Posts Tagged ‘State’

St. Thomas More: Faithful Statesman

In 15 Audio on 2014/12/19 at 12:00 AM
St. Thomas More: Faithful Statesman
Host – Fr. C..John McCloskey and Dr. Gerard Wegemer
Fr. C..John McCloskey and Dr. Gerard Wegemer discuss the dramatic life and visit the literary works of St. Thomas More, the Patron Saint of Statesmen and politicians.

1.St. Thomas More as Patron of Statesmen Host – Fr. C..John McCloskey and Dr. Gerard Wegemertmfs_01.mp3The career of Thomas More is examined for the numerous instances in which he displayed the virtues which distinguished him as a model for others in public and political life. 2.Earliest Accounts of Thomas More’s Statesmanship Host – Fr. C..John McCloskey and Dr. Gerard Wegemertmfs_02.mp3The biographical accounts of the life of Thomas More by Erasmus and William Roper are examined for the distinguishing characteristics which cause him to be viewed as a model for others in public and political life. 3.St. Thomas More on Friendship Host – Fr. C..John McCloskey and Dr. Gerard Wegemertmfs_03.mp3The immense capacity of Thomas More for friendship is probed, with special attention to his relationships with Erasmus, King Henry VIII and Antonio Buonvisi. 4.St. Thomas More: A Christian Socrates in Action Host – Fr. C..John McCloskey and Dr. Gerard Wegemertmfs_04.mp3Thomas More is likened to Socrates in his lifelong pursuit of truth and death for fidelity to his ideals. 5.St. Thomas More on Education Host – Fr. C..John McCloskey and Dr. Gerard Wegemertmfs_05.mp3Thomas More had a splendid education himself and saw to it that his children had the same. He sees it as the search for truth and a means to acquire character. 6.St. Thomas More on Becoming Wise and Prudent as Serpents Host – Fr. C..John McCloskey and Dr. Gerard Wegemertmfs_06.mp3The literary career of Thomas More is examined for its brilliance, ranking him with Socrates, Cato and Cicero. Shakespeare was profoundly influenced by Thomas More. 7.St. Thomas More on Government Host – Fr. C..John McCloskey and Dr. Gerard Wegemertmfs_07.mp3Thomas More’s statesmanship relies on unchanging philosophic and theological principles, including the conviction that human beings are created free. 8.St. Thomas More on Church-State Relations Host – Fr. C..John McCloskey and Dr. Gerard Wegemertmfs_08.mp3Thomas More believes that the Church ought to be free from the state’s control, allowed to exercise free speech. Thomas More was even praised by Henry VII for his rule of obeying God and conscience first, then one’s king. 9.St. Thomas More From Resignation to Imprisonment Host – Fr. C..John McCloskey and Dr. Gerard Wegemertmfs_09.mp3When Thomas More cannot condone Henry the VIII’s actions of making himself the head of the Church in England and marrying someone other than his wife, he resigns and is unlawfully imprisoned. 10.St. Thomas More: Imprisonment, Trial And Execution Host – Fr. C..John McCloskey and Dr. Gerard Wegemertmfs_10.mp3Separated from his family, Thomas More lives in difficult conditions in the Bell Tower of the Tower of London for the last 16 months of his life. He writes moving literary works as he prepares for execution. His moving farewell to his daughter Meg is captured in a famous painting. He comforts those who ought to have comforted him. 11.St. Thomas More: Last Words on Statesmanship Host – Fr. C..John McCloskey and Dr. Gerard Wegemertmfs_11.mp3In his time in the Tower of London awaiting execution, Thomas More writes moving meditations on the Agony of Christ in the Garden. 12.St. Thomas More: Elements of His Own Education Host – Fr. C..John McCloskey and Dr. Gerard Wegemertmfs_12.mp3Educated at Oxford, he studies Greek with Erasmus. More courageously insists on priorities and decides which way of life to take. 13.St. Thomas More: His Legacy Host – Fr. C..John McCloskey and Dr. Gerard Wegemertmfs_13.mp3Thomas More is an example for any man and father of a family. Over and above his qualities as friend and humorist, Holbein chooses to portray More’s fidelity to conscience as he paints the saint’s portrait. Thomas More Societies abound in England today.

A Trilogy of the Unreal: Part 1 – Separation of Church and State

In 08 Musings by Jack Reagan on 2012/07/28 at 10:10 AM

Separation of Church and State – Anti-Christian groups such as the ACLU, activist judges and secularists in general have used this mantra to force Christians (rarely do they use it against any other religion) to act against their basic beliefs. No public prayers. No Nativity scenes. No religious symbols. No invocation of the Christian God.

This idea of separation of Church and State is found in no official document of the Founding Fathers of the United States. It is not in the Constitution or the Declaration of Independence or any writings of the early builders of this country. What the Constitution does say is that this country will not have an official, government-approved religion such as the Anglican Church in England.

This idea of separation of Church and State was hijacked from a private letter written by Thomas Jefferson to a friend. It had no official force whatsoever, but the phrase has been treated by Christianity’s enemies as a quasi divine revelation.

The motivation is totally anti-Christian/Catholic because when Muslims celebrate Islamic holidays on public property, not a word is ever said by these advocates of separation. This gross hypocrisy demonstrates the bias in the whole effort.

The next time you hear or read about someone or some group “nobly” defending the people from the “onslaught of religion,” realize that the whole thing is totally fake. They care nothing about Church or State; they just want to “stick it” to the Christians.

Private Charity Versus Government Welfare

In 04 Fr. John McCloskey on 2012/07/05 at 9:11 AM

by Rev. C. J. McCloskey III

Less than three years has passed since the publication of Pope Benedict XVI’s third encyclical, Charity in Truth. As some readers may remember, the encyclical caused quite a stir both in secular and religious circles — as have many of the past papal encyclicals dealing with economic questions, going back to Pope Leo XIII’s groundbreaking 1891 exposition of social justice, Rerum Novarum.It appears that the redaction and publication of the current encyclical was speeded up to address the ongoing global economic crisis — and that it does. This article, however, will instead take a brief look at the proper roles of private charity and government welfare in pursuing the integral development of persons, families, and countries.

Encyclicals are magisterial. That is, they are meant to be studied, prayed over, and applied to the subject at hand. However, in questions of social justice, while the Holy Father and the bishops in communion with him may teach with authority, ultimately it is the laity’s role to apply the teaching to the concrete circumstances of particular countries, economies, and societies. It is at this level that there can be legitimate and perhaps diverging opinions on the ways to apply the teachings in particular cases. Rarely will there be any perfect solution.

In Charity in Truth, Pope Benedict cites Pope Paul VI, who

had an articulated vision of development. He understood the term to indicate the goal of rescuing peoples, first and foremost, from hunger, deprivation, endemic diseases, and illiteracy. It meant their evolution into educated societies marked by solidarity; from a political point of view, it meant the consolidation of democratic regimes capable of ensuring freedom and peace.

However, Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict both emphasize the principle of solidarity, which can be defined as “a sense of or responsibility on the part of every one with regard to everyone.” Benedict is clear that this cannot be delegated to the state alone. It seems, given his insistence on the virtue of caritas – love — that one cannot see the State as the principal caretaker of welfare or so-called “social justice.” Benedict insists again and again on what he terms “gratuitousness,” which is a reference to the long-time heart of Joseph Ratzinger’s theology: the emphasis on the sincere gift of self. We could also translate this as the “self-gift,” and find in this formulation a second meaning, since through it a person finds his true self in charity. Private charity is preferable because it is a means of growing in grace for the donor. Clearly this cannot be the case of the Leviathan government, which has no moral subject.

Pope Benedict maintains that Market plus State is simply not enough; such a reduction of social relationships is corrosive of society. We must remember that both John Paul and Benedict lived under totalitarian states that persecuted religion and were responsible for tens of millions of deaths and many martyrs. They knew that perhaps the most important factor in the slow but sure growth of early Christianity was the self-gift of early Christians and their families to those around them, which contrasted so strongly with the brutality and coarseness of the gradually decaying Roman State. Speaking of the early Church, Pope Benedict says in his first encyclical, God is Love, that,

As the years went by, and the Church spread further afield, the exercise of charity became established as one of her essential activities: love for widows and orphans, prisoners, and the sick and needy of every kind is as essential to her as the ministry of the sacraments and preaching of the Gospel. The Church cannot neglect the service of charity any more than she can neglect the Sacraments and the Word.

Today, the Church continues to be the world’s largest private agency of charity to the indigent, as it has been through the centuries, spearheaded by figures as well known as St. Vincent de Paul, Frederic Ozanam, and Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta.

Along with solidarity, Benedict — and indeed all of his predecessors who taught on human development and the justice of economic systems — insists on the principle of subsidiarity. He writes:

A particular manifestation of charity and a guiding criterion for fraternal cooperation between believers and non-believers is undoubtedly the principle of subsidiarity, an expression of inalienable human freedom. Subsidiarity is first and foremost a form of assistance to the human person via the autonomy of intermediate bodies. Such assistance is offered when individuals or groups are unable to accomplish something on their own, and it is always designed to achieve their emancipation, because it fosters freedom and participation through assumption of responsibility.

The beauty of this principle is that it provides for charity only as needed while encouraging self-reliance as possible. Whether this assistance comes from the government at the local or federal level, from private charities, from the Church, or simply from relatives, it should normally be limited to getting people or families back on their feet, rather than fostering prolonged dependency — the compelling counterexample being the tens of millions of Americans on food stamps.

Benedict notes: “The principle of subsidiarity must remain closely linked to the principle of solidarity and vice versa since the former without the latter gives way to social privatism while the latter without the former gives way to paternalistic social assistance that is demeaning to those in need.”

The pope then applies these principles to foreign aid. “Such aid, whatever the donors’ intentions, can sometimes lock people into a state of dependence and even foster situations of localized oppression and exploitation in the receiving country.” He goes on to stipulate that “Economic aid, in order to be true to its purpose, must not support secondary objectives.”

It is clear from Benedict’s tour de force survey of the current state of human development that private charity is preferable to public welfare, in that it satisfies the principles of subsidiarity, solidarity, and gratuitousness, or self-giving, which ennoble those who provide it and enable those who receive it as needed.

On the other hand, government assistance generally should serve as temporary help when private charity is not available or effective — the proverbial safety net — but not as a form of bribery for political purposes or as a means of gaining power over people, as if oppressive taxation and inflationary monetary policy were not means enough. After all, as the saying goes, what the government can do for you, it can also do toyou.

I will let Pope Benedict have the last word:

The greatest service to development, then, is a Christian humanism that enkindles charity and takes its lead from truth, accepting both as a lasting gift from God. Openness to God makes us open towards our brothers and sisters and towards an understanding of life as a joyful task to be accomplished in a Spirit of Solidarity.

Tagged as: Benedict XVICatholic Social TeachingdevelopmenteconomicsLoveRerum NovarumSubsidiarityTruth

The views expressed by the authors and editorial staff are not necessarily the views of
Sophia Institute, Holy Spirit College, or the Thomas More College of Liberal Arts.

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