The discussion under another entry, on Fr. Robert Sirico’s excellent letter to Fr. Jenkin’s of Notre Shame, was being led down a rabbit hole by ad hominem interpolations about Fr. Sirico’s own positions and his work with the Acton Institute.
There was some discussion of this last June, when the Acton University was underway.
In light of what is going on in the world’s economies, and in light of what will be increasing tension between secular governments and the Church, which has her body of teaching on social issues, it is a good idea to have a strong discussion about Acton and the Church’s social teachings.
I am pretty sure this will get heated, so, let me lay down some rules.
1) ad hominem attacks are not welcome
2) irrelevant topics are not welcome
3) knuckle-heads are not welcome
I am the sole interpreter of what is acceptable and, as a capricious benevolent dictator, I don’t care if you think I am fair or not.
Violate these rules or annoy me in the least and I will ban you from the blog.
This’ll be such fun, won’t it!
Here is a starting position to work with.
Under that other entry, commenter Sarsfield opines:
Sirico is a dissenter from the social magisterium of the Church in favor of the decidedly un-Catholic philosophy of economic liberalism. The very purpose of his organization is to "correct" the "mistakes" of all the Popes who have spoken on the social question since Leo XIII. His choice of the organization’s name is telling if anyone bothers to read a little history. It was Acton, after all, who not only opposed Vatican I’s proposed definition of papal infallibility but tried to use his considerable influence with the British government to induce the anti-Catholic European powers to intervene militarily to prevent the Council from meeting.
Some responses were given to this:
- You may or may not agree with Fr. Sirico’s affinity for economic liberalism, but it is a gross overstatement to accuse him of dissenting from the Magisterium of the Church.
- You are incorrect to categorize Fr. Sirico as a dissenter from the Magisterium for his economics. Though, without more information, I’m not sure if it’s because you are wrong about the Acton Institute, or if it’s because you misunderstand Leo XIII.
- I think a better description of Fr. Sirico’s politics/economic theories rather than “economic liberalism,’ which is the term you use, would be “economic libertarianism.” Or “free market capitalism.” Excuse me for coining the first phrase, but certainly, as I read through the Acton maxim’s on their web site, they have much more to do philosophically with the right wing, or modern conservativism’s “less is more” view of the government’s involvement with all things that affect capitalistic economies. So it just as well could read, “economic conservatism,” for those listening with ears primed with the current left vs. right paradigm labeling conventions. So, while you may mean to convey exactly the same idea, the labeling must certainly give the opposite appearance to eyes and ears more conventionally tuned.
Hopefully some articulate and well-informed people can have some back and forth.
If you don’t know what is going on in this discussion, it would be better for you to read and not to comment.
UPDATE: 12:07 GMT Wed 8 April 09
The blog of Action Institute has posted an entry linking to this discussion.
UPDATE: 21:40 GMT Wed 8 April 09
Fr. Sirico posted a comment in response.