaning of the
words we use. I agree with that thought.
Capitalism is defined by some as an economic system in which
trade, industry and the means of production are controlled by private owners
with the goal of making profits in a market economy.
That’s a simplistic definition dealing only with the
application of capitalism within a free marketplace – dealing only with the
subject as it applies to economics.
Since we have not had a free marketplace for many years, we have not had
capitalism for many years either. Pope
Francis seems unaware of that sad fact in his apostolic exhortation.
Those of us in what is called “Western Civilization” have
lived under a system run not by a free market, but by the Rothschild central
banks of the world for a very long time.
The War of 1812 was funded by the central bank of England because America, after winning the
Revolutionary War, refused to establish a central bank. America, the newly-born nation, had
a central bank right after the Revolutionary war – it had a 20-year contract
which was not renewed when the contract ended because the theft of American
wealth ran so rampant. Some things, it
seems, never change..
So let’s expand the definition a bit.
Capitalism is also a social system. That system is based on principles of
individual rights – and individual responsibilities. As I recall, the message of Jesus Christ is
about individual responsibilities. I
mention that only because Liberation theology, favored by Pope Francis I,
places the concept of “we are our brother’s keeper” above the individual
responsibility that goes with that statement.
Capitalists manage the risk inherent in the system; socialists look to
government to remove risk from their lives.
Socialists view risk as something one takes, not something
one manages. They have yet to learn that
security is something one finds within one’s self (perhaps one’s soul?), not in
government. The best person you can rely
on to do anything for you is YOU. Most
Americans believe self reliance is strengthened by a loving God who, in
response to their prayers, aids them in their personal endeavors.
Socialists and communists believe government is their
strength – and the rejection of God in favor of government strengthens their
endeavors. Perhaps that is why having
the Catholic Pope favor a Marxist economic system (which can only be managed by
a Marxist government) over a system supportive of individual rights and
responsibilities surprised me so much.
We can also expand the definition of capitalism to say it is
a spiritual system. Just as the
socialist and communist systems are based on the philosophy that all things
(including human rights) flow from government, capitalism is a system that makes
possible the recognition that human rights flow from the hand of God. That is why our Founding Fathers told us they
had given us a Republic – if we could keep it.
They told us that capitalism could not succeed in other than a moral nation. Some went so far as to say morality had to be
based on Christianity. It was our
Founders who declared us “a Christian nation.”
The last time I looked, Catholicism was a Christian religion… but
perhaps not under this Pope.
So, capitalism (which is currently not practiced anywhere in
the world) is not just an economic philosophy.
It is not just a social philosophy.
It is not just a spiritual philosophy.
It is all three. It is the only
political system with morality built into it because properly practiced it is
dedicated to the protection of the rights which are necessary to all people to
survive in the physical AND the spiritual world.
Without a political system that supports freedom, no one is
free to worship as they choose. Those
who gain power over people – whether it be a government or a church – are very
possessive of it and do nothing to teach the populace how to regain power once people
allow it to be taken. How can you know
what is factual, what is truthful, if your government creates a system of
education that withholds facts and truth from students?
I know what is coming in the aftermath of this article: Letters from socialist progressives (some
call themselves liberals; some liberals are not socialist progressives) who are
firmly convinced of their moral high ground because they want to equalize
everything for everyone… to redistribute wealth, to provide for those unable to
provide for themselves. I say to liberal
progressives to get over your arrogance and vaunted sense of self
importance. If you hadn’t lied (under
the guise that “the end justifies the means), we wouldn’t have lost our moral
concept of capitalism in the first place!
Millions of people wouldn’t be without health insurance today if not for
you and your need to think you know what’s better for the world than those who
live in it!
Liberal progressives seek a non-existent Utopia. Everywhere socialism/communism has been
tried, it has failed. Russia killed
40 million of its people when implementing a socialist/communist form of
government. China killed almost twice that
many. The Soviet Union imploded under
its lies and corruption; to survive its communist philosophies, China has had to become a largely capitalist
nation – and regardless of what you read, China’s economy is in trouble
I will also get letters from the opposite end of the
spectrum, the libertarians who are firmly convinced that there is no need for social
or monetary order other than that provided by sovereign individuals handling
their own lives responsibly. Since much
of my own political philosophy leans to the libertarian side, I understand how
difficult it is for people who believe in individual sovereignty to realize
that the moment you mix your individual sovereignty with that of others – when
you enter the marketplace – you have group sovereignty and when you have group
sovereignty you have chaos (or survival of the fittest) unless you have a
system of organization that holds everyone to the same standards of
behavior. When those values involve
currency or money, you need a system of banking and a system of economics
within which banks function to establish social and economic order.
So much for an explanation of capitalism. Now we need to define Liberation
theology. Why? Because Pope Francis I references it in his
remarks – and analyzing his comments is the purpose of this article.
Liberation theology is a political movement within the Roman
Catholic Church which chooses to interpret the teachings of Jesus Christ to
mean that an unjust economic, political and social system causes poverty and
keeps the poor struggling to escape the suffering that goes with that status.
Liberation theology (much like liberal progressives) views
poverty through the eyes of the poor. The Catholic Church is one of the wealthiest
entities in the world. It has a $170
billion budget in America
and owns a massive amount of real estate in Manhattan, one of the costliest places to
live in the world. Priests, regardless
of their behavior, will never have to face living on the street or
starving. Like progressives, they think
they can imagine the insecurities of poverty.
Having been there at one time in my life, I promise them they cannot.
Detractors (within the Church) have called Liberation
theology Christianized Marxism.
Liberation theology began in Latin America in the 1950s and
1960s (though the Pope’s parents were born in Italy,
he was born in Argentina). It became an issue because of honest concern
– a moral reaction, if you will – to poverty caused by social injustice in Latin America.
Liberation theology calls for the redistribution of wealth – a very
Marxist solution to solving the suffering of the poor. Has it worked anywhere in the world? No.
And it will not.
Pope Francis I says “My people are poor and I am one of them.”
He lives in an apartment and cooks his own supper. He wants priests to show
mercy – to show courage by keeping their doors open to everyone 24/7. He wants the Church to avoid being
self-centered… but spiritual worldliness is found in the eye of the
beholder. I believe Pope Francis is
totally sympathetic to the miseries of poverty.
But no one with alternatives to poverty – like a Priest has, or like the
warm homes liberal progressives have when they go spend a night or two on the
street to sample the misery of poverty – can really understand the burdens of
the poor. Why? Because they have alternatives should they
choose to exercise them.
In the past, Pope Francis has said when speaking of social
justice that Catholics should rediscover the Ten Commandments and the
Beatitudes. He tells Catholics to study
the Catholic Catechism. “Trampling on a
person’s dignity is a serious sin,” he said.
I agree with the Pope and have often commented on the need for
the Catholic Church to abide by its Catechism… especially that portion of it
that states that when Catholics move to a new country they have a moral
obligation to obey the laws of that new nation.
I have pointed out to many Catholic priests who tell parishioners week
after week how important it is for Americans to welcome illegals from Mexico into
our nation, legal or not, that the Church’s Catechism tells Catholics to obey
the laws of their new land. I have
pointed out that it is impossible for illegals to obey the Catechism when the
first thing they do by entering America
illegally is to violate the new nation’s laws.
As for “trampling on a person’s dignity” being a serious
sin, I agree. Where the Pope and I would
disagree is his evident opinion that only the poor have their dignity abused in
their world. For such a statement to
have meaning it must encompass the entire flock, not just a portion of it
favored by this prelate or that.
Trampling on the dignity of achievers is just as much a sin as is
trampling on the dignity of the poor.
With all of that said, Part II of this article provides some
of the comments made by Pope Francis I and a capitalist’s interpretation of
Marilyn MacGruder Barnewall began her career in 1956 as a journalist
with the Wyoming Eagle in Cheyenne. During her 20 years (plus) as a banker and
bank consultant, she wrote extensively for The American Banker, Bank Marketing
Magazine, Trust Marketing Magazine, was U.S. Consulting Editor for Private
Banker International (London/Dublin), and other major banking industry
publications. She has written seven non-fiction books about banking and taught
private banking at Colorado University for the American Bankers Association. She
has authored seven banking books, one dog book, and two works of fiction (about
banking, of course). She has served on numerous Boards in her
Barnewall is the former editor of The National Peace Officer Magazine and
as a journalist has written guest editorials for the Denver Post, Rocky Mountain
News and Newsweek, among others. On the Internet, she has written for News With
Views, World Net Daily, Canada Free Press, Christian Business Daily, Business
Reform, and others. She has been quoted in Time, Forbes, Wall Street Journal and
other national and international publications. She can be found in Who's Who in
America, Who's Who of American Women, Who's Who in Finance and Business, and
Who's Who in the World.
Web site: http://marilynwrites.blogspot.com