Bastille Day! We’d say “Happy Bastille Day!” but some people in France still think the French Revolution might not have been the best way to go, but it was significant, and it is important, even if we can’t give it wholehearted and enthusiastic support. Like anything, even (or especially) the American Revolution and U.S. Constitution, it could have been better, so let’s just celebrate it for what it was supposed to mean, not for any mistakes people might have made. Besides, we can’t be down on revolutions per se since the Just Third Way is (in a peaceful way) more earthshaking than the American and French Revolutions combined:
|Norman G. Kurland|
• This past Tuesday Dr. Norman G. Kurland gave a talk on the Just Third Way over the internet to people in Asia and the South Pacific. A remarkable number of people tuned in, especially taking into account the fact that listeners came from different time zones stretching from a town near Mumbai (Bombay) on the west coast of India, to New Zealand. The geographical breakdown was 51% from Australia, 19% from Singapore, 11% Hong Kong, 8% from New Zealand (all from the same town), 8% from Japan (two different prefectures), and 3% from India (again, all from the same town). As there was no question and answer period (very difficult with the number of participants and the time allotted) it is hard to gauge the specific level of interest, but only one person left the network before the end of Dr. Kurland’s talk, which is remarkable given the spread of time zones covered and the number of people who listened.
|Pius VII: Democracy not incompatible with Catholicism.|
• It comes as a great surprise to many people, but the Catholic Church has always looked favorably on democracy — a statement that we must immediately qualify, especially on Bastille Day. You see, what the Catholic Church approves of is a theory of democracy in which natural rights such as life, liberty, and private property begin with the human person where God put them, not in the abstraction of the collective or the State where human beings put them. Right before his election as pope, Pius VII declared there is no necessary conflict between Catholicism and democracy . . . referring to American style democracy in which people have rights by nature, not European style democracy in which the State has rights by nature. Almost every pope since Pius IX (who was mentored by Pius VII . . . which is why he took the name Pius) has endorsed the United States Constitution. Leo XIII even kept a special copy of the Constitution in his private apartments that he showed to favored visitors. Cardinal Satolli, the first papal legate to the United States, said the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the Constitution of the United States were the Magna Charta of humanity.
|De Lamennais: Christian socialist.|
• Half of the book tentatively titled Red Start Over Bethlehem, chronicling the rise of socialism as the “New Christianity” or “Neo-Catholicism” and efforts to develop “social justice” as a just and viable alternative to socialism, has been completed, and has been sent to an editor with good media contacts. The editor finished reading the half-manuscript Wednesday morning (after staying up all night reading it), and sent us the following comments: “Thank you very much for the book. I finished reading it early this morning. It is fascinating and also depressing at the same time. But I see it a great way to explain what went wrong with the understanding of economic and social justice. I think that the people who are confused about the distinction between socialism and social justice should begin to understand their mistake. It is great work! Congratulations!” He then added, “I am looking forward to the next chapters as they are completed.”
|I AM smiling!|
• Here’s the usual announcement about the Amazon Smile program, albeit moved to the bottom of the page so you don’t get tired of seeing it. To participate in the Amazon Smile program for CESJ, go to https://smile.amazon.com/. Next, sign in to your account. (If you don’t have an account with Amazon, you can create one by clicking on the tiny little link below the “Sign in using our secure server” button.) Once you have signed into your account, you need to select CESJ as your charity — and you have to be careful to do it exactly this way: in the space provided for “Or select your own charitable organization” type “Center for Economic and Social Justice Arlington.” If you type anything else, you will either get no results or more than you want to sift through. Once you’ve typed (or copied and pasted) “Center for Economic and Social Justice Arlington” into the space provided, hit “Select” — and you will be taken to the Amazon shopping site, all ready to go.
• We have had visitors from 30 different countries and 46 states and provinces in the United States and Canada to this blog over the past week. Most visitors are from the United States, Brazil, South Africa, Canada, and the United Kingdom. The most popular postings this past week in descending order were “The Buyback Bamboozle,” “Book Review: A Field Guide for the Hero’s Journey,” “News from the Network, Vol. 10, No. 27,” “Those Wacky Distributists and Friends,” and “Leading the Reform.”
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.