We cannot spend what we do not have

Archbishop Aquila on Paul Ryan’s plan

The following statement written by Archbishop Samuel Aquila of Denver appeared August 20 on the Catholic News Agency website.

Archbishop Aquila

A married friend of mine is loaded with debt.  His home is double mortgaged.  His wallet is full of credit cards, all of which carry substantial balances.

My friend claims not to enjoy racking up debt.  He doesn’t seem to think he has a choice.  He pays the tuition of his college aged children, and he supports his family in a comfortable lifestyle.  His children take private art and music lessons, and he pays the rent of his unemployed nephew.  But as much as he desires to love his children, he isn’t doing them any favors.

Eventually, for my friend, the debts will come due.  When they do, his children will be in a difficult place. Never having sacrificed, they haven’t built or saved money, or prepared for financial independence.  My friend’s imprudence will cripple no one more severely than his children.

My friend’s fatherhood reminds me of the protagonist of Mario Puzo’s The Godfather. “I have,” explains Don Corleone, “a sentimental weakness for my children, and I spoil them.”  Governing by sentimental affection can impede the hard choices required by compassion—by real love.

Knowing what is coming; few would say that my friend is acting with compassion, or with a Christian sense of responsibility.

Christian responsibility – expressed sometimes as stewardship – is the practice of making prudent and difficult judgments.  It is the recognition that we cannot give everything we wish to, we cannot spend what we do not have, and we cannot borrow what we can’t repay.

Christian stewardship cares for the poor by prudently planning-responsibly spending what is in the realm of the possible, while recognizing the limitations of our resources.  St. Augustine reflected that prudent stewardship is “love choosing wisely between the things that help and those that hinder.

Responsibility is a virtue- and it’s also the moral obligation of sensible adults.   Responsibility is also the moral obligation of governments.  In his 2010 book Light of the World, Pope Benedict XVI chastised Western governments for “living at the expense of future generations.” With regard to debt, he said, “we are living in untruth.”

Earlier this week, candidate Mitt Romney selected Congressman Paul Ryan to be his running mate.  Ryan is a Catholic and a fiscal conservative.  Over the past few months he been has the subject of considerable criticism for his political views.  His fiscal perspective has been roundly condemned as being somehow anti-Catholic – even by a few American bishops. At the core of this charge is the idea that Ryan is compassionless to the poor.

Ryan’s fiscal plans would dramatically cut some programs for the materially poor.  This would seriously impact many Americans.  But Ryan claims that his plans are rooted in the Christian sense of responsibility.  In looking to the future, Ryan claims, his concern is for the long-term care of America’s poor – which requires sacrifice in the present.

I am not a policy expert.  I do not know whether Paul Ryan’s fiscal plans are the right plans for America’s present – or her future. I cannot, nor would I, endorse him or any other candidate.  But claims that Paul Ryan’s plan run deeply counter to Catholic social teaching are unfounded and unreasonable. Some criticisms are so insidious that one wonders whether the critics have actually read Ryan’s plans.

For Catholics – there are certain social issues on which the answers are firm and absolute.   Catholics must recognize the dignity of the unborn, and the injustice of legalized killing.  Catholics must recognize the dignity of human sexuality and the immutability of marriage between man and woman.   Catholics must recognize the preferential option – the Lord’s love – for the poor.  These issues must inform the decisions Catholic leaders make in proposing or supporting policy.

Beyond these non-negotiable principles, there is room for considerable debate on particular policy choices or initiatives.  But a primary element of the debate for Catholics – for all reasonable adults – must be the long-term consequences of our choices.    St. Thomas Aquinas’ Summa Theologica insists that strategic decisions take place in light of our end, or purpose, and the means to get there – rather than the dictates of immediate sentimental inclinations.  The just means, he says, include the principles of solidarity and subsidiarity- that is, authentic fraternity with the poor, and real respect for the family and the local community.

We should have a serious debate about whether Paul Ryan’s plans – and those of his political opponents- serve our national purpose.  We should discuss seriously whether they utilize just means.  But we should also discuss whether his plans, and those of his opponents, prudently steward the resources we have.

Paul Ryan is concerned that America will soon be bankrupt, and so we must make hard choices.  If he is right, and we ignore the message because the consequences seem compassionless, our sentimental affections may cripple the ones our Lord loves the most- our children.

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  1. When is a bishop going to show by example that he does not need expensive medical care?

    • Kenneth M. Fisher says:


      We as Catholics must all share the burden. I am Seventy Three and on Social Security and Medicare; however I am a Catholic American first, and a Social Security recipient second. I fully realize that some of my benefits that I earned may have to be cut back so that our Nation can get its fiscal house in order. I am sure that most retired veterans, as am I, feel the same way. I hope and pray that seniors as a whole have their eyes open as well.

      What good will it do us if we have higher or even the same benefits as we do now, but the Nation is broke and can’t pay those so called benefits?

      Pray for Archbishop Aquila, this is not the first time he has spoken out, and spoke well.

      God bless, yours in Their Hearts,
      Kenneth M. Fisher

      • It is the benefits that might not be available to everyone … scarcity of resources, and not the money to pay for them that is the heart of the issue.

      • I wrote a reply on the “Moral Failure” article, but I can’t find it. I think my posts must be getting stuck in the cell towers? I addressed how much it costs a person and a couple per month for Medicare, it is not particularly cheap. Then when you need skilled care in a nursing home at the tune of $9,000/10,000 a month the government takes almost all your money (unless you plan 5 years before) and the person is left with $40.00 a month in most cases. This subject is too involved to go into on this blog, but the fact is, medical care is expensive, and a good revamp is needed, but not the Obama Care vision. Archbishop Aquila is correct, we must think responsibly of those who will follow. We must take care of the poor, and the church and the government has been for years. I am a nurse, I have seen that Medicaid has been the saving grace of many poor, myself included many years ago. My problem is all the money that is spent for immoral purposes, abortion being one of them. I do believe the church is on the ball and going in the right direction. Many pots are getting cracks in them, and bringing attention more and more to the evil of abortion. Mary our Queen guide us.

        • rosaryfixer says:

          I believe one of the causes of our national indebtedness is the fracture of families. Decades ago two or 3 generations lived in one big house, often on a farm, and everyone pitched in to do the work required to feed and clothe and house a large extended family. And elderly parent or aunt or uncle was cared for at home. Today adult children often move far away because of job changes, while Mom and Dad are left with little support beyond their meagre SS and pensions. We must get back to caring for our family members. We have become a nation of selfish people, to some extent, wanting what we cannot afford, and ignoring family members who might be an inconvenience or troublesome for us. I realize this does not apply to many if not most families, and there are instances where people need long-term care in nursing homes. But…there is much we can do to help our family members in need. I have several friends who have taken in their adult children and grandchldren because they lost their jobs and home and cars. Thank God they are generous people and have a big enough house. And often the spouse is ill and must also be cared for. I need not even mention the birth dearth as a result of abortion-we have 57 million missing people who could be contributing to SS and other programs to help the less fortunate. No one dares to mention that. I pray for a renewal of families as God intended, and a lessening of the materialistic ideas that permeate our culture these days. St. Ignatius says we are not to prefer wealth to poverty.

    • Obama has cut $716 Billion from Medicare to use for Medicaid under Obamacare, and the babyboomer generation is getting older with more going onto Medicare every day. This goes hand in hand with Obama’s death panels who will determine without patient consent who lives or dies due to cost and Obama’s values of who is of value to society.
      Please read bills prior to making snide comments.

    • JLS:

      I hope you examine carefully what you’re asking for. Especially, are you prepared to define what “expensive medical care” is? Will eligibility for “expensive medical care” depend on age? For example, would you offer an 80-year old a heart transplant? Would you offer a 10-year-old type I diabetic an insulin pump and a lifetime of expensive medical intervention, or would you let her die? Will you treat unemployed homosexual atheists with multiple STD’s and multiple substance addictions who contract AIDS?

      Will treatments be classified as worthwhile and not worthwhile regardless of who the patient is? If you do, will you set up death panels to decide who gets treatment for what?

      • Francis, what I would offer is what the Pope is calling for, namely holiness. Why are you so wrapped up in technology as the panacea for all things? Are you afraid of pain? Do you ever consider Jesus hanging on His Cross? Are you willing to sell your soul for the latest medical technology? Ever ruminated on “The poor you shall always have” (Jesus)? Doesn’t this say something about vain expectations in technology?

        • JLS:

          I don’t think you addressed the question I asked: What do you have in mind by “expensive medical care.” Instead of answering that simple questions, you ask a lot of other questions with varying relevance.

          So how about I answer some of your questions, you try to answer one or two of mine. Hopefully that seems fair and balanced to you.

          “Why are you so wrapped up in technology as the panacea for all things?” Technology is my job: I build things and make things happen that seemed impossible. It is possible to improve life for many of us by appropriate use of technology, and I am enthusiastic about that. I regard prayer and contemplation as the most powerful and important human technologies, right up there with making fire, agriculture and weapons-making.

          “Are you afraid of pain?” Only a masochist fails to have an appropriate desire to avoid pain. I have a lot of confidence both in God’s mercy and in pharmaceuticals (which we have, obviously, through God’s mercy!). So the answer is no: I don’t live in fear of pain, though.

          Your turn.

          • Rick DeLano says:


            I would like a chance to venture an answer to your question.

            It is the duty of civilization to exert itself to the utmost in providing for the general welfare.

            If a civilization finds itself unable to pay for basics such as education and health care, then that civilization has ceased to generate wealth on a self-sustainable basis.

            We have unquestionably ceased to generate wealth on a self-sustainable basis.

            The reason we have ceased to do this is initially outlined by the following analogy:

            Imagine a man holding a dollar bill in each hand.

            The dollar in the left hand was earned by the refining of steel.

            The bill in the right hand was earned by the production of a pornographic video.

            Imagine a civilization which surrenders itself to the “economists” who insist that there ism no difference in the actual economic wealth represented by the two dollars.

            That is us.

            The deeper reason has to do with the adoption of usury as the foundation of our financial system, a thing against which the Church taught infallibly for eighteen hundred years, and then went as silent as a mouse.

          • “prayer and contemplation as the most powerful and important human technologies”: No, Francis, prayer is not a technology. I realize that it is really difficult for techies to disengage enough from it to gain much profound involvement in spiritual activities, but it is possible. I’d call it the Cartesian dilemma, but there is more than the technology to disengage from now and then.

          • “The deeper reason has to do with the adoption of usury as the foundation of our financial system, a thing against which the Church taught infallibly for eighteen hundred years, and then went as silent as a mouse.” Two profound issues in this brief paragraph!!! One is the nature and function of usury and the other is the silence of the Church on it. I’ve tried to introduce the effect of usury by transitioning the focus of economy from money to goods.

          • Rick:

            Thank you for your analogy. I think you are answering an important question regarding deeper values which aren’t easy to reduce to accounting rules.

            I’m not sure I entirely get how it answers the question about “expensive medical care” (if that’s what it was intended to answer). Can you be more explicit?

          • JLS:

            Do you ever check facts before contradicting what other people write here?

            You say “prayer is not a technology.” Per Merriam-Webster, the first definition of technology is “the practical application of knowledge especially in a particular area.” Per the Catholic Encyclopedia (newadvent) prayer is: “In a more general sense it is the application of the mind to Divine things, not merely to acquire a knowledge of them but to make use of such knowledge as a means of union with God.” Is that somehow not practical?

            Agriculture is a technology. Cave-painting is a technology. The fact that there aren’t a lot of Silicon Valley start-ups developing new forms of prayer doesn’t prove that it is not a technology.

    • JLS — where will the money come from? You can tax those awful rich people 100% and it still won’t be enough.

      • Barbara, the govt can make however much money it chooses. The taxation is more of a control on society than a source of money to the govt. The reason for this is the open system instead of the closed system of economics that the west is now “enjoying”. There is, in other words, no basis for money other than the govt, which creates it (called fiat money), and allocates it and distributes it so as to regulate the various goods producing sectors of the economy. There is no actual completely open system, but the globally expanding and merging economies make it function like an open system … and will continue to do so until limits are reached.

      • Hold the presses…before people get too comfy with Francis’s fast and loose definition of technology:1.Industial science, the science of or systematic knowledge of the industrial arts 2. Terminology used in arts, sciences or the like 3. Any PRACTICAL art utilizing scientific knowledge as horticulture or medicine, applied science contrasted w/science. Francis, words really matter and definitions of words really matter, and you can’t play word games like that! Prayer was never, is never and will never be a technology and I would ask why you would ever want to trivialize and demean it like that? Prayer isn’t wishful thinking or something you can put in a formula. Catherine used the expression “sly users” of the words” to describe how people turn words around for their own ends. It’s seems apropos to this. I admire your scientific and technological skills and your thoughtful commentaries as you bring an interesting point of view to the discussions, but that was really a bit over the top! Not that I”m ever over the top. No siree bob! ;o)

    • thomas nawn says:

      my age is 73, on social security medicare, part of the reason we are broke, is the fact we have fought 3 very expensive wars our defense budget is a lot, also plus it is very expensive to get ill hospitals are not cheap, thank god i am in fairly good health,

  2. What is this mantra “we can’t spend what we don’t have”? This can only mean that if we spend it, then we have it. Free enterprise is based on the agreement of a buyer and a seller. If someone sells for a promise, then they are fine with that promise. But be sure that a promise is not the same thing as the object promised. Even if the seller claims that it is not the promise but the object of the promise, the reality is that he sold for a promise and not for the object. If he sold for the object instead, then he’d have it, and would not have a promise instead. So when you hear “we can’t spend what we don’t have”, then you know you’re in line for being fleeced; but if you buy it, then you can put it in a frame over the mantle, a piece of paper with the words, “we can’t spend what we don’t have”. So, whatever it took for you to create or obtain such a thing, the material representation of an idea, in symbol form, then perhaps you would even consider displaying it in your trophy room or donate it to a museum.

    • Nightingale says:

      JLS: we can’t spend what we don’t have”? This can only mean that if we spend it, then we have it.

      No sir! We do not “have it.” We are BORROWING it. That is the problem. We (or our government that represents us) are borrowing future monies to pay for services today. We are borrowing money we do not have, and it will be our children who will have to pay it back. And they will not be able to pay is back, because the amount is so monstrously huge, which will force future generations into servitude. That is what is meant by crippling our children.

      • Kenneth M. Fisher says:

        And they will be paying back those nice, gentle, charitable Communist Chinese!

        God bless, yours in Their Hearts,
        Kenneth M. Fisher

        • Most of our money is already going just to pay on the interest. It’s beyond our financial capability to ever pay it back. I imagine we’re part of their 20 yr.plan…or more likely it’s part of the 60 yr plan begun under Mao. The Chinese think in terms of millennia and we think of today, if we think at all.

      • It’s not being borrowed; it’s being created.

  3. With a Trillion Dollar deficit again this year, the Obama spending will cause the debasing of the value of the US currency. Poor and rich will pay alike. Our responsibility in this case is to save our nation from progressive/liberal policies. Obama supported partial-birth abortion, pays Planned Parenthood from our taxes, and mandates through ObamaCare free abortifacients in every Catholic College so Sandra Fluke can continue her uninhibited sex life in Law School. I stand with Romney and Ryan.

    • It’s an imaginary deficit. The goods are plentiful; the owners of the goods are those with the most money, which means the governments who create the money.

  4. Anton L. Seidl says:

    Arcbishop Aquila at least admits that he is no policy expert. Neither am I, but we both know that our country cannot keep spending resources it does not have. Facing a fifteen trillion shortfall, it is time to change horses. My bet is on Paul Ryan.
    Another Obama term and we will be owned by China.

  5. Father Karl says:

    In merry old England, before Henry VIII, and in all Catholic nations, there was no tax unless a war was being fought. The CatholicChurch ran all the charities, and they were run well.As soon as Henry split with the Catholic Church, monasteries were taken, Catholic charities were stopped, taxes were impilmented, and the state took over. This happened to all countries eventually. The government cannot run anything efficently. Look at the post office, and look at UPS; which one makes money, and which one does not. Private enterprize will always win, unless the greedy government gets involved. Not only is our government bankrupt, but we have spent money we do not have, which is illegal and immoral. Providing health care to pay for sex toys, contraception, abortion and other immoral acts is outrageous No decent God- fearing individual should be forced to pay for these sinful things. In fact, it is a sin, because paying for these items and acts is considered cooperation in the sin. But now, because of Obamacare, and the spinless wonders the Catholic Church in America has for spiritual leaders, all institutions and individuals will be forced to pay for sinful and immoral acts. I am pleased that finally a courageous bishop has spoken out to promote a budget thast is fair and honest, and one that was written by a devout Catholic, Paul Ryan

    • Hard to believe that it was Hank 8th who invented taxation.

      • didn’t he also invent episcopalians?

        friends who attend GRACE CATHEDRAL in san francisco tell me that that last sunday a young priest used his sermon to attack the catholic church, and archdibishop cordileone, because we no longer allow drag queens to perform at most holy redeem3e4r church.

        good lord.

        as if HENRY THE EIGHTH would have allowed drag queens, either!

        see, i know my history…

        • p.s. for those of you not from s.f., grace cathederal is espiscoplain, not catholic.

          not want anyone getting all besnarked thinking it was one of our own slamming our new arhcibhsop….

    • Yes, and the same system operated in Catholic Mexico for 300yrs! The Church paid for all the education, medical facilities with no taxation of the common people. It all changed with the Freemason revolution against Spain begun in 1810 and completed in 1820. Then everything went downhill. Btw those 300yrs were so peaceful that Mexico only had a standing army of about 2,000! Since then atheistic dictators and thuggery have alternated until now!

      • Thank you Fr. Karl and pete for the sobering history lessons! When I dare suggest that the government exit its failed charity business and return it to Christians, as it was done throughout most of history, I am too often faced with indignant scoffs from many of my fellow Catholics including clergy.

        It is amazing to me how many people continue to look to government bureaucrats to provide solutions to problems they created in the first place.

        Oh, and by the way, I am tired of hearing those prayers of the faithful which go like this, “That elected government officials care for the most vulnerable, the downtrodden and disenfranchised among us. Let us pray to the Lord”. Sounds to me like a Leftist campaign line every time I hear it.

        • this “leftist campagin line” comes from the bible.

          maybe you’ve heard of it?

          like the readings in today’s mass?

          sorry the WORD OF GOD distresses you so much…

      • And they used the once great universities for military barracks.

    • Amen to that, Fr.Karl and Pete. Whenever I travelled through England it was so incredibly sad to see the tomb-like remnants of the once beautiful abbeys that provided food, education and beauty to the surrounding communities. Though it is known that about 90,000 Catholics were killed under Henry VIII, no one will ever know how many died of starvation and neglect when the religious communities were destroyed. To think all those lands and sacred objects etc. belonging to the Church were stolen and given to greedy, unscrupulous cronies of that vicious old roue still has the power shock, don’t you think? And some of the greatest beauty in Mexico is the art and architecture of the Church, I think. Wasn’t it the Jesuits who would buy land for the Indians that they could farm for their own food and have protection from the depredations of the Spanish? (who were NOT the Church).

      • Dana, that set the stage for secular or even demonic England, so that a few centuries later they starved about two million Irish Catholics to death.

  6. Larry from RI says:

    ” Responsibility is a virtue- and it’s also the moral obligation of sensible adults. Responsibility is also the moral obligation of governments. In his 2010 book Light of the World, Pope Benedict XVI chastised Western governments for “living at the expense of future generations.” With regard to debt, he said, “we are living in untruth.” ”
    Whatever happened to common sense?????????

  7. When we run up uncontrolled debt like Bishop Aquila’s friend, are we not stealing from those who will be out their money when we finally go bankrupt?

  8. At last, a Bishop that is awake and a future Cardinal. At least he is honest and not one sitting on the sidelines telling the politicians what to do or not to do. Ryan’s budget plan needs to go even deeper, just as a surgeon needs to remove ALL of the diseased parts of the body to save the person’s life, we need to cut and cut to get back to the government of our Founding Fathers. JLS, now which Bishop are you attacking? +JMJ+

    • Interesting, JMJ, that you regard questions and hypotheses as attacks. You apparently hold no bishop responsible for anything.

  9. Joel Fago says:

    Our country is trillions of dollars in debt. Continuing to borrow and print money ensures that it is only a matter of time before our country undergoes a devasting default and drastic decline in the standard of living.

  10. Rev. John Malloy, SDB says:

    The lesson is simple: we can’t spend what we don’t have! But so many of us with blinders on can’t see the light at the end of tunnel.Wake up, America, tighten your belt now, or wait until you have to stand in line for a hand-out, coming from those who were smarter than ourselves.

    • Kenneth M. Fisher says:

      Father Malloy,

      Thank you for your priestly wisdom.

      The Bible actually condemns going into uneccessary debt, does it not?

      Father, the late Fr. Albert Negre, S.D.B was at one time my Spiritual Director. Can you tell me how I can obtain a snapshot picture of him?

      God bless, yours in Their Hearts,
      Kenneth M. Fisher

      • The Bible also provides a jubilee year, in which all debt is cancelled. That was Mosaic Law, given by God. The implication is that the problem with debt is the gaining of control over people, not whether the economy would collapse. You can cancel all debt everywhere right now and all would be not only fine but well.

  11. “Thus, it is not up to me or any bishop or priest to approve of Congressman Ryan’s specific budget prescription to address the best means we spoke of. Where intrinsic evils are not involved, specific policy choices and political strategies are the province of Catholic lay mission. “ – Bishop Morlino.

    The USCCB’s Social Justice Committee, other Clergy, and silly activist Nuns who are all consecrated have no business getting into politics that are the relm of lay people.
    And Abp Aquila is correct that the socialist complainers probably have not read the bill in full – as usual.
    They are certainly are not reading the “Catechism of the Catholic Church, Second Edition” because they usually leave out ‘SUBSIDIARITY’ and ‘COMMUTATIVE JUSTICE’ – “without which no other form of justice is possible” (#2410, 2411).
    When have you ever heard one of these groups publically state that the USA should pay its debts (now about $16 TRILLION) and cut wasteful and unnecessary spending ? ? ? Or that States have a bigger obligation than the Federal Government – under the Constitution and under the principle of Subsidiarity.

    On the internet see: ” What Catholics REALLY Believe SOURCE ” – in the questions and answers – to find true and accurate Catholic Church Social Teaching.

  12. What about cuts in defense spending? As a vet, I know there is considerable waste in the military.

    • Kenneth M. Fisher says:


      Welfare is not authorized by the Constitution, in fact it forbidden by that August Document, Federal Education is not authorized in that document as well; NATIONAL DEFENSE IS!

      Can there be some cuts of programs that only make fat Generals happy, of course; however we need to maintain a viable Military to avoid as much as is possible future wars.

      God bless, yours in Their Hearts,
      Kenneth M. Fisher

  13. Prof.Helen McCaffrey says:

    Amen Brother Bishop.
    My five children, whom I raised without a father, thought I was mean when I made them get jobs at the age of 12 (yes 12) if they wanted luxuries such as “cool clothes” , not the ones I bought and trips with their friends to the amusement park or arcade. Jobs included cutting lawns, running errands for older neighbors, shoveling snow etc.They went to the best Ivy league schools on scholarships. Today three are lawyers and two are teachers and they have lots of stories about their “tough” Mom.

    • Nightingale says:

      Well done mom!! Having to work for luxuries makes kids more appreciative of what they have. I was babysitting at age 12, and it made me more responsible, and I learned the value of a dollar. I also had household chores. Making the tough decisions is what being a parent is all about, not winning a popularity contest. Well done.

  14. Did the archbishop read the plan? It is offensive to anyone with who believes in or hopes for social justice.

    • George P – -

      Your definition of Social Justice is not the definition used by the Catholic Church.

      See the CCC for Social Justice, Subsidiarity, and Commutative Justice which ALL must be included in any accurate Church teaching on Social Justice.

      The USCCB Committee and others in the past have not used the complete teachings of the Church and have therefore been incorrect, that is why it is necessary for brave Bishops like Aquila and Morlino to state the truth – and correct falsehoods.

      All (from each of us to governments) are required to pay our bills. Without which no other form of justice is possible. CCC 2411.

      On internet search “What Catholics Really Believe Source ” in the Questions/RepliesPost. They also give you links so you can directly see the paragraphs or find the paragraphs by topic within the CCC and other Church documents.

      • Could you or anyone tell me when the term “social justice” first showed up in Catholic vocabulary. I know the term “Christian Charity” has been around a long time, but this oft used word “social justice” strikes me as being a slogan line for modernist and socialist. Has any saint specifically used the term?

        • Tracy:

          The Wikipedia article on “Catholic social teaching” is a good starting point with links to original Catholic sources. It begins:

          Catholic social teaching is a body of doctrine developed by the Catholic Church on matters of poverty and wealth, economics, social organization and the role of the state. Its foundations are widely considered to have been laid by Pope Leo XIII’s 1891 encyclical letter Rerum Novarum, which advocated economic Distributism and condemned both Capitalism and Socialism, although its roots can be traced to the writings of Catholic thinkers such as St. Thomas Aquinas and St. Augustine of Hippo, and is also derived from concepts present in the Bible.

        • Anonymous says:

          I do not know the answer to your questions. The best outline of Catholic Social Justice Teaching I have found is on the Archdiocese of Santa Fe website. Unfortunately, catholic social teaching has been associated with various causes which are controversial. You owe it to yourself to see what it really is. The doctrines can be (and have been) misapplied.

    • Kenneth M. Fisher says:

      What you really mean is Socialist Injustice!

      God bless, yours in Their Hearts,
      Kenneth M. Fisher

  15. Tom Byrne says:

    We hear plenty of talk (some over-heated) about allegedly greedy lenders, but it’s about time we heard some condemnation of irresponsible borrowers. How much of the debt crushing us is in fact such “lifestyle debt” as Aqulia describes in his “friend”: debt we did not need to incur and perhaps even (given our means) immoral and sinful to incur? Surely borrowing money you know or suspect you cannot repay is a form of theft.

    • Again see on the internet see the answers in ” What Catholics REALLY BELIEVE SOURCE “.

      Far too many times “SUBSIDIARITY” and COMMUTATIVE JUSTICE” (without which no other form of justice is possible per the CCC.)
      are left out of Church teaching on Social Justice which skews the truth to further some political goals.

      You are right.
      Thou shall not steal; Thou shall not covet thy neigbhor’s goods; Envy is a capital sin. All are in the CCC.

  16. Katherine says:

    Why doesn’t the GOP ever consider that greatly cutting military spending and war spending would help keep the US solvent??

    • No one has wasted as much money and put us so far in debt as Obama and his Administration (now up to $16 Trillion).
      He has grown the financial obligations of the Federal government.

      Katherine, if 100% was cut from the US military, it would not pay off the National Debt. Please read Ryan’s budget in entirety prior to making assertions.
      By the way, according to the Constitution, defending our Country is one of the few obligations required of the Federal Government.

      But then again, Obama supporters do not care about the US Constitution.

    • Kenneth M. Fisher says:


      Because National Defense is part of the Constitution, Welfare is not!

      Republicans want to restore the Constitution that Demoncrats are working to destroy!

      God bless, yours in Their Hearts,
      Kenneth M. Fisher

    • I’ll keep saying this until I get an intelligent reply: It is not debt that matters, but goods. The amount of goods in this world is increasing along with the population. That is what matters. Money is nothing but agreements that make the goods come into existence and become distributed. The poor cannot eat money, but they can eat goods. It matters how much goods there are to eat, but it makes no difference how much money there is as long as the goods are produced and distributed.

      • JLS: you are wrong. If one incurs DEBT that they know they can not pay back they are STEALING. Thou Shall NOT Steal – God’s 7th Commandment.

        You are confusing DEBT with our obligation as individuals to help the poor.

  17. Mbûkû Kanyau Mbithûka says:

    The Church has long mistaken socialist programs Whose goal is to create utopian society outside of Christ and his Church with Christian Charity Whose goal is union in the suffering of Christ?

    Christian Charity cannot be unless it’s united to Christ and his cross. In other words, if you do not suffer pain and loss for the sake of Christ, in your charitable works, you fall short.

    Running Grandiose social programs Helping a fat lazy inner city poor with well paid workers is American Bishop’s idea of Christian Charity.

    This war is lost due to precedence.

    • Mbuku, do you think you could have been any more racist in your comments?
      You also show a severe lack of understanding of the laws of economics in the U.S., where nearly twenty million people are our of work and less than one million job openings are available, most of which require high skill levels in the electronics industry. Christian charity is something we must do because we are Christian. Social Justice is also something we must do because we are Christian and want to end the need for charity. If everyone played on a level playing field we might eliminate the need for charity, but we don’t.

      • Mbûkû Kanyau Mbithûka says:


        Christians do not have to engage in social justice.

      • Mbûkû Kanyau Mbithûka says:

        You seem well schooled in utopian and sensitivity nonsense.

      • They are out of work, Bob One, because the supply of goods is way over the demand … no need for jobs. Best solution is to cut the work week to 25 hours, and put everyone to work so they have something to do. This will also stimulate the recreation and travel industries, and soon the work week would have to be increased to 30 hours. You of course would get a huge raise in pay so that you could stick it in a hiding place where it won’t amount to a hill of beans (not a racist statement here, Bob One, just so you don’t get all political and everything).

        • No JLS – the unemployment rate has gone up due to Obama’s policies or lack thereof. Almost everything you pick up is made in Communist China.

          Your solution is to turn the USA into a lazy Country like Greece.

          You are not an economic expert. If people who are working and paying the bills including taxes make less money, they will not take vacations and travel.

    • Right on, MKM!!! The whole problem is allocation of resources, and not credit or debt. The bishop does not differentiate between these two critically different things. Yes, in a closed economic system one has to watch debt and credit; however, in an open system this is not so important. Presently the global production is sufficient to call it an open economic situation. The problem to solve is distribution of goods and not the numerical symbol of debt. Debt in this system is merely a matter of who is in control of distribution of goods and services, not some sort of impending collapse of the economy. The things that collapse economies are war, famine, disease and pestilence, and not money. At this time the levels of these “four horsemen” are low and being managed. Yes, one or some could suddenly leap into calamitous scale, but why sit in a cave and worry about it instead of keeping it managed? Learn about “fiat money” … if you can get the concept of it, then you can improve your arguments and gain understanding of how economics works at this time.

      • QUOTE – - – CCC: ” 2411 Contracts are subject to commutative justice which regulates exchanges between persons and between institutions in accordance with a strict respect for their rights.

        Commutative justice obliges strictly;
        it requires safeguarding property rights, paying debts, and fulfilling obligations freely contracted.


        One distinguishes commutative justice from legal justice which concerns what the citizen owes in fairness to the community, and from distributive justice which regulates what the community owes its citizens in proportion to their contributions and needs. ” – - – UNQUOTE.

        The USA is almost $16 TRILLION DOLLARS in debt – much to Communist China – which also affects foreign policy and other business with the Lenders.

  18. Michael Ybarrondo says:

    Finally, a Bishop with a Soul, Heart and BRAIN!
    God Bless You Bishop Aquila.

  19. WOODY GUIDRY says:

    Will the “activist nuns” have the same rattle-brained ideas about disposing tax money as they have about disposing of their vows?

  20. goodcause says:

    The Church suffers from the same problems facing the US government……excessive spending, scandal upon scandal, and a closed-door, self serving, “it’s none of your businness” approach to governing. Neither has much to learn from the other, as each has very little goodwill left among its followers. The fact that the Church is whining about the Obama White House is par for the course……two sides of the same coin. The only things the US government does well is collect taxes, wage war, and damage the currency. The only thing our beloved Chruch does well is say Mass, try to help the poor, support big secular government, and keep decision making as remote and insular as it can. The “trust” numbers for both Chruch and government are at all time lows.

    The future of Christiainly lies with each individual carrying out their Christian duty as explified by Christ himself of doing the very small things of looking after their fellow human beings in our families, communtiy, and world. Personal responsbility to perform Christ’s will. Sounds cliche, but it’s the God’s truth. Up until now, we’ve left it up to the Church and US government to do it for us, and look at the mess we’re in.

    • Mbûkû Kanyau Mbithûka says:

      The Church only suffers in as much as Christ wills it to suffer, for it’s the body of Christ.

      Every one of you speaks of mismanagement yet none of you bothers to join your parish finance council or diocesan finance councils.

      • Kenneth M. Fisher says:

        Mbûkû Kanyau Mbithûka,

        How do you know that they haven’t joined some of those efforts?

        Some may have even tried, but were turned down because they were “too much Catholic”!

        God bless, yours in Their Hearts,
        Kenneth M. Fisher

        • Mbûkû Kanyau Mbithûka says:

          Based on what people post here, it’s pretty easy to infer that they may be more interested in antagonizing their priests that actually being part of the finance council.
          You will not be getting on any finance councils if you do not have a good relationship with your priest or Bishop, (for diocese councils)

  21. pro people guy says:

    I am willing to pay a little more in taxes to help reduce the deficit and help the poor. Are you? I don’t think the ABp of Denver is so willing, though. And those millionaires – well, they can sure afford to pay their fair share. But Rom-Ryan want to give them more cuts. Republicans are dangerous to America. So is ABp Aquila.

    • You do not need to pay taxes to help the poor. The abundance of the land is more than sufficient to do so. In the fifties the USA govt paid farmers to destroy crops or to warehouse the harvest … to keep the prices up. They could have sent all this food to starving people in Poorland. Now that is what we are hearing once again … “If we can’t eat it or use it, then destroy it”. This attitude fires the hearts of liberal bishops who prefer to feed the poor while pushing abortion and sodomy. Again, it’s not a money issue, even though you are told to believe that it is. Jesus tells us to get our minds off the money and onto God … Very difficult but it can be done; even a bishop could do this if he really tried hard.

      • Why is there a scarcity of doctors? Something don’t make no sense no more: Back in the day the doctors drove from patient to patient … and there were enough doctors. Today, a doctor sees countless patients who are all lined up in his office and down the hallway, and there still is not enough doctors. What does not add up here?

    • Uh, no, ‘propeople guy’ it is YOU who are dangerous with your misinformation and bigotry. Also, you are incredibly naive if you think our tax dollars are helping poor people. When I think of all the children growing up in fatherless homes because the gov’t only pays support to women who have no husband (and for too many, having children for welfare support is incredibly abused) and the hopelessness, despair, drug-use , high abortion rate of people being paid for doing nothing, it is criminal…and you want to add more to this toxic mix? And you don’t think huge sums are syphoned off before they make it to the poor? In a recent study it was found that 36% of medicare funds went to ‘operational costs’. But frankly, I would be more successful in convincing my cat of the truth of this, than you, who are utterly pre- programmed with governmental claptrap. You must have fallen into this site by mistake. You were probably on some anti-Catholic site that used this article to make their case. No authentic Catholic could vote for a pro-abort, pro-homosexual so-called marriage platform that is the basis for the demoKratic party’s existence. Pretty pathetic when you think about it.

      • Anonymous says:

        Why do people often say that this is a Catholic website as if no one but a Catholic should read it or comment? It is a public website. Anyone can read and anyone can comment. It is comparable to saying that only New Yorkers can read the New York Post.

        • ANONYMOUS – love your post!

          for that matter, even non-californians are allowed to post in here.

          • True max…and most of the non-Californians are so thankful to be living elsewhere! Also, we have non-thinkers, pro-aborts and even an atheist or two. All are welcome in this place. I certainly didn’t mean to imply you had to be Catholic…but at least we must belong to the human race. My dog Fitz is always sending emails to his pal, a jack russell in Scotland but his spelling is really atrocious…almost as bad as yours max!

    • Mbûkû Kanyau Mbithûka says:

      I am more interested in making sure what I am paying is well managed and not paying for expensive las vegas junkets or buying guns to kill our border agents and my brother catholic mexicans for no good reason.

  22. This is another instance of a thinly veiled endorsement of Paul Ryan by the Catholic Church. The Catholic Church should teach the principles concerning ALL of the issues facing Americans today and STOP endorsing one political candidate over another. Shame on all the Bishops who are trying to do the same thing as this. There are tragic instances of the Catholic Church endorsing political parties and candidates.

    • If the Church were not a corporation entwined with govt who chartered it, then the there would not be so much confusion between bishops and politicians.

    • Mbûkû Kanyau Mbithûka says:

      you are seeing things where non exists. At this point, the Catholic Church has good reason to endorse Republicans anyways, since the Obama Administration has declared war on the Catholic Faith.

    • Anonymous says:

      The Catholic Church does not endorse any candidate. As for teaching the principles concerning all the issues, try Faithful Citizenship on the USCCB website.

  23. To rosaryfixer….the Amish do live this way……and most of the time they pay cash for their medical care. If a person pays cash for their care, they get a discount from the Dr. and another discount from the hospital. The Dr. can set his own rate, and the hospital has set discount rates, but I did hear that they can be flexible. I have seen Amish pay cash, over $20,000 to a hospital, I am sure they have paid more. It is the preventive care and frequent Dr’s visits that the Amish do not do. Maybe IF a person wants that kind of care, they can pay extra on a policy, but others pay less.
    The catholic church could be a little more inventive in this department, helping to lessen the load and also free itself from some of the government stranglehold. So much good can be done with care and “common sense.” I am a believer that where there is a will there is a way!

    • Mbûkû Kanyau Mbithûka says:

      The Catholic Church (LWCR) is too married to institutions and commune type thinking for that…

    • The Amish live in a closed loop society. The world is different in that it lives in an open loop economic system. This is made possible especially by instant communications and rapid intercontinental transportation. Yes, there is a limit but we won’t know what it is until we get there.

  24. PAUL RYAN endorsed by the catholic church?

    this from today’s s.f. chronicle:

    - But some of his most prominent fellow Catholics – including the bishop of Stockton, Stephen Blaire, a national leader on social-justice issues – say that while Ryan, 42, is in lockstep with the church in his absolute opposition to same-sex marriage and abortion, his House budget fails “a basic moral test.”

    “The moral failing is that (the budget) did not adequately provide for the care of the poor and the vulnerable,” said Blaire, who explained Thursday that he was critiquing the budget Ryan shepherded and not Ryan personally.

    - Before Ryan delivered an address at Georgetown University earlier this year, 90 Catholic theologians and staffers at the Jesuit institution wrote to Ryan saying that his budget “appears to reflect the values of your favorite philosopher, Ayn Rand, rather than the Gospel of Jesus Christ.”

    - His “Catholicism guides him on moral issues – like his absolute stance on abortion,” said the Rev. Gerald Coleman, an adjunct professor of ethics at Santa Clara University who has advised California’s Catholic bishops on ethical matters. Ryan opposes abortion even in cases of rape or incest.

    But on social-justice issues, Coleman said, Ryan “is weak. There, his positions are not authentically in line with official church teaching.”

    • Bishop Blaire is being disengenuous: “adequately” care for the poor … Jesus tells us flat out that the poor will always be with us. Thus there is no such thing in reality as “adequate” care for the poor. This strange fixation by so many clergy that somehow the poor will all cease being poor is not only a false theology but it leads to the mindset of abortion. When the mind adopts the idea that poverty can be eliminated, then this fixation drives the mind to the position that abortion, contraception and sodomy will end poverty by ending the poor. Bp Blaire should be called to the Vatican for a corrective talk.

    • Catherine says:


      Are you talking about the same Rev. Gerald Coleman that advised and influenced Bishop Tod D. Brown on the *social-justice* issue of homosexual domestic partnerships?

      In February of 2000 Bishop Tod D. Brown sent out an official diocesan memo to all priests. Bishop Tod D.Brown’s memo read: Attached are two articles. Moral Theology and Is Proposition 22 Discriminatory written by Rev. Gerald Coleman. “Father Gerald Coleman expresses *very well* my own thoughts.”

      One of the two articles that Bishop Brown was referring to, dealt with the Prop. 22 ban on homosexual marriage being discriminatory towards homosexuals. Father Gerald Coleman argued, “Some homosexual persons have shown that it is possible to enter into long-term committed and loving relationships, named by certain segments of society as domestic partnerships.” Father Gerald Coleman then cited the Catechism teaching about unjust discrimination against homosexuals and then wrote, “The moral question then is clear. *Can one simultaneously affirm authentic respect and sensitivity toward homosexual persons and hold that marriage is a union *ONLY between a man and a woman?*”

      Is Rev. Gerald Coleman now selectively showing interest in being authentically in line with official church teaching?

      max, If this is the same Rev. Gerald Coleman, then you are right. Father Gerald Coleman does advise and influence bishops and priests and it looks like he also influences you. In that particular case Father Gerald Coleman was claiming that homosexual partners are entitled to the same rights as married couples and our local Bishop,Tod D. Brown of the Diocese of Orange, Ca. agreed with him. Do you also agree with
      them max?

      • Catherine says:


        Speaking of WISDOM. Please read my post above. Please let us know if you still think that it is WISE to use Rev. Gerald Coleman as an example of an adviser to bishops? Could you please cite the Catechism teaching that supports the promoting of homosexual domestic partnerships?

        Now you see the wisdom in always informing new readers that *this is a Catholic website* and not a forum to sneak in or promote social-justice issues that are contrary to the teachings of the Catholic Church.

        You also brought up the fact that Rev. Gerald Coleman, called Paul Ryan “weak” on social-justice issues. Many dissenters within the church also consider “gay rights” a social-justice issue. Rev. Gerald Coleman also criticized Paul Ryan for not authentically being in line with official church teaching.

        max, Do you also agree with the WISDOM of Rev. Gerald Coleman regarding his arguments that show support for homosexual domestic partnerships? Bishop Tod D. Brown certainly agreed. Please answer max.

      • Anonymous says:

        “The moral question then is clear. “Can one simultaneously affirm authentic respect and sensitivity toward homosexual persons and hold that marriage is a union “ONLY between a man and a woman”? I would say yes. How did Father Coleman answer the question? I am familiar with Father Coleman’s pro-life writings so I would like to know how he answered. I know that Bishop Brown affirms marriage as only being between a man and a woman in the memo you refer to. The question was the legitamacy of domestic partnerships, which to me, should be discouraged if sexual union is involved. I know three sisters who have never married (they are straight-just spinsters who never found the right guy) and they have supported each other throughtout their lives and they don’t have the benefits that married people do, nor would they ever think to ask for them.

      • Anonymous says:

        How did Father Coleman answer that question?

        • Catherine says:


          Father Coleman responded, “I see no reason why civil law could not in some fashion recognize these faithful and loving unions with clear and specific benefits. These unions would then be recognized by society as sustaining an important status deserving our respect and protection. I believe that this possibility could be pursued without equating such unions with marriage, and without demeaning our needed respect for the institution of marriage.”

          Anonymous, Those articles were not for the laity to see. Faithful priests and laity knew this was wrong and these articles were then made public by many faithful priests and Catholics who know Church teaching and who know that Catholic priests are not supposed to be social-justice advocates for homosexual domestic partnerships. After the articles and memo were made public and after it was made known that they were sent to the Vatican, Father Coleman then said that he meant to include the word “chaste” for homosexual *chaste* unions.

          Please Google Catholic Answers and read, The Elephant in the Church by Father Charles Darby

          Anonymous, I don’t doubt that Rev. Gerald Coleman speaks up for pro-life issues. That is not the point. max was correct and at least did get this aspect correct. Bishops and priests will never personally be faced with pregnancy.

          Anonymous please do not spin pointless stories about spinsters in order to deflect from the truth. After all “This is a Catholic website.”

          • Anonymous says:

            Thank you for your answer. I disagree with Father Coleman on that. I don’t understand the Catholic website thing you said. Why are three spinsters against the Catholic faith? Do you think they should be nums or something? What truth did I deflect from?

          • Coleman should be exorcised, and so should the Church. The Pope ought to hold a great Mass of Exorcism for the entire Church … to expunge the miscreant homosexuals who should never have anything to do with the Church, other than to turn from sin.

          • Excellent, Catherine! This IS a Catholic website and it is so good to hear reason and logic and fact used so well. It’s so disheartening though, to read that a Catholic priest would not only be so cunning, but also promulgating teaching contrary to the Church. Thank God for our many wonderful and faithful priests!

      • Anonymous says:

        Father Gerald Coleman is very outspokenly pro-life. He even has written on the post-abortion trauma of men whose babies are aborted.

        • So, the homosexual apologists are busy becoming moles in the prolife movement; I wonder what their motives are.

  25. An excellent statement. Some people want to tax our children into oblivion, mostly because they have none of their own. Some of them aborted them, robbing the Social Security system of many of its supporters.

  26. Social justice is a buzz word term for tyranny. It is not even Catholic the way the bishops bandy it about. Jesus spent relatively little time on social justice techniques, and most of His time preaching the Gospel and teaching it. “Social Justice” is an idol and needs to be thrown down to Hell with all the other idols. The only reason the bishops love social justice is the money. There is no money in fighting abortion or contraception or sodomy … only in social justice. If you want social justice, then stop abortion, contraception and sodomy.

    • Anonymous says:

      Life and Dignity of the human person. Call to Family, community and participation. Option for the Poor and vulnerable. Dignity of Work and Rights of Workers. Solidarity. Care for Creation. The rights and duties of persons. The social justice doctrines are not optional. They are based on Scripture, on the 10 commandments, on the Prophets and on the teachings of Jesus Christ. It is not tyrannical. If you are reacting to some applications of it that struck you as not Catholic, well, you should know the faith well enough to argue why they are not correct, instead of cursing the social doctrines of the Church. You are correct that abortion, contraception and sodomy or gay marriage are contrary to the social justice doctrines of the Church.

      • POPE BENEDICT XVI in his encyclycial agreeS with ANONYMOUS:

        6. “Caritas in veritate” is the principle around which the Church’s social doctrine turns, a principle that takes on practical form in the criteria that govern moral action. I would like to consider two of these in particular, of special relevance to the commitment to development in an increasingly globalized society: justice and the common good.

      • Social justice has to be based on holiness. Claiming something is based on Scripture has no meaning. Stoning sinners to death is based on Scripture, but not on holiness. Hopefully some readers will understand the false nature of these deceptive social justice hype jobs.

        • Anonymous says:

          Claiming something based on Scripture has no meaning? You are hereby banned from Chik-fil-a.

          • Scripture is words written in books. Holiness is what Scripture directs the soul towards. So you can base your life on a directive, or you move towards holiness. Now obviously I’m not explaining this clearly, but there is a difference, and wisdom looks for the gold while foolishness looks for the map.

          • How do you find the gold without a map to tell you how to get there?

          • Anonymous says:

            “Scripture is words written in a book”…Scripture is the infallible Word of God. It is holy. The Word remains in the tabernacle. Holiness is not the “gold”. God is. The striving toward holiness is a duty for each person. Once you have the “map”, it would be stupid not to use it.

    • You always try to be provocative, often with humor. But, this time you have gone over the edge. Social Justice is a fundamental teaching of the church as is Charity. Social Justice teachings of the church are aimed at ending the need for charity. Why is there poverty in our great country? Why do some kids get a better education than others in the elementary and high schools of our state? Why do some politicians think that it is ok to tax the poor but not the rich? Why do some employers treat women in unequal ways compared to men? Why are people hungry when others aren’t? Social Justice needs to be brought to the forefront of all of our thinking, not sent to hell.

      • No, Bob, we are to spread the GOOD NEWS. Jesus said the poor will always be with you. The social justice proponents never mention the need for the world, rich and poor alike, to hear the Gospel message.

        Yes, we are called to feed the hungry and do what we can to alleviate suffering, but we are not called to create a utopia… that kind of social engineering is called communism or socialism. It is often through suffering we come to rely on God. You want a world that has no suffering. You want perfection in this world. That is what the nazis wanted also.

        Social justice doesn’t get anyone into heaven, Bob. The Church is to evangelize the world, to be salt and light, not make the world safer for democracy, or socialism or whatever social program is being promoted at the moment. When people are filled with the Holy Spirit, they will WANT to provide food for the hungry… you do not need to do it for them.

        I find that so many that promote social justice feel they are God and all hinges on what they do. This is how I see it… that you who speak of social justice often feel that it’s not right to push your religious views on others, but merely feed and clothe them and alleviate their suffering.

        Why did the Apostles go out with nothing when they went out into the world to evangelize? Why didn’t Jesus make sure they had purses bulging with money so they could give out alms and alleviate suffering? Jesus is the ONLY truth, the only WAY and you are depriving the world of His joy by worrying about the paltry things of this earth.

        • ps…paltry things being “what shall I eat” ?” What shall I wear”?
          People are literally starving to death in want of hearing the truth…they are starving for the Gospel message. Jesus told satan in the temptation ,, “It is written, ‘MAN SHALL NOT LIVE ON BREAD ALONE, BUT ON EVERY WORD THAT PROCEEDS OUT OF THE MOUTH OF GOD.’” It must come out of our mouths, for unfortunately, in this busy society there just isn’t enough time or intimacy for people to be able to learn the truth from just observing your behavior. Paul used his words always…many of us are embarrassed to speak openly of the truth of Jesus. That is how we’ve become so marginalized. Jesus knew of this weakness in us for He said that if we were ashamed of Him, He would be ashamed of us. When we leave the mass we are to go out unto all the world and spread the good news. We really have to be careful not to get caught up in doing good works and forget the good words, as well! It is always this balance of faith and works, don’t you think?

        • Catherine says:

          Wonderful post Dana! You nailed it. You can peel a million carrots and dice a million big giant onions all day long at the soup kitchen for the homeless and then go home and fool yourself by sitting down with your computer to cleverly promote Obama, same sex unions or the ACLU on Catholic websites.

          Dana, I am convinced that the real “sly users” of the words “social justice”, well let’s just say that they know exactly what they are manipulating. They couldn’t care less about the real meaning of the social encyclicals of the popes that Larry posted about. Talk about a case of *C*ulpability with a capital C! I am not referring to the gullible sweet innocent parishioners who simply want to feed the poor. I am referring to those individuals in charge who are driving this giant misguided social justice bus to achieve agendas that are not Catholic.

          A few years ago a woman in charge of instructing CCD teachers and religion teachers in our Diocese admitted that she often fabricated stories to move the hearts of students and this is how you get them to comply. True story.

          The tears from those big ol’ giant onions will be nothing in comparison to the eternal sadness of losing your immortal soul.

          • Thank you, Catherine. The best thing about the internet is that we can read the encyclicals now ourselves, and read the truth expressed openly. (the bad thing about the net is that the dark side is able to get their views out, too. Caveat Emptor)

            Had it not been for this website, eg, I wouldn’t have known about the Communion in the hand controversy, or from EWTN that Pope Benedict would prefer us to take the Host on our tongue. I had to go to another church for Mass last week for a later service and I went up, as usual to take the Host on my tongue, and the priest pressed my hand (quite hard), and hissed, “We take it on the hand here!” But, being surprised I didn’t act fast enough, he pressed the Host on my tongue, but I could just feel the anger radiating from him. I was so sad for so many reasons that this happened, as I wasn’t being deliberately confrontational. I’m using this as an example of how, if we’re not informed, we can be misled and think we’re supporting ‘good’ causes, like CRS, or the Bishop’s Community fund where it was discovered that millions were given to evil causes or be convinced by misinformed clergy that we’re wrong about something that isn’t necessarily true. I believe that church is in the same diocese as my home church. Anyway, thanks Catherine for your faithfulness and perceptiveness! I just had to share my sad communion story because I had been so shocked at the time… a week has gone by so I can talk about it now.

          • Exactly! Catherine.

        • Anonymous says:

          These posts are unbelievable on a Catholic website.

          • Catherine says:


            I would imagine that these posts are “unbelievable” to individuals who have had 45 years plus of free reign to distort Catholic Church teaching. The truth hurts. Anonymous, plain and simple, we are not supposed to silence others and promote evil philosophies to enter into contest with the intended meaning of the social encyclicals of our popes. May the very good day arrive when you will truly see that it was you’re very own misguided post that is truly unbelievable for a Catholic website. Fear not! Keep praying! You are certainly not anonymous to God but you DO have to desire the Truth! With God all things are possible!

          • Anonymous says:

            The social doctrines of the Holy Catholic Church are Doctrines of the Holy Catholic Church. The Catholic Faith is not a cafeteria where you can pick and choose what you want to believe. It is not a Burger joint where you can have it your way.

        • Dana, thanks to Mr. Juergensen and max I have discovered that the USCCB website has an online version of the CCC and you can search for social justice and it will show you the paragraphs in the CCC that talk about it. You are very correct in your idea that the Church is to evangelize. I think, though that your idea on social justice may have been tainted by someone who was using the words in a way that the church does not mean. Give a look when you have the time.

      • We need to recognize that there are two different and incompatible definitions of “social justice” floating around: the one as laid out in what we would call the “social” encyclicals of the popes, starting with Leo XIII’s 1891 “Rerum Novarum,” versus the one carried in the popular imagination today, which has a strong Marxist-Socialist-statist flavor and which identifies “social justice” pretty much with the platform of the Democratic Party. The latter differs fundamentally from the former–but the problem is that even Catholics are under the hugely mistaken impression that Catholic social justice teaching is virtually the same as that of leftist politicians. “Social Justice teachings of the church are aimed at ending the need for charity.” Yes, Bob One, but the Democratic Party’s social justice teachings are aimed at exactly the opposite–that is, fostering perpetual dependence on the charity of Democrat politicians. “Why do some politicians think that it is ok to tax the poor but not the rich?” What politicians are you talking about? The fact is that across the board–federally, statewise, locally, the poor carry very little of the tax burden while the rich shoulder a disproportionate slice. New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg warned that his city cannot keep raising taxes on the rich, because the richest 40,000 taxpayers (in a city of 8-million!) carry half the city’s budget. If a few thousand of them were to move out, it would break the bank. The “soak the rich” philosophy not only drives away wealth needed to keep the economic engine going, but it makes the state dependent on the richest few of its taxpayers, and thus vulnerable to ruin if wealth were to flee to greener pastures.

  27. JLS:

    I find your 7:33am contribution to be a remarkable example of counter-Christian commentary. With the exception of “If you want social justice, then stop abortion…” you could take every other sentence and phrase, negate it totally, and have agreement with me.

    • Francis, where did you ever come up with the dream that your religion is the same as mine? Mine is Roman Catholicism; yours seems to be Go Along to Get Along Whatevercism.

      • uh, JLS, i believe the true technical term is “whateverism,” not “whateverCism.”

        could be wrong, though.

        by the way, i llike the new title bestowed upon you by FRANCIS, “the great and powerful JLS.”

        reminds me of the wizard of oz, who, strangely enough, does NOT come from australiea.

        • The reason this is so important to me is that it depleted the little villages on the Irish coast that my Viking ancestors loved to visit and party with (please no ridiculous statements about the dates being all wrong … the Vikings had time machines in their dragon head boats).

        • max, I missed the part about me being great and powerful … something to think about. Now if only I had a bankroll, I’d be not only all set, but good to go.

        • max, it should actually be “Whateverschism”.

  28. CATHERINE, my answers to your millions of questions never got posted, so, alas!, you will be deprived of my wisdom and humility.

    in short, i pointed out that i had QUOTED an artilce from the san francisco chronicle and don’t know everyting father coleman and the other people in the article have written about every single subject.


    2. Charity is at the heart of the Church’s social doctrine. Every responsibility and every commitment spelt out by that doctrine is derived from charity which, according to the teaching of Jesus, is the synthesis of the entire Law (cf. Mt 22:36- 40). It gives real substance to the personal relationship with God and with neighbour; it is the principle not only of micro-relationships (with friends, with family members or within small groups) but also of macro-relationships (social, economic and political ones). For the Church, instructed by the Gospel, charity is everything because, as Saint John teaches (cf. 1 Jn 4:8, 16) and as I recalled in my first Encyclical Letter, “God is love” (Deus Caritas Est): everything has its origin in God’s love, everything is shaped by it, everything is directed towards it. Love is God’s greatest gift to humanity, it is his promise and our hope.

    • Beautiful isn’t it? CHARITY! That’s always been my understanding too…but social justice, as used by so many here and elsewhere is something else entirely.

      • Not so beautifullly expressed! I’d better add that…I just meant I would agree with everything written by Pope Benedict XVI

  30. Bishop Aquila is correct.
    Do not spend what you do not have or can not pay back. This is stealing.
    All Debts must be paid per “COMMUTATIVE JUSTICE – without which no other form of Justice is possible”

    The USA must pay its debts.
    States must pay their debts.
    We must pay our debts.
    Thou shall not steal.

    QUOTE CCC: ” 2412 In virtue of commutative justice, reparation for injustice committed requires the restitution of stolen goods to their owner:

    Jesus blesses Zacchaeus for his pledge: “If I have defrauded anyone of anything, I restore it fourfold.”
    Those who, directly or indirectly, have taken possession of the goods of another, are obliged to make restitution of them, or to return the equivalent in kind or in money, if the goods have disappeared, as well as the profit or advantages their owner would have legitimately obtained from them.
    Likewise, all who in some manner have taken part in a theft or who have knowingly benefited from it – for example, those who ordered it, assisted in it, or received the stolen goods – are obliged to make restitution in proportion to their responsibility and to their share of what was stolen. ” UNQUOTE

    Our obligation to help the poor stops at basic food, basic clothing and basic shelter – NOT designer clothing, shoes that cost $150 and up, Ipods, computers, TVs, fancy cars, etc.
    We are not to make people lazy or dependent upon the government/god.
    St. Paul wrote in the Bible – if a man does not work, let him starve (referring to laziness.)


  1. [...] addition see “We can not spend what we do not have” – by Bishop Aquila http://cal-catholic.com/wordpress/2012/08/22/long-term-consequences/I’m not sure if Anne is criticizing my original post or not. She begins by saying that [...]

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