While we’re still not exactly sure how he got invited, ‘democratic socialist’ Bernie Sanders just released his speech for a Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences event he is attending. Indeed a convenient platform for a stump speech while running for president.
The text of the speech is on Bernie’s website and is titled The Urgency of a Moral Economy: Reflections on the 25th Anniversary of Centesimus Annus. Centesimus Annus of course being Saint Pope John Paul II’s 1991 encyclical meaning “The Hundredth Year” of Pope Leo XIII’s encyclical Rerum Novarum (Rights and Duties of Capital and Labor). This is hilarious for anyone familiar with Rerum (click here for full TSP Cliffs Notes) because it literally calls out how socialism, intrinsically, is contrary to both the nature of mankind and natural law.
Bernie started, “Pope John Paul II gave a clarion call for human freedom in its truest sense: freedom that defends the dignity of every person and that is always oriented towards the common good.”
I’m sure he really reflects the same “clarion call” of defending the dignity of every human the same way JPII considers it. Shall we start talking about Bernie’s love of abortion on-demand?
Bernie spends nearly the entire speech cherry picking quotes from the two beloved pontiffs as if the Church calls for a powerful State that attempts to do everything for everyone. This is far from the truth. Let’s take a few choice lines from Pope Leo XIII on Bernie’s beloved ideology, socialism…
On redistribution of money and private property:
To remedy these wrongs the socialists, working on the poor man’s envy of the rich, are striving to do away with private property, and contend that individual possessions should become the common property of all, to be administered by the State or by municipal bodies…But their contentions are so clearly powerless to end the controversy that were they carried into effect the working man himself would be among the first to suffer. They are, moreover, emphatically unjust, for they would rob the lawful possessor, distort the functions of the State, and create utter confusion in the community. (RN 4)
Socialists, therefore, by endeavoring to transfer the possessions of individuals to the community at large, strike at the interests of every wage-earner, since they would deprive him of the liberty of disposing of his wages, and thereby of all hope and possibility of increasing his resources and of bettering his condition in life. (RN 5)
On the State interfering with parental rights and the good of a family, something Bernie and his peers continually chip away with with more and more anti-family, anti-parental authority laws:
The socialists, therefore, in setting aside the parent and setting up a State supervision, act against natural justice, and destroy the structure of the home. (RN 14)
On socialism going against human nature and being detrimental to mankind:
for it is impossible to reduce civil society to one dead level. Socialists may in that intent do their utmost, but all striving against nature is in vain. There naturally exist among mankind manifold differences of the most important kind; people differ in capacity, skill, health, strength; and unequal fortune is a necessary result of unequal condition. Such unequality is far from being disadvantageous either to individuals or to the community. Social and public life can only be maintained by means of various kinds of capacity for business and the playing of many parts; and each man, as a rule, chooses the part which suits his own peculiar domestic condition. (RN 17)
And in addition to injustice, it is only too evident what an upset and disturbance there would be in all classes, and to how intolerable and hateful a slavery citizens would be subjected. The door would be thrown open to envy, to mutual invective, and to discord; the sources of wealth themselves would run dry, for no one would have any interest in exerting his talents or his industry; and that ideal equality about which they entertain pleasant dreams would be in reality the leveling down of all to a like condition of misery and degradation. Hence, it is clear that the main tenet of socialism, community of goods, must be utterly rejected, since it only injures those whom it would seem meant to benefit, is directly contrary to the natural rights of mankind, and would introduce confusion and disorder into the commonweal. (RN 15)
Isn’t it weird that Senator Sanders didn’t use any of the above quotes in his speech at the Vatican today? I think so too.
Saint JPII, pray for our world, our marketplace, and our presidential election!