“Whatever you do to the least of my sisters and brothers you do to me.”— Matthew 25:40
“In order to overcome the misguided mechanisms — and replace them with new ones which will be more just and in conformity with the common good of humanity — an effective political will is needed.” — St. John Paul; 1987 “Sollicitudo Rei Socialis” (SRS)(“Concern of the Church for the Social Order,” 35)
Building “an effective political will” capable of moving our culture of death toward a variety of authentically sustainable cultures of life which enable all God’s children life with dignity is what the “new evangelization” was supposed to be about.
Why these constitutive (essential, not optional) elements of our Official Teachings of the Church (OTC) are not part of every Catholic faith formation activity — formal or informal — has long mystified me.
No more. They exist and are on the Internet.
In his oft misrepresented 1991 “Centesimus Annus” St. John Paul states:
“After the Second World war, she (the church) put the dignity of the person at the centre — insisting that material goods were meant for all, and the social order ought to be free of oppression and based on co-operation and solidarity” (61).
This was to be the criteria to evaluate the actual realities flowing from our social structures.
He raised to the our highest level of teachings, the “ecological” question — the inter-relatedness of all social issues — while denouncing as idolatry the “worship” of money, ideology, class and technology (SRS 37).
He makes clear, as do Popes Benedict and Francis, that a social order requiring leaders to prostitute a people’s well-being to attract “investment” or “jobs” is oppressive and is a “modern imperialism” (neo-colonialism).
None of this appears on EWTN’s “God and Creation” or pro-life tabs.
EWTN, a privately funded Catholic global media conglomerate, receives financing from the K of C Supreme Council as well as “top tier” Catholics associated with Tim and Steph Busch. In the 1980’s the Vatican was essentially broke for a variety of reasons (The Vatican’s Finances [Fortune, 1987] online).
The reported fear of some cardinals, including Canada’s Cardinal Carter, that appealing to wealthy Catholics for help would “give undue power and sway to a few rich people” is what happened — even though the cardinals tried to structure the appeal so it wouldn’t.
Assistance was requested to balance the Vatican’s budget and assist in educating the faithful for the “new evangelization.”
My unpacking the existence and activities of a tiny group of self-described “top-tier” (i.e., multi-millionaire) Catholics last fall goes a long ways to removing my mystification.
They are part of the multi-faceted, integrated stealth network using strategies developed in the 1940s, mushroomed in the 1970s, and refined ever since to impose on us and the world an understanding of our human nature, God, what our faith requires of us, the root causes of the numerous life-threatening challenges generated by our social structures and possible solutions to those challenges.
The best source I know on this, including who funded what, when and why, is John Blundell’s 1990 “Waging the War of Ideas.” This nine-page paper for the Heritage Foundation is online.
His short 2001 book (same name) does not “begin at the beginning” as does the paper.
Blundell’s paper and book help show how an ideology based on fantasy is being surreptitiously spread around Earth, who paid for it and why.
This self-serving ideology was marketed as being “morally superior and more economically efficient” to other ways of organizing to enable all life with dignity as a means to reduce poverty, environmental devastation, wars, crime and demand for abortion.
Hayek’s War of Ideas morphed into the culture wars.
So began the fragmenting of faith communities and societies to inhibit the growth of “effective political will” to transform our structures in response to the life-denying realities that the social, Earth and cosmic sciences was revealing.
In his paper, Blundell states: influencing those who “translate and transmit ideas” to the broader public “is critically important.” “He is the filter who decides what we hear, when we hear it, and how we hear it.”
Blundell, himself a free market ideologue, amongst other things, was president of the Institute for Humane Studies, president of the Charles G. Koch and Claude R. Lambe Charitable Foundations, director general of the London’s Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA), president of the Atlas Economic Research Foundation, director of the International Policy Network and the State Policy Network.
He aided in co-founding Vancouver’s Fraser Institute (1971) — the first export of the IEA.
It and the others set up were successful in impacting public opinion and inhibiting the growth of effective political will in response to the sciences.
That is the context into which Mayer’s 2016 “Dark Money,” MacLean’s 2017 “Democracy in Chains” and the unpacking of some top-tier Catholics being part of these stealth multi-faceted networks needs to be understood.
Only then will we be able to be the effective “unified force for good’ our OTC call us to be.
It reaches into the heart of each and every one of us, our parishes, and societies.
An exchange I witnessed at “after mass coffee” the Sunday after Oxfam International released its 2018 report on inequality (online) illustrates this.
One parishioner brought up the report and how 2017 has been another good year for multi-millionaires and billionaires. Of the wealth generated, 82 per cent went to the wealthiest one per cent. Meanwhile, the trend of increasingly few super-rich controlling wealth equal to that of the poorest 50 per cent of humanity (3.5 billion people) continued.
In 2009 there were 380 people; in 2016 there were 61; and in 2017 there were 42.
This was countered by an equally well-intentioned parishioner (a Knight and EWTN subscriber) stating inequality is not the same as poverty (which it isn’t) and that between 1990 - 2010 the number of people living in extreme poverty (i.e., less than $1.90/day) halved (which it did).
The building of an effective political will capable of transforming our culture of death into a variety of authentic cultures of life — stymied.
I went home, googled the report, and there it was.
The Acton Institute’s Rev. Ben Johnson’s blog on the five biggest problems with the Oxfam Report accuses “the poverty industry” of “reorienting the storyline from poverty relief to reduction of inequality.” He ridicules Oxfam’s methodology.
There is no mention of the violation of the dignity of the women working in the U.S. poultry industry having to wear “nappies” because they are not allowed bathroom breaks.
No mention of the breakdown of families in Vietnam and elsewhere because workers need to be away from their families for long periods in order to work.
And no mention of the reality of free market economies assigning effective political power on the basis of one vote/dollar as if distributed on the basis of one vote/adult citizen with easy access to peer-reviewed science would most likely result in very different social structures.
America’s Acton Institute for the Study of Religion and Liberty, Canada’s Cardus, the U.K.’s Centre for Enterprise, Markets and Ethics and others are part of the massive set of mutually complimentary networks whose setup Blundell helped facilitate.
I don’t know if Tim and Steph Busch et al or the KC Supreme Council are aware they are players in this “war of ideas” actively promoting social structures generating realities the opposite of what our faith and OTC require.
Carl Anderson’s 2008 “A Civilization of Love” and his 2010 “Beyond a House Divided,” as well as articles and interviews with Tim and Steph Busch, particularly Busch’s 2015 article in The Wall Street Journal “Teaching Capitalism to Catholics” (online), reflect close connection to the above-mentioned, multi-dimensional stealth network set up by some super-rich.
And I know there is not a single parishioner in my parish who would knowingly contribute to our culture of death — including all of the Knights of Columbus and EWTN subscribers.
Fortunately, since the end of the Second World War, we have had everything we need, except effective political will, to co-create with Spirit and each other a variety of authentic cultures of life.
How to do that will be the subject of my Easter and last column for Prairie Messenger.
A critical educator, writer and engaged citizen living in Qualicum Beach, B.C., Zarowny is also on the leadership team for her parish’s Justice and Life Ministry.