Friday, October 12, 2018

Laughing in five hundred years

It's always a good day, don't you think, when you learn one interesting thing and one annoying thing, and both from the same source (Msgr Swetland at Relevant Radio)?

The interesting thing was that "my yoke is easy and my burden light" means that what you are inclined to do or have a vocation for, is the easy yoke and light burden. Now I don't think the church marks out every old predilection we enjoy as a vocation, certainly not, say, bank robbery. Blogging, maybe. I'm pretty sure there are only two major ones, either marriage or the religious life; but still the yoke as the hand-carved harness fitted to the individual oxen, and therefore very right to wear, is an enlightening image. We wear that yoke in order to better follow Christ, yes?

The annoying thing was the claim that one must accept all the gospel, even the aspects one doesn't like. All right, but it seems to me the instant political slant fails here. "The leftist Catholic social justice warrior must accept that abortion is wrong." "The conservative Latin Mass wannabe must accept social justice, a living wage and so on." I notice that our good radio host did not mention leftists also accepting the death penalty, which the Church tries to avoid but admits is sometimes correct. I hope he would not simply say "Pope Francis changed that," because I don't think the dear Holy Father can.

But that is a digression. What annoys me about the argument that You Conservatives Must Accept Social Justice because it's Gospel is that it's not. There is no way the monstrous egg of "social justice" can be disentangled from the modern, deeply anti-religious and yes Marxist nest where it was laid. Sell what thou hast and give to the poor and come and follow me is Gospel and is a command given to the individual. It tends to his conversion. Social justice looks at people as things, and cannot help but say instead "this thing, x, has too much and has no right to it; it must be confiscated for the good of the poor -- more things -- so we get justice." Running through it all is original sin itself. The claiming of the divine prerogative, to judge right from wrong regardless of following Christ ourselves.

Even so holy a person as Mother Teresa includes the great modernist social justice mistake in her Constitution for her Missionaries.* Here is someone who lived a life of total love given out to the poorest of the poor, to the dying and the sick in Calcutta and now, all over the world. But her charter says, "no one has a right to a superfluity of wealth while others are dying of starvation."

And there is the social justice rub. Who ever said anyone had a right to their wealth? In order to make this judgment, and condemn the money, the money had to be earned first, by people whom Mother Teresa did not know and would not have condemned had she merely met them on the street. And the background for her ire has to be the universal human conviction (my economics book bluntly said "peasant," not human,) that the rich man is rich at my expense: he has not created, but has robbed me. If, say, Bill Gates' wealth is therefore a wrong, then there are two options, to confiscate it, or to see that a world is built such that no one else is able to amass wealth. Neither reaction is Gospel or useful for filling the stomachs of the poor. A third option, to preach the Gospel to Bill Gates such that he and his wife convert, and give less of their money to promote abortion, has apparently not been tried with much success. 

No, I don't have to accept that social justice, modernly defined, is in the Gospel. That kind of justice never involves love but always rather committees deciding who is to be hunted and how to divide up their things. If the Lord ever said "From each according to his ability and to each according to his need," I would be glad to know chapter and verse. Far from it, I think he told a story in which the owner of the vineyard asked, "Am I not allowed to do as I wish with my own money?" You see that's the odd truth: the Bible is perhaps "conservative" all the way through, which is why the modern world, having crowned man lord of all, hates it. And yet, as someone once said of the U.S. Constitution, it may be that the principles it conserves are very radical indeed.

I learned one more thing but it's so unsavory that all you can do is shut the laptop and go to bed, saying to yourself "it's too much information and I'm sure randy stuff went on during the Renaissance too." Some aged and horridly elfin-looking cardinal was presiding over a (homosexual) sex and drugs party in the Vatican when a guest overdosed and the cops were called. They saw to it that the cardinal 'skedaddled' before arrests were made. If only these men also patronized great art, people could laugh in five hundred years.     

*See Something Beautiful For God, Malcolm Muggeridge, 1971 (1986).   

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