Third Party & Independents Archives

His Words in Philadelphia

He came and he conquered. And not merely the adoring masses, but true conservatives like Hugh Hewitt, many of whom have been skeptical of some of the Holy Father’s pronouncements. Especially on economics where his distrust of capitalism is deep rooted and evident. But hearing him speak, his words rising with the intellectual vigor one would expect of a lively Jesuit-trained mind - who has lived through much and seen much in his life - seems to transform listeners.

The Holy Father shone a light on precisely what makes America Free: the Declaration of Independence and it's proposal, it's announcement, that all are created equal, endowed with God-given rights that government exists in order to protect. And in Philadelphia he asked America never to forget that. With one perfect paragraph (in what apparently was a perfect speech) he cut to the heart of what makes America great, and God's place therein. Constitutionalists take heart.

So how to live with the discomfort his ideas on economics may produce? The implication that the creation of wealth is unseemly at best, and evil at worst. His call to see and embrace the poor producing uncertainty on where he stands on development and progress? And how to measure what are still generally agreed-on goals in most of the world. Even as we debate how to get there.

Render therefore unto Caesar, ... Jesus' brilliant escape from the rhetorical trap which would have had immediate legal consequences for him and his followers, has a fascinating background. The tax revolts in Judea in angry response to a Roman poll tax that was meant to sniff out who had how much and drain away the inhabitants savings into the imperial coffers was what made the question posed to Jesus so dangerous. The secular and the sacred balanced on an imperial coin. And a cry for tax freedom from the locals. Jesus had no choice but to submit - at that moment in time - to local authority in economic matters, in order to preserve what he could of freedom of worship. But cries for economic freedom were all around him, even in his very followers perhaps.

After Luther's Reformation, where salvation for him and his followers was bestowed solely by the working of grace on the hearts of the faithful, the fabric of organized religion was expected to drop away as the blasphemous trivialities of a religion of works, in the words of RH Tawney. It is unclear whether the Reformation has been a roaring success. For the faithful of the Universal Church it has been everything from an evil heresy to a mistaken path. For those who find salvation without the intermediation of the Church of Rome and it's eternal sacraments, it has been a blessing. We have cursed and killed and burned each other for centuries, to finally begin taking the long path of reconciliation. In our current world in which evil fanaticism uses religion - in the Holy Father's words - as a pretext for Hatred and Brutality, the only way out is freedom of conscience. Let the politically correct who so love his ecology and economics never forget his words in Philadelphia.

Posted by AllardK at September 30, 2015 8:00 PM
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