Last time we looked at the figure of Jesus. Of course all of you who said on your previous Voicethreads that there can be no one final image of Jesus are absolutely correct. That also means that stopping at the image of Christ as good shepherd, meek and mild, can leave out a lot. In particular, I think we see better after last class how Jesus challenged the power structures and economic arrangements of his day, and how that led to conflict with those most enjoying the privileges of power and wealth. Against a society based upon privileging some and excluding others, he preached the kingdom of God, which was a society without power and privilege in which the dignity and worth of each person was recognized, as Sr. Helen explained. Every time Christians pray the “our father,” they pray for that kingdom to come ON EARTH as it is in heaven. Here’s a statement from Luke’s Gospel that really shows the disruption Jesus caused and the threat that he represented to the established powers.
From that passage in the New Testament that took our dependence on one another very seriously, I want now to move to Pope Benedict in the reading for today. If we’re created in God’s image and likeness, and our lives are gifts from God, then we’re created in the image of the giver. As Benedict says, “The human being is made for gift.” That is for Benedict the truth about human existence, and it’s what’s behind the whole notion of CHARITY in TRUTH. Our responsibilities to one another are based upon the truth of who we are and who we were made to be.
If who we are is entirely up to us, and not the result of gift, then that affects what we think about how we should relate to others, especially economically. That affects how we view the economy as outside the web of human relationships and therefore autonomous.
I know it looks like we’ve left poor Oscar Romero way behind. But I promise that all these things are related! So let me just read this Voicethread and then go back and fill it in for you: As we’ll see, there’s a lot in Romero about the notion of neutrality or taking a side. Romero began his tenure as archbishop thinking that he could remain neutral in what was going on around him. He came to see, as you will see, that he could not do that and that in fact such neutrality wasn’t even possible. I want us to look at why that is, but then I want to bring those ideas north to the United States economy. So, as you look at the material on the market in light of Romero, try to generate some insights. Namely, there’s a sense in which the market is neutral about what’s distributed and to whom it’s distributed (e.g., the LAW of supply and demand). That’s essentially what we mean by a FREE market. All you need is the money or the goods to participate in the circle of production and exchange that goes on every time we buy something. That’s what Benedict meant on the previous slide about the market being “autonomous.” The implication of this neutrality or autonomy is that the market as the market doesn’t care about those who can’t participate in it for whatever reason because they don’t the money, goods, or resources to do so. That’s why, as you’ll see from these readings, a Catholic perspective on the economy will call for a bigger role for the government, and why Pope Benedict would probably be seen as a socialist—and even more so the early apostles. Of course, this is the big debate today about more government or less government, more individual freedom or less individual freedom. You see this played out and explained in “The Pope or the Tea Party?” as well as how Daniel Fill says that Catholicism should respond to free-market philosophy and all the things Rebecca Blank explains about viewing the market economy through the lens of faith. And you’ll certainly see this in Benedict’s writing. In Caritas in Veritate (charity in truth) from 2009, Pope Benedict is discussing social responsibility in an age of global capitalism, of a global market. If we’re made for gift, then we’re made for relationship. The economic crisis of these last few years only added urgency to his emphasis on how interconnected we all are and how vulnerable we all are to devastating economic consequences when profit becomes, as he says in §21, the “exclusive goal” and how that could lead to “the damaging effects on the real economy of badly managed and largely speculative financial dealing.” So maybe this is the other issue to ask about in class—if we’re gifted—by God (life is a gift) and by others in our lives for those things not up to us, rather than self-made individuals, what might that do to how we understand the economy and our own participation in it? Romero asks whether neutrality is really neutral. And Rebecca Blank asks whether the market is really neutral. Do you see overlaps here? Or: what’s the Catholic case for government intervention in the market? What would a completely unrestricted (or neutral) market look like? If you look at the material on the market in light of Romero, what insights emerge for you? Namely, there’s a sense in which the market is neutral about what’s distributed and to whom it’s distributed (e.g., the LAW of supply and demand). What does Romero show us about ‘neutrality,’ and what do you think that means for the market and economic justice in light of the readings on the U.S. economy for today? Should the market be neutral leaving more room for individual freedom (you’ll see this played out in “The Pope and the Tea Party”, or should it be controlled by the government?
Begin talking about Romero generate some ethical insights out of that movie and apply it to the U.S. economy We’ve been talking about the Church taking the side of the most vulnerable in the community (the preferential option for the poor) certainly, Romero ended up taking a side
Reactions to the movie? what effect did it have on you? what did it open your eyes about? Think-pair-share with questions on the worksheet (or maybe just about the first question) Grande said all the pages of the Bible should be considered revolutionary (maybe show excerpt? It’s basically the first scene) How does Romero change over the course of the film? begins as a flawed, weak priest initial sermon confirmed worst suspicions sees his role as keeping the church out of controversy (thereby putting it on the side of the ruling oligarchy (‘keep to the center’) they thought he would make no waves and that the military will keep a lid on things Romero moves from God up in the sky to God being among the people can see it in the way he dresses white, starched alb (God as ethereal) in the end, it’s a serape – Jesus among the people as his theology changes, so does his dress Grande in the beginning, Romero identified him as a subversive the role of faith and of the Church is to get up you there to heaven (vertical spirituality) political involvement was only a diversion from that later on he realized that that WAS faith ‘ Jesus is down here building a kingdom’ (liberation Grande preached was ‘rooted in faith’) Grande’s death showed Romero what was going on showed the persecution of the Church Grande told Romero that anyone who speaks out was labeled a communist and killed (then that’s what happened to him) Romero realized that the Church and the poor represented the living body of Jesus Christ, who was being persecuted Romero said, “You are Jesus persecuted here and now” in showing the persecution of the Church, it showed Romero that it was impossible to remain neutral 2 Examples of Neutrality 1 st homily how was this received by those in power? quite well—they showered him with gifts why? when injustice is going on, it’s impossible to remain neutral not to take a side is still to take a side—it’s to take the side of the one in power so: NOT to be involved is still to be involved if the bully is beating up the innocent and you remain neutral, you’re taking the side of the bully military vicar (kind of like a chaplain) was worried that the policy of having only one mass would be making a political statement all while dressed in the uniform of the military IRONY the president-elect said of his coming inauguration, &quot;the archbishop has always attended to symbolize the Church's blessing.” so the question is not SHOULD the Church take sides? But ‘which side should the Church take?’ Zelada’s father in law was saying that the Church was just making the best deal Market isn’t neutral (economic sphere is not “ethically neutral”)—that’s why government intervention needed and why the market “must be structured and governed in an ethical manner”--§36) • pivots in two directions: -what we buy has moral implications (micro)—if the person has unconditional value, what might that mean for how we understand the economy and our participation in it? “ Every economic decision has a moral consequence” (CV§37) “ It is good for people to realize that purchasing is always a moral — and not simply economic — act. Hence the consumer has a specific social responsibility , which goes hand-in- hand with the social responsibility of the enterprise. Consumers should be continually educated  regarding their daily role, which can be exercised with respect for moral principles without diminishing the intrinsic economic rationality of the act of purchasing. ” (CV§66) -redistribution of wealth (macro) TABLE (can maybe form 4 groups and give them one of these) • material happiness (having) true human happiness (“made for gift”), not having, but (giving) -Finn says that “Our culture’s views of the market and of the human person are quite constrictive.” what does the market say about who we are? (we’re consumers, directed to having) -Benedict in §34: if we’re made for GIVING, then HAVING will never make us fully happy (Oscar Wilde) the conviction that human beings are self-sufficient (and not ‘made for gift’) has led us to just look for “immanent forms of material satisfaction” (§34) that is, we deny that there are things in our lives which are not up to us and so we deny God as creator in God’s image and that we’re made for community and ∆ all we look out for is ourselves and our individualisitic interests “ charity in truth is a force that builds community” (§34) and remember that Benedict said that charity presupposes justice (§§ 6, 38) • self-interest common good (pursues the good of all, vs. the good of one, myself) -again, if we are made for gift, then profit as the exclusive goal , “without the common good as its ultimate end, risks destroying wealth and creating poverty” (§21) -money was chasing money in the present crisis -as Finn said, “The investments weren’t based on real underlying assets like homes or factories but were derived from other financial instruments, hence the name derivative .” -people tried to get rich without creating anything, but just moving money around -so that when the thing that was actually real didn’t appreciate in value as expected (and in fact went down in value because bad loans were made that left more housing out there than was paid for, which dropped the price of the housing), the whole house of cards fell down -Finn: “When you leave economic life to the free market, some people get left out. ” -if who we are is entirely up to us (and we are self-created and “self-sufficient” as in §34), that affects how we view the economy as outside the web of human relationships and therefore autonomous. • freedom from government responsibility by government and REDISTRIBUTION (globalization opens up massive redist, §42) -Benedict in §36: The political community has to take responsibility for the “pursuit of the common good.” that ’ s why government intervention needed and why the market “ must be structured and governed in an ethical manner ” --§36) - what does Benedict mean by the market being autonomous? autonomous market = disregards morality and focuses solely on power and profit market doesn’t care about: (a) who’s in it (Finn says “When you leave economic life to the free market, some people get left out” and “When free market reigns, everyone’s needs (dignity) are not met”; and Blank says that unlike the market, “Christian teachings on poverty ascribe value to a group that has no resources.” She continues: “One of the strongest arguments for redistribution programs is the lack of attention that the market pays to those who cannot participate in it.” (children, elderly, sick, disabled) ∆ structural problem (changing structures: office building example) (b) satisfying human needs—the market doesn’t care who lives or dies, that’s up to the rest of us • neutrality morality -”Every economic decision has a moral consequence” (§37) -every economic decision rewards a firm for environmental, labor and safety record and creates further incentives -not taking a side is still taking a side (the market’s neutrality isn’t MORALLY neutral)
Maybe hand this out, put them in groups and ask them to fill in. 1. Finn says that “Our culture’s views of the market and of the human person are quite constrictive.” Benedict says the conviction that human beings are self-sufficient (and not ‘made for gift’) has led us to just look for “immanent forms of material satisfaction” (§34) 2. Finn : “One of the biggest things Catholicism says about the economy is that it should be oriented towards the common good.” (Common good = minimum quality of life for everyone) Catechism defines it (#1906) as “ the sum total of social conditions which allow people, either as groups or as individuals, to reach their fulfillment more fully and more easily. ” Benedict : if we are made for gift, then profit as the exclusive goal , “without the common good as its ultimate end, risks destroying wealth and creating poverty” (§21) Benedict in §36: The political community has to take responsibility for the “pursuit of the common good.” That ’ s why government intervention needed and why the market “ must be structured and governed in an ethical manner ” --§36) 3. Benedict : “Economic life undoubtedly requires contracts, in order to regulate relations of exchange between goods of equivalent value. But is also needs just laws and forms of redistribution governed by politics….” (§37) Benedict : “Therefore, it must be borne in mind that grave imbalances are produced when economic action, conceived merely as an engiine for wealth creation, is detached from political action, conceived as a means for pursuing justice through redistribution .” (§36) Blank : “One of the strongest arguments for redistribution programs is the lack of attention that the market pays to those who cannot participate in it.” (XP, p. 133) Pope or Tea Party : Benedict views government “as a positive force with vital responsibilities to help create the conditions for a just society.” 4. Finn : “When you leave economic life to the free market, some people get left out. ” Finn : “When free market reigns, everyone’s needs (dignity) are not met” Blank says that unlike the market, “Christian teachings on poverty ascribe value to a group that has no resources.” (XP, p. 131) She continues: “One of the strongest arguments for redistribution programs is the lack of attention that the market pays to those who cannot participate in it.” (children, elderly, sick, disabled) ∆ structural problem (changing structures: office building example)
Maybe hand this out, put them in groups and ask them to fill in.
<ul><li>“ Then the assembly rose as a body and brought Jesus before Pilate. They began to accuse him, saying, ‘We found this man perverting our nation, forbidding us to pay taxes to the emperor, and saying that he himself is the Messiah, a king.’ Then Pilate asked him, ‘Are you the king of the Jews?’ He answered, ‘You say so.’ Then Pilate said to the chief priests and the crowds, ‘I find no basis for an accusation against this man.’ But they were insistent and said, ‘He stirs up the people by teaching throughout all Judea, from Galilee where he began even to this place.’” </li></ul>
<ul><li>“ And all who believed were together and had all things in common; and they sold their possessions and goods and distributed them to all, as any had need…. There was not a needy person among them, for as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the proceeds of what was sold and laid it at the apostles’ feet; and distribution was made to each as any had need.” </li></ul>
<ul><li>“ Charity in truth places before man the astonishing experience of gift…. The human being is made for gift, which expresses and makes present his transcendent dimension. Sometimes modern man is wrongly convinced that he is the sole author of himself, his life and society. This is a presumption that follows from being selfishly closed in upon himself, and it is a consequence—to express it in faith terms—of original sin.” </li></ul>
<ul><li>“ Then, the conviction that the economy must be autonomous, that it must be shielded from ‘influences’ of a moral character, has led man to abuse the economic process in a thoroughly destructive way. In the long term, these convictions have led to economic, social and political systems that trample upon personal and social freedom, and are therefore unable to deliver the justice that they promise.” </li></ul>
If you look at the material on the market in light of Romero, what insights emerge for you? Namely, there’s a sense in which the market is neutral about what’s distributed and to whom it’s distributed (e.g., the LAW of supply and demand). What does Romero show us about ‘neutrality,’ and what do you think that means for the market and economic justice? vt
<ul><li>discuss your reactions to Romero, and </li></ul><ul><li>generate insights from those reactions, and use those to consider certain elements of the U.S. economy. </li></ul><ul><li>We will especially concentrate on the notion of neutrality, which is an important idea running through Romero, as well as some of the other readings for today. </li></ul>
<ul><li>I. Lessons from Romero </li></ul><ul><ul><li>A. How Romero changes </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>B. From ‘neutrality’ pref. option </li></ul></ul><ul><li>II. Moral considerations of a free-market </li></ul><ul><ul><li>A. Compare the Market & Catholic Social Thought </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>B. Pope Benedict: The economic sphere is not “ethically neutral” (§36) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>1. macro : “it must be structured and governed in an ethical manner.” (§36) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>2. micro : “every economic decision has a moral consequence” (§37) </li></ul></ul>
Market CST What does each say about who we are? What does each say about what we want? What does each want from the government? What does the previous question mean for which people are most important?
Market values Catholic Social Thought values Material Happiness (Having) True Happiness (Giving) Self-Interest Common Good Freedom from Government Intervention Redistribution by Government Neutrality Morality/Preferential Option