November 2013

Pope Francis has released his first apostolic exhortation,Evangelii Gaudium (The Joy of the Gospel). An apostolic exhortation

…is published to encourage the faithful to live in a particular manner or to do something, e.g., post synodal documents offered to the church in summary of a previous synod and hoping the faithful will do something helpful for the life of the church…

Acton’s Director of Research, Sam Gregg, takes a look at Evangelii Gaudium at National Review OnlineFirst, Gregg points out that this is a beautiful document in many ways, with its emphasis on the Holy Spirit and Francis’ call for more collegiality between Rome and local churches.

However, Gregg also says that some of the pope’s points are “rather questionable.” Gregg mentions the subject of Islam and the pope’s assertion that it is non-violent. However, Gregg’s main focus has to do with the pope’s economic reflections.

Prominent among these is the pope’s condemnation of the ‘absolute autonomy of markets’ (202). This, he firmly believes, is at the root of many of our contemporary problems, not least because it helps rationalize an unwillingness to assist those in need.

If, however, we follow Evangelii Gaudium’s injunction (231–233) to look at the realities of the world today, we will soon discover that there is literally no country in which markets operate with “absolute autonomy.” In most Western European countries, for instance, governments routinely control an average of 40 percent of their nations’ GDP. In many developing countries, the percentage is even higher. How much more of the economy do we really want to put into the state’s hands? Is there no upper limit? In private correspondence with the British-Australian economist Colin Clark, for example, even John Maynard Keynes suggested that the figure of “25 percent [of GDP] as the maximum tolerable proportion of taxation may be exceedingly near the truth.”

Nor does there appear to be any consciousness in Evangelii Gaudium of just how regulated most of the world’s economies are. The rules and regulations that apply, for instance, to economic life in North America and Western Europe are fast approaching the status of beyond counting. The situation in most developing countries is hardly any better. So extensive is the range and scope of regulation that, as I’ve argued elsewhere, it is now creating genuine rule-of-law problems in many countries. The amount of regulation affecting developed Western economies is now so great that it is likely that even good judges with no interest in judicial activism are issuing rulings that are ad hoc and arbitrary in nature.

Gregg believes the pope leaves too many assumptions regarding economy unexamined, and that “particular realities” are missing from the pope’s thoughts here. As Gregg concludes:

If we want ‘the dignity of each human person and the pursuit of the common good’ to be more than what the pope calls a ‘mere addendum’ to the pursuit of ‘true and integral development’ (203), then engaging more seriously the economic part of the truth that sets us free would be a good start.

Everyone would gain — and not least those who endure poverty.

Read “Pope Francis and Poverty” at National Review Online.

Also read: Rush Limbaugh is Wrong, Karen Finney of MSNBC is Nuts: Pope Francis and Capitalism

Related posts:

  1. Audio: On NPR, Samuel Gregg Discusses Pope Francis and Economics
  2. Samuel Gregg: Is Pope Francis a Man of the Left?
  3. Can Pope Francis Deal With Toxic Contamination?
  4. Will Pope Francis Go Left on Economics?
  5. Pope Francis and Poverty

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Next year I will turn 60 years old. It is a time to examine what I’ve done and what I will do if God grants me a few more decades. It is sobering to hit a milestone and realize that at best I will have about twenty strong years left, maybe thirty. What will I do with that time and how will I live my life.

I found the proclamation below and edited it quite a bit to fit my own declaration. I hope you like it; I hope you join me.

MY PLEDGE AND DECLARATION
I am a part of a group of redeemed and committed. The die has been cast. I have stepped over the line. The decision has been made. I am a disciple of Jesus Christ. The questions were posed and the answers given; the doubts have long vanished. Feelings are fleeting and fads are fading. Faith and reason direct me.

I’ve discovered the power of God, fallen in love with the Savior of the world. I’ve cast my lots with the King and his Kingdom – with Christ and his Church. I will live out my days in the heart of the Catholic Church. I am not the first to cross the Tiber; I won’t be the last. I am in good company.

I won’t look back, let up, slow down, back away, or be still. My past is redeemed, my present makes sense, and my future is secure.  I am finished a
nd done with low living, sight walking, small planning, smooth knees, colorless dreams, tame visions, mundane talking, chintzy giving, and dwarfed goals.

I no longer need preeminence, prosperity, position, promotions, plaudits, or popularity. I don’t have to be right, first, tops, recognized, praised, regarded, or rewarded. I now live by faith in the present, learn by faith, love by patience, lift by prayer, and labor by power.

My pace is set, my gait is fast, my goal is Heaven, my road is narrow, my way is rough, my companions few, my Guide is reliable, my mission is clear. I cannot be bought, compromised, deterred, lured away, turned back, diluted, or delayed. 

I will not flinch in the face of sacrifice, hesitate in the presence of adversity, whimper at persecution, faint at martyrdom, negotiate at the table of the enemy, ponder at the pool of popularity, or meander in the maze of mediocrity.

I won’t give up, back up, let up, or shut up until I’ve preached up, prayed up, paid up, stored up, and stayed up for the cause of Christ. I am a disciple of Jesus Christ. I must go until He returns, give until I drop, preach until all know, and work until He comes.

And when He comes to get His own, He will have no problem recognizing me. My sins are forgiven, my soul is redeemed, my voice sings loudly. My colors will be clear for my flag waves high.

By Dr. Bob Moorehead (edited by Steve Ray)

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Most ancient image of Mary with baby Jesus

Early Christian burial sites are now easier to see, both in person and via the Internet, thanks to 21st-century technology and collaboration between Google and the Vatican.

“This is perhaps the sign of the joining of two extremes, remote antiquity and modernity,” said Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi at a news conference Tuesday at the Catacombs of Priscilla in northeast Rome.

The cardinal, president of both the Pontifical Council for Culture and the Pontifical Commission for Sacred Archaeology, lauded recent restoration work by the archeological commission inside the complex of early Christian tombs.

Using advanced laser techniques, restorers have uncovered vivid late fourth-century frescoes depicting Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead and Sts. Peter and Paul accompanying Christians into the afterlife. Jesus’ face resembles portraits of the Emperor Constantine, who legalized Christian worship in 313.

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How Big was Noah’s Ark

November 27, 2013

It was a big boat at a time when big boats did not exist. It was a feat of genius ingenuity. You can read the instructions for building in Genesis 6:14-22. We are also told that the ark is a picture of the Church and salvation. In the ark Noah passed through the waters which [...]

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Funny Babies – My Grandkids

November 26, 2013

This video is worth sharing: my 2 year old grandson trying to steal the spotlight from his 1 year old brother…by making animal sounds.

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We Need Saints without Cassocks

November 26, 2013

By an unknown author (falsely attributed to Pope Francis) We need saints without veil or cassock. We need saints who wear jeans and sneakers. We need saints who go to the movies, listen to music and hang out with friends. We need saints who put God in first place, but who let go of their [...]

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Steve’s Short Story “The Last Nightmare” Might Scare the Hell Out of You!

November 25, 2013

The Last Nightmare A Short and Terrifying Story by Steve Ray Everything went blank for a moment, but that moment seemed like eternity. He felt a motion, not with wind and breeze, but a motion none the less. He was traveling, moving, floating, transcending-he wasn’t really sure. The sudden blackness gave him time to regain [...]

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Last Day – Wow! What Fun. Camels, Dead Sea Swim and more

November 25, 2013

Today was special for this group because most of them, including Msgr. Droll are from St. Ann’s Catholic Church in Midland Texas. I arranged for their last day to have Mass at St. Ann’s in Jerusalem where the Blessed Virgin was born. Here is Monsignor’s homily. 713_0030 It was a rollicking day of visiting great sites, [...]

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Pope Francis’ Homily to Close the Year of Faith

November 24, 2013

This Year of Faith was a great year and inspired many to take their faith seriously. I admire Pope Benedict for instituting the Year of Faith and Pope Francis for closing it out with class. What was the Year of Faith? It is very simple: 1) Learn you faith; 2) Live your faith; 3) Share [...]

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2,000 Year Old Trees in Gethsemane, Wailing at the Wall, Praying in Upper Room and more

November 24, 2013

Another great day with marvelous weather, fantastic pilgrims, a sumptuous itinerary and deeply spiritual experience. We started with Mass at Gethsemane – one of the most moving sites for many people. Here is Msgr. Droll’s homily at Gethsemane 713_0029 Then we prayed at the Western Wall where I explained the history and shared some interesting stories. [...]

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The Three Tombs – Which is the Real One?

November 23, 2013

For a journey to visit three tombs in Jerusalem, click here.

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Every Day is Christmas in Bethlehem!

November 22, 2013

Great day. It was our “Bethlehem Day!” We saw all the main sites and more including Mass at Shepherd’s Field. We started by shopping in Bethlehem to support the persecuted local Christians. Then to Shepherd’s Field for Mass after which we had lunch at the Christmas Tree Restaurant (wait until you see Msgr. Droll making [...]

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“You are Peter” in Jesus’ language of Aramaic

November 21, 2013

Since we recently visited Caesarea Philippi, the site where Jesus renamed Simon as “Peter” or Kepha (Matt 16:13-20), I thought you would find this interesting. So, what did it sound like at Caesarea Philippi when Jesus renamed Simon and made him the rock of the Church: “And I tell you, you are Peter [rock], and [...]

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Sailing on Galilee and UP to Jerusalem

November 21, 2013

Another great day with the St. Ann’s Parish pilgrimage. We started out with Mass at Capernaum where Jesus said,” Eat my flesh, drink my blood”. I gave my talk “Defending the Eucharist”. We then went in on a boat ride on the Sea of Galilee before arriving at Nof Ginosar to see the ancient boat [...]

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Footprints of Jesus and Peter on our 3rd Day in the Holy Land

November 20, 2013

Great day beginning with Mass at the Mount of Beatitudes. This is such a lovely place it’s hard to get people to leave. Then we drove one hour up to Banias which in the Bible is referred to as Caesarea Philippi. Along the way all three priests on the bus told us their vocations story. [...]

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Does Pope Francis Make You Nervous? Not Sure What He’ll Do Next? Relax!

November 20, 2013

Our new Holy Father makes a lot of people nervous. He is shaking things up and people are still not sure what to do with him. This is not only in the secular world (especially the media) but also inside the Church. He makes his security team nervous by insisting on being with the people. [...]

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