According to the Compendium issued by the Holy See in 2004, “the primary and fundamental” core principles of Catholic social doctrine are “the dignity of the human person, the common good, subsidiarity and solidarity.”Louie points out that in a document published by the USCCB which covered the "heart" of Catholic social teaching the bishops somehow failed to include an essential part of Catholic social teaching - subsidiarity. Hmmm... Why would that be? He continues below.
Pope Leo XIII, whose seminal 1891 encyclical, Rerum Novarum, is still the gold standard for articulating the fundamentals of the Church’s social doctrine, wouldn’t even recognize as Catholic much of the “social justice” drivel bandied about nowadays, some of it from ostensibly reliable sources.
Consider, for example, the letter sent to Congress earlier this year in the name of the bishops’ conference calling for “raising adequate revenues” (a phrase that every politically literate American recognizes as liberal-speak for “tax hikes”) before going on to give the impression that the single greatest champion of human dignity and charity on the planet is the Obama led Federal government.
Apparently the authors of this Democrat-policy-position-paper-on-USCCB-letterhead are unaware of some important facts: namely, that the high distinction just mentioned belongs to the Roman Catholic Church alone, that taxation is no substitute for the demands of social justice, that one would be hard pressed to find a more grossly inefficient and wasteful middleman for facilitating the flow of aid to the needy than the Federal government, and most critical of all is the fact that one of the first Executive Orders to come out of the current Administration is aimed at sending millions of dollars in taxpayer money overseas to fund abortions under the guise of humanitarian aid.
With the selection of Rep. Paul Ryan as Mitt Romney’s running mate, renewed attention is being paid to the topic of Catholic social doctrine, and so one would do well to ponder what “social justice” truly is.
First, let’s consider the word “social.” It simply means “of or relating to cooperative, interdependent relationships and associations among human beings.” Remember that word “associations.” It will come up again. The meaning of “justice,” on the other hand, is not so simple, and this is where the rubber hits, or in many cases leaves, the road. The classic understanding of “justice” is “rendering to every man his due,” but what exactly is man’s due?
According to the liberal worldview, man’s due is a function of unfettered freedom manifested largely in the so-called “right” to seek pleasure without moral restraint or judgment. At its worst this false notion of justice becomes the weapon by which another man’s freedom is taken; extending even so far as to consider it “just” to take an innocent life through abortion, euthanasia, or the destruction of human embryos for medical purposes.
This twisted view of justice is sometimes invoked to promote an artificial notion of equality under the guise of “fairness,” thus overriding the legitimate uniqueness of individual human persons. This can be discerned in attempts to downplay the connection between skill, effort and outcome in society; e.g., in educational systems that shun traditional grading methods, or in “competitions” that deem everyone “a winner,” or in economic systems that divorce production from remuneration as is so often the case when collective bargaining is employed. At its most egregious we see this manifested in statist systems of governance that force redistribution of temporal goods, sometimes even going so far as to reject the right to private property. CONTINUED