Trump is Becoming the Pro-Family Candidate

Disclaimer: Yes, we are all aware of Trump’s opinions before running for President. Don’t get your undies in a bundle over the title. In this post we are going to give him the benefit of the doubt and discuss his proposals for the future.

Update 9/16: Trump has called for permanently banning taxpayer funding of abortions by seeking to make permanent the Hyde Amendment at the same time that his rival, along with her ‘Catholic’ running mate, are calling for a reversal of the amendment. 

Donald Trump has made waves this week by unveiling two pro-family plans:

1) His maternity leave plan, guaranteeing six weeks of paid leave to mothers whose jobs don’t offer it.

And now,

2) His child care policy, which offers a tax deduction to families regardless of if one or two parents work and regardless of if the child is in day care or not.

Trump is clearly positioning himself as not only the ‘pro-woman’ candidate that Hillary Clinton is assumed to be, but also as the pro-family candidate. Hillary has touted her child care policy for months, telling women that she will fight for them and her policies reflect that, but with Trump’s recent (and specific) announcements, her sails are losing the wind she thought she could rely on.

The real estate mogul reacted quickly to Hillary’s child care policy announcement back when she unveiled it, saying that he too would offer a plan for mothers and families–there were no details at the time. It was assumed his plan would be similar to Hillary’s in that it offered a tax deduction for parents who both have to work and send their child to a child-care service. This was problematic for many family-oriented voters because while its goal is to help families financially, it also favors families putting their children in day care over families whose mother stays at home to care for children (quite an economic sacrifice for most families)–why should these parents (“you da real heros”) be ignored? Indeed day care helps many parents who are working hard to provide for their family, however day care can prove detrimental for children who spend a lot of time in it. When discussing Hillary’s childcare policy, W. Bradford Wilcox points out, “when young children, especially infants, spend lots of time in child care, it poses behavioral and social risks, even when they are being cared for in high-quality centers.” This is not ideal to the pro-family voter. Trading tax deductions for less-than-ideal child raising is the last thing our country, littered with broken marriages and shattered families, needs. No doubt, it is wonderful to relieve the economic burden on parents who rely on day care, but it’s even better to give all parents more resources to make decisions about what is truly best for the family they lead. Trump’s plan seems to do this.

Back when it was assumed Trump’s plan would be the same as HRC’s, the Catholic New York Times columnist Ross Douthat (I’ve been mentioning him a lot lately, haven’t I?) wrote a parody debate between the two candidates on the topic Make Family Policy Great AgainIn the fictional dialog Hillary paints the picture that she doesn’t really care about families and Trump shows that he really has no detailed policy to follow through with. Trump changed Mr. Douthat’s mind with his recent policy announcement:

Trump and making your family great again

Uh oh, I hear undies getting in a bundle again. Many Republicans have trouble embracing the family policies the eccentric businessman and reality TV star has laid out–understandable. I agree that the free market should be the default arbitrator of work-related benefits and pay. However, the market is not perfect because the market is not God, as many ‘religious’ Republicans seem to believe.

There is a growing segment of conservative voters whose support [of Christian living and policy] is simply lip service inasmuch as Christianity fits into the parameters of their coveted political orthodoxy. So to say, these people appreciate the parts of Christianity that line up with their already-set political ideology rather than the other way around.
The Saints’ Pub

“Did you just quote yourself?” Yes, I did. That’s how I roll. But it is also why I appreciate when Vice Presidential candidate Mike Pence describes himself as a “Christian and Conservative, in that order”. As Catholics, it is our duty to consider the health of the family before all else. While it is too early for me to form a solid opinion on Trump’s maternity leave plan (again, by default we should assume the market can take care of this. It is possible this would incentivize companies to remove the paid-leave benefit knowing the government will offer the six weeks for free. At the same time, most companies offer more than six weeks already, meaning that they would still use the added maternity time as a benefit to remain attractive to good workers while the proposed government policy would simply be a safety net for women who have no other option. This, I think, is the flaw in the thinking of many liberals attacking the plan. They claim “six weeks is not nearly enough!” but if more were offered it would result in more companies dropping their policy, creating a bigger burden on the State.), I can stand in support of his child care plan. Quoting from the National Review:

“Mr. Trump’s plan will ensure stay-at-home parents will receive the same tax deduction as working parents, offering compensation for the job they’re already doing, and allowing them to choose the child care scenario that’s in their best interest.”

…every family, whether or not in day care, gets a tax deduction worth the average cost of child care in its state. (Well, every married couple that makes less than $500,000 a year, that is; and only the first four children in a family would get the deduction.) If that’s right, Trump’s plan does not favor two-earner couples who use day care over one-earner couples that keep the children at home, as some child-care proposals–including those of Hillary Clinton–do. In effect, he concludes, Trump has increased the dependent exemption from $4,000 per child to roughly $16,000 per child.

[…]

…if Trump’s proposal is what Ellis takes it to be, then it would be a significant improvement in the tax structure, which currently places too high a share of the tax burden on parents and especially on parents of large families.

Families (not individuals) need fewer obstacles to having children and this child care policy goes in the right direction. Is it a sort of entitlement? I suppose. However it’s goal is to strengthen families rather than work against the family unit, the most fundamental cell of society. A strong family is, after all, in the best interest not only of communities large and small, but also of the State as a stable family helps ensure strong, happy, healthy, and self-sufficient citizens.

Now a State chiefly prospers and thrives through moral rule, well-regulated family life, respect for religion and justice, the moderation and fair imposing of public taxes, the progress of the arts and of trade, the abundant yield of the land-through everything, in fact, which makes the citizens better and happier. 
-Pope Leo XIII, Rerum Novarum 32

This plan also is only a benefit to families who have at least one person employed meaning it is money going to someone who is already contributing to the tax base–this is almost unheard of when it comes to entitlements today.

Why believe Trump is serious about this

I know, it’s hard. Trump has changed his position many times on important issues in the past and sometimes seems like he’s willing to say anything to get applause. I would simply say that the effort he has put behind these plans, along with the fact that these are co-attributed to his daughter, Ivanka (who seems genuinely family oriented), he doesn’t want to be mocked as a “loooser” by not succeeding with ideas becoming reality. Also, I think the fact that Gov. Mike Pence is his running mate–a man who is unarguably pro-family–offers Trump’s courting of pro-family voters and Christians some credibility.

Trump seems to really care about this, something that cannot be said for Hillary. There is an urgency and understanding that sometimes comes through when Trump discusses certain topics which Hillary cannot come close to imitating. Hillary does not care about family. She does not care about her own family (it seems), let alone the family trying to make a quality life for themselves in middle America. I think one can come to a reasonable conclusion that Mr. Trump is more likely to fight for these reforms (and others) more than Mrs. Bill Clinton would. ☩

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Cliffs Notes on Rerum Novarum

  • Can the State be capable of true charity towards the needy among us?
  • What unintended consequences tend to arise as a State interjects itself more and more into the private dealings of citizens?
  • What is the responsibility of the wealthy in society?
  • What about the responsibility of the working class?
  • Is an unequal landscape of wealth and position in a country just…let alone good?

These are some questions Pope Leo XIII helps us answer in his powerful 1891 encyclical Rerum Novarum.

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There’s been a lot of talk about socialism lately. The United States has a self-described ‘democratic socialist’ running for the presidency. This very candidate made a speech at a Vatican event last week using quotes from Church documents to support his policy positions. Many claim Pope Francis has been sympathetic to a socialist ideology. Some more politically liberal Christians sometimes comment on social media, “Jesus was a socialist, you know”. So I’d say it’s about time we really look into the Church’s stance on socialism, that is, a powerful State that assumes responsibility for redistributing money and private property in attempt to manufacture equality.

LeoXIII
Pope Leo XIII

Turning to Pope Leo XIII’s masterful encyclical, the holy father details what roles a State should and should not assume when it comes to issues of capital, labor, and beyond. The 32-page document is worth reading in its entirety, but below is a condensed version for those of you “too busy” to read important Church documents. All emphases mine:

On the Argument of Socialism

(3) …by degrees it has come to pass that working men have been surrendered, isolated and helpless, to the hardheartedness of employers and the greed of unchecked competition. The mischief has been increased by rapacious usury, which, although more than once condemned by the Church, is nevertheless, under a different guise, but with like injustice, still practiced by covetous and grasping men.

(4) 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…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.

(5) It is surely undeniable that, when a man engages in remunerative labor, the impelling reason and motive of his work is to obtain property…If one man hires out to another his strength or skill, he does so for the purpose of receiving in return what is necessary for the satisfaction of his needs; he therefore expressly intends to acquire a right full and real.

Thus, if he lives sparingly, saves money, and, for greater security, invests his savings in land, the land, in such case, is only his wages under another form; and, consequently, a working man’s little estate thus purchased should be as completely at his full disposal as are the wages he receives for his labor. But it is precisely in such power of disposal that ownership obtains, whether the property consist of land or chattels. 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. 

On Socialism Being Contrary to Natural Law

(6) For, every man has by nature the right to possess property as his own. This is one of the chief points of distinction between man and the animal creation…with man it is wholly different. He possesses, on the one hand, the full perfection of the animal being…

But animal nature, however perfect, is far from representing the human being in its completeness, and is in truth but humanity’s humble handmaid, made to serve and to obey. It is the mind, or reason, which is the predominant element in us who are human creatures…

And on this very account – that man alone among the animal creation is endowed with reason – it must be within his right to possess things not merely for temporary and momentary use, as other living things do, but to have and to hold them in stable and permanent possession

(7) This becomes still more clearly evident if man’s nature be considered a little more deeply. For man, fathoming by his faculty of reason matters without number, linking the future with the present, and being master of his own acts…it is in his power to exercise his choice not only as to matters that regard his present welfare, but also about those which he deems may be for his advantage in time yet to come.

Man’s needs do not die out, but forever recur; although satisfied today, they demand fresh supplies for tomorrow…There is no need to bring in the State. Man precedes the State, and possesses, prior to the formation of any State, the right of providing for the substance of his body.

(8) Those who do not possess the soil contribute their labor; hence, it may truly be said that all human subsistence is derived either from labor on one’s own land, or from some toil, some calling, which is paid for either in the produce of the land itself, or in that which is exchanged for what the land brings forth.

(11) With reason, then, the common opinion of mankind…and in the laws of nature…has consecrated the principle of private ownership, as being pre-eminently in conformity with human nature, and as conducing in the most unmistakable manner to the peace and tranquillity of human existence.

The authority of the divine law adds its sanction, forbidding us in severest terms even to covet that which is another’s: “Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife; nor his house, nor his field, nor his man-servant, nor his maid-servant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor anything that is his.” (Deut 5:21)

On The Role of the State as it Pertains to the Family

(13) It is a most sacred law of nature that a father should provide food and all necessaries for those whom he has begotten…it is natural that he should wish that his children… should be by him provided with all that is needful to enable them to keep themselves decently from want and misery amid the uncertainties of this mortal life.

In no other way can a father effect this except by the ownership of productive property, which he can transmit to his children by inheritance. A family, no less than a State, a true society, governed by an authority peculiar to itself, the authority of the father.

…the family has at least equal rights with the State in the choice and pursuit of the things needful to its preservation and its just liberty.

…the family must necessarily have rights and duties which are prior to those of the community, and founded more immediately in nature. If the citizens, if the families on entering into association and fellowship, were to experience hindrance in a commonwealth instead of help, and were to find their rights attacked instead of being upheld, society would rightly be an object of detestation rather than of desire.

(14) The contention, then, that the civil government should at its option intrude into and exercise intimate control over the family and the household is a great and pernicious error.

…it is right that extreme necessity be met by public aid, since each family is a part of the commonwealth.

If within the precincts of the household there occur grave disturbance of mutual rights, public authority should intervene to force each party to yield to the other its proper due…But the rulers of the commonwealth must go no further; here, nature bids them stop. Paternal authority can be neither abolished nor absorbed by the State.

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.

Allow me to interject following the last highlighted point: This was written 125 years ago and note how relevant it still is today. Of course, the reason this is still so relevant is because natural law cannot change. We are not dealing with fashions, we are dealing with truths. The people in this world who push for a socialist style of governing–whether the overtly iron-fisted socialism of Russia or the currently popular version of the Scandinavian-style socialism (more discreet in its iron-fistedness)–push many policies that work at suppressing the role of parents and often mock the sacredness of the family in society. This was a problem in 1891 and it’s a problem today.

On Socialism Seeking to Artificially Impose Equality

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…

The first and most fundamental principle, therefore, if one would undertake to alleviate the condition of the masses, must be the inviolability of private property.

(17) 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… each man, as a rule, chooses the part which suits his own peculiar domestic condition.

On the Relationship and Duties Between Classes

(19) The great mistake made in regard to the matter now under consideration is to take up with the notion that class is naturally hostile to class.

So irrational and so false is this view that the direct contrary is the truth. Just as the symmetry of the human frame is the result of the suitable arrangement of the different parts of the body, so in a State is it ordained by nature that these two classes should dwell in harmony and agreement…Each needs the other: capital cannot do without labor, nor labor without capital.

…the Church…reminding each of its duties to the other:

(20) the following bind the worker: fully and faithfully to perform the work which has been freely and equitably agreed upon; never to injure the property of an employer; never to resort to violence in defending their own cause, nor to engage in riot or disorder; and to have nothing to do with men of evil principles…

The following duties bind the wealthy owner and the employer: not to look upon their work people as their bondsmen, but to respect in every man his dignity as a person ennobled by Christian character. They are reminded that, according to natural reason and Christian philosophy, working for gain is creditable, not shameful, to a man, since it enables him to earn an honorable livelihood; but to misuse men as though they were things in the pursuit of gain, or to value them solely for their physical powers – that is truly shameful and inhuman. Again justice demands that, in dealing with the working man, religion and the good of his soul must be kept in mind. Hence, the employer is bound to see that the worker has time for his religious duties; that he be not exposed to corrupting influences and dangerous occasions; and that he be not led away to neglect his home and family, or to squander his earnings. Furthermore, the employer must never tax his work people beyond their strength, or employ them in work unsuited to their sex and age…wealthy owners and all masters of labor should be mindful of this – that to exercise pressure upon the indigent and the destitute for the sake of gain, and to gather one’s profit out of the need of another, is condemned by all laws, human and divine. To defraud any one of wages that are his due is a great crime which cries to the avenging anger of Heaven. “Behold, the hire of the laborers… which by fraud has been kept back by you, crieth; and the cry of them hath entered into the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth.”(James 5:4) Lastly, the rich must religiously refrain from cutting down the workmen’s earnings, whether by force, by fraud, or by usurious dealing; and with all the greater reason because the laboring man is, as a rule, weak and unprotected, and because his slender means should in proportion to their scantiness be accounted sacred. Were these precepts carefully obeyed and followed out, would they not be sufficient of themselves to keep under all strife and all its causes?

Doesn’t the last highlighted remark ring true? If we all could follow the teachings handed to us by the Church faithfully, we wouldn’t need constant intersession by an unsympathetic State. This is true in all cases though; if humans could avoid sin, civilization would function wonderfully.

On Labor, Property, Wealth and Personal Responsibility to Fellow Man

(21) Jesus Christ took not away the pains and sorrows which in such large proportion are woven together in the web of our mortal life. He transformed them into motives of virtue and occasions of merit…Christ’s labors and sufferings, accepted of His own free will, have marvellously sweetened all suffering and all labor.

(22) Therefore, those whom fortune favors are warned that riches do not bring freedom from sorrow and are of no avail for eternal happiness, but rather are obstacles…and that a most strict account must be given to the Supreme Judge for all we possess.

… the Church has traced out clearly… the principle that it is one thing to have a right to the possession of money and another to have a right to use money as one wills. Private ownership, as we have seen, is the natural right of man [and] absolutely necessary. “It is lawful,” says St. Thomas Aquinas, “for a man to hold private property; and it is also necessary for the carrying on of human existence.”” But if the question be asked: How must one’s possessions be used? – the Church replies without hesitation in the words of the same holy Doctor: “Man should not consider his material possessions as his own, but as common to all, so as to share them without hesitation when others are in need.

True, no one is commanded to distribute to others that which is required for his own needs and those of his household; nor even to give away what is reasonably required to keep up becomingly his condition in life… “Of that which remaineth, give alms.”(Luke 11:41) It is a duty, not of justice (save in extreme cases), but of Christian charity – a duty not enforced by human law.

Whoever has received from the divine bounty a large share of temporal blessings, whether they be external and material, or gifts of the mind, has received them for the purpose of using them for the perfecting of his own nature, and, at the same time, that he may employ them, as the steward of God’s providence, for the benefit of others.

(24) From contemplation of this divine Model, it is more easy to understand that the true worth and nobility of a man lie in his moral qualities, that is, in virtue…

On Practicing a Catholic Lifestyle Leading to the Temporal Prosperity We Desire

(28) Neither must it be supposed that the solicitude of the Church is so preoccupied with the spiritual concerns of her children as to neglect their temporal and earthly interests. 

Christian morality, when adequately and completely practiced, leads of itself to temporal prosperity

On Christian Charity and Role of State

(30) …in order to spare them the shame of begging, the Church has provided aid for the needy. The common Mother of rich and poor has aroused everywhere the heroism of charity, and has established congregations of religious and many other useful institutions for help and mercy…

Many there are who, like the heathen of old, seek to blame and condemn the Church for such eminent charity. They would substitute in its stead a system of relief organized by the State. But no human expedients will ever make up for the devotion and self sacrifice of Christian charity. Charity, as a virtue, pertains to the Church; for virtue it is not, unless it be drawn from the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus Christ; and whosoever turns his back on the Church cannot be near to Christ.

(32) The foremost duty, therefore, of the rulers of the State should be to make sure that the laws and institutions…shall be such as of themselves to realize public well-being and private prosperity.

Now a State chiefly prospers and thrives through moral rule, well-regulated family life, respect for religion and justice, the moderation and fair imposing of public taxes, the progress of the arts and of trade, the abundant yield of the land-through everything, in fact, which makes the citizens better and happier.

On Labor Disruptions, Employers, and Individual Rights

(36) It is to the interest of the community, as well as of the individual, that peace and good order should be maintained; that all things should be carried on in accordance with God’s laws and those of nature…If by a strike of workers or concerted interruption of work there should be imminent danger of disturbance to the public peace; or if circumstances were such as that among the working class the ties of family life were relaxed; if religion were found to suffer through the workers not having time and opportunity afforded them to practice its duties; if in workshops and factories there were danger to morals…or if employers laid burdens upon their workmen which were unjust, or degraded them with conditions repugnant to their dignity as human beings; finally, if health were endangered by excessive labor, or by work unsuited to sex or age – in such cases, there can be no question but that, within certain limits, it would be right to invoke the aid and authority of the law.

…the principle being that the law must not undertake more, nor proceed further, than is required for the remedy of the evil or the removal of the mischief.

(37) When there is question of defending the rights of individuals, the poor and badly off have a claim to especial consideration. The richer class have many ways of shielding themselves…whereas the mass of the poor have no resources of their own to fall back upon, and must chiefly depend upon the assistance of the State.

(38) But there are not a few who are imbued with evil principles and eager for revolutionary change, whose main purpose is to stir up disorder and incite their fellows to acts of violence. The authority of the law should intervene to put restraint upon such firebrands…and to protect lawful owners from spoliation. 

(40) The working man, too, has interests in which he should be protected by the State; and first of all, there are the interests of his soul.

All men are equal; there is here no difference between rich and poor, master and servant, ruler and ruled, “for the same is Lord over all.” (Rom 10:12)

(41)  Follows is the obligation of the cessation from work and labor on Sundays and certain holy days. The rest from labor is not to be understood as mere giving way to idleness… as many would have it to be; but it should be rest from labor, hallowed by religion. Rest (combined with religious observances) disposes man to forget for a while the business of his everyday life, to turn his thoughts to things heavenly, and to the worship which he so strictly owes to the eternal Godhead.

(45) Let the working man and the employer make free agreements, and in particular let them agree freely as to the wages; nevertheless, there underlies a dictate of natural justice more imperious and ancient than any bargain between man and man, namely, that wages ought not to be insufficient to support a frugal and well-behaved wage-earner. If through necessity or fear of a worse evil the workman accept harder conditions because an employer or contractor will afford him no better, he is made the victim of force and injustice.

On Private Ownership

(46) The law should favor ownership, and its policy should be to induce as many as possible of the people to become owners.

(47) Many excellent results will follow from this; and, first of all, property will certainly become more equitably divided. For, the result of civil change and revolution has been to divide cities into two classes separated by a wide chasm. On the one side there is the party which holds power because it holds wealth…On the other side there is the needy and powerless multitude…If working people can be encouraged to look forward to obtaining a share in the land, the consequence will be that the gulf between vast wealth and sheer poverty will be bridged over, and the respective classes will be brought nearer to one another.

These important benefits can be reckoned on only provided that a man’s means be not drained and exhausted by excessive taxation. The right to possess private property is derived from nature, not from man…

On Private Labor Unions

(48) Among these may be enumerated societies for mutual help; various benevolent foundations established by private persons to provide for the workman, and for his widow or his orphans…

(49) The most important of all are workingmen’s unions…They were the means of affording not only many advantages to the workmen, but in no small degree of promoting the advancement of art, as numerous monuments remain to bear witness.

(51) St. Thomas of Aquinas says, “Men establish relations in common with one another in the setting up of a commonwealth.”…Private societies, then, cannot…be prohibited by public authority. For, to enter into a “society” of this kind is the natural right of man; and the State has for its office to protect natural rights, not to destroy them…

Now, many Americans reading this will immediately call to mind the seemingly countless stories of unions being anti-business and even in some cases harming their own members in order to support itself under its own crushing weight. First please note the clear emphasis on private unions in contrast to the intrinsically problematic public unions. Second, note the following qualifier the pontiff adds on labor unions…

(57) We may lay it down as a general and lasting law that working men’s associations should be so organized and governed as to furnish the best and most suitable means for attaining what is aimed at, that is to say, for helping each individual member to better his condition to the utmost in body, soul, and property.

It is clear that they must pay special and chief attention to the duties of religion and morality…

What advantage can it be to a working man to obtain by means of a society material well-being, if he endangers his soul for lack of spiritual food? “What doth it profit a man, if he gain the whole world and suffer the loss of his soul?”(Mt 16:26) This, as our Lord teaches, is the mark or character that distinguishes the Christian from the heathen. “After all these things do the heathen seek . . . Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and His justice: and all these things shall be added unto you.”(Mt 6:32-33)

Conclusion

(62) Every one should put his hand to the work which falls to his share…

Those who rule the commonwealths should avail themselves of the laws and institutions of the country; masters and wealthy owners must be mindful of their duty; the working class, whose interests are at stake, should make every lawful and proper effort; and since religion alone can avail to destroy the evil at its root, all men should rest persuaded that main thing needful is to re-establish Christian morals…

(63)  Moved by your authority, venerable brethren, and quickened by your example, they should never cease to urge upon men of every class, upon the high-placed as well as the lowly, the Gospel doctrines of Christian life…

The happy results we all long for must be chiefly brought about by the plenteous outpouring of charity; of that true Christian charity which is the fulfilling of the whole Gospel law, which is always ready to sacrifice itself for others’ sake, and is man’s surest antidote against worldly pride and immoderate love of self…

Are you still here? If so, you made it through the TSP Cliffs Notes of Rerum Novarum! If you want to read more TSP Cliffs Notes, check them out for: Humanae Vitae, Familiaris Consortio, The Seven Storey Mountain, The Imitation of Christ, and The Secret of Mary.

 

Bernie Twists Pope Leo XIII’s Words in Vatican Speech

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!