Friday, January 9, 2015

News from the Network, Vol. 8, No. 2

It’s difficult for anyone familiar with economic and financial history not to feel a little uneasy about the increasingly wild fluctuations in the stock market.  All of the experts in academia and government seem to forget that the stock market isn’t really what they call an “economic indicator,” leading or otherwise.  It’s a secondhand shop for used debt and equity.  The primary market, where people engage in agriculture, industry, and commerce, really doesn’t have much to do with the secondary market, where people move pieces of paper around.

That’s one reason why we’re focusing so much on figuring out how to make leaders with vision, such as Pope Francis, aware that there is a way to help people and families become productive, and thus independent of outside control over their lives, liberties, and property — and it can be done without taking anything away from anybody else.  It’s called “Capital Homesteading,” and we’re working constantly to let people in key positions know what’s going on:

The mail did get through.
• Late yesterday the Campaign for Economic Justice received its first contribution in the mail, a check from a reader in California.  Receipt was delayed due to the Christmas snail mail rush (.  This week’s planned official launch of the campaign was postponed due to personal situations affecting the CESJ core group as well as the weather, but we hope to get back on schedule for next week.  Again, if you feel you can’t wait, send your check to CESJ, P.O. Box 40711, Washington, DC, 20016, U.S.A.  Be sure to note on the memo line that it is for the Campaign for Economic Justice.  Any amount is fine, but because it costs time and money to process any contribution, we ask that you give at least $5.  Any contributions received in excess of actual needs will be applied to other CESJ programs, so everything advances economic justice, one way or another.

Solidarity in Milwaukee, Capital Homesteading chaser?
• Deacon Joseph Gorini, CESJ Counselor, may be attending the “Open to the Word: Empowering People Through Faith and Action” forum in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Saturday, February 21, 2015, at St. Alphonsus Catholic Church in Greendale, Wisconsin. Catholics for Peace and Justice are sponsoring the forum, and they may permit Deacon Joe to have a table for materials.  Retired Auxiliary Bishop Richard J. Sklba of Milwaukee is scheduled to be the keynote speaker at the one-day event.  According to the invitation, you should plan to attend so that “Through presentation, networking and discussion, [you can] learn about educating, transforming and empowering your community to move from charity only to being in solidarity, enabling the people you serve and advocating for structural change.”

19th century Irish Argentinians
• The CESJ core group is working to schedule a skype meeting with Dr. María Teresa Rosón de Pérez Lozano, professor of commercial law at the Pontifical Catholic University of Argentina in Buenos Aires, where Pope Francis was Grand Chancellor before his election, to bring Dr. Rosón up to date on current efforts to advance the Just Third Way and discuss strategy for the coming year, particularly in light of the Campaign for Economic Justice and the upcoming World Meeting of Families.  Dr. Rosón and her husband have been strong supporters of the Just Third Way for many years.

Evansville, IN, birthplace of Mighty Mo Muensterman, IU Basketball Star
• In the serendipity department, it turns out that the author of The Political Philosophy of Blessed Robert Bellarmine (1926), Father John Clement Rager (1883-1963), was pastor of St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Evansville, Indiana, for over a quarter of a century.  CESJ’s Director of Research is from Evansville (as is his niece, the Mighty Mo Muensterman, IU Women's Basketball Star), and has used Rager’s book as a secondary source for background leading up to CESJ co-founder Father Ferree’s analysis of Pius XI’s breakthrough in moral philosophy, the act of social justice (Rev. William J. Ferree, S.M., Ph.D., The Act of Social Justice.  Washington, DC: The Catholic University of America Press, 1942, © 1943 — condensed for students as Introduction to Social Justice, 1948).  Bellarmine, an opponent of the divine right of kings, made an error in his political theory that Pius XI corrected, whereupon the pope beatified Bellarmine, then quickly canonized him and named him a Doctor of the Church.  Bellarmine’s error?  To claim that the collective has some rights by nature that individual people do not — the basis of socialism (as well as going from the abstract to the particular, which is a Big Mistake in philosophy).  Pius XI explained that the belief that the collective has rights by nature is an illusion: only human beings have rights by nature, but some rights can only be exercised by individuals as members of organized groups.  Pius XI thereby solved a problem that had baffled philosophers for thousands of years, since Aristotle, in fact: how to reconcile individual ethics and social ethics, thereby eliminating the justification for both individualism and collectivism.

Fulton Sheen Mini-me advising you to read the book.
• We also got a very nice response from the president of Oldenburg Academy in Oldenburg, Indiana, a small town in southeastern Indiana, an hour or so from Cincinnati, Ohio, and about two hours from Louisville, Kentucky, where the CESJ core group has discussed a number of social justice projects, and where Norman Kurland, CESJ’s president, recently gave a talk.  It turns out that then-Monsignor Fulton J. Sheen (author of CESJ’s Just Third Way Edition of Freedom Under God) was faculty advisor to Father Lambert Victor Brockmann, O.F.M. (1898-1973) who taught at Oldenburg for many years, and Fr. Brockmann got involved in the conflict between Msgr. Sheen and Msgr. John A. Ryan, nearly becoming “collateral damage” when questions were raised about Fr. Brockmann’s doctoral thesis.  From the veiled comments about the incident in various accounts, Msgr. Sheen seems to have managed to straighten things out . . . for a while.  Fr. Brockmann seems to have gone to an exemplary academic and pastoral career, and the president of Oldenburg will be looking up details for us.

• As of this morning, we have had visitors from 49 different countries and 51 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, Canada, India, and Russia. The most popular postings this past week were “Book Review: The Field Guide for a Hero’s Journey,” “Thomas Hobbes on Private Property,” “Aristotle on Private Property,” “Why Did Nixon Take the Dollar Off the Gold Standard?” and “Of Cosby, Crime, and Calumny.”

Those are the happenings for this week, at least those 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, so we’ll see it before it goes up.



Brian Keane said...

love to read more re Pius XI (WHY is he not a saint?) and correcting now St Bellamaire; can you provide a link please?

Michael D. Greaney said...

No links as yet; Dayton University which was supposed to be on top of this let the ball drop. We're working on a book now that could be out in a few months that touches on this, or you might be able to locate one of the very rare copies of Father Ferree's "The Act of Social Justice" (1942, © 1943), which we hope to republish one of these days. You'll see the dedication to "Pope Pius XI the Great" (in Latin).

Brian Keane said...

maybe they`will recover the fumble; wonderful article from CatholicCulture on St Bellarmine`s thinking and that of Virginia and USA Declarations; you`ll see why I was so flabbergasted not that a Doctor could err (love that, keeps us from idololizing their great writings) but rather the nature of the error you described Pius XI correcting

Michael D. Greaney said...

Good article; I recognized the sources. The author drew most of his argument from Rager's book (under a different title; it's in the public domain and gets reissued under different titles).

One thing not noted that we discovered in George Mason's original draft of the Virginia Declaration of Rights that really strengthens the case for Bellarmine's influence (and corrects his error) was that Mason wrote that all men are equal and are automatically members of society. This removed any justification for slavery; Mason was a slave owner but hated slavery.

Unfortunately, he had made a habit of inserting anti-slavery items into legal documents, and the "conservatives" in the Virginia Convention were ready for him. They forced the insertion of a qualifier to the effect that men only have rights "when they enter into a state of society."

Personally, I think Jefferson put an obvious condemnation of slavery into the Declaration (the passage beginning "He has waged cruel war") knowing it would be removed, but allowing the "All men are created equal" to remain without qualification, thereby establishing a basis for the abolition of slavery.