Social Justice: Catholic Doctrine Versus Progressive Perversion

    Kyle, a blogger friend who has drifted over to the Dark Side and has pledged allegiance to Leftists has posted a couple paragraphs of a column written by Rev. James Martin S.J. on social justice and helping the poor. Here is yet another instance of Kyle in his usual naivetĂ© refusing to face reality and come to grips with the fact that social justice is being perverted. He gives the entire social justice crowd the benefit of the doubt without question, while on the other hand he questions the motives of others who disagree with him on other moral issues. Kyle ignored everything past my first question and acted dumb when he responded to my first question. Since he didn't address the totality of my questions it seems like he may okay with the perverted form of "social justice".  For a postmodernist Kyle sure has a lot of faith in the words of that phrase. Didn't Ricoeur encourage a hermeneutic of suspicion?

    If Rev. James Martin S. J. ("social justice") really did mean for his title to be taken literally then that title was a scurrilous lie. I am inclined to believe that he didn’t want people to take the title of his post literally and assume that Beck literally told Jesus to drop dead. But even then that title was an irresponsibly scandalous, and gratuitously blasphemous rhetorical stunt as well as a cheap shot. Father is way off base. Glenn Beck was not advocating for people to abandon the poor. If Rev. Martin actually posted the entire transcript of Glenn Beck’s radio program in which Beck discussed social justice you will see that Beck differentiates between the perverted, morphed, leftist, good feeling version of social justice from the gospel of social justice that promotes charity and speaking up for the poor, which Beck advocates. I am posting the full transcript of what Glenn Beck verbalized on his radio program:

    Here is Glenn Beck responding to progressives like Rev. James Martin S.J. ("social justice") who took his words out of context:

    If an individual believes in the form of social justice which refers to charity and helping the poor according to Catholic social teaching or Thomistic metaphysics that is fine. But, if you believe in the type of social justice that has been perverted by the likes of Father Coughlin who ascribed to this definition of social justice as given by Wikipedia:

    Social justice is also a concept that some use to describe the movement towards a socially just world. In this context, social justice is based on the concepts of human rights and equality and involves a greater degree of economic egalitarianism through progressive taxation, income redistribution, or even property redistribution. These policies aim to achieve what developmental economists refer to as more equality of opportunity than may currently exist in some societies, and to manufacture equality of outcome in cases where incidental inequalities appear in a procedurally just system-- then I agree with Beck. Run for the hills, away from your Church, as far away as you can get from that Church. So, yes, if a particular parish Catholic Church is teaching this type of social justice, either try and change their perverted notions as to what constitutes the real meaning of social justice which the Catholic church and others’ in our society have followed for over 2000 years or leave that Church and find a Catholic Church that espouses the principles of how the Bible teaches social justice. Even John Rawl’s theory on social justice, which states -- "Each person possesses an inviolability founded on justice that even the welfare of society as a whole cannot override. For this reason justice denies that the loss of freedom for some is made right by a greater good shared by others." -- is too conservative in my opinion.

    While Father Martin was right in pointing out the Church teaching below, many progressives today take this particular teaching to the extreme, isolating it as the sole teaching on social justice by the Catholic Church while excluding other teachings on social justice.

    "Catholic social teaching, like much philosophical reflection, distinguishes three dimensions of basic justice: commutative justice, distributive justice, and social justice. Commutative justice calls for fundamental fairness in all agreements and exchanges between individuals or private social groups Distributive justice requires that the allocation of income, wealth, and power in society be evaluated in light of its effects on persons whose basic material needs are unmet... Social justice implies that persons have an obligation to be active and productive participants in the life of society and that society has a duty to enable them to participate in this way." U.S. Bishops. Economic Justice for All (1986) 68-71.

    "What the Catholic Church teaches and declares regarding the social life and relationships of men is beyond question for all time valid. The cardinal point of this teaching is that individual men are necessarily the foundation, cause, and end of all social institutions." Pope John XXIII, On Christianity and Social Progress (1961) 218-19.
    "The norm of human activity is this: that in accord with the divine plan and will, it should harmonize with the genuine good of the human race, and allow men as individuals and as members of society to pursue their total vocation and fulfill it." Vatican II, Church in the Modern World (1965) 35.

    Here is the Church’s teaching on subsidiarity:

    "It is a fundamental principle of social philosophy, fixed and unchangeable, that one should not withdraw from individuals and commit to the community what they can accomplish by their own enterprise and industry .So, too, it is an injustice and at the same time a grave evil and a disturbance of right order, to transfer to the larger and higher collectivity functions which can be performed and provided for by lesser and subordinate bodies. Inasmuch as every social activity should, by its very nature, prove a help to members of the body social, it should never destroy or absorb them." Pope Pius XI. On Reconstructing the Social Order (1931) 79.

    Christopher Kaczor, Ph.D. points out that one of the seven social teachings of Catholic social teaching is to promote the family. He points out that “Social conditions either contribute to the stabilization or the destabilization of family structures. Social conditions that destabilize include mandatory and unreasonably long work hours, a toxic "social culture" that denigrates fidelity, legal dissolution of the definition of marriage between one man and one woman, and excessive taxation.” Kaczor also points out how Pope John Paul II promotes a healthy balance of States responsibility to help the securing of the common good and avoiding becoming a welfare or a “nanny-state” which offers cradle to grave security.

    Pope Leo XIII in Rerum Novarum even takes on the issue of socialists promoting a class warfare. Pope Leo XIII states, “To remedy these wrongs the socialists, working on the poor man's envy of the rich, are striving to do away with private property, and contend that individual possessions should become the common property of all, to be administered by the State or by municipal bodies. They hold that by thus transferring property from private individuals to the community, the present mischievous state of things will be set to rights, inasmuch as each citizen will then get his fair share of whatever there is to enjoy. But their contentions are so clearly powerless to end the controversy that were they carried into effect the working man himself would be among the first to suffer. They are, moreover, emphatically unjust, for they would rob the lawful possessor, distort the functions of the State, and create utter confusion in the community.”

    "It is surely undeniable that, when a man engages in remunerative labor, the impelling reason and motive of his work is to obtain property, and thereafter to hold it as his very own. If one man hires out to another his strength or skill, he does so for the purpose of receiving in return what is necessary for the satisfaction of his needs; he therefore expressly intends to acquire a right full and real, not only to the remuneration, but also to the disposal of such remuneration, just as he pleases. Thus, if he lives sparingly, saves money, and, for greater security, invests his savings in land, the land, in such case, is only his wages under another form; and, consequently, a working man's little estate thus purchased should be as completely at his full disposal as are the wages he receives for his labor. But it is precisely in such power of disposal that ownership obtains, whether the property consist of land or chattels. Socialists, therefore, by endeavoring to transfer the possessions of individuals to the community at large, strike at the interests of every wage-earner, since they would deprive him of the liberty of disposing of his wages, and thereby of all hope and possibility of increasing his resources and of bettering his condition in life."

    "What is of far greater moment, however, is the fact that the remedy they propose is manifestly against justice. For, every man has by nature the right to possess property as his own."

    "The fact that God has given the earth for the use and enjoyment of the whole human race can in no way be a bar to the owning of private property. For God has granted the earth to mankind in general, not in the sense that all without distinction can deal with it as they like, but rather that no part of it was assigned to any one in particular, and that the limits of private possession have been left to be fixed by man's own industry, and by the laws of individual races... private ownership is in accordance with the law of nature. … and it cannot but be just that he should possess that portion as his very own, and have a right to hold it without any one being justified in violating that right."

    "And in addition to injustice, it is only too evident what an upset and disturbance there would be in all classes, and to how intolerable and hateful a slavery citizens would be subjected. The door would be thrown open to envy, to mutual invective, and to discord; the sources of wealth themselves would run dry, for no one would have any interest in exerting his talents or his industry; and that ideal equality about which they entertain pleasant dreams would be in reality the levelling down of all to a like condition of misery and degradation. Hence, it is clear that the main tenet of socialism, community of goods, must be utterly rejected, since it only injures those whom it would seem meant to benefit, is directly contrary to the natural rights of mankind, and would introduce confusion and disorder into the commonweal. The first and most fundamental principle, therefore, if one would undertake to alleviate the condition of the masses, must be the inviolability of private property. This being established, we proceed to show where the remedy sought for must be found."

    "These three important benefits, however, can be reckoned on only provided that a man's means be not drained and exhausted by excessive taxation. The right to possess private property is derived from nature, not from man; and the State has the right to control its use in the interests of the public good alone, but by no means to absorb it altogether. The State would therefore be unjust and cruel if under the name of taxation it were to deprive the private owner of more than is fair."

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