Once upon a time there was a man who wanted to get paid for doing nothing. "Hey", he thought, "I could get involved with the 'social justice' movement and use a watered down version of Catholicism, invent crises, and misrepresent economic issues so as to advance a socialist utopia."
Accordingly, it is time to dissect and analyze a recent article in the Edmonton–based Western Catholic Reporter (October 19, 2009) by Joe Gunn, who is a "Ottawa–based executive director of Citizens for Public Justice... an ecumenical social advocacy organization". You get the picture (if not, check out the website). The article, from Gunn's "Journey to Justice" column, is a film review entitled: "Capitalism – A Love Story pulls no punches". LINK
[TH2 analysis in bolded square brackets]
Recently I was invited to the pre–screening of a film that is now hitting big screens across Canada [so you must be special, TH2 was not invited]. Produced and directed by a man the Toronto Star [hyper left wing newspaper] refers to as "a liberal, gadfly documentarian," Michael Moore's Capitalism – A Love Story presents a mixed bag of sarcasm and anger [and stand–by Marxist bromides].One year after the demise of financial services giant Lehman Brothers and the devastating economic collapse felt around the planet [notice: here Gunny is hinting that, because of recent economic troubles, the free market as such is a fallacy], Academy Award winner [now there's a qualifier] Moore calls capitalism "organized greed," resulting in "the richest one per cent of Americans having more wealth than the bottom 95 per cent combined, and one in eight Americans either in delinquency or facing foreclosure on their homes (with one foreclosure filing every seven and a half seconds.") [What's the statistical data source? The Huffington Post? The Comintern website? Arsenio Hall? Spare TH2 the subjectivist claims and provide hard facts and sources]
WE MUST SHARE [...the wealth, like those suckers who donate to your website]
Readers may be surprised to discover that Moore was raised Catholic in Flint, Mich. [Big deal, Luther and Hitler were raised Catholic. Look at the damage they did. Since when is being raised Catholic qualify that everything said and promoted is good and true. One can be raised Catholic, but if that Catholicism is rejected in whatever way, what the person advocates is, in this context, a non sequitir] He holds in high regard the nuns who taught him [well isn't that delightful], as they convinced their young charge that possession of wealth comes with a non–negotiable responsibility to share [Notice how Gunny is already, and subtly, working to build–up and justify this Marxist blowhard because Gunny knows, in the back of his Fabianist mind, that most people think – rightly so – that Moore's hockey stick isn't touching the ice. Nonetheless, let's have some fun and play along, letting the "Moore as Martyr" routine continue...]
But what was most revealing about Moore's movie was the filming of no less than four Catholic priests, including two American bishops, [OK, now Gunny injects the bishops/priests into the mix so as to demonstrate (falsely) that Moore's Marxism is really condoned by, or at least in line with, Catholic social teaching. Brilliant tactic, when you think about it, but TH2 already knows where Gunny is headed] who have no difficulty at all in denouncing the evils of modern capitalism. When did you last hear a sermon on that topic? [Answer: Every time I open up the pages of Canadian "Catholic" periodicals, like the Western Catholic Reporter; every time he watches the news and current affairs programs on television; most every book he has read by whatever academic or "public intellectual" published over the last four decades]
The point is not that Christians must all run out to see this particular movie. But it does occur to me [it does?, you must be a genius] that if the followers of Jesus knew and accepted the social thought of their traditions, the churches would be in the forefront of movements for political and economic change to the currently unfettered market system. [Here Gunny is omitting the leftist–socialistic stance of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops since the 1960s; nor does he admit that all this spirit–of–the–world "social justice" crap has constituted "the spirit" of Vatican II from the get–go, and has been the dominant voice for the last 40 years]
The Church was not always a critic of capitalism, of course [here we go...] In the 1830s, Pope Gregory XVI called Catholics to "unchanging submission to the princes," which, he wrote, "flows from the most holy precepts of the Christian religion." [...and so the careful selection of quotations taken out of context so as to justify socialism begins]
Contemporary Catholic social teaching is often marked by the publication in 1891 of Pope Leo XIII's Rerum Novarum. This encyclical ushered in a new era [note the utopian twang in "new era"]: defending the European working class, sanctioning the formation of unions and proposing the right to a living wage. [But Pope Leo XIII, unlike Gunny, did not endorse a disguised socialism, i.e. Fabianism. Rerum novarum also states: "the socialists... are striving to do away with private property, and contend that individual possessions should become the common property of all, to be administered by the State ... for they would rob the lawful possessor, distort the functions of the State... private ownership is in accordance with the law of nature" (paras. 4, 9). Forgot to highlight that, didn't ya Gunny?]
In 1931, in the throes of the Great Depression, Pope Pius XI railed against "the international imperialism of money" which had brought untold suffering to millions [Bet you really like that quote, Gunny. Interesting how you ignore the millions slaughtered by the socialism of Stalin, Hitler, Mao et allia. Oops, forgot to mention that suffering]. Nonetheless, the pope opined that, "Capitalism as such is not to be condemned." ["opined"!? See how Gunny is using a word that diminishes the statement of the voice of the Vicar of Christ to an opinion as regards capitalism. According to the Catholic Encyclopaedia, an encyclical, in addition to identifying errors and threats to the Faith, is issued to "prescribe remedies for evils foreseen or already existent."] He felt no such compunction to avoid a condemnation of socialism, however, which "cannot be brought into harmony with the dogmas of the Catholic Church." [He was absolutely correct. TH2 says: Three cheers for Pius XI].
In Canada in those Dirty Thirties, the Catholic bishops warned the faithful to beware "provoking the class struggle" and to avoid an "exclusively materialistic conception of the social order." Two cardinals in Quebec (where the CCF [Cooperative Commonwealth Foundation, a socialist political party founded in western Canada in 1932] was not well understood) condemned this new party by name. [To the contrary, the CCF is very well understood. Who are you, Gunny, to say that it was "not well understood"? The origins of the party have been thoroughly studied and documented. Your "not well understood" statement is a disguised opposition to the facts–based view held by most. That is, the CCF was founded by radicalized–socialist, Marxist–inspired university intellectuals, labour unions and farmers. The party platform, expressed in its Regina Manifesto, called for the "principal means of production and distribution" to be "owned, controlled and operated by the people". Geez, that's not Communist]
By 1943, however, the Canadian bishops freed the people "to support any political party upholding the basic Christian traditions of Canada, and favouring the needed reforms in the social and economic order which are demanded with such an urgency in pontifical documents." The next year, the CCF took power in Saskatchewan (earning an estimated 50 per cent of Catholic support there.) [What Gunny fails to mention that, in 1956, the CCF toned down its Communist sentiments by adopting a more Fabianist approach with the issuance of its "Winnipeg Declaration". See EOS-2/Note 2 for a description of Fabianism]
With the Synod of Bishops on "Justice in the World"  and the encyclicals of Pope Paul VI in the early 1970s, democratic socialist critiques of capitalism became officially acceptable. [By who? TH2 will tell you who: liberation theologians, habitless nuns, ex–priest heretics like Gregory Baum, radicalized Jesuits... all those secularized utopians (including and especially many bishops) who joyfully made Vatican II into rupture and breakaway from nearly 2000 years of tradition]
Latin American bishops opined that their people did not suffer from "underdevelopment" but from an economic system of "exploitation" and "institutionalized violence against the poor." As in the biblical story of Exodus, liberation became their goal. [Here Gunny, unsurprisingly, does not mention Marxist–inspired Liberation Theology and the violence, murders and mayhem it has incited in South America since the early 1970s]
The Canadian bishops' 1982 New Year's statement was best known for its contention that economic decline and high unemployment was related to the larger structural crisis of international capitalism. The bishops pulled no punches: the economic crisis displayed a "moral disorder." [The Canadian Bishops! You gotta be kidding? A "moral disorder"! Those same Canadian bishops who issued the "Winnipeg Statement" that rejected the morality in Humane vitae and, who, to this day refuse to retract it? It is an open secret that the Canadian Bishops have been in de facto schism from Rome for the last four decades. Any pronouncement they make, especially on moral matters, must be must be superseded by the standard as set by the Holy See]
Pope John Paul II, speaking in Latvia in 1993, noted that "While the Church has vigorously condemned socialism, it has also, from Leo XIII's Rerum Novarum on, distanced itself again and again from the capitalist ideology, holding it responsible for grave social injustices. . . . I have not hesitated myself to raise serious doubts regarding the validity of capitalism." [Admittedly, Pope John Paul II was no fan of the free market, but it is again interesting how Gunny does not balance his commentary, failing to mention the grave injustices due to socialism. He is completely silent on this matter]
Pope Benedict's most recent encyclical also noted the "grave deviations and failures" of the currently under–regulated international economy [Again, being very selective in his quotations, Gunny does not balance this abstraction from Caritas in veritate with this statement therein (para. 24): "Today... which sees the State's public authorities directly involved in correcting errors and malfunctions, it seems more realistic to re–evaluate their role and their powers, which need to be prudently reviewed and remodelled". Oops again]
SPEAK OUT [TH2 would rather you not and get a real job]
Michael Moore seems to have grasped this in his most recent film: that while the purveyors of the Christian message have often preferred to console the suffering victims of capitalist excess, the critique of unjust economic systems is also our duty.[Gunny, TH2 sees that your nose is brown. How far did you stick it up Moore's ass? Were you able to breathe whence doing do?]
As the Canadian bishops reminded us in 1976, "Unfortunately, those who are committed to this Christian way of life are presently a minority in the life of the Catholic community. Yet this minority is significant because it is challenging the whole Church." [blah blah blah]
Do you ever notice that "social justice" bureaucrats talk and talk, but actually say nothing and do nothing except talk? TH2 does. One wonders if Gunny and his ilk do anything much except to scribble socialist tracts. Hence you will find that the "social justice" bureaucrat loves to convene committees and "gatherings"; he is very proficient in writing his little handbooks for humanity; he is masterful at the art of organizing protest rallies; his literary output is voluminous and amazingly fashionable; his gift for policy making is spectacular; he is an eloquent public speaker, and journalists are always desiring to interview him.
Yet – and this is the dissimulation – when it comes down to working with the poor and underprivileged people he claims to represent, this Fabianist fellow has disappeared from sight. Serving meals to homeless people everyday; regularly spending a few hours in an old age home with a lonely widow; routinely buying groceries for the person confined to the wheelchair – all of this is too much strain for him. Yet it is here, in these little and tedious things, where real social change begins. With humility, a minimalistic smile to acknowledge and empathize with a person’s plight, a sense of humour (of which "social justice" activists are devoid) to subtly convey that life is worth living and that suffering is part of human existence, irrespective of who you are. By dealing with reality head–on as a responsible individual, without the fanfare, the exciting intellectual discussions, the exhilarating noise of community "gatherings", and the television cameras. For it is in these things which the "social justice" bureaucrat altogether avoids. He has vanished. He will, however, be at the next protest rally and his latest diatribe, the generic Essay contra Running–Dog–Imperialist–Capitalist–CEO, will soon be on the bookstands. As G.K. Chesterton remarked: "They love ordinary people from afar and talk about them often. But proximity to the people and their beliefs frightens them and confuses them."
The portrayal of the "social justice" activist as Patron Saint of the People is one of the grandest deceptions in modern times. It is the guilty secret of those, like Gunny, who perniciously use religious faith as a means to advance a secular "this world" utopianism which, in the final analysis, is the antithesis to the Catholic worldview.