Saturday, December 15, 2012

'Pope's message: 'Blessed are the Peacemakers'

Tom posted a link to a Reuters account of a recent Papal message for "World Peace Day" this week.  Here is a link to the Vatican site which has the English version of the actual message.

For a message of "peace" the message contains MUCH exhortation for a new social and economic justice and related reforms of current institutions.... this is revealing.

Following are some excerpts in this regard (my highlights ;)
so that the aspirations of all for a happy and prosperous life may be achieved.
In effect, our times, marked by globalization with its positive and negative aspects,
It is alarming to see hotbeds of tension and conflict caused by growing instances of inequality between rich and poor, by the prevalence of a selfish and individualistic mindset which also finds expression in an unregulated financial capitalism.
the desire for peace corresponds to a fundamental moral principle, namely, the duty and right to an integral social and communitarian development,
The ethics of peace is an ethics of fellowship and sharing.
It is indispensable, then, that the various cultures in our day overcome forms of anthropology and ethics based on technical and practical suppositions which are merely subjectivistic and pragmatic, in virtue of which relationships of coexistence are inspired by criteria of power or profit, means become ends and vice versa, and culture and education are centred on instruments, technique and efficiency alone.
In this way mankind can overcome that progressive dimming and rejection of peace which is sin in all its forms: selfishness and violence, greed and the will to power and dominion, intolerance, hatred and unjust structures.
The attainment of peace depends above all on recognizing that we are, in God, one human family. This family is structured, as the Encyclical taught, by interpersonal relations and institutions supported and animated by a communitarian “we”, which entails an internal and external moral order in which, in accordance with truth and justice, reciprocal rights and mutual duties are sincerely recognized.
Peace is principally the attainment of the common good in society at its different levels, primary and intermediary, national, international and global. Precisely for this reason it can be said that the paths which lead to the attainment of the common good are also the paths that must be followed in the pursuit of peace.
One of the social rights and duties most under threat today is the right to work. The reason for this is that labour and the rightful recognition of workers’ juridical status are increasingly undervalued, since economic development is thought to depend principally on completely free markets [Ed: HA! Even The Pope gets it!]. 
Labour is thus regarded as a variable dependent on economic and financial mechanisms. In this regard, I would reaffirm that human dignity and economic, social and political factors, demand that we continue “to prioritize the goal of access to steady employment for everyone.”
If this ambitious goal is to be realized, one prior condition is a fresh outlook on work, based on ethical principles and spiritual values that reinforce the notion of work as a fundamental good for the individual, for the family and for society.
Corresponding to this good are a duty and a right that demand courageous new policies of universal employment.  Building the good of peace through a new model of development and economics.
In many quarters it is now recognized that a new model of development is needed, as well as a new approach to the economy. Both integral, sustainable development in solidarity and the common good require a correct scale of goods and values which can be structured with God as the ultimate point of reference.
It is not enough to have many different means and choices at one’s disposal, however good these may be. Both the wide variety of goods fostering development and the presence of a wide range of choices must be employed against the horizon of a good life, an upright conduct that acknowledges the primacy of the spiritual and the call to work for the common good.
Otherwise they lose their real value, and end up becoming new idols. In order to emerge from the present financial and economic crisis – which has engendered ever greater inequalities [Ed: HA!] – we need people, groups and institutions which will promote life by fostering human creativity, in order to draw from the crisis itself an opportunity for discernment and for a new economic model.
The predominant model of recent decades called for seeking maximum profit and consumption, on the basis of an individualistic and selfish mindset, aimed at considering individuals solely in terms of their ability to meet the demands of competitiveness. Yet, from another standpoint, true and lasting success is attained through the gift of ourselves, our intellectual abilities and our entrepreneurial skills, since a “liveable” or truly human economic development requires the principle of gratuitousness as an expression of fraternity and the logic of gift.
Concretely, in economic activity, peacemakers are those who establish bonds of fairness and reciprocity with their colleagues, workers, clients and consumers. They engage in economic activity for the sake of the common good and they experience this commitment as something transcending their self-interest, for the benefit of present and future generations.
Thus they work not only for themselves, but also to ensure for others a future and a dignified employment. In the economic sector, states in particular need to articulate policies of industrial and agricultural development concerned with social progress and the growth everywhere of constitutional and democratic states. The creation of ethical structures for currency, financial and commercial markets is also fundamental and indispensable; these must be stabilized and better coordinated and controlled so as not to prove harmful to the very poor.
With greater resolve than has hitherto been the case, the concern of peacemakers must also focus upon the food crisis, which is graver than the financial crisis. The issue of food security is once more central to the international political agenda, as a result of interrelated crises, including sudden shifts in the price of basic foodstuffs, irresponsible behaviour by some economic actors and insufficient control on the part of governments and the international community.
To face this crisis, peacemakers are called to work together in a spirit of solidarity, from the local to the international level, with the aim of enabling farmers, especially in small rural holdings, to carry out their activity in a dignified and sustainable way from the social, environmental and economic points of view.
The Church believes that she shares in this great responsibility as part of the new evangelization, which is centred on conversion to the truth and love of Christ and, consequently, the spiritual and moral rebirth of individuals and societies.
Cultural institutions, schools and universities have a special mission of peace. They are called to make a notable contribution not only to the formation of new generations of leaders, but also to the renewal of public institutions, both national and international. They can also contribute to a scientific reflection which will ground economic and financial activities on a solid anthropological and ethical basis.
Today’s world, especially the world of politics, needs to be sustained by fresh thinking and a new cultural synthesis so as to overcome purely technical approaches and to harmonize the various political currents with a view to the common good.
The latter, seen as an ensemble of positive interpersonal and institutional relationships at the service of the integral growth of individuals and groups, is at the basis of all true education for peace.
With this prayer I express my hope that all will be true peacemakers, so that the city of man may grow in fraternal harmony, prosperity and peace.
Not... too.... shabby.... I'd say.


frlbane said...

One of the social rights and duties most under threat today is the right to work. T Pope B

Slaves have a right to work. In fact, they are required to do so OR ELSE!

The creation of ethical structures for currency, financial and commercial markets is also fundamental and indispensable; these must be stabilized and better coordinated and controlled so as not to prove harmful to the very poor. Pope B.

The Bible forbids taking interest from one's fellow countrymen (Deuteronomy 23:19-20), commands periodic debt forgiveness (Deuteronomy 15, Leviticus 25) and forbids theft by counterfeiting ("Thou shall not steal", "Thou shall not bear false witness") YET our money system is based on systematic violation of all of the above!

Matt Franko said...


"right to work": it's identified here as a right not an obligation... same as a JG, it's an "offer"...

"The Bible forbids taking interest from..."

"The Bible" forbids nothing per se in this regard frlbane, it contains information about God's covenant with the House of Israel under which the Law of Moses forbid the Israelites from taking the actions you correctly point out...

Christians here in the nations today are under no such lawful obligations... perhaps to your point tho, we can certainly keep this truthful information in view and let the fruit of the spirit guide us in forming a specific policy for today... we have been given our own authority in this regard (from above). Tho many today deny this authority.

Perhaps this is one of the reasons why Benedict doesnt go into too many specifics here, rather stays with a view to the objectives/results... the specific legal arrangements are to be mandated among ourselves via our civil law or nomos of our economic policy...


Tom Hickey said...

When the pope crafts a message like this, he has the whole Vatican think tank at his disposal. He draws on a lot of very smart people, people who reflect conditions around the world, so it is a global vision.

Matt Franko said...


I'm not necessarily a "Vatican Watcher"... do you see any "departure" here?


Tom Hickey said...

Yes, a bit more critical of neoliberal capitalism. Usually, there is also praise of the free market to counterbalance the criticism.

frlbane said...

Tho many today deny this authority.
Matt Franko

I sure deny it. My spiritual authority is the Bible guided (I hope) by the Holy Spirit. I've been misled too many times by so-called "Christian authorities" to ever trust them again.

So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” John 8:31-32 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

Matt Franko said...


"authority" here is not a person or a human created organization like a so-called "church" with associated non-scriptural dogmas and doctrines as you rightfully point out...

Here's Paul: "1 Let every soul be subject to the superior authorities, for there is no authority except under God. Now those which are, have been set under God,
2 so that he who is resisting an authority has withstood God's mandate." Romans 13

Someone who says: "We're out of money" or "We cannot have state currency not backed by gold" or "we have to borrow from the Chinese" or "we have to balance the budget" or "Treasury has to borrow" is denying/resisting this authority (think Libertarians/Gold-lovers/other morons, etc..).

The Greek word for 'authority' in Romans here is exousia which is translated as 'out-being', it is the abstract concept of what we term "authority" in English, not a person or organization.

People can be set under authority, but they cannot "be an" authority...

Benedict himself may be missing this as I believe he probably also thinks "we are out of money" as IIRC the Vatican economics dept is Monetarist...

Benedict can see what Paul writes here:

"13 For not the listeners to law are just with God, but the doers of law shall be justified.
14 For whenever they of the nations that have no law, by nature may be doing that which the law demands, these, having no law, are a law to themselves,
15 who are displaying the action of the law written in their hearts,
their conscience testifying together and their reckonings between one another, accusing or defending them," Romans 2

Benedict can see what is supposed to be "the ACTION of the law" ie the RESULTS ie economic justice. he has that down cold no doubt ...

but I doubt he can see how to get there under law as he is probably ignorant of how state currency systems work as he is relying on the monetarists in the Vatican economics dept...

This great falsehood has infiltrated and infested the highest levels of the Vatican as well as the secular institutions of the west... lot's of work ahead... but seeing this from Benedict gives me some encouragement as at least it seems that he "smells a rat".., rsp

frlbane said...

Here's Paul: "1 Let every soul be subject to the superior authorities, for there is no authority except under God. Now those which are, have been set under God,
2 so that he who is resisting an authority has withstood God's mandate." Romans 13
Matt Franko

Unless an authority's command is clearly contrary to what God Himself has commanded (cf. Acts 5:19-29).

Matt Franko said...


"Authority", in Greek exousia (ie 'out-being'), cannot "give a command" ...

Only a PERSON, SET UNDER authority, can give a command.

Said person set under authority can perhaps issue commands that are adversarial to God's mandates, yes... but this would be separate from the concept of "authority" itself...

Our problems today originate due to a resistance to/denial of authority BY THOSE AMONG US WHO HAVE BEEN SET UNDER AUTHORITY: ie "we're out of money!" or "let's be honest, we're broke!"