Sunday, December 15, 2013

FAR more impressed with Pope Francis than I am with myself....,

collapseofindustrialcivilization | What is often lost in our current infatuation with Enlightenment thinking is the degree to which the Pre-Enlightenment Church managed commerce, financing, and general market forces. In fact, the Church maintained an iron hand on issues such as usury, which was condemned and not distinguished from the “normal” practice of charging interest until the late 19th century.

In the age of Church hegemony, which lasted for centuries, it was considered immoral, and grossly so, to profit in any way through trade, charging interest, or commerce which resulted in a profit without actually performing any work. specifically, any rent seeking activity was forbidden.

Things that are considered commonplace today, such as raising prices for items needed in a disaster, (supply and demand) were thoroughly rejected by the Church and considered inconceivable during that time. Thomas Aquinas brought forth these concepts in the theory of Just Price in his Summa Theologica circa 1274 AD. Although this was clearly a Pre-Capitalist economy, much learning was put towards strict management of commerce dating back to the money changers being expelled from the temple in Biblical times- a theme oft repeated through the Dark Ages and well beyond.

For centuries, civilizations knew full well the dangers of markets and unconstrained commerce, and there is more than a passing connection between this realization and theology, present in virtually all religions throughout time.

This reality has been brought to the fore with the recent, and controversial, exhortation Evengelii Gaudium from the Roman Catholic Pope. Pundits have been zeroing in on the more provocative aspects after his release of the document last month. I’ve read all 244 pages of it and I’m here to tell you that he has pretty well burned down the Christian right’s moralistic narrative along with a good bit of the more mainstream conservative cohort.

For those who have dismissed previous Papal exhortations (as well as any other messaging, written or otherwise delivered) as irrelevant and hypocritical drivel, and I count myself on this list, the recent missive is a shocker. Let’s take a look as some selected passages:


makheru bradley said...

They always seem to find the guys who can't light a firecracker..

"When he was arrested, he was attempting to deliver the vehicle full of explosives.No one was ever in any real danger, though, officials said. The operation was a sting and the explosives weren't real."

One wonders how much of his "radicalization" was the work of the FBI.

makheru bradley said...

Good for Pope Francis, but what history is this dude reading.

“In the age of Church hegemony, which lasted for centuries, it was considered immoral, and grossly so, to profit in any way through trade, charging interest, or commerce which resulted in a profit without actually performing any work.”

Leviticus 25:44-46 New International Version (NIV)

44 Your male and female slaves are to come from the nations around you; from them you may buy slaves. 45 You may also buy some of the temporary residents living among you and members of their clans born in your country, and they will become your property. 46 You can bequeath them to your children as inherited property and can make them slaves for life, but you must not rule over your fellow Israelites ruthlessly.

Building on the writings of Moses, who is considered by most Biblical scholars to be the author of Leviticus, Pope Nicholas V issued the papal bull Dum Diversas on June 18, 1452:

“We weighing all and singular the premises with due meditation, and noting that since we had formerly by other letters of ours granted among other things free and ample faculty to the aforesaid King Alfonso — to invade, search out, capture, vanquish, and subdue all Saracens and pagans whatsoever, and other enemies of Christ wheresoever placed, and the kingdoms, dukedoms, principalities, dominions, possessions, and all movable and immovable goods whatsoever held and possessed by them and to reduce their persons to perpetual slavery, and to apply and appropriate to himself and his successors the kingdoms, dukedoms, counties, principalities, dominions, possessions, and goods, and to convert them to his and their use and profit”.

It’s no small wonder that this quest for “Christian profits” gave rise to people like Boukman Dutty of Hayti: :

“The god who created the earth; who created the sun that gives us light. The god who holds up the ocean; who makes the thunder roar. Our God who has ears to hear. You who are hidden in the clouds; who watch us from where you are. You see all that the white has made us suffer. The white man’s god asks him to commit crimes. But the god within us wants to do good. Our god, who is so good, so just, He orders us to revenge our wrongs. It’s He who will direct our arms and bring us the victory. It’s He who will assist us. We all should throw away the image of the white men’s god who is so pitiless. Listen to the voice for liberty that speaks in all our hearts.”

CNu said...

Lot of hot-talking shia in my hometown Bro. Makheru. You want to hear hot talk, go to mosque in Wichita. Dood was lonely and devoid of meaning. Iraj an'em had been nice to him on the job or at the flea market and he'd been looking out the side of his eye at his lovely wife/sister/daughter so modest, demure, exotic, irresistible. Po thang just got caught up trying to be more muslim than muslim in an accelerated timeframe.

CNu said...

um..., correct me if I'm mistaken, but old testament guidance to Jews (doubtless intensified and rendered still more horrifying in Talmudic commentary) should not be confused with the centuries long ecclesiastical rule of the catholic church from the time of Charlemagne until the end of the 15th century.

makheru bradley said...

Well now the Pentateuch is part of the Catholic Bible. I understand your point. I’m saying that the history, as demonstrated by Pope Nicholas V, contradicts Darbikrash’s contention that for the Church “it was considered immoral, and grossly so, to profit in any way through trade.”

CNu said...

The Church still wielded significant secular authority at that time, and at the outset of a period of unprecedented growth and empire building ( as well as personal influence building) the Dum Diversas was shrewd governance and statesmanship.

Infinitely more important than obscure and ultimately futile blame making for slavery, is this Pope's living memory experience of economic collapse in Argentina

makheru bradley said...

As “Mama Africa,” Zenzi Makeba said: "We got the flag, but they got to keep the money." However, I don’t think that anyone who has read Rolihlahla’s “I Am Prepared To Die” speech should be surprised that the ANC became more reformist than revolutionary.

CNu said...

What do Paul Walker and Nelson Mandela have in common?

makheru bradley said...

I have no idea. I don't anything about Walker.

CNu said...

They both died at 95...,

makheru bradley said...

"I am far from proposing an irresponsible populism..." Pope Francis. Well, what exactly are you proposing, in practical terms to correct structural inequalities? You are not exhorting Catholics to occupy Wall Street.

"I ask God to give us more politicians capable of sincere and effective dialogue aimed at healing the deepest roots – and not simply the appearances – of the evils in our world! Politics, though often denigrated, remains a lofty vocation and one of the highest forms of charity, inasmuch as it seeks the common good... . I beg the Lord to grant us more politicians who are genuinely disturbed by the state of society, the people, the lives of the poor! It is vital that government leaders and financial leaders take heed and broaden their horizons, working to ensure that all citizens have dignified work, education and healthcare." Pope Francis

I'm reminded of Howard Zinn: "If the gods had intended for people to vote, they would have given us candidates." However,
at a time when the oligarchic psychopathocracy is tightening the noose around the political process it's going to take more than asking and begging God, to transform this world.

"Peace in society cannot be understood as pacification or the mere absence of violence resulting from the domination of one part of society over others. Nor does true peace act as a pretext for justifying a social structure which silences or appeases the poor, so that the more affluent can placidly support their lifestyle while others have to make do as they can. Demands involving the distribution of wealth, concern for the poor and human rights cannot be suppressed under the guise of creating a consensus on paper or a transient peace for a contented minority. The dignity of the human person and the common good rank higher than the comfort of those who refuse to renounce their privileges. When these values are threatened, a prophetic voice must be raised."

Prophetic voices cannot simply be raised. They must lead people into positive action by example.

CNu said...

lol, you got an institution operating more soup kitchens, schools, orphanages, hospitals, and universities than the Catholic church, name them and please provide me a link __________________________?

Nakajima Kikka said...

A brief interjection on this:
I'm reminded of Howard Zinn: "If the gods had intended for people to vote, they would have given us candidates."
Perhaps the absence of candidates is a sign that, at this point in history, the gods do not intend for us to vote. Rather than continue the futile exercise of participating in what has largely become a sham "democratic" political process, maybe the gods prefer that we do something else.

CNu said...

Loved these books when I was a wee lad

makheru bradley said...

you got an institution operating more soup kitchens... Yes I do, the government, federal and state. Take away Medicare and Medicaid, and those "non-profit" Catholic hospitals would go out of business. You're suggesting that the Pope's solution to inequality is more soup kitchens...LOL. He could have said that with one page. Bunchy Carter and Fred Hampton were feeding children before Mrs. Hoover declared war on them.

["The Breakfast for Children Program," wrote Hoover in an internal FBI memo in May 1969, "represents the best and most influential activity going for the BPP and, as such, is potentially the greatest threat to efforts by authorities to neutralize the BPP and destroy what it stands for."]

CNu said...

rotflmbao..., the afro-trekkie mind is a thing terribly wasted - on the one hand it cites the federal government as the ruthless ender of a tiny little failed nationalist insurgency - while in the exact same breath - lauds it as the "leader of positive action by example on behalf of the poor".

Are you now competing with BD for kneegrow-please poster-child status? Let me know next time you voluntarily file your income tax returns and pay those federal taxes. Meanwhile, I'll continue to consciously and intentionally make my efforts on behalf of the Catholic Church which actually gets stuff done and has stood the test of time, Feds, Royals, heretics, apostates, and everything else with which it has had to contend, while operating soup kitchens, orphanages, schools, hospitals, universities, and all the rest - on a strictly volunteer basis.

makheru bradley said...

Find the quote where I've lauded the government. My point: The church, the state, they're all playing the same game. The Catholic Church has a vested interest in maintaining the capitalist/imperialist system on which it is dependent for its existence. More than anything the Pope fears what the collapse of that system will do to the church, thus he's begging for more welfare capitalism. If that's what you support, keep pulling that wagon.

CNu said...

The Catholic Church survived a millenium prior to the advent of the capitalist system, survived the protestant reformation which is the theological backbone of the capitalist system, and survives and thrives to this very moment on the basis of strictly volunteer association and contribution.

Facts and logic are not your friends in the petulant argument you're pretending to make. Just stop.

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