Benedict XVI’s “social” encyclical delayed

Paolo Rodari at Palazzo Apostolico has this (my translation)

From good and reliable Vatican sources it has come to be known today that the long-awaited social encyclical which many, including Renato Raffaele Card. Martino, had predicted would come out in December, has been shleved pro tempore. [for the time being]

The text, in fact, does not take into sufficient account the present financial storm.. Sure, then, it will not come out in 2008 and it will with difficulty see the light of day in the first months of 2009.

 

Whew!  I am actually rather pleased.

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46 Responses to Benedict XVI’s “social” encyclical delayed

  1. Richard T says:

    Phew, that is a relief. Some of the rumours about its contents had been rather alarming.

    His Holiness seems to be a brilliant theologian (so far as a non-expert can judge). But when theological principles are used to criticise economic theories, it is essential that one understands the economics as well. To date Popes have not had a good record on this, and there was no sign that Benedict would have been any better.

  2. Melchior Cano says:

    @ Richard T:

    Do you really think that the Holy Father doesn’t understand economics? Or that the vast social teaching of the Church concerning economics, reaching back well into the middle ages, is insufficient to deal with the modern realities? Does the Holy Father need to have an in-depth understanding of the casualty ratio of bunker busting missiles before he gives the Church’s teaching on a just war? The whole “the Popes don’t understand the intricacies of modern economics” therefore they shouldn’t really speak about them is a canard used to force the Sovereign Pontiffs into their own corner and speak on those things about which we want them to speak. Too many of us in the traditionalist or conservative Catholic movements desire the Sovereign Pontiff to rain down his wrath from the steps of Saint Peter’s against liturgical abuse or pro-abortion politicians (and well he should). But when he crosses the line into our own sacrosanct Americanist understanding of economics, or the social questions, we politely tell him that he’s gone too far. The Church does have the right and duty to speak on the social question, economics included. And we are bound by the Church’s teaching concerning social matters… such as Rerum Novarum.

  3. Liam says:

    The delay probably means that criticisms of markets and laxity in regulation thereof will be made more pointed, particularly regarding the need for global oversight. The Popes haven’t adopted the views of the Acton Institute and recent events make that even less likely.

  4. Flambeaux says:

    Melchior, take a deep breath. Richard’s assessment is essentially correct.

  5. Flambeaux says:

    Liam,

    Let us hope your assessment is wrong.

  6. Richard T says:

    Melchior, of course I would never tell His Holiness that he has “gone too far”.

    But when he criticises an economic school for a contention that it does not make, then I (or those better qualified that I) may legitimately tell him that he has misunderstood the economics.

  7. embajador says:

    Melchior Cano- How difficult it is to be a catholic, isn’t it?. Even the most orthodox catholics have some cherries they’d rather don’t pick. I am 100% with you by the way. In our super-specialised world full of “operative knowledge” and increasingly devoid of “speculative knowledge” (or metaphysics to be clearer) some pretend the Pope has no business entering in the incredibly “subtle” world of economics. Well, I guess doctors in medicine could say exactly the same thing about Humanae Vitae as capitalist economists can say about Rerum Novarum. But, at the end of the day, economics is just a human behaviour “science” and ironically the Church knows a thing or two about human behaviour. Mind you, and about the intrincacies of economics too. Don’t forget that something as mundane as the double-booking accounting system was invented by a monk in the XV century.

  8. EDG says:

    I think one of the problems with many papal statements on current events is that they have been just that: current. Economic conditions and theories change. Rerum Novarum was a response to a situation, just as the silly statements of the USCCB over the years were confused responses to various political events of their time. I wonder, after the bizarre situation in the US where we have gone from a sort of capitalism to a state-managed economy overnight, if the Pope has not perhaps been rethinking the encyclical so that it will be more on the level of general guidelines to Christians on how they should approach political and economic matters. I would like to see something like that, personally; that’s what the Church is supposed to do, not select economic or political systems. Put not your trust in princes or in the sons of men.

  9. Melchior Cano says:

    “But when he criticises an economic school for a contention that it does not make” Richard, care to actually explain what you mean?

    “I think one of the problems with many papal statements on current events is that they have been just that: current.” Well, EDG, I don’t think you are correct. First of all, it is insulting to compare Rerum Novarum with “silly statements of the USCCB.” Second of all, my point is that Leo was not creating something new. He was further explaining Catholic teaching on economics as handed down from the Fathers to the Medievals down to our own day. No matter if there are practical applications that don’t apply today (which I challenge), but the first principles enunciated in the Encyclical don’t change, in fact, cannot change. Finally, the charge that it was only for that time doesn’t hold. If that was the case, why did Pius XI, Pius XII, John XXIII, and John Paul II all reiterate the same teaching as Rerum Novarum and write encyclicals praising it?

  10. Maureen says:

    There’s no point freaking out until you’ve read the encyclical. Right now you’re fighting your own shadows.

  11. Maureen says:

    Besides, the man’s named himself after the founder of the Wal-Mart Industiral Complex of the Middle Ages. He must love low, low prices!

  12. Flambeaux says:

    Maureen, once again you speak words of wisdom and sanity into the hot-house of the Blogosphere.

    Thank you.

    I, for one, will heed your advice.

  13. More time to reflect can’t be a bad thing.

  14. Paul says:

    This is a sensible decision as had the encyclical not taken account of the fast moving changes in the economic environment it would have been roundly ignored. Far better for it to be published when things have returned to normal a little so that hopefully it can be a reflection on the crisis we are experiencing.

    To those who would rather the Roman Pontiff remained silent on economic issues, this he cannot nor will ever do. He has a responsibility to speak out against unbridled capitalism just as other Pontiffs have condemned assaults on personal property and the evils of socialism. One does have to an expert on all economic theories in order to be able to talk about and lecture on some of the problems that the modern world faces – if I had to listen to any non-expert on economics then I think the Vicar of Christ would be at the top of that list.

  15. Edward says:

    “Too many of us in the traditionalist or conservative Catholic movements desire the Sovereign Pontiff to rain down his wrath from the steps of Saint Peter’s against liturgical abuse or pro-abortion politicians (and well he should). But when he crosses the line into our own sacrosanct Americanist understanding of economics, or the social questions, we politely tell him that he’s gone too far.”

    This is ridiculous. Most of us in the orthodox and traditionalist circles come from modest financial means. We are not some big fat cat industrialists telling the pope that he should keep his nose out of how we run our economic empire. Most of us are dependent on a sound and growing economy so that we can seek gainful employment and most of us have absolutely no control whatsoever on socially just economic behavior. Most of us are employees, not employers, and most of us work paycheck to paycheck so that our families have something to eat, have adequate medical care, and have a roof over their heads. There is absolutely no comparison between an orthodox Catholic living a Catholic lifestyle yet happens to share the economic views of Milton Friedman for instance and some socialist Catholic who rejects the Church’s teachings on abortion and contraception.

    What I find irritating is the misuse by some of the social teaching of the Church to claim that the Church askews the notion of “trickle down economics” or that the Church is more sympathetic to the economic policies advanced by the Democrat party verses the Republican party. As if Keynesian or socialist economic theory is somehow more just than a more free market approach advocated by the likes of a Hayek, Friedman, or Laffer.

    Additionally, some seem to just skip over the whole notion of subsidiarity, which is also part of the Church’s social teaching.

  16. Howard says:

    What, are y’all afraid he is as far off base as Leo XIII? Maybe you’d rather he get his economic ideas from Alan Greenspan? That he would tell us how serving Mammon is the surest way to serve God?

    Get real. He’s not telling astronomers what to see through their telescopes, and he’s not going to tell economists what to see in their predictive theories.

    On the other hand, though he may not make demands of our theories, he may very well make some uncomfortable demands of our actions. In the same way, I don’t see any evidence of Pope Gregory XVI promising in In Supremo Apostolatus that ending slavery would have no negative economic consequences for anyone.

    Think back to the Penny Catechism, #327.

    Which are the four sins crying to heaven for vengeance?

    1. Willful murder
    2. The sin of Sodom
    3. Oppression of the poor
    4. Defrauding laborers of their wages.

    I tend to associate the first 2 with the Democratic platform and the latter 2 with the Republicans, but they can usually come to a bipartisan agreement to implement all 4.

  17. embajador says:

    Edward- I think it is equally ridiculous to pretend that the only two alternatives for a catholic on the economic front are socialism or capitalism. If one reads the social doctrine of the Church carefully one can find that what the Magisterium is proposing is neither of the two, not even a mixture of the two. And the subsidiarity concept you brought about is essential in this, not only versus the state but versus any institution with an excessive grab on economic, social or political power.

    And by the way, pretending that you can do nothing on the social front just because you’re an employee is the same as pretending we can do nothing on the abortion front because most of us are not law-makers or doctors. It does not hold, sorry.

  18. Steve K. says:

    I am not sure not being steeped in the intricacies of modern economics is much of a liability when judging it. Aside from questions of “what’s the economy for, actually,” current events may yet leave modern economics with all the credibility of phrenology or alchemy.

  19. Edward says:

    Howard -

    This is the kind of nonsense I am talking about. The Republican party oppresses the poor? It defrauds laborers of their wages? You are ridiculous. I hate having to be put in the position of defending the Republican party, but this sort of nonsense just leads one to write you off as an ideologue and not someone who is advancing anything Catholic.

    Embajador-

    Didn’t claim there were only two alternatives. I was making a statement about those who seemingly have a certain economic view which they are trying to claim is more just without any real basis. From what I understand of the broad principles of Catholic social teaching, there is no prescribed method of achieving the proper ends. I was pointing out that if one believes that a more liberal economic theory is better equiped to achieve the ends advocated in the social teachings of the Church, then it is not against Catholic social teaching to vote in that manner. On the contrary, there can be no confusion about other teachings such as contraception or abortion.

    As far as your point about control, you missed my point and responding to you would be less than productive.

  20. Christopher Sarsfield says:

    Edward,

    A rather significant part of the study of economics from a Catholic point of view is that it should be studied as ethics applied to practical economic transactions. The Church is clear that they have the right to judge the morality of economic transactions, and also economic systems that fail to take into account the morality of economic transactions. Your point about you not being a “fat cat industrialist” is irrelevant. It would be as if a priest said he could reject the teaching on contraception because he is celibate. The Catholic Social teachings are clear that certain actions are immoral. Systems that require those actions to survive are also immoral. This whole discussion just shows that cafeteria catholicism exists on the right as well as the left.

  21. Fr. Steve says:

    The fact is; the Church dosen’t propose any particular economic system. They all have positive and negitive elements. All the Church asks for is true justice to be implimented, and that the dignity of the human person be respected. My hope is that this will give the Holy Father time to work on the clarifications of the Moto Proprio and the Compendium on the Holy Eucharist.

  22. Matt Q says:

    Edward- I think it is equally ridiculous to pretend that the only two alternatives for a catholic on the economic front are socialism or capitalism. If one reads the social doctrine of the Church carefully one can find that what the Magisterium is proposing is neither of the two, not even a mixture of the two. And the subsidiarity concept you brought about is essential in this, not only versus the state but versus any institution with an excessive grab on economic, social or political power.

    And by the way, pretending that you can do nothing on the social front just because you’re an employee is the same as pretending we can do nothing on the abortion front because most of us are not law-makers or doctors. It does not hold, sorry.
    Comment by embajador

    )(

    Yes, one shouldn’t be working for such evil anyway, true. Beyond that, insofar as one is able to effect change through prayer and good works, setting a good example is one thing, but as far as one’s place of employment, no one doesn’t have any power. Anything done outside of acceptable policy is out of bounds. Try it and find yourself out the door unemployed, and then you’re living in your car. Yeah, that’s showing them.

  23. Tom Joseph S says:

    Thank you Father Steve.

  24. Christopher Sarsfield says:

    Fr. Steve,

    In my reading of the Social Encyclicals and the Compendium on Social Doctrine, the Church does broadly require justice and the dignity of the person be recognized, however, the Church than goes on and proposes specific elements that must exist in the system to ensure that. It also proposes specific elements that are immoral and must be rejected. For any Catholic to defend the elements that the Church considers immoral, is to lack the virtue of Faith. Faith is believing what God’s revelation in Faith and morals, as proposed by His Church. To reject what the Church proposes in regard to morals in economics, is to reject God’s revelation, and lose the virtue of Faith, without which it is impossible to please God.

  25. Edward says:

    Sarsfield -

    You are another prime example of the problem. Its people like you who do more harm than good in advancing the teachings of the Church. [Let's tone it down, please. Leave the ad hominem stuff out of the discussion.] There is no cafeteria Catholicism in what I have written. Nor is there any rejection of the Church’s teachings in what I have written. You have in your own way taken your own personal economic views and projected them onto the Church. You also ironically continue to unjustly harangue and charge people with cafeteria Catholicism.

    My whole contention here is that it is not lacking faith for a Catholic to hold the opinion that the economic policies advocated by the Democrat Party are in actuality more hamful to the Catholic family than are the policies promoted by the Republican Party and vice versa for that matter. For instance, the Democrat party is an enemy to the notion of subsidiarity, whereas the Republican more of a friend to that notion. In my opinion it is the loss of this country’s federalist roots which is the greatest evil of all, ergo I vote against Democrats on this ground. Anyway, as Father Steve stated above, they all have positive and negative elements and your inability to acknowledge such reveals an inability to reason on your part.

    Honestly, contrary to your assertion that I am a cafeteria Catholic, if I had my way I would move my family and live in one of the more Catholic locations I have ever heard described. Its a little known town in the mid-est called Port William. A creation of the author Wendell Berry.

  26. Christopher Sarsfield says:

    Edward,

    Actually I reject both Democratic and Republican policies with regard to economics. With regard to projecting my views on the Church, that would be hard, for I was always a libertarian on economic issues, until I read the social teachings of the Church. I could have read them wrong, but if I did I read them against my beliefs and those of the men that had informed my economic opinions. Finally, I do say that if you do not reject the immoral ideas proposed by Milton Friedman, you are a cafeteria Catholic. However, I would acknowledge that there could be some truth in certain proposals of Mr. Friedman.

  27. embajador says:

    Sarsfield- I concur with what you are saying. It is not a question of socialism vs capitalism, or Republicans vs Democrats, it is a question of understanding what the Church is telling us and abiding to it. I myself was also a libertarian until I understood there is way out of the essentially fictitious capitalist vs socialist antagonism.

  28. JohnK says:

    For those interested in some red meat, I include the following from Thomas E. Woods, Jr. “The Church and the Market” (p.4):

    “Pope Paul VI recommended an approach to foreign aid for the developing world that has proven ineffective and in some cases even calamitous in practice. It was logically possible at the time to predict that the outcome of such a policy would not be a happy one, and indeed a number of development economists, such as Peter Bauer, were issuing such warnings. Now while the Pope doubtless has the right to instruct the faith on matters of morality, and to remind them of their obligations toward the less fortunate, surely nothing in the doctrine of papal infallibility guarantees that the Pope’s suggestions for economic policy must always bear good fruit. If that were true no one would need to study economics at all.”

    Neither Mr. Woods nor I is trying to play ‘gotcha’ with the Pope. Nor is the issue for Catholics like myself even the instinctive socialism of recent Popes, including Benedict. It is this: what is the MORAL basis, and ultimately, the SACRAMENTAL basis, for exhortations such as those in Populorum Progressio, the following of which — in this case, provably — hurt, not helped the poor? In teaching us how “how to go to heaven”, have eight pontiffs in a row also presumed to know “how the heavens go”? And just because eight in a row have so presumed, does that, just in itself, make it an exercise of their sacramental ministry?

  29. Michael J says:

    Christopher,

    The problem, as I see it, is that you have not established that there *are* any “elements that the Church considers immoral” in the economic theories being discussed. They may be self-evident to you, but others could have legitimate disagereements with you – and still remain faithful Catholics.

    It would help, for example, if you identify the “immoral” ideas proposed and how they are contrary to what the Church teaches.

  30. Melchior Cano says:

    “For those interested in some red meat, I include the following from Thomas E. Woods, Jr. “The Church and the Market” (p.4):”

    I mean no disparagement to Dr. Woods. However, his line, as a Catholic is essentially that the Holy Fathers overstep their bounds when they meddle in the economics question. I know thats not what hes saying in the quote. I mean that he holds this as a sort of first principle (I’m not sure thats adequately clear, but I hope I’m getting my point across), namely that the Holy Father’s cross out of their ordained sphere when they meddle in practical questions of economics. And thats a problem.

    The Sovereign Pontiffs do in fact have something to say concerning economics. And that “something” constitutes an integral part of the Magisterium, not merely nice suggestions. I would also point out that with regard to Dr. Woods, he is a libertarian. I’m not engaging in ad hominem attacks here, but I think its important to understand one’s political outlook in order to make judgement on it. Libertarianism holds that the state is an unfortunate, but necessary evil. Thus any influence it holds, particularly in the economic realm, is to be opposed, or at least discouraged. Catholics, on the other hand, holding to the tradition of the Church, hold that the state is a positive good, established by Almighty God to promote the common good. The libertarian outlook on economics cannot be squared with the Church’s official teaching on the State and its role in the affairs of men.

  31. TA1275 says:

    If you have read social encyclicals (I have read all of them from Rerum Novarum to Centesimus Annus), you will see that the Church favors what could be called ‘market economics’ within a moral framework. A just market requires just individuals. Milton Friedman is great when it comes to espousing the virtues of economic freedom, but he is not so great when it comes to moral principles. Businessmen have an obligation to society beyond that of making profit for themselves and their company. While they must certainly consider profit, they must also consider what effects their company’s actions have on their employees, the community at large, and the environment.

    Food for thought:
    JPII in Centesimus Annus on Socialism: “the historical experience of socialist countries has sadly demonstrated that collectivism does not do away with alienation but rather increases it, adding to it a lack of basic necessities and economic inefficiency.”

    On Capitalism: “If by ‘capitalism’ is meant an economic system which recognizes the fundamental and positive role of business, the market, private property and the resulting responsibility for the means of production, as well as free human creativity in the economic sector, then the answer is certainly in the affirmative, even though it would perhaps be more appropriate to speak of a ‘business economy,’ ‘market economy’ or simply ‘free economy.’”

    “But if by ‘capitalism’ is meant a system in which freedom in the economic sector is not circumscribed within a strong juridical framework which places it at the service of human freedom in its totality, and which sees it as a particular aspect of that freedom, the core of which is ethical and religious, then the reply is certainly negative.”

    Edward: Wendell Berry is fabulous.

  32. Melchior Cano says:

    “Nor is the issue for Catholics like myself even the instinctive socialism of recent Popes, including Benedict.” I’m sorry I missed this last time, but I just noticed it. That is incredibly disrespectful. You aren’t talking about your local city councilman or even a president. Their is a respect due to the Holy Father qua Holy Father and to refer to his “instinctive socialism” crosses acceptable bounds for a Catholic. This is the problem that some on this board have been trying to rectify. The options are not merely capitalism and socialism. Either way, given the abhorrence of socialism demanded of all Catholics, you owe the Holy Father an apology.

  33. Robert says:

    “Finally, I do say that if you do not reject the immoral ideas proposed by Milton Friedman, you are a cafeteria Catholic.”

    Friedman convincingly demonstrates how the free-market policies he advocates benefit the poor. How does that make him “immoral,” or me a “cafeteria Catholic” if I agree with him?

  34. “1. Willful murder
    2. The sin of Sodom
    3. Oppression of the poor
    4. Defrauding laborers of their wages.

    I tend to associate the first 2 with the Democratic platform and the latter 2 with the Republicans, but they can usually come to a bipartisan agreement to implement all 4.”

    Priceless!!

  35. Carlos Palad says:

    Just so you’d know, the Pope recently addressed the Philippine Ambassador
    to the Holy See with the request that Agrarian Reform be implemented.

    http://www.ucanews.com/2008/10/30/pope-greets-philippines-new-ambassador-with-comments-on-church-state-relations/

    The pope also spoke of ongoing land reform in the Philippines as a way to improve living conditions of the poor.

    “By implementing measures that foster the just distribution of wealth and the sustainable development of natural resources, Filipino farmers will be granted greater opportunities for increasing production and earning what they need, to support themselves and their families,” he said.

    It does sound like it was ghost-written for the Pope by a member of the
    Philippine hierarchy, but the important thing is that the Pope chose to utter
    it himself.

  36. JohnK says:

    I write one final time [Promise?] merely to lend my good will and support to my fellow cafeteria, Acton Institute, clueless-type Catholics. For a moment, may I turn the discussion away from pontiffs, and toward actual, living, breathing poor people?

    Anybody wish to dispute the claim by Thomas Woods that the recommendations in Populorum Progressio for the developing world — that is, for actual living, breathing poor people — were “proven ineffective and in some cases even calamitous in practice”?

    Anybody want to make the case that it is “disrespectful” to pay attention to the reality that actual poor people actually were not helped, or even suffered, when the powers that be did more or less exactly what the Pope recommended?

    Anybody want to make the MORAL case for pontiffs (unintentionally, of course) making recommendations that HURT the poor? Anybody want to make the SACRAMENTAL case? ["Sacramental".... ?!?!]

    Anybody want to make the case that we should nonetheless pay heed to Populorum Progressio even though we know that following its recommendations hurt the poor then, and would hurt the poor now?

    Anybody want to make the case that when the Popes express concern about the poor, there is automatically thereby a moral, let alone a sacramental, basis for recommendations that provably hurt the poor?

    What if, as Mr. Woods argues in several places, the fundamental and energizing premise of modern Catholic social thought, as expressed from Rerum Novarum forward, is not either a moral or sacramental truth, but merely an economic assumption; namely, that it is possible for wages, prices, and working conditions in an unhampered market process to be ‘unjust’; for example, that there can be a difference between a ‘just wage’ and a ‘market wage’; and that both in principle and in practicality, state intervention in economic life can be purely benign, and Pareto optimal, at least from the workers’ point of view?

    Which is to say, if Populorum Progressio’s fundamental premise was, in reality, and despite the Pope’s feelings on the matter, an (erroneous) economic assumption, and not a moral or sacramental truth at all, then we can account for an encyclical that actually, literally hurt actual, breathing poor people. But not otherwise.

    There can be a legitimate concern of the faithful to defend the awesome sacramental teaching authority of the Magisterium. For example, by wishing there were rather less pontifical encyclicals on Catholic Social Thought.

  37. Christopher Sarsfield says:

    JohnK,

    You give a quote from Woods, that no one can engage, because they do not know the context, or the history. What were the recommendations that were implemented that hurt the poor? I do have a suspicion that what was implemented was not the Pope’s design, because I have seen how loans get made to the third world. The countries giving the loans, usually insist on a ton of conditions, that assure most of the money loaned goes to big multi-national corporations and do nothing to develop a local economy. But if you would tell us what Thomas Woods believes was implemented and the history of the implementation that would be helpful.

  38. In partibus infidelium says:

    Certainly Popes have the right and duty to proclaim general pronciples on matters of the social order and economics, but it is not part of their office to decide between the specific economic means to achieve ends unless such means are manifestly immoral.. For example there is no specifically Christian or moral way to decide between the economics of Keynes and Milton Friedmann, or between Adam Smith or Friedrich List. There is no Christian teaching on what the British Prime Minister called “post endogenous growth theory” which he once invoked as his guide in his policy towards the British economy. Catholic teaching too is obviously not infallible on matters economic or we would all still be regarding the taking of interest on money as immoral. Years ago a catholic scholar Werner Stark wrote “The History of Economic Thought in its Relation to Social Development” , perhaps it is time to revisit his wisdom.

  39. Andrew says:

    Wow, I read Fr Z’s “Whew, I am actually rather pleased” in an entirely different light.

    Chances are Fr Z is very busy and, with Advent approaching, wondering where he would find time to get through an encyclical. Benedict XVI is brilliant but not always easy. I still don’t understand every part of “Spe Salvi” after three or four readings.

  40. Melchior Cano says:

    “Catholic teaching too is obviously not infallible on matters economic or we would all still be regarding the taking of interest on money as immoral.” The Church has not recanted her position that usury is immoral. The prohibition never extended to the level of productive loans, only non-productive loans (i.e. loans that don’t make money). Rather than brush this aside, please see St. Thomas’ section on Usury.

  41. Phillip says:

    I am most concerned that the encyclical will call for a one world government or something a kin to the nonsense in Gaudium et Spes.

  42. Flambeaux says:

    I don’t have a problem with one world government if a Habsburg as Roman Emperor is the leader of that one world government. :D

  43. Brian says:

    I anxiously await the encyclical. As to the Pope not understanding economics, it is more likely that countries such as ours which claim to be on the forefront of economic theory…well, need I say more?

  44. In partibus infidelium says:

    Melchoir Cano – usury has always been regarded as immoral, but its definition has changed since the Middle Ages as you are no doubt aware from R.H. Tawney et al.Only the Moslems keep the old definition and when they have had to adapt to different societies they have circumvented it.

    Flambeaux – the Holy Roman Empire had some conflicts with Popes , and since it was an elective position the Emperors were not always Habsburgs.

  45. QC says:

    Howard, good comment with the four sins that cry out to Heaven and the two parties.

    I tend to agree with St. Anthony Mary Claret when it comes to political parties: “In the long run, all political parties are nothing more than players who are out to win the pool, so that they can lord it over the others, or simply to fatten their own wallets. The real motive in politics and political parties is often no more than ambition, pride, and greed.”

  46. Richard says:

    If our Holy Father waits until June 29, 2009 to release it, he will be doing so on the 50th anniversary of Blessed John XXIII’s first encyclical, Ad Petri Cathedram (On Truth, Unity, and Peace in a Spirit of Charity). It seems the title of Benedict XVI’s encyclical, “Truth in Charity”, would coincide.