The Gospel Truth

Papal Advice | March 21, 2013

I will not be so presumptuous as to offer Francis I any advice.

But I would like to ask him to clarify some issues that have been bothering me about my Church and its approach to economic issues…especially with regard to, not only the poor, but also the wealthy.

I took only two courses at Holy Cross in the Dismal Science, as David Ricardo once called Economics.

So I will not pretend to know all the intricacies of a very complex discipline.

And quite frankly it is near impossible to get any two economists to agree on anything.

I am reminded of the old saying that if you lined the world’s economists up in a straight line they would point in every direction on the compass.

So even they do not understand their own subject in a perfect way.

A Church that is poor and it for the poor

There are certain words, ideas and abstraction that confuse me, especially when the poor are involved.

I heard a quote the Francis I said that he wanted the Catholic Church to be poor and for the poor.

I have been a Catholic for nearly 70 years and I cannot remember the poor being the main focus of my faith when I was young or even my first decade of marriage.

The Church is always going to need money…lots of money.

Unless he means poor in spirit.  That would work for all of us.

Sure we had annual drives for the poor and the missions–I remember the little Mite Boxes for our pennies and dimes they gave us each year during Lent.

But the doctrines, teachings and morals were the prime focus to make us worthy of eternal salvation.

Maybe salvation is automatically assumed today.

Perhaps the Church believes everyone will automatically go to Heaven.

Souls in Purgatory

I know for a fact some bishops do.

First I might ask the pope as to where the commandments fit in with the Church’s deep concern for the poor.

I am talking about the 7th and 10th commandments specifically, which require us not to steal the goods or wealth of others or even desire to have what someone else.

As far as I know they are still within the canon of Catholic teaching and doctrine but they are mentioned even less than the 6th and the 9th commandments–the sex commandments.

I wonder how many priests, nuns, bishops and maybe even higher up realize this.

I know the federal government has been breaching the 7th and 10th commandments for as long as I can remember…at least as far back as Franklin Roosevelt.

Was it not Roosevelt who started the class war or what they call today…class envy?

Is not envy still a sin?

I only mention that because it seems to me many old and even some younger Catholics think of FDR as many Christians might think of the Second Coming.

To them it seems alright to steal from Peter to give to Paul.

Steal?

That’s what disproportionate taxation and economic redistribution are in reality.

To paraphrase the great 19th century French economist, Frederic Bastiat if we as individuals did to our neighbors what government do to us every day, we would be behind bars.

Bastiat also explains in his most famous work, The Law why the law cannot defend life, liberty, and property if it promotes socialist policies. 

Saw the evils in big government

Bastiat thought of government, especially big government as little more than legalized plunder.

I know as a Catholic I should be concerned with the poor.

The Bible tells me that to those that are give much, much is expected.

I firmly believe that in my heart, however I should be the one to decide how much and to whom I should give.

That is what a good steward does.

I heard a priest once pray to eliminate poverty.

I think that is a ridiculous notion.

Poverty is a relative term that changes each and every day.

The only way to effect this is to level everybody to the barest subsistence level.

If everyone is poor, which is what happens with socialism, than poverty will have been eliminate.

Is that what they want?

The poor in this country has much more than most of the world’s population.

The United States, which has been blessed with incalculable but not limitless wealth has been the most generous nation in the history of mankind but according to our political leaders it has not been enough.

It is never enough!

To date we have spent over $17 trillion on the poor with all sorts of welfare programs since Lyndon Johnson launched the Great Society and his War on Poverty in 1965.

Used the poor

It was really a war on poor people.

Unfortunately this largesse  most likely have done little for them as total human beings.

The poor today has approximately $40,000 in benefits available to them each year and still we hear the need for more and more…

Does not getting all this free stuff make them lazy?

Certain words from the poverty problem have bothered me for a long time.

The first one is entitlement.

It seems that nearly half of our population is entitled…to what?

Government redistribution of someone else’s wealth—that’s what!

Why are they entitled?

Who and what gives them the right to demand that someone else take care of them?

Where is their personal responsibilities to themselves and their families?

Who empowered the government to redistribute others wealth to the less fortunate?

That’s what personal charity is for and Americans even with their oppressive tax rates still find some money to give to good charities.

The underlying and unspoken assumption is that these millions of Americans are entitled because the wealthy have been oppressing the poor throughout history and now it is their turn to feel the sting of oppression as their possessions, money, stocks, bonds are subject to partial and even substantial confiscation by the powers of government.

You might ask…where is this in the Constitution?

The answer is partially in the 16th Amendment, which established the first permanent income on a progressive scale.

By that I mean the more you make…not the more they take…which would be fair but the higher the percentage they confiscate.

This is not James Madison or even Alexander Hamilton but Karl Marx.

James Madison.jpg

Not his Constitution

The IRS has a similar tax on people’s estates.

The government does not want people to be able to pass the vast majority of their wealth on to their children and families.

It should go to the government because the other assumption is that they will know how to allocate it better than your children.

This is also Karl Marx.

I suggest people read the Communist Manifesto.

That’s where our tax system came from.

Don’t misunderstand me–I believe we should all help the legitimate poor.

They are those who cannot help themselves or are temporarily down on their luck.

So many of our so-called poor today find more value in working the system than actually finding some job.

Why the preferential option for the poor and just what does that mean?

Are their souls any more important than those of the wealthy?

I would like to hear my Church speak more about attaining eternal salvation for all people…wealthy and poor alike.

Did not Jesus talk of the Eye of the Camel and how hard it was for a rich man to go to heaven?

Since when did the Church become a social agency for political change, Marxist economics and reform?

Some may argue that on Judgment day we will be asked what we did for the least of God’s people.

Is that the poor or could it possible be the unborn?

While I admire the people who work for the Saint Vincent DePaul Society and their concern for the poor, I have been around no better people than those who put everything on the line to witness at abortion clinics around the country.

I met a lovely young woman outside of a Planned Parenthood killing center the other day.

She and some friends as well as many others that included a number of students from my grandson’s high school, St. John Vianney were there to protest the evil going on behind closed doors as part of our local 40 Days for Life Apostolate in St. Louis.

The least of God’s creature?

As a comical side note one woman had three or four small children with her.  The youngest–a little boy spent about 20 minutes throwing stones at the brick wall that read PLANNED PARENTHOOD.

She was vital, fresh and warm..a virtual newlywed.

I was truly energized in her youthful presence.

She told me that the three responsibilities she had to her husband were 1) to help get him to heaven 2) make certain he lived a long time and 3) fix his lunch.

What then are the important responsibilities of the Catholic Church?

I am hoping that Francis I will be able to answer these questions for me.

TRIVIA ANSWER: An Arnold Palmer without the slice.

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6 Comments »

  1. No. 1 – Envy is listed as one of the capital sins.

    No. 2 – No doubt Pope Francis I is a humble and
    holy man. I suppose it will take time to under-
    stand just where he is re: fiscal issues, tax-
    ation, etc. The good news is that he has
    opposed liberation theology!!! I do fear that
    our USCCB (US Bishops) will interpret his
    words about the poor to support the social-
    ism being implemented by team Obama.

    No. 3 – I am concerned about his comments re:
    the environment in his homily at his inaugu-
    ration. He made several references to pro-
    tecting the environment/creation. I am sure
    sure he does not realize that the “greenies”
    view people as polluters and are for popu-
    lation control.

    No.- 4 I expect Pope Francis will clean out the Curia.
    Thus, we need to pray for his safety.

    3. –

    Comment by MFritz — March 21, 2013 @ 1:51 pm

  2. Did Jesus say “we will always have poor” I do realize that we can break it down vie who (games) the system more as percentage of the population as whole. If we enter that sanctum, the slings and arrows will fly from the socialist who think and talk of Race, has nothing to do with anything. Bill, you remember your days at the GNU? It was Race all day and all night.

    The Churches responsibility is to show me the path to the kingdom of God, nothing more in my opinion.But if you follow that path, the poor will be taken care of.

    It the church should never take away my ability to choose whom to help. And last. “Poor in spirit” If I really looked at that statement and was to define what he meant, It means to me, to “empathize” with those who are Poor, as the saying goes “For the Grace of God, there I’d be”

    Comment by Mike Ellington — March 21, 2013 @ 1:52 pm

    • The poor will always be with us. BB

      ________________________________

      Comment by bbprof — March 21, 2013 @ 10:05 pm

  3. “No.- 4 I expect Pope Francis will clean out the Curia.
    Thus, we need to pray for his safety.”

    Mike that was the first thought that came to my mind, he might have a short reign as Francis the 1st.

    Comment by Mike Ellington — March 21, 2013 @ 1:56 pm

  4. BB, Never have I read a report that mirrored my thoughts as well as this one. I have been almost sick watching our church turn into a political business rather than a “saver of souls”. Will be watching Pope Francis as I am learning that the media is making him into an environmentalist, etc and they never mention that he is talking about the devil, evil, etc. I believe he is an “ass kicker” Pope and after he reads the dossier left by Pope B, heads will roll. Protocol has it that the new Pope is just Francis until there is a Francis II. He is in my daily prayers. He has a big job to do. Pax MBL

    Comment by Mary B. Lachney — March 21, 2013 @ 5:28 pm

  5. The economic Law that God gave us in the Bible creates a system where there are virtually no poor, and where wealth and labor confiscation is strictly forbidden. It worked so well that the Scriptures occasionally recount the problem of folks wanting to give alms, but not being able to find anyone in need of them. Like us, ancient Israel vacillated between big, oppressive government that created a large poor class, and small, Scripturally-bound government whaere the only people who were potentially poor were the widows, orphans, diseased and mentally incompetent. I say “potentially” because those people were provided for in the Law as well.

    If we followed that great gift of God to us, His Law, then perhaps His Church could concentrate on salvation. When Jesus said “The poor you will always have with you,” it was a rebuke to the pettiness of his apostles, not a guideline for history.

    My book is “The Other Law of Moses.” Check it out.

    Comment by John — March 22, 2013 @ 1:29 pm


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About author

After graduating from Holy Cross, Bill Borst earned an MA in Asian History from St. John's University and a Ph.D in American History from St. Louis University. (1972) A former New Yorker, he taught for many years in the St. Louis area, while also hosting a weekly radio show on WGNU from 1984-2006. He currently is a regular substitute for conservative Phyllis Schlafly on KSIV radio. (1320) He is the author of two books on social history, "Liberalism: Fatal Consequences," and "The Scorpion and the Frog: A Natural Conspiracy." He just retired as the Features editor of the Mindszenty Foundation Monthly Report. In his 11 years from 2003-2013 he wrote nearly 130 essays on Catholic culture and world affairs. Many in St. Louis also know him as the "Baseball Professor," because of a course that he offered at Maryville College from 1973-74. It was arguably the first fully-accredited baseball history course in the Midwest.The author of several short books on the old St. Louis Browns, he started the St. Louis Browns Historical Society in 1984. In 2009 his first two plays were produced on the local stage. "The Last Memory of an Ol' Brownie Fan," ran six performances at the Sound Stage in Crestwood and "A Perfect Choice" ran for two performances at the Rigali Center Theater in Shrewsberry. His third play, "A Moment of Grace," ran six performances at DeSmet High School in January of 2011with First Run Theater in January of 2011. He is currently working on a 4th play, "A Family Way," which is a comedy about a happy dysfunctional family. He can reached at bbprof@sbcglobal.net

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