The media and the government keep insisting that the “recession” (a.k.a., “depression”) is over and we have been in recovery for five years. This puts us in mind of the old aphorism that there are lies, damned lies, and statistics. Be that as it may, here are the major happenings of this past week in the Just Third Way network:
• This past week we replied to some comments from a Catholic lawyer who objected to CESJ’s understanding of God and the basis of the natural law. As a non-religious organization, CESJ bases its understanding of God and the natural law on reason alone. It takes no stand whatsoever on faith-based issues, faith being concerned with the supernatural law, except where faith appears to contradict reason, and thus the natural law (and then only when it concerns economic and social justice). As far as we know, this is fully consistent with what the Catholic Church as well as Judaism and Islam teach. As Pope Pius XII summarized the very first question in the Summa Theologica of Thomas Aquinas, “[A]bsolutely speaking, human reason by its own natural force and light can arrive at a true and certain knowledge of the one personal God, Who by His providence watches over and governs the world, and also of the natural law, which the Creator has written in our hearts.” (Humani Generis, § 2.)
• We also responded to a Catholic commentator who believes that the time is not ripe to approach Pope Francis, the head of the Catholic Church, and ask for clarification of the principles of economic justice (Participation, Distribution, and Social Justice). This commentator claims that Pope Francis isn’t educated in economics, and therefore does not have the capacity to understand the principles of economic justice. Ironically, the Catholic lawyer also felt that it is a waste of time to try to meet with Pope Francis to discuss these matters, because the pope and his predecessors have already said all they need to say on the subject. We disagree, if only because you clearly have two sincere individuals, each of whom takes the exact opposite stance on the same issue. If that doesn’t argue in favor of asking for clarification, nothing does.
• Nevertheless, there are some Catholics and others who agree with CESJ’s position. Some very positive comments have been made on FaceBook in response to brief discussions of the “faith v. reason” issue.
• Deacon Joseph B. Gorini, founder, chairman, and CEO of Evangelization Enterprises, Inc. (EEI), and also Apostolic Action, Inc. (AAI), is continuing his door-opening efforts. Recently he sent us a link to an article in The Economist on “[Pope] Francis, Capitalism, and War,” that, while generally positive, did not (in our opinion) give the pope enough credit, correctly identify the underlying problem, or state the only possible solution: expanded capital ownership. Deacon Gorini also heads Light and Heat Ministries (LAHMin), an operating operation division of EEI, and which is currently the public face of the organization.
• On a more personal note, the “Mighty Mo” Muensterman, niece of CESJ’s Director of Research, is receiving a lot of good press in recognition of her athletic ability. All of his nieces are, of course, by definition terrific, and equally deserving of kudos; it just so happens to be Maura’s “MO”ment.
• As of this morning, we have had visitors from 59 different countries and 52 states and provinces in the United States and Canada to this blog over the past two months. Most visitors are from the United States, the United Kingdom, India, Australia, and Canada. The most popular postings this past week were “Thomas Hobbes on Private Property,” “Aristotle on Private Property,” “Avoiding Monetary Meltdown, II: Salmon P. Chase and the Greenbacks,” “ ‘Allowed Expedients’, Part IV: The Solution,” and “Distributism, Neo-Distributism, and the Just Third Way, II: The Slavery of Past Savings.”
Those are the happenings for this week, at least that we know about. If you have an accomplishment that you think should be listed, send us a note about it at mgreaney [at] cesj [dot] org, and we’ll see that it gets into the next “issue.” If you have a short (250-400 word) comment on a specific posting, please enter your comments in the blog — do not send them to us to post for you. All comments are moderated anyway, so we’ll see it before it goes up.