Catholic Economics and Liberation Theology
By Rama P. Coomaraswamy, M.D.
Those who adhere to the traditional position are obliged to speak to the problem of destitution prevailing throughout so much of the world. What are its causes? Are there any traditional socioeconomic principles? How do traditional values relate to socialism and liberation theology? And can traditional values offer modem man any realistic solutions to his dilemmas?
From the traditional viewpoint poverty, unlike destitution, is not an evil. Witness to this that, while our Lord healed the lame, gave speech to the dumb and made the blind to see, he never once made a poor man wealthy. Indeed, if we take his words seriously that the poor are blessed and will inherit the Kingdom of Heaven _ then poverty is a state to which we should all Empire. Who then are the poor? According to the spiritual authorities of all the great traditions, they are the pure of heart, those free from attachment to the things of this world. On the economic level this principle is reflected in those who, having adequate food, clothing and shelter, seek not wealth, but are content to live within their station of life. As Eric Gill once said, "the poor are not those who have been robbed, but those who have not robbed others... poverty is not privation, it is strictly speaking precisely the opposite."
Involuntary destitution must be distinguished from poverty and almost always reflects the sin of injustice. Man has a God given right to live, and providing he is willing to work, to his necessary sustenance. When a given society fails to make this possible, that society must be condemned as unchristian and abnormal. According to the teachings of the Fathers, a starving man has a right to take food from any source in order to sustain his life. just as a drowning man .has a right to cliriib into any boat, even though he doesn’t own oit. Such an act is not considered theft or robbery _ the expropriation of another's private property, whether by cunning or force, whether by state or individual, is condemned by all the traditions. Christ pardoned the good thief, but in no way condoned his sin. Injustice can no more be rectified by injustice than can sin by sin.
WHENCE COMES THE PREVAILING DESTITUTION?
Clearly it is the result of the application of modem socio_ economic principles to society. These by and large are based on the supposition that evolutionary man is but a higher form of ani_ mal whose drives are primarily directed towards the satisfaction of his material and psychological needs; an economic animal that will work only for the sake of gain; and that the gaining of wealth is a self_evident virtue. Given these assumptions, it is argued that, if the desire for _ain be given fair play, the competition between producers will ensure that all men will receive sufficiently, and that good quality will prevail. These concepts, often called "the profit motive" and "laissez faire" economics, fundamentally hold that man can live by bread alone.
I have not used the word capitalism because of its emotion_ al connotations. Simply understood it is the investment of capital with the intention of gaining some benefit, a procedure which any small craftsman _ the shoemaker or restaurateur _ can undertake without exploiting his neighbor, creating economic distress, or other_wise violating the laws of God. Far different is the industrial_capitalist system tied to international finance and modem banking. Through the control of credit and what is euphemistically called "social engineering" such organizations as the IMF and Trilateral Commission increasingly control the economic life of continents, nations, and indeed, of each and every individual. It is totally unjust to accuse religion of supporting such powers and principalities, for their very existence is an outgrowth of the waning of the influence of tradition on mankind. In order to understand why this is so, let us consider the nature of traditional economics.
Traditional or normal economics is based on two fundamental economic principles: (1) Perfection belongs to God alone. All creation, having its source in Him is good, but in so far as this same creation is other than God, it lacks perfection. The Garden of Eden was not without its serpent, and as Scripture tells us, there is no perfection this side of the Sun. (2) Man is by nature created in the image of God. Endowed with an intellect, he can, with the assistance of grace, both know and love his Creator. The very raison d'etre of any traditional civilization is to make this pursuit _ man's highest aspiration _ possible. At the same time man is endowed with a free will, and as Scripture says, has a certain inclination towards evil. it is within his power to deny the truth and reject the beautiful. Each generation, and indeed, each individual must make such choices. No amount of progress or evolution can change the essential nature of man, and hence it follows that man qua man is not perfectible and utopian dreams of a perfect society based on "organized naturalism" and so_called "humanistic" principles are illusory and impossible. A "just" human society must take these facts into consideration and provide for both the spiritual and economic well being of its members. It must as St. Thomas says, "order the life of the people so as to help fit them for eternal happiness."
Traditional societies, following the divine injunction that we must seek first of all the Kingdom of Heaven, attempt to apply metaphysical principles to contingent circumstances. Now all creation manifests a hierarchical relationship to its Source. Heaven is a hierarchical society in which each rank of angel has its place and function _ all joining in unison for the glory of God who reigns as King. The earthly reflection of this is seen in the Church, in the State, or as it was once called, "the Kingdom," in the family (“my home is my castle”), and in each individual soul.
The family is the foundation on which all society is built, and indeed, the very word economia means to "manage a household." Marriage is not a civil or secular affair, but a holy state initiated
with sacred rites, and such is only natural, for it is within this structure that tile majority of mankind must live and sanctify itself. Now the family is a hierarchical structure. At its head and bearing responsibility for its members is the father. In him resides authority - a limited authority - for he rules “ in God’s name” and not his own. Obedience is due to him, providing he does not
command those under hm to sin. The child, its most precious product and a “person” just as valuable as the father in God’s eyes, is in no way equal to the parent as an “individual.” Each member has his or her appropriate duties, and the family as a unit functions best when all do what they are meant to do to the best of their ability.(As St. Paul said: “just as in one body we have many members, yet all the members have not the same function, so we the many, are one body in Christ, but severally members one of another. But we have gifts differing according to the grace that has been given to us...Rom. 12:4-8.) Tradition holds that women find their greatest dignity within the home as wife and mother - their exemplar being the Blessed Virgin herself. Indeed, it is said that a mother who brings up her child in the faith will enter heaven before any philosopher, sociologist or theologian.
Society is made up of families. In this view of things, following the distinctions made by St. Thomas, men, like members of a family. are equal as "Persons," but not as "individuals." As a person, every human being is ordained directly to God, and as such, society exists for him, that is, it must subserve his spiritual and eternal interests and at the same time Provide him with the necessary means of existence. As a consequence Of his personhood, he has certain Prerogatives; the right to life, to bodily integrity, to obtain the necessary means of existence; the right to tend towards his ultimate goal in the path to which God calls him; and the right to possess and use property. As individuals, however, persons must serve society or the common good, and a society that is a normal or traditional has a right to coerce him when he refuses without cause to do his duty. But if as persons all men are equal, they are not so as individuals, for individuals have different abilities, different heredities, and hence different vocations. Not every man is meant to be a priest, and however saintly a street_sweeper, his calling is less than that of a carpenter Thus it is that men as persons have a right to live comfortably within their station in life, have the right to consider their homes as their "castles,' but do not as individuals have the right to demand that everyone should live like a king in a palace. Such a class structure must not be seen as a horizontal stratification _ only a society that bases a man's worth on money or the ability to wield power develops along such lines. Rather it is a vertical structuring, for each entity has access to what is spiritually above and the appropriate means by which to fulfill his eternal destiny.
Given these premises, it is clear that the seeking after wealth as an end in itself was discouraged by both Church and State. The purpose of man's activity was never profit, for as St. Thomas said, "the need for gain considered in itself knows no limit and tends to infinity." St. Antonio, Bishop of Florence in the 16th century, and one of the Church's greatest economists, expressed this principle well. "The object of gain," he said, "is that by its means man may provide for himself and others according to their state. The object of providing for himself and others is that they may be able to live virtuously. The object of the virtuous life is the attainment of everlasting Glory." All members of such a society are productive and as such are entitled to a "just wage" for their efforts. Consider the surgeon. For him to practice his craft for profit is contemptible. For him to practice it for the love of God is ideal. But the surgeon is not an angel. He has a family to support and must live within his station in life. And so it follows that he is entitled to a "just wage" and must ask for his services, charity apart, a "just price." The same is true of the carpenter and priest. It is only in such a society that defrauding the worker _ that is, refusing to pay him a "just wage" _ is considered equivalent to willful murder, a sin, as the older catechisms put it, "crying out to Heaven for vengeance on earth."
In a similar manner property is owned, or rather held in trust by a system of fealty. The serf owed fealty to the lord and the lord to the king. But the king also held his post in trust, for he was there as Christ's representative in the temporal order. Each and all within this hierarchy could be deprived of their trust by the spiritual authority or the Church, but here also the Church had to answer to Christ for its actions. Granted the system fell short of perfection _ the spiritual and temporal authorities _ the "two swords" as they were labeled _ often failing into conflict. Human nature being what it is, such was inevitable. As long as the good of souls was the primary concern of both, these problems were resolvable, but when either acted on its own authority _ that is, in its own private interests _ they became competing despots. The principle applies on all levels. If man has been given dominion over the earth, it is not as a despot, but as the vice_regent of God. As for wealth _ and many kings have been raised to the altars of the Church as saints _ that in excess of what one needed for one's station in life was also held in trust. One had to
obtain it honorably and one had to answer to God for its proper us. Such may seem platitudinous to us, but not to those who believed in a final judgement and the possibility of an everlasting sojourn in hell.
On the individual level, every member of a traditional society is an artist, that is, a maker of things by art. This was/is as true for the carpenter as it is for the surgeon or the Priest. Under such circumstances each man follows a calling _ usually hereditary _ and does what he likes best and is most suited for. He, as it were, imitates God in his creative activity, for as St. Thomas puts it, "Art imitates nature in her manner of operation." By this of course, he did not mean that art copies any visible part of the environment, but that the artist worked, as Plato said, "according to nature" _ "mother nature." Where such an attitude prevails, there is no such thing as "fine art", all things made for use are made well and nothing is made for mere aesthetic pleasure. In such a system each craftsman is intellectually responsible for what he makes, and the pleasure he takes in his work helps perfect the result. Only when an individual's body and soul can participate in his work _ something never possible in a factory _ can the medieval principle that laborare est orare fully apply. This explains why even the simplest products of such societies are beautiful enough to grace our museums and why the modem concept that pleasure and so_called "culture" can only be achieved in man's leisure time is intrinsically abnormal. Craftsmen were gathered into guilds which prevented unjust competition between members, provided funds for the sick and aged, and guaranteed the quality of the work produced. Thus for example, no craftsman could work after dark, no craftsman could “comer the market” or buy raw goods discounted because of the size of his order, or take on extra apprentices while another qualified craftsman had insufficient work. The prices charged for goods were also limited by the principle of justice and scarcity never justified an increase. Most guilds placed themselves under a spiritual director and took as their model some saintly exemplar.
The serf or farmer was also protected. While he owed fealty to his lord, he could not be forced to bear arms or be put off his land for any cause whatsoever. Nor could he be taxed for what he produced on his land for his own use _ only what he brought to market was subject to levy _ and this at very limited levels regulated by custom. The obligations he owed to the manor apart from the fact that they indirectly also benefitted him were far less onerous than the burdens of modem taxation. The so_called "liberation" of the serf that our history books speak of was in fact, his expulsion from his land and his "freedom" to go to the city and look for work. History is always rewritten by the victors.
How did the merchant fare in such a society? Trade was seen as a necessary but somewhat risky means of earning a living. It was in St. Thomas's view, justified if by means of it the merchant sought to maintain his household or benefit his country. Merchants were also gathered into guilds which aimed at regulating practice and preventing abuses. With this in view the activities of "middlemen" and "monopolizers" _ those who bought goods locally, especially food, and hoarded it till it could be sold at a profit _ was strictly prohibited. Such activity involves cunning rather than labor. It was a matter of principle that whenever possible the farmer and craftsman had to sell his goods directly. The kingdom provided places for the storage of grain at cost to protect against famine, but it was still the farmer who stored his grain and sold it. Where goods were transported to distant communities, the merchant was entitled to add to their value his labor and once again the principle of a just price was invoked. He also was controlled at both ends _ buying and selling _ by local guild regulations.
Above all usury was forbidden, and indeed, no man guilty of this sin could receive a Christian burial. Even his children were required to make restitution. As Pope Innocent said in 1139, "we denounce that detestable and disgraceful rapacity condemned alike by human and divine law, by the Old and New Testament, that insatiable rapacity of usurers, whom we hereby cut off from all ecclesiastical consolation... usurers are to be regarded as infamous and shall, it' they do not repent. be deprived of Christian burial."The Lateran Council held in 1179 repeated the proscription and added that “no priest shall accept their alms.” Usury is incidentally forbidden by every orthodox religion known to man. Aristotle considered it contrary to the nature of things. Cicero and Seneca likened it to homicide. Even the early Protestants like Luther condemned it. It was Calvin with his Protestant work ethic who first gave his blessing under the name of “interest” and shortly afterwards this subtle distinction was approved by the Renaissance popes.
What is usury that it should once have been subject to such universal condemnation? Usury is the idea that money is fecund and hence capable of reproducing itself, rather than an "exchange media invented by the art of man to facilitate the exchange of goods" (St. Thomas). If money is fecund, he who lends it has a right to its return with profit. Traditional economists hold that lending money to one who is in desperate need is an act of charity, one in which the obligation to return it is dependent upon the borrower's improved condition. To contractually force its return, to take possession of home and property, of one's neighbor's necessity, was unjust. On the other hand, his failure to return it when capable was considered equally unjust. Lending money to someone who wished to establish a business was legitimate, for this was considered a "partnership" in which the lender shared the risks and responsibility and hence had a right to share in any justly acquired benefits. Certain other limited conditions were also allowed for. But lending money without risk, money that had to be returned with interest regardless of what happened was considered usury. For example, when a bank lends money to a worker to buy a home it takes no risk, for the bank owns the home as "collateral." During the course of 30 years an individual can end up paying the bank 3 to 5 6mes the actual value of the house. If the borrower falls on hard times, the bank forecloses on his property. At best, such a system takes away part of the worker's just wage. Combined with excessive property and inheritance taxes required by the state to pay interest/usury on its debts, the average person is progressively deprived of his property and security. While traditional economics encourages the widest possible distribution of property, usury results, over the course of time, in just the opposite. Thus it is that no man who lives by usury can consider himself as "poor" and that the Church once included in its petitions after Mass the prayer that God protect the faithful from usurers.
Traditional societies are almost always organized around a king/caliph who relates to his realm as God does to creation, as a father does to his family, and as does the "heart_intellect" to the individual microcosm or soul. Whether designated by God or chosen by man, the ruler is invested by the spiritual authority with holy oils and functions to maintain "order" and "harmony" in the realm. Thus it is that "justice" is the highest quality in a ruler and its enforcement his primary obligation. Deriving his authority from God whose representative he is on the temporal plane (and hence "ruling by 'Divine Right"), he knows that all sin _ be it social or individual _ is a departure from order. Hence he functions to enforce those laws that reflect on the social plane that order established by Christ _ the Logos _ the Universal Law Giver. As St. Thomas says, "the order of the universe embracing natural and voluntary things alike, manifests the Justice of God." Perhaps this in some degree explains the hatred of the modem world for royalty and its dreams of establishing a revolutionary "novus ordo saeculorum."
Over the course of time the Church acquired a great deal of property in the form of bequests. This, however, worked no injustice, for while abuses unquestionably existed, such lands were held in trust for the people. Monastic communities, apart from their primary function as a spiritual leavening, provided education gratis, whether it be in agriculture, the crafts or letters. Consider the great universities she established _ Oxford, Cambridge, Salamanca, Paris. Consider the hospitals she supported, many of which still exist today in secularized form. Hers was the care of the poor, the aged and the infirm, and history witnesses that she did this better and at less cost than any modem society. She, like everybody else, owned her lands in trust.
Such then are the principles that underlay the socio_economic system prevailing in the western world from the fall of Rome to the end of the Middle Ages. While it did not create a perfect society _ the nature of man being what it is _ it did foster the preservation of spiritual values, the integrity of the family and the just distribution of goods. The restrictions on "middlemen" and modem banking with its usury and double_entry bookkeeping, the insistence on gold and silver currency as a fixed value exchange medium, the prohibition against "adulterating the coinage," and the encouragement of guilds by both Church and kingdom, tended to create what has been termed a "distributive society," one in which there was the greatest possible distribution of property. Why did such a system fall apart? It is often said that it died because it did not work. I shall show you that such is not the case. It died _ the process was a slow and progressive one _ because men increasingly lost their faith in the principles which underlay it. Let us follow the course of history.
WHAT HAPPENED TO THE WESTERN WORLD?
The breakdown of Christendom closely followed upon events at the end of the 13th century. The "bifurcation" of man introduced by Ockham on the philosophical level increasingly manifested itself socially. As the "spiritual authority" became weaker, and the spirit of secularism spread within and without the Church, new forces came to the fore. The details varied from nation to nation, but the pattern was the same. A new breed of men began to control the power structure, men who sought power and wealth for its own sake. People still professed themselves to be Christian, but religion was more and more displaced from the public forum _ became a private affair _ and had less and less to do with the "real world," the world in which men lived.
As a result, the old feudal aristocracy was either eliminated or fell into line. One of the first steps was the enclosure of public lands _ those fields used in common by all members of the vil_ lage communities. This was rapidly followed by the secularization of monastic lands, lands which really belonged to the people and which were held in trust for them by the religious orders. The next step was to push the peasants off their ancestral lands _ the so_called "liberation of the serfs" being in fact the destruction of their hereditary rights and the expropriation of their properties. The destruction of the guilds and the expropriation of their “chantries” _ their churches and insurance funds _ followed suit. Those familiar with William Corbet's History of The Reformation in England will find my statements accurate. Prior to the Reformation there were no "poor laws" in England. After the Reformation, paupery became so prevalent that during the reign of Queen Elizabeth men, if twice convicted of this "crime" were hanged _ and by the thousands!
Those who controlled the wealth of the nation soon either replaced the ruling houses with "democratic systems" dependent upon them, or else persuaded the surviving monarchs to work with them. Kings, once a "buffer" between the poor and the rich, became the pawns of a new "monied aristocracy." As economic success increasingly became the goal of man, these new forces sought out ways to still further augment their ill_gotten gains. This meant two things: (1) the control or subversion of governments, and by means of this, the creation of modem international banking, and (2) the creation of a proletariat and the development of modem industrial techniques. Let us consider each in turn.
Banks of course had always existed as cooperative agencies functioning within a traditional framework. They were sub_ servient to the king, dealt with gold and silver currency, and functioned to facilitate trade. They charged a small sum for their services as part of the just wage principle. Modem banking however dates from the 15th century. Through a system of double_ entry bookkeeping they lend money they do not possess at usurious rates. Let me explain. When you borrow money from a bank they place a certain sum in your account. When you purchase tools and pay for them with this money, the bank simply transfers the same money into a third account. The entire process, and it can be extended indefinitely, costs the bank nothing but the expense of bookkeeping. Most banks are only obliged by law to cover this system of loans at the 10% level which means that 90% of the money circulating only consists of figures on paper for which the bank collects interest. The actual reserve level is controlled by Federal Reserve Banks that, by means of lowering or raising this figure, effectively control the amount and value of money in circulation. Banks not only control credit, because they demand collateral and hence; they also, over the course of time, control increasing amounts of property. Small banks are controlled by larger ones, and these in turn by so_called "Federal Reserve" institutions. These latter are not "government" banks, but private institutions directly tied to international finance. It is estimated that at this point in history, the annual interest payments and principle retirement on world debt to international finance is over 5.86 trillion dollars a year, a figure in excess of the annual estimated worth of all the physical goods output of the advanced sector nations as a whole. It is but a matter of time before more oney is owed to these powers than the world is worth!
The anonymous individuals in control of international finance wield tremendous power. _ They do not see themselves as evil men but rather see themselves as using this power to create a better world - better being defined in terms of their own personal vision. By control of credit they decide what each part of the world should produce and where the flow of wealth should go. Through the control of education and communications they mold the thinking and the attitudes _ of the Proletariat and Middle classes. By providing grants and professorial chairs, they control the teaching of economics at the universities. They owe no loyalty to any nation and are indeed behind the current push for “one world-ism” They carry on financial dealings with both "democratic" and "communist" governments, and when they find a given state uncooperative they have no hesitation in “toppling” it. They live by no revealed moral code. They answer to no man, and certainly not, while in this world, to God. Those who doubt this analysis would do well to read Carrol Quigley’ Tragedy and Hope.
Financial manipulations do not however increase the gross national product. Large amounts of money are useless unless put to work. And so it is that the capitalist_industrial system required two More things. In order to maximize profits it required a constant and inexpensive source of labor_ and it required machinery that could make things cheaply, if not well. Consider labor: slavery could work on farms, but was impractical in the factory situation. But if the profiteer could not use a whip, he could either purchase or usurp the property of the laborer,. The enclosure of the common lands, the liberation Of the serfs and the destruction of the guild system already pointed out the way. If the worker has no property, he is forced to work for the owner with the sanction of starvation. And so, by purchase, by stealing, by law, by force, a modern property_less work force" was created.
To make this work force efficient, by which of course one means "Profitable," they had to be Provided with machines and placed in factories. Machines arc not simply better or more complicated kinds Of tools. They are not implements designed by workmen to help them make things. They are just the opposite, for they are instruments designed to enable their owners to make things in great quantities in order to make great quantities of money, regardless of their effect on the laborer. Those of you who have worked on assembly lines _ be they in factories or offices _ know well that the ability to rapidly repeat the same motion makes of the worker little more than a machine. It requires agility, but no "skill" in the sense of a craft. The worker is never an artisan; he has no control over what he makes, or even over how well it is made. He takes no delight in his labor, but must seek pleasure in his "free time." Working for money rather than the "good" of the work, he is reduced to the subhuman condition of intellectual irresponsibility. The factory further compounds this situation. No matter how comfortable and clean, the worker is forced to live in an environment more fit for termites than for man, a world of machinery and therefore of metal, noise, hidden and treacherous forces, a world of incomprehensible comings and goings _ an insect_like existence carried on in the midst of ugliness and triviality_, above all, a world impermeable to spiritual realities. The system may feed the worker, and it may even be profitable, but it also dehumanizes him, for as Ruskin said, "manufacture without art is brutality."
Who are the proletariat? During the French Revolution, it became clear that not only was there a "third estate," but a "fourth" consisting of those who had no skills and no possessions. This fourth class was named after the most miserable group in ancient Rome, men who had no skills and whose only value was their ability to produce children, their proles. The proletarians today are primarily factory workers and the hosts of clerks and minor executives of the government and business world. These are men who have no skills and no choice as to calling. They are forced by the nature of things to earn their living by the performance of meaningless acts in an atmosphere of ugliness and noise. They are in every sense of the word "wage slaves," who either accept their lot or starve.
The "progressive" nature of these economic forces is clear. Allowed to continue _ despite cycles within cycles that modify the process _ it will eventually reduce all of us to property_less proletarians totally dependent upon the “powers and principalities” of this world. All this has come about, not because of some. conspiracy, but rather because greed, under the guise of “profit,” has become respectable. As Emmet Hughes says, “the liberal society was born of a decisive change... a revolution in man’s conception of their nature and of their place in society...the completed structure of Liberalism embodies an autonomous, self-sustaining conception of man’s relationship to his God, his universe, his society.” Tawney says much the same in his Religion and the Rise of Capitalism: The difference “between the conception of society as a community of unequal classes with varying functions organized for a common end, and one that regards it as a mechanism adjusting itself through the play of economic motives... between the idea that man must not take advantage of his neighbor’s necessity, and the doctrine that ‘man’s self-love is God’s providence’; between the attitude which appeals to religious standards to repress economic appetites, and that which regards expediency as the final criterion - there is a chasm which no theory of the permanence and ubiquity of economic inters can bridge...” He further notes that “so merciless is the tyranny of economic appetites, so prone to self aggrandizement the empire of economic interests, that a doctrine which confines them to their proper sphere, as the servant, not the master of civilization, may reasonably be regarded as among the pregnant truisms which are a permanent element in any society.” Traditional economics could only exist in a society which men had “not learned to persuade themselves that greed was enterprise and avarice economy.” And so we have a system which as Cicero said “is more contrary o nature than death, than poverty, then pain, than any other evils which can befall our bodies or external circumstances.”
IS THIS MARXIST ANALYSIS?
Despite certain parallels, all this is a far cry from Marxist analysis. On the contrary, it s that found in the Papal Encyclicals promulgated between 1890 and 1950 which delineated the “enormous evils” and “despotic economic domination” which resulted in “tragically hard, inexorable and cruel” sufferings for the worker. The popes of this era further noted that “the greed of men” and the “accursed internationalism of finance or international imperialism With its devouring usury "had Placed "a yoke almost of almost slavery” over the majority of mankind. Pius XI summed it up well in stating that the Church, “having surveyed the present economic system... found it laboring under the greatest of evils.” Such statements make it clear that accusing the traditional Church of supporting the present economic system are both unjust and hypocritical. Those who are interested in a clear-cut exposition of the Traditional Church’s analysis and recommendations are referred to the writings of such individuals as Father Dennis Fahey, E. Cahill and Eric Gill.
WHAT IS SOCIALISM?
And si we are brought back to the immediate problem: an ever enlarging proletariat and an economic situation which leaves much of mankind destitute. With complete ignorance of traditional economic principles, modern man is assured by both religious and secular institutions that his only choice lies between the present system and socialism. Let us consider this latter option.
There are seemingly many socialisms: Shavian socialism, Fabian Socialism national Socialism and Mussolini advocated, modified socialism which can mean whatever the “modifier” wishes, and Marxist or “integral” socialism which claims “to have no enemies on the left.” Now socialism as such must be distinguished from the sentimental desire for a more just distribution of the world’s goods so often labeled with this title. Socialism is neither the banding together of individuals to share some of the means of production, nor the involvement of the state in public works, for these activities have been with us since history began. What then do the various socialisms have in common? The answer is that, apart from thriving on the cry for justice, they all accept in varying degrees the Marxist analysis of man and economics. Their classical manifestation is the communist or “integral”variety, for it is form which existed until recently in the former Soviet Union; it is this form which is being pandered to the South Americans as a solution to their problems, and it is precisely this variety which liberation theologians such as Father Gustavo Gutierrez, Loeonard Boff and Juan Luis Segundo would propagate under the guise of “Up to date “ Catholicism.
What then is "integral" or "Marxist" socialism? It is a doctrine growing out of the ideas crystallized and propagated by the French Revolution _ a belief in progress and the autonomy of evolutionary man coupled with the idea of his perfectibility in the natural plane. It holds out to us the promise of a perfect society in which, thanks to science and industry, work will be minimized
and men will have "leisure" to create his own "culture." Catering to man's desire for a Lost Paradise, it promises to relieve us of the evil effects of the profit motive and usury. Not original sin, but "private property" is the cause of these evils. And hence, once private property is eliminated, sin will also disappear. Where does socialism get its authority? Why of course, from the people. Their freedom is only limited by "social contract" and the government reflects the will of the majority. Intimately tied to these ideas is a belief in progress and evolution. Mankind is inevitably advancing towards a socialist perfection by means of a Hegelian dialectic called "historical determinism." To be "Progressive" and "socialistic" are almost synonymous in the Marxist dialectic. This process involves, according to Marxist analysis, a "class struggle" in which the proletariat is pitched against those who exploit their labor for profit. It is the function of those who "understand" the nature of this pseudo_reality _ almost always the poorer bourgeois _ to "conscientize" the "masses," the ever_ enlarging proletariat, and bring them to the point of rebellion _ and to make them realize that they have the power and ability to force a change and bring about a perfect society.
It must be emphasized that socialism and communism are one and the same socio-economic doctrine, the former being but a stage on the path to latter. The inevitable cruelties and excesses of socialism cannot be dismissed as "deviations" and indeed, forthright Marxists admit that they are necessary if the final result is to be achieved _ the end in view justifies the means. The Soviet Union did not consider itself a fully developed "communist society" _ it called itself the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics _ and communism was the perfection towards which it strived. If we will but imbibe the socialist apple, quod absit, then when the perfect communist state is created, each man will produce according to his ability and will receive according to his needs. All men will be free, equal, brothers, and he resultant society will be “classless.” There being no need of the state, it will wither away. Dialectic will no longer function, for perfection cannot breed its opposite. In the interim, despite the ultimate inevitably of the process, the function of the state, or of those who infiltrate government in the still democratic nations, is to both lead and coerce men into the necessary mold - to create a new kind of man, “socialist man” - and to create a new kind of culture under the title of a “new humanism.” These principles are to become effective on a world wide basis, and all mankind is to be welded into a single people - “globalization.” Anything and everything is justified because the ultimate goal in mind. And when this is achieved, peace and plenty will reign throughout the world.
There are other ideas advocated by this world view that are often played down in “backward” (less progressive) parts of the world for fear of “turning off” potential converts. One of the most important of these is that socialist man will no longer be family oriented. Indeed, love, like everything else, will be free. The children will be brought up in state nurseries (where they cn be most effectively educated and “brain washed”) so that women can be “productive” outside the home. It is the community and ultimately the state that will replace the family unit and children will be taught to give their loyalty and obedience to this entity rathr than their parents. And such is only reasonable if the source of all authority resides in the state as representative of the mythological “people.” All this of course is called “scientific” for the “gods” of our age must be given due respect.
Where does God fit into this picture? Marxist socialists of course are evolutionists and atheists. Religion in their view is the enemy of “progress,” the enemy of socialism, and hence the enemy of “the people.” After all, how can evolutionary man believe in God? As Lenin said,”Religion and communism are incompatible in theoory as well as in practice.” Where they are in control atheism is enforced with rigor. Being skilled Machiavellians and holding that the end justifies the means, they are perfectly willing to infiltrate and/or use religion for their own purposes. Thus it is that the Russian Orthodox Church and liberation theology.became to a large extent but tools in their hands.
Liberation theology is not a South American phenomenon.' It is rampant throughout the religious orders, especially among the Jesuits, the Maryknolls and the White Fathers. It is taught in American and European universities under Catholic auspices and fostered on the laity under a variety of disguises such as RENEW. It is not limited to the Catholic Church and is fostered in most of the Protestant denominations and above all by the World Council of Churches. It has its parallels in the other great religions such as Hinduism and Islam. Always it is an attempt to blend Marxist ideology with the most superficial of religious values, and always it proclaims itself as "the religion of the future." In the present essay we shall draw most of our illustrations from the South American scene.
Liberation theology openly proclaims itself to be Marxist socialism. Father Boff tells us it aims "to replace the capitalist system and move towards a new society, a society of the socialist type," and Gutierrez speaks of "the concrete historical march forward in the direction of socialism." Now what does "a society of the socialist type" mean? Does it mean individuals working together to create a more just society? Hardly, for such has been the aim of men of good will since time immemorial. Does it mean a society in which the government limits the greed of its more avaricious citizens and controls some of the means of production? Again the answer must be no, for, as has already been pointed out, such has always been the case. Liberation theology means far more, it means the creation of a Marxist society. As the Primer encueiztro por une Iglesia solidaria tells us: "Christians must be committed both personally and collectively to the building of a new society. This new society must be a classless society in which there is collective ownership of the means of production." The ownership of private property inevitably leads to oppression and hence to class warfare. The only way to eliminate oppression and to resolve class struggle is to eliminate private property. As Father Ignatio Ellacuria says, "the task of the Church is to eradicate sin, the cause of which is private property."
And so we see that what is aimed at is not just "updating a sluggish old inventory by slapping a new label on obsolete goods" but the creation of a "new society", or as Father Segundo calls it, “a new humanity,.” Let us be clear, Gutierrez's "goal is the creation of a new man" with a "new universalistic consciousness... a new way for men and women to be more human... a human being that grows progressively free of all servitude preventing it from being the agent of its own lot in history.__"
And how is this to be brought about? The solution lies in the dialective of "class warfare." As Father Gutierrez says, "The construction of a different society and a new human being will be authentic only if it is taken on by the oppressed themselves." One of the first steps in this process is the "conscientization" of the working classes. This means, making them aware of their power and encouraging them to rise against their oppressors _ the rich. The next step is for Christians to engage in class struggle. "Class struggle," says Gutierrez, "is a fact, and neutrality in this matter is impossible... We must avoid getting bogged down in doctrinal analysis _ that is, in an attempt to treat the problem outside the framework of the class struggle." Indeed, the only way one can be a committed Christian is to engage in the class struggle, for it is in this process, and only in this process, that we can meet and love God _ the 'God of history' who reveals himself only in history. Sin is no longer separation from God, but separation from one's oppressed brothers. Liberation has its beginning in the battle against the established order. The new Parousia does not come from on high; it proceeds from the same process of salvic liberation which is the work of history. "There is only one way to encounter Christ in the poor and to receive the power to become a son of God and a brother of man," and that is "to enlist sincerely and effectively in the struggle for liberation... Grace is the solidarity of the people, sin consists in failure to cooperate with that solidarity... Class solidarity lived out within this conflict is the sole means of realizing the Christian imperative." If this results in violence, such is inevitable, for the "rich" will never give up their power willingly. Indeed. is Father Jose Miranda assures us, “Jesus was a hardened revolutionary” and “explicitly approved of and defended the use of violence.” And so we find liberation theologians committed to a Marxist analysis of the historical process, and indeed, Gutierrez, openly maintains that Marxism is the common denominator of all the, theologies of liberation. (Father Andre-Vinvent)
Being a historical process, salvation/liberation is for all l who “enlist sincerely and effectively in the struggle...” Indeed, Gutierrez tells us God will judge us “by our capacity to crfeate brothely conditions of life” by which of course he means revolutionary socialism. “Only by loving mankind as he exists in the concrete historical situation can man know and love God.” But Christians, unlike atheistic Marxists, are failing to do this. And so, following the logic of his position, Marxists are certainly to be included in the salvific process. What results is a process which turns Marxists into “Christians” and Christians into Marxists.
In Gutierrez’s vies libneration is not limited to the socio-economic sphere. As he states, “modern man’s aspirations include not only liberation from exterior pressures... he seeks likewise an interior liberation, in an individual and intimate dimension.” Perhaps now we will see the deeper side of liberation theology. He continues: "He (man) seeks liberation not only on the social plane, but also on a psychological plane. He seeks an interior understood however not as an ideological evasion from social confrontation or as the internationalization of a situation of dependency. Rather 't must be in relation to the real world of the human psyche as understood since Freud. If I understand him correctly, liberated man will no longer suffer from penis envy and the Oedipus complex!
I have yet to find a liberation theologian who does not believe in progress or evolution. As Gutierrez says, ‘various political events have profoundly modified history. The rapid development of science and the consequent mastery of nature; the use of new instrumentation, for the understanding of social reality... have hastened the maturation of political consciousness... history demonstrates that the achievements of man are cumulative and allow for even greate achievements in the generations yet to come... there is only a single process of human development definitely and irreversibly assumed by Christ.” As a result of progress man is also changing. “The scope of our radical challenge to the prevailing social orde would escape us, were we unaware of the change that has taken place in human self-understanding _ the change that has occurred in the approach to truth." And more: "God reveals Himself only in history and salvation is a historical process. There is only one single history adding up to the evolution of the species, and in that process, the genesis of humanity is the central axis, a genesis realized through the energy of conflict in the struggle for liberation, class against class. This truth is the primary object of faith." The culmination of this process will be the acceptance by man of the socialist "truth" _ "the break with a social order of oppression and the erection of a classless society." And so it is that Gutierrez "affirms a utopia on the way to becoming a historical reality." And this utopian society will, he also assures us, be a scientific machine age and an industrial one. When this is achieved, mankind will be liberated. This is the praxis of liberation, the manifestation of salvation, history in its concrete reality. So much for "liberation," but what about theology? According to Gutierrez this science comes from the people, or more precisely, from society. It is his contention that the theology of St. Thomas Aquinas reflected Medieval and feudal society, while liberal theology _ the musings of modernists over the past half century _ reflected the ideas of the French Revolution. (With regard to the latter he is obviously correct). And currently he promises us his own special brand: "a different analysis of reality" and "a new way to do theology based on praxis" _ that is, practice or action _ "praxis first, and then reflection... the pastoral activity of the Church," he tells us, "does not flow as a conclusion from premises... rather it reflects upon it... the only future theology has... is to become the theology of the future... our approach is to reflect critically on the praxis of liberation and not to limp after reality." Extraordinary statement! The praxis of liberation creates reality and we are obliged to derive our theology from it. But then, such is to be expected if "the Church springs from the people."
How does the Church "spring from the people?" The answer is that history is "the locus of revelation." Christ reveals Himself in history; all of scripture is historical. Christ became, not man, but "poor." Liberation praxis is the transforming action taking in the entire "world and all mankind - a manifestation of the creative and redemptive action of God. The discernment of this historical process is what liberation theology is all about. Does it have God for its object? Yes, because "God reveals himself only in history and salvation is a historical Process." Not only do the theology and the Church spring from the People, but also virtue."Our new vision, attentive to structural factors, will help Christians to avoid the fallacy of proposing a personal change detached from concrete conditions, as a necessary prerequisite to any social transformation... changing the social and cultural structure is a way of changing the human heart.”
Another favorite theme of liberation theologians is that "throughout history religion has supported the power structure of self interest. The accusation is false, tiresome and the only time the Church has supported the Power structure is when it is convinced either that that structure was itself Catholic and acting in the best interests of society, or when it applied the doctrine of lesser evil. Did the early popes who were jailed and martyred support the existing power structure in Rome? Did the popes of a later era support the Byzantine Empire? Did the Churchj that produced St. Thomas Moore and St. John Fisher support the power structure during the Reformation? Did popes Pius IX, Leo XIII and St. Pius X support the international financial powers? All this is not to deny but that individual examples of men who fell from their high calling as followers of Christ can be cited _ be they Renaissance popes Or South American bishops who failed to propagate the encyclicals of Leo the XIII. But what makes this particular theme of the liberation the theologians most offensive , is their desire to see the Church support communist regimes such as Cuba and Nicaragua (while it was governed by the Sandanistas), and indeed to introduce similar regimes throughout the rest of Latin America. One wonders just how grateful a future generation of Catholics would be where they were to find themselves not only under a socialist regime, but sitting in the inevitable gulags they create.
CRITIQUE OF SOCIALISM AND LIBERATION THEOLOGY
Scripture teaches us that it is the truth that makes us free. But truth demands our assent which limits our liberty to choose its opposite_ Thus it is that St. Paul warns us against those who would "promise man liberty, while themselves the servants of corruption" and St. Thomas teaches us that "the end at which the devil aims is the revolt of the rational creature from God... This revolt from God is conceived as an end, inasmuch as it is desired under the pretext of liberty..." When traditional man is offered "liberty," he remembers well the Homeric warning: "Beware of Trojans bearing gifts." And so it is that we shall examine some of the basic precepts held in common by both socialism and liberation theology, remembering also that while names change, false ideas persist.
The creation of a new man: Both liberation theology and socialism dream of creating a "new man," a "new humanism" and a "new order of society." Now, the promise of perfecting man qua man, and of perfecting society without God is nothing other than a rephrasing of the serpent's offer_ if you eat the apple, '.ye shall be as gods." Only individuals who see man as the product of evolutionary forces can envision such an absurdity. How is it possible for anyone to "create" a man other than God Himself did, a man made in His own image, yet free to sin and fall. Man, like sin, can change his style, but never his nature. He may be “made new" by the laver of Baptism, but even then he carries with him the effects of his "fall." Neither communists, nor "society" nor evolution can create a new and different kind of man, for '.who, by taking thought can add one cubit to this stature?"
Historical determinism is another absurdity: Based on the false principles of progress and evolution coupled with Hegelian dialectics, it assures us that the future inevitably belongs to socialism. It reduces everything to the historical dimension and implicitly denies that man has free will. At the same time it preaches that man has the freedom and obligation to bring about the socialist Parousia. But if the utopian promise is inevitable, why is it that coercion must be used? 'Why must millions be slaughtered or enslaved in "gulags," children brainwashed in schools and millions of dollars spent on propaganda? Why must the proletariat _ "the most advanced and far_sighted segment of society" _ be "conscientized" and brought to the point of rebellion? Class warfare and rebellion is another principle that violates both Christian doctrine and common sense. Every normal society recognizes differences in human ability, and exists for the benefit
of all its members. Christ did not come for the economically poor, but for all men, be they publican or sinner. It is a matter of historical fact that the proletarian segment of society has never led or achieved a revolution. Like those who cried for the Crucifixion of Christ, they have always been tools in the hands of professional agitators - usually the half-educated and poorer bourgeoisie. And not surprisingly, their victims have been the innocent and their benefactors Barabases. Class warfare has been to some degree eliminated in socialist countries such as Cuba and China. The unfortunate workers in these lands know that, if they protest they will be shot. The proletariat in all these nations still work in dehumanizing factories for minimal wages Dispossessed of all property, they are further deprived of the right to change employment, refused the privilege of forming independent unions, and forbidden to strke. In not one of the 40 or so socialist societies which existed until only recently was the lot of the workers improved over that which existed prior to the time when “the dictatorship of the proletariat” was established.
The elimination of private property; Based on the Masonic Roussauist theory that all property is theft, and therefore sinful, those who hold this view forget that man has a natural right to possessions. As Pius XI said, “the right to own private property has been given to man by nature, or rather, by the Creator Himself.” Not one line of Scripture and not one statement of the Church Fathers teaches that private property is intrinsically evil. The early Christians - the good thief apart - were not communists. They shared of their surplus under no coercion and loved one another regardless of socio-economic status. It is a matter of common sense that man is entitled to the just fruits of his loabor and that, if he works harder than his neighbor, he is entitled to greater rewards. Every communist nation has had to give recognition and come to terms with this principle. But far more terrible is the fact that an individual deprived of all private property is turned into a slave. He either does what he is told or he starves. As Pius XII said, “positive legislation regulating private property may change or more or less restrict its use, but if legislation is to play its part, it must prevent the worker... from being condemned to economic dependence and slavery which is irreconcilable with his rights as a person.” In Russia, until the recent breakdown of the communist order, those who did not do as the Party wished, lost their jobs, their homes, and indeed all income. If they were unable to show that they were productive members of society for three months, they would be declared to be "parasites" and arrested. Once this occurred, it was off to the "gulags" where apart from being slaves, they were "re_educated."
Authority and power in the people: Scripture tells us that all authority comes from God. Thus it is that those in power are obliged to enforce God's laws. The people may of course elect their leaders on the assumption that those chosen are just and capable, and thus can apply God's laws in an appropriate manner. But to believe that authority comes from the people is absurd because nihil agit in seipsum. Socialists claim the source of their authority is the people _ or at least the working man. Yet, once in power they inevitably become dictators of the most despicable sort. This is because it is impossible for the state/leader which controls what the people think, read, see, hear and have access to, not to mention controlling the election process, to ever really rep_. resent the masses. Not believing in God or any transcendent moral order, controlling what the people think and then claiming to represent these same people, they have no choice but to act as the sole source of authority. This further explains why they must destroy the family and religion _ alternative sources of authority are never acceptable. The "dictatorship of the proletariat" was nothing but a bad joke as the events of the last few years have shown.
Coercive utopianism is the inevitable result: Human nature is not as malleable as these "social engineers" would like. And so when in control, communists become coercive, often concluding that one generation must be sacrificed to create an ideal system for the next. As Lenin said, "you can't make an omelette without breaking a few eggs." In accord with socialist principles, man must be re_educated to accept his proletarian, property_less and classless status. Those who resist such "progressive" and "scientific" demands are placed in camps and subjected to every Pavlo_ vian technique known to man. And so it is that every socialist dictatorship _ the so_called "dictatorships of the people" _ results in the establishment of prison gulags and massive military establislments. Those who doubt this must explain why Mao Tse Tung is estimated to have liquidated between 30 and 60 million People; why Russia, despite all attempt, massive death camps in Siberia, why the Khmer Rouge under Pol Pot decimated over a quarter of the Cambodian population, slaughtered all but 2024 of 23,661 teachers, and only allowed 600 out of
1 82,000 Buddhist monks to survive; why ver 3,000 Vietnamese boat people risked their lives every month to escape their homeland 10 years after socialism was established in Vietnam. Liberation theologians and socialists may dismiss such qustions as “bourgeois logic,” but surely the millions of victims who ve fled these worker paradises are not all “running dogs of capitalists.” Ask a Solzhenitsyn.
The Classless society: A society in which the diversity of qualifications and hereditary aptitudes are ignored or destroyed, in which eeryone is reduced to the level of property-less proletarians, is both a monstrosity and an absurdity. Even if, thanks to progress and industry, goods are plentiful and work is reduced to a minimum, some work will have to be done. Who will clen the latrines and who will mine the coal? Who will decide how long at at what task each of us must labor? Why is it , we must ask that n socialist societies that claim to be marching towards the utopian state, the most nefarious form of class structure is enforced - that of party membership? And why does this elite - the harbingers of a new society - have separate schools, housing and hospitals and stores, not available to the proletariat? Liberation theologians should further note that this perfect classless society - a society in which men no longer have to struggle to be perfect even as our Father in Heaven is perfect - there will be no room, and indeed, no need for priests. Despite the fact that even extreme utopians do not dream of eliminating old age, illness, suffering and death, mankind will no longer be allowed the Sacraments and the consolations of religion. Clearly the Teilhardian dream of bringing mankind to “point Omega” will end us all in the “nousphere.”
Socio-economic systems invariably reflect the philosophical premises on which they are based. Traditional economics was static, theocentric and sacred in nature, and based on a transcendent metaphysics. Communism, having "no enemies on the left," is the end point and the complete inversion. It sees everything in the light of historical determinism; it proclaims in the words of Marx that "man is the only supreme being for man”; it is patently secular, and is founded on the very denial of metaphysics. It is in fact a "counter_religion" offering its victims a false faith, a false hope, and a false charity. It is a "Devil's Gospel." Unfortunately, the more modern man separates himself from his traditional beliefs, the more he accepts the false "opiates" of progress and evolution, the more he sees himself as an economic and psychological animal devoid of higher intelligence and free will, the more attractive appears to him the Marxist apple.
Communism is not the dialectical antithesis of capitalism, but rather its logical progression and ultimate achievement. Sharing basically similar views as to the nature of man and reality, it is able to enforce with rigor the methodologies developed by its parent. Mankind, increasingly enslaved to economics today, will, we are promised, become totally subservient to the economic state of tomorrow. The reason why the Western and so_called democratic world still provides mankind with a modicum of security and freedom is not so much because it has progressed so far to the left, but because it has not totally divorced itself from its traditional roots.
Religious leaders, seduced by "the spirit of our times" and advocating an aggiornamento between religious values and socialist ideation are veritable wolves in sheep's clothing. However well intentioned, their actions can only result in increasing the sufferings of the destitute and disenfranchised members of society and the total alienation of man. The slaves of a future utopia will have nothing but contempt and hatred for those responsible for their seduction. The idea that the Church should support and abet this "process" borders on blasphemy. And thus it is that the traditional Church, speaking through the mouth of Pius XI called socialism ind communism "intrinsically evil" and "absolutely contrary to the natural law itself" because, as Pius IX said, "once adopted. it would utterly destroy the rights. property and possessions of ill men. And even of society itself." Pope Leo XIII, certainly no enemy of the “working man,” called it a mortal plague.which insinuates itself into the very marrow of human society only to bring about its ruin." Pius XI as recently as 1937 called it "a pseudo ideal of justice, of equality and of fraternity," and added that "no one who would save Christian civilization may collaborate with it in any undertaking whatsoever."
If mankind is to have any modicum of security and justice in this world, it must once again turn to the rational principles on which all traditional societies were based. This does not mean that we must revert to Medieval socio-economic structures, but that we must study and re_apply the metaphysical principles in new and effective ways. Monetary reforms can be introduced that limit usury and take the minting of coins away from the banks. Tax structures can be modified so as to foster the greatest possible distribution of property, and to encourage, not class conflict, but cooperation between owners and employees. The means of production can be returned to the worker. It is by no means difficult to prevent the use of land for single export crop production which benefits only a small number of individuals and to adopt modem agrarian technology to the small farm so that each nation produces more than enough for its people. Beyond this, man must be re_educated _ not by Pavlovian techniques _ but by means of reason, to desire to make only those things which are both necessary and worth creating. Above all, man must learn once again what he is and why he was created. Finally, Christians who pray that God's Kingdom may come on earth should recognize that such will never occur until God reigns in our hearts, in our families, and by extension, in society. Viva Christo Rey Long live Christ the King.
A NOTE ON THE ROOTS OF LIBERATION THEOLOGY:
Unfortunately Liberation theologians and socialists in general can find much to support their attitudes in positions taken by the post_Conciliar Church. Vatican 11 not only gave its stamp of approval to the false concepts of evolution and progress, it also promoted the idea that salvation was a historical and communitarian process. Thus it advocated the development of a "new humanism" and the unity of all men under the title of "the unity of the People of God." Beyond this it advocated a "wholesome socialization" towards which man was inevitably progressing, and refused, despite multiple requests by some 400 attending fathers, to condemn communism. John XXIII made the post-Conciliar position absolutely clear in stating that “the Church is not a dam against socialism,” and further emphasized in his first Encyclical in so far as "all men are equal by reason of their natural dignity, there are no communities that that. are superior by nature and none that are inferior by nature. All political communities are of equal natural dignity since they are bodies whose membership is made of these same human beings." No wonder the left was delighted.
Paul VI held to similar views. He was almost effusive in his praise of both China and Cuba. As he said in a special audience in April of 1976. "the world will march irresistibly towards the new order and the new man for which we all long. Cuba will play its part, joyful. and disinterestedly in this grand joint undertaking." John Paul 11 has occasionally criticized the excesses of communism as such. One of his first acts after his election was the re_appointment of Cardinal Caseroli _ the originator of detente _ as his Secretary of State. In his encyclical Laborem Exercens he speaks of satisfactory socialization" with approval, and in his speech at Pueble he publicly stated that he had no objection to the expropriation of private property, providing it was “Correctly carried out." When, one must ask, was it incorrectly carried out Certainly not in Poland where the Church lost all her schools, colleges and hospitals _ the gifts of the faithful _ for Cardinal Wyszynski stated at the time that "in a communist country the Church should renounce its rights to private property." Lest there be any doubt, he bluntly told Archbishop Romero before his death that "the Church" _ his Church _ "was not anticommunist.”
Much has been written about recent condemnations of liberation theology on the part of the Vatican. It should be clear that socialism as such was never condemned, but only certain aspects of this nefarious and anti-Christian doctrine.. Specifically these are: (1) the attempt to replace Christ by the elevation of a social class, or by placing the poor at the center of Christianity; (2) the de_divinizing of Christ by making, him, not the unique Son of God, but a model exemplar of a political revolutionary; (3) the appeal to and violence which is seen as hindering the unification of all Christians (4) objection to the horizontation” of the Scriptures - interpreting them only on the socio-economic level, and (5) attacks upon the hierarchical structures of the Church. While one can laud such criticisms, it is clear that it is a classical case of attacking the symptoms and not the disease.
 For a more complete exposition of the nature of art and the artist, cf Introduction to The Art of Living by Ananda Coomaraswamy in Press Fons Vitae.
 In a recent survey of 20 college textbooks used in marriage course, carried out by Time Magazine, it was precisely these ideas that were being fostered.
 Nothing acts on itself.
 Well documented in the Black Book of Commun ism, Crimes Terror, Repression by Stephane Courtois et all. Harvard Univ. Press, 1999.