April 25, 2009
Mr. McCain seems to be making the argument that because there are liberals who claim to profess the Catholic faith, therefore, ipso facto, Catholicism and Catholic social teaching are liberal. As we say in Catholic circles (when considering bad Catholics & good non-Catholics) “there are many wolves within and many sheep without”. Mr. McCain is, no doubt, a friendly sheep who, in scourging the ravenous wolves within (the Catholic Church) commits the error of thinking that the wolves are the Church, or at any rate the social thinking side of the Church.
Perhaps it shocks our esteemed colleague that there are men and women—alas, cardinals, even!—who clothe their revolutionary thought in a whitewash of ostensibly Catholic terminology (c.f. Dr. Zmirak’s aforemention Catholic Bull-whatnot Generator) but who actually have no sympathy or understanding of Catholicism except as a convenient vehicle for advancing themselves and their ideas. But the point of Dr. Zmirak’s Catholic Bull-ahem Generator is not that the Bull-whatnot produced actually is Catholic but rather the opposite: it is Bull that is created by Catholics, for Catholics, and with a make-believe “Catholic” aura, but that, despite all this, there is next to nothing actually Catholic about it.
Also, to throw back the stone which has been hurled, is Mr. McCain not aware that there are Protestants who are die-hard propagandists for the Clinton-Bush-Obama liberal-imperial cause? And for Obama-Hillary health socialism? I am sure that should you spin the globe of error and put your finger down on some random evil cause, there will be a Catholic, a Protestant, and a Jew working together for its advancement (and probably with a Washington think-tank to back them up).
Where dear Robert is wrong is when he says I believe the Church “is a bulwark of conservatism”. Not so: it is a bulwark of truth, which is quite another thing entirely. Nonetheless, our esteemed colleague is undoubtedly correct is when he writes:
There can be little doubt about this. Instead of accepting the task charged to them by successive popes, Catholic leadership since at least the First World War, and probably longer, has concentrated more on steering a “middle” course between the revolutionary Left and the revolutionary Right, and often not even bothering about the course being middle. In fact, they should have been laying the education, economic, and social bases for the rejection of the revolutionary danse macabre by the souls in their care. The fact that they either failed (as in Germany with the Volksverein & Italy with the Unione Popolare) or never bothered trying (as in America) is something which we can all lament.
As for the Austrian school of economics Mr. McCain professes such a devotion to, I admit being woefully ignorant of it other than a few articles I’ve read on the website of the Ludwig von Mises Institute, and thus incapable of judging it. I suspect that there might be a lot that is useful in Austrian economics, but, being a pragmatist at the end of the day, it all comes down to what is done with it. If Austrian economics is used to increase the prosperity of all and further the decentralization of power, then bully for it! However, if it is used to bulldoze peasant villages to make way for shopping malls and to demolish classical buildings to be replaced with glass-plated monstrosities, then all that can be said is “Take aim and fire!”
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