The pope’s call for a world state, cont.
on the papal encyclical Caritas in Veritate
and about whether Pope Benedict’s call for global government was serious has reached the maximum size for a VFR entry, and is continuing in this entry.
James R. writes:
I hate to be mean but Matt seems to be part of that long-standing “wishful thinking” branch of conservatism, where we ignore the plain liberal-progressive meaning of a statement issued by a person or institution we admire, so we can avoid grappling with the ominous implications. Thus Matt reads into the encyclical what he would prefer, in order to rationalize it and pretend that the very rot he decries and hopes to see defeated, liberalism, has not reached into the heart of the institution he hopes will defeat liberalism. He is akin to those people who want so hard to believe that Mitt Romney or Rick Perry are true-blue conservatives, and who will explain away every liberal utterance or act those candidates make with some reference to another position they took and an explanation that they only meant X if and after Y. Such “wishful thinking” conservatives rationalize every liberal move made by such people in office (“he has to do it to placate the Democrats, but just wait, it’s part of a brilliant strategery to defeat liberalism once and for all.”)
Then such conservatives wonder why they never get anywhere, and why the liberal tide, rather than receding, sweeps up past our chests, to our necks, and starts filling our own mouths. Perhaps we can continue to breathe through our nostrils, but for how long?
If the Pope meant “defeat transnational progressivism first, then do such and such,” he should have been at least as explicit in saying so as he was in the plainly transnational progressive language he did use. But somehow we’re supposed to believe that the transnational progressive language used in the encyclical really means its opposite, and is somehow a call to arms to defeat the very thing being advocated. So now we’re caught in the great hairball of arguing over whether or not these passages have the meaning they have, which—again, sorry to be mean—is what usually happens when you debate a liberal on the plain meaning and intent of his proposals for “international law” and “global governance” and “global institutions with enforcement and taxation powers.”
Laura Wood writes:
In addition, no knowledge of the inside baseball is necessary in order to know that the specific proposals in the recent Justice and Peace document are not authoritative. All you have to understand is how Catholic ecclesiology works.
Unfortunately, millions of Catholics do not understand how Catholic ecclesiology works and when they read of a Vatican council that calls for a global body to correct inequalities in wealth, or a papal encyclical that speaks warmly of the same global governance, when they see the Pope at the U.N. paying obeisance to world unity and turning a blind eye to the plainly immoral, anti-Catholic actions of that institution, they are affirmed in their liberalism and in their inclination to put aside Catholic moral teachings in order to vote for socialists. Catholics in large numbers voted for a presidential candidate whose platform was built upon materialistic, anti-Western envy and who believed in partial-birth abortion. They voted for him because he embodied their highest egalitarian ideals and utopian faith in government. Regardless of how much authority these particular Vatican statements have, this One World-ism is deeply familiar to Catholics. It’s in the air they breathe in modern Catholic institutions and organizations.
As a follow-up from my previous comment, I also want to point out that Matt seems to have shifted his position. Previously, he had said that critics were misinterpreting the encyclical when they said that it calls for global government. But in his most recent comment (posted at the end of the first entry), he is only saying that Catholics are not bound to accept the global government part of the document, since it is not about faith and morals. That of course is a different issue from the issue of the meaning of the document. So it seems to me that Matt has tacitly admitted that the critics’ interpretation of the document is correct.
As far as James R.’s comment goes, I don’t really have anything to say about remote psychologizing directed at me personally. I do recognize the value of trying to “get inside the head” of other people, but really, he doesn’t know me at all.
I am in basic agreement with Laura Wood’s comment.
Finally, in response to your comment, my position has not shifted. When anyone writes anything at all, some of what he writes may be marked off as musings about which he claims no special authority, and other prose as stronger claims about which he does claim to speak authoritatively. When the Pope speaks in an encyclical on faith and morals, he is speaking as Pope. When he muses about technical matters, he isn’t: he is speaking as himself, the man. And in this particular encyclical, he makes that quite explicit; so you don’t have to take my word for it, you can take his.
Thus when he speaks about subsidiarity, about the wickedness of China’s one child policy, and about the moral imperative for Christian solidarity with the poor, he is speaking as the Pope. When he muses on technical or political matters specifically, he doesn’t.
So it is fair to say that the-man-who-is-Pope muses about the need for some authority which is equal in power to transnational corporations and hedge funds and such, which is capable of regulating them. (Heck, I’ve mused about such things myself, and concluded that there may be “bottom up” ways of limiting the power of financial speculators but that “top down” international approaches are far too dangerous. My musings are as authoritative as his, and probably better informed when it comes to technical matters of finance).
But it is deeply misleading to say that, straightforwardly, the Pope calls for a global government. When you say that, you are affirming liberal Catholics in their upside-down ecclesiology, among other things, and they do not deserve your affirmation.
I detect a kind of good cop / bad cop routine regarding what is “authoritative” and what is not. It’s as though what the pope says only matters and can be objected to if it is “authoritative,” and if it’s not “authoritative,” well, what he said doesn’t matter and he can’t be held to account for it. The routine enables the pope to make highly objectionable and alarming statements even as his apologists deny that he made these statements, because they were not “authoritative.” But, as I said here, in the political sphere it’s irrelevant—and in particular it’s irrelevant to non-Catholics—whether the pope’s call for global government is authoritative on Catholics or not; it’s irrelevant whether he promulgated this statement “as the pope” or “as a man.” The fact is, he promulgated this statement. Furthermore, whether the statement is officially “authoritative” on Catholics or not, the fact that the pope said it results in its being taken seriously by many Catholics as well as many non-Catholics, and thus the statement does effectively have authority, even if not official, ecclesial authority.
It seems to me that, in a manner not unlike that of the Liberal One-World Project itself (see my 2001 article, “‘Transparency’ Revealed: The U.N. Sees Us, We Can’t See Them”), the Church wants to exercise power, while denying that it has any power.
Here is another way in which Matt tries to deny that the pope actually called for a world government. He writes:
When the Pope speaks in an encyclical on faith and morals, he is speaking as Pope. When he muses about technical matters, he isn’t….
The pope in this encyclical was merely musing? In fact, the passages in question are not written at all like musings. They are direct calls for a world government. The pope writes:
So it is fair to say that the-man-who-is-Pope muses about the need for some authority which is equal in power to transnational corporations and hedge funds and such, which is capable of regulating them. [Italics added.]
To manage the global economy; to revive economies hit by the crisis; to avoid any deterioration of the present crisis and the greater imbalances that would result; to bring about integral and timely disarmament, food security and peace; to guarantee the protection of the environment and to regulate migration: for all this, there is urgent need of a true world political authority…
Another attempt to downplay the pope’s own statements is seen in Matt’s equation of the thing the pope is calling for to hedge funds and transnational corporations. In fact, as we’ve just seen, the pope is calling for a true world political authority with power to enforce disarmament on all nations; to control the economy of all nations; to control carbon emissions and all forms of pollution and resource use in the whole world; and finally to control the immigration policies of all nations. Yet Matt, amazingly, portrays the pope’s urgent advocacy of a world government exercising global power over these areas, i.e., a world government exercising total global power, period, as merely “musings” about “some authority which is equal in power to transnational corporations and hedge funds … “
You and others in this entry have powerfully shown why the Pope’s talk of a need for world government is likely to have significant bad consequences and few if any good ones. A British law professor, John Finnis, who was once a member of the Pontifical Council you have been discussing, says this about the passage, in a footnote added to an essay he republished in his Collected Essays this year:
Benedict XVI, Caritas in veritate says that, for the sake of various desirable ends mentioned in para. 67, there is ‘an urgent need for a true world authority’; but para. 67 also states a set of reasonable pre-conditions such that readers can judge that, for the foreseeable future, it would be irresponsible to incur any costs or risks to meet the need.
Among the relevant preconditions in para. 67 are surely these:
Such an authority would need to be regulated by law, to observe consistently the principles of subsidiarity and solidarity, [and] to seek to establish the common good … Furthermore, such an authority would need to be universally recognized and to be vested with the effective power to ensure security for all, regard for justice, and respect for rights.
Obviously, the chances of getting universal recognition, along with effective power to ensure security for all, are zero.
But as an earlier commenter pointed out, given that these conditions are impossible to achieve, and given that any informed person today knows that they are impossible to achieve, and, further, given that world government is such an inherently dangerous idea that it needs all those conditions to make it non-dangerous, why did the pope make the proposal for world government at all?
The likeliest scenario is that his leftist Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace wrote the “world government” part of the document, and the pope added the qualifying language about subsidiarity. Leftist measures ALWAYS have phony fig leaves attached to them. Thus as the EU is taking away its members’ sovereignty, it issues assurances that it’s not taking away their sovereignty. As the U.S. Congress was giving the federal government power to police private businesses with regard to how many blacks they hire, a power that must by its very logic result in racial hiring quotas, it made the most solemn assurances that the law would not result in racial hiring quotas. And so on and on.
Leaving aside the transparent fig leaves, the net impact of this encyclical will be to empower the left’s push for world government.
Yes, that net effect is indeed the main bad consequence of such writing.
Posted by Lawrence Auster at October 28, 2011 10:55 PM | Send