I’ve begun a series of articles that take a close look at Pope Benedict’s new social encyclical, Caritas in Veritate. In this first article, which focuses on the opening chapter, I examine the moral realism of this pope, a realism that transcends the easy categories of politics and social theory.

[Benedict’s] theory about Truth is not his own, but the traditional teaching of the Church, as it comes to us from the Apostles and as it has been safeguarded and interpreted over the centuries. His theory is quite simply that every person longs for both truth and love. This longing can never be suppressed, in spite of modern pretensions to being ever-so-above-it-all. “All people feel the interior impulse to love authentically: love and truth never abandon them completely because these are the vocation planted by God in the heart and mind of every human person” (no. 1). Therefore, we will never be able to completely suppress the human desire to know the truth and to live in accordance with it.

Benedict’s perspective on Truth has its own view of human freedom as well as of the human good. “Each person find his good by adherence to God’s plan for him,… in this plan, he finds his truth, and through adherence to this truth he becomes free.” Two possible objections come to mind, from opposite intellectual poles. From the relativist side, we can practically hear the sophisticated eye-rolling over the idea that freedom means anything other than “doing as I please.” But consider these reasons why it is reasonable to follow God’s plan for our lives: (1) God knows more than we do; (2) He has the good of more people in mind, whereas honestly, most of us are mostly thinking of ourselves most of the time; and (3) He has a longer time horizon.

Read Caritas in Veritate: The Truth about Humanity” on the Acton Institute’s Caritas resource page.

I welcome your comments.


  • http://www.davidbahnsen.com David Bahnsen

    Jennifer –
    I promise you that I am being completely sincere when I say that this is the best piece on the encyclical I have read since it was delivered. Truly outstanding, and a wonderful assistance for people needing to find the right “perspective” in how to approach it. I find it to be a very delightful work when approached the way you have recommended, and I agree that if I attempted to use it as a “policy prescription” it would leave me disappointed at points. Great work, Dr. Morse! Hope you are well.

    I would love to publish you on my site some time.

  • Roger McKinney

    Jennifer: “A close look at the document’s introduction makes plain that Benedict is not a man of the Left or of the Right: He is a non-ideological man of God.”

    I realize that you see this as a virtue, but I see it as one of the main problems with the document. It suggests that neither the left nor the right search for truth but merely want to impose their wills on others. It’s quite insulting, actually. If anyone cares about the truth and studies economics, that person has to come down on one side or the other, either socialism or capitalism. The search for truth will lead you to particular conclusions. Simply dimissing those conclusions as mere ideology is very discouraging.

    Capitalism was built on the Biblical truths propounded by the Catholic scholars of Spain. Those principles weren’t mere ideology. They were and are Truth. Although Protestant, the Dutch who implemented those Truths were following the teachings of the great Dutch scholastic Lessius. As a result of implementing those Biblical principles Western Europeans were freed from ancient cycles of famine that had plagued mankind from the beginning of history. If those scholars were wrong, the Pope should tell us so and not just label it all “ideology”.

    By dismissing the right and left as mere ideology, the Pope implies that he has the Truth that neither side has. If so, please tell us what it is. Bowing out of the discussion for not wanting to get “technical” seems to me to be a cop out. He just trashed what the two sides consider to be Truth, but then refuses to fill the vacuum he created. The Left and Right provide technical answers. It is a technical debate. The Pope declares both sides to be wrong but then refuses to say what the correct technical solution for organizing society is. He tells us to figure it out for ourselves? That’s very frustrating!

  • http://www.ruthinstitute.org Jennifer Roback Morse

    Roger
    This document is not about capitalism and socialism, neither for nor against. People are trying to claim it for one side or the other, based on the policy prescriptions. But that simply isn’t what this is about.
    For the record, the Papacy has consistently supported the key institutions of market capitalism, including private property and free association. C in V is no exception.
    David,
    thanks for your kind comment!

  • Roger McKinney

    I realize that C and V is not about capitalism and socialism, but it is mostly about poverty reduction without prescribing any way of reducing poverty other than calling for greater love. If people pursue truth in their poverty reduction efforts, they will arrive at capitalism as the only tool for success. Why doesn’t the Pope just say that? What is capitalism if not love and truth applied to economics?

  • Rich Schmidt

    I am rather late to the party as it relates to the official documents on Catholic social thought (having read Rerum Novarum, Centesimus Annus, Gaudium et Spes, Economic Justice for All and Caritas in Veritate within the last 3 weeks) so forgive me if I come across as a complete novice on the subject. Frankly, I found C and V a bit more difficult to parse than the other aforementioned documents and less satisfying overall. It did not seem to conflict with earlier documents, but it did not seem to add much to the previous discussions either.

    There are four things in the introduction I find troubling:

    1) The very word “truth” is problematic. It is, of course, fundamental to the Pope’s argument and he writes as if the word is axiomatic – we’re all supposed to know what he means and to accept this meaning unconditionally. Frankly, I don’t know what it means which renders statements like “Without truth, charity degenerates into sentimentality” (3) unintelligible.

    2) The term “common good” is also problematic. What is the “common good?” We hear this term bandied about as if everyone agrees on its meaning. Benedict writes “To desire the common good and strive towards it is a requirement of justice and charity.” (7) How can I desire something if I do not know what it is? In order to work towards something we need to quantify it or how else will we know when the goal has been achieved?

    The Pastoral Constitution defines the common good as “the sum of those conditions of social life which allow social groups and their individual members relatively thorough and ready access to their own fulfillment.” Not too helpful. These ambiguous terms and concepts are one of the reasons differing groups (e.g.,capitalists and socialists) can claim that documents such as these support their program.

    3) The notion that institutional charity (or “the political path”) is “no less excellent and effective than the kind of charity which encounters the neighbor directly…” (7) I take this to mean that the supposed “charity” provided for by politicians and bureaucrats is just as authentic as charity provided by individuals. I don’t agree. Charity is only valid if it is offered out of freedom; a freely choosing individual moved to share his/her own resources is authentic charity. A government, democratic or otherwise, which confiscates the wealth of individuals and hands this over to other individuals is not charity, even if it’s for the noblest of causes. The ends do not justify the means. Institutions don’t “do charity” – people do.

    4) I’m always suspicious of phrases like the following: “…fidelity to the truth … is the guarantee of freedom.” (9). This takes me back to my first point? Who is the mediator of truth? If by truth Benedict means the epiphany one has when one embraces his/her authentic humanity in communion with God’s plan and then responds to the world out of this authenticity that’s one thing. But if by truth Benedict means as defined by the Church or some other political institution and to which we owe unquestioning obedience, then I get a little spooked. Now we’re getting into New Speak territory where tyranny is spun as freedom. I’m sure Benedict doesn’t mean it this way, but …

    Lastly, I have to quibble with Jennifer just a little bit when she says the Papacy supports private property. True, there is much verbiage about the institution of private property in the papal documents, but upon careful reading one can easily arrive at the conclusion that private property is construed as a privilege, not as a right. That makes a huge difference when one thinks in terms of policy and economic arrangements. A discussion for another time perhaps.

  • Roger McKinney

    Rich, I share a lot of your concerns with the document. A lot of commentators on the encyclical seem to take the position that it was written in code and that you have to know Catholic theology and all previous documents in order to decode it. That seems to be a strange attitude to take. Was the document written just for Catholic insiders? If not, the words should be interpreted by their commonly used meaning. To require, as some commentators do, that you look up the words in a special “Catholic” dictionary seems unreasonable.

    My main complaint is that the document claims to be about economics and social issues, yet all it does is criticize the extremes of capitalism and socialism without offering any guidance other than love and truth. The proponents of both think they are guided by love and truth.

    In the Catholic tradition, the scholastics of the 16th and 17th centuries came down firmly on the side of free markets and private property over state control of the economy. They did not prefer a vague middle way. After the Reformation, which issued on stage free markets, Catholics took the attitude that free markets and private property were Protestant ideas and opposed them. Eventually the Church began promoting socialism. It good to see the Church back away from socialism, but now it just seems confused.

  • http://www.ruthinstitute.org Jennifer Roback Morse

    RE: Truth,
    Of course, knowing exactly what the truth is can be a challenge. Of course, we can make mistakes and be wrong. But that doesn’t change the substantive points:
    1. There is such a thing as truth.
    2. It is possible for human beings to discover more and mroe about that truth. (Please note: if these two things are not true, then we have no basis for doing economic science.)
    3. Acting outside of the truth will eventually catch up with you and you’ll pay a price for it. Nature will exact its own revenge, quite apart from any human doling out of “natural consequences.”
    4. There is no charity in making stuff up.
    The question of the Common Good is more complex, and i’ll try to talk about it in another post.

  • http://www.ruthinstitute.org Jennifer Roback Morse

    Re; The Common Good.
    Gentlemen, go back and look at my original article, where I distinguish this older concept from its modern (very cheap) imitators. I beleive the “common good” is supposed to focus on institutional arrangements, with an eye toward understanding the genuine good for mankind. This concept is now unintelligible to the modern mind, precisely because moderns have thrown Truth under the bus.
    But here are some examples: man woman marriage promotes the common good, the good of all of us. Exceptional situations can be handled as exceptions, but there is no alternative institutional arrangement that promotes the genuine thriving of the human person.
    The market economy promotes the common good, for similar reasons. So does the institution of private property, even though you might be able to imagine individual situations in which someone would be better off with some other institutional arrangement. Deal with exceptional situations as exceptions, but preserve the general principle because it promotes the genuine good of man, and the human community.

  • Rich Schmidt

    Roger – I believe you are correct in saying that the document criticizes the extremes of capitalism and socialism without prescribing a viable alternative. This is not new in the papal discourses on economics, and though the church also likes to say that it does not propose a third way, it comes down squarely in favor of a “mixed economy” with elements of both capitalism and state control. The welfare state is very much a child of Catholic social doctrine (or at least has Catholic social doctrine in its DNA).

    I believe one problem is that of perceived intentionality. Many (most?) people still fall prey to the myth that capitalism is motivated by greed and man’s innate tendency toward acquisitiveness while socialism is motivated by altruism and a commitment to “social justice.” The fact that capitalism is far more productive than socialism is an embarrassment to many Christians and other people of good will, for how can something motivated by greed and selfishness be better for humanity than a system based on filial concern for everyone in society? What you end up with is a crude compromise where capitalism is grudgingly accepted as an engine of productivity but one which must be constantly civilized and tamed through benevolent third party interventions (the belief being that left to its own devices, capitalism will benefit evil and devour the good).

    Of course, when we choose words like greed or altruism and frame the discussion as one of evil intention versus good intention we have hopelessly obscured the real issues and very little productive work gets done in deciding how to organize societies.

    To me, the real issue is one of freedom or perhaps more accurately how much freedom individuals should be afforded in order to create a just society? Once we frame the discussion this way we can proceed honestly and productively as we explore the question of where along the continuum between anarchy and totalitarianism the just society resides. How much freedom should individuals relinquish in order to promote the greatest good for everyone? Framing the discussion as an issue of freedom at least gives us common ground on which to stand.

    Ok – now after having said all that, I wonder if this document is really trying to get at this notion of how to negotiate the freedom continuum without resorting to preconceived solutions (e.g., cap, and soc.). In other words, is it possible that the document is saying something like this: by seeking God’s truth and responding with authentic love, we will find the right place to settle along the continuum and the result will be neither capitalism or socialism but something altogether new and vital? The result will be a society that is radically free and radically just and difficult, if not impossible, to categorize.

  • Rich Schmidt

    Jennifer – thanks for taking a stab at the question of the common good. I think you do a nice job of identifying how to think about this very tricky concept.

    You write, “Exceptional situations can be handled as exceptions, but there is no alternative institutional arrangement that promotes the genuine thriving of the human person.”

    I take this to mean that one way of developing a methodology for determining what meets the standard of common good is to examine it alongside its alternatives and their concomitant outcomes. Is that what you’re getting at here?

  • Roger McKinney

    Rick: “by seeking God’s truth and responding with authentic love, we will find the right place to settle along the continuum and the result will be neither capitalism or socialism but something altogether new and vital?”

    If you look at the true history of capitalism, not the distorted history invented by socialists, it came from a thousand years of scholars banging their heads against the brick wall of the “just price” problem. Catholic scholars debated the just price issue intensely and constantly over a millenium. By the 16th century they had come to a consensus that the free market was the only place a just price could be found. The Dutch Republic took that millinium of scholarly debate seriously and established free markets. They also took the Church teaching on the sanctity of private property very seriously and established the most secure property rights in the history of Europe. None of this was motivated by greed. All of the leadership were devout Christians, though Protestant. They wanted to please God and establish a nation that followed Biblical principles, which they saw as those arrived at by Catholic Church scholars over the previous millenia. (BTW, free markets are nothing but the concrete instantiation of the abstract of property rights. One is the theory, the other the reality.) For a good history of the Dutch Republic, read Jonathan Israel’s “The Dutch Republic.”

    Eventually, England adopted many aspects of the Dutch system and socialists called it capitalism, but it differs very little from the Dutch system which was based on the truth about free markets and property as preached by the Catholic Church. Capitalism is truth and love made concrete in the sphere of economics. Anything less than capitalism opposes the truth and love.

    Of course, God demands of the wealthy that they share their wealth with the poor. So the main question is how that should be done. Should we allow people to do it voluntarily, or should we use the power of the state to force them at gunpoint to do it. There is nothing in the Bible or Church doctrine that gives the state the right to force people to be charitable. Even in the only government that God established, Israel, God did not give the state the power to enforce his commands to help the poor. It was all voluntary.

    Since the birth of capitalism, we have learned a second method of helping the poor in addition to charity–investment in businesses. Before capitalism, property was too easily stolen by the nobility and the king for people with money to invest in new businesses. With capitalism, people invested their wealth in new ventures instead of hoarding gold or buying land. That created jobs for the poor and caused wages to rise continually, eventually creating the middle class, which had never really existed before. An experience has taught us that job creation through investment helps the poor far more than does charity. Today, we have witnessed a real miracle in China where small slivers of market freedom (obeying God’s laws) has lifted hundreds of millions of people out of the worst poverty on the planet. Free markets did that, not charity.

  • Rich Schmidt

    Roger: I agree with your eloquent assessment and am convinced that free markets coupled with strong private property rights are necessary ingredients for prosperity. I’m also convinced that personal integrity and the ability to delay gratification are essential to getting the most from such a system. That is what attracts me to the Acton Institute.

    I didn’t always feel this way. When I was younger I identified myself as a Socialist – I hated capitalism and resented the wealthy. I saw in wealth selfishness personified. I didn’t come from wealth and considered myself above such an obviously corrupt system. I was convinced that Jesus was a Socialist, helped in no small part by Upton Sinclair’s “The Jungle.” I truly believed that Socialism occupied the moral high ground and that right thinking Christians should feel this way, as well. I lived in a state of perpetual indignation at corporations, the wealthy, Ronald Reagan, and so on.

    That attitude lasted until I went to work and had to support myself. I began, very slowly, to awaken to an entirely new perspective (taxes anyone?). And somewhere along the way I began to see the issue not as one of socio-political arrangements, but of freedom and this sent me down a long path of discovery that has led me to my current Libertarian orientation. I have discovered a passion for liberty and now I am attempting to come to terms with my Christian faith and its demands for solidarity with the poor with this new perspective.

    But, you know, I still feel a tug of sympathy now and then with my old self – I remember the emotions that accompanied my preference for Socialism and how that was buoyed by my love for Jesus and the Gospels. And though it seems obvious to me that your description of capitalism and its wonderful effects are true, I also see how easy it is to get lost in the thicket.

    I guess that is why I am also trying to get inside this document a bit to try and understand it from Benedict’s viewpoint – could it be that he, too, is having difficulty letting go of old suspicions of capitalism and wealth or is he simply rejecting these categories altogether in favor of a new way of talking about socio-economic issues?

    By the way, I’m really trying to confine my comments to what is in the Introduction of this doc and hope to be able to discuss the other sections as we get to them. At least I hope we will be doing that!

  • Roger McKinney

    Rich, I was a socialist, too when I was younger. My attitude didn’t change well into adulthood. I had spent some time overseas and was shocked by the poverty. In my late 30’s I got an MA in econ from a good state school. My favorite class was 3rd world economic development. I was very concerned about helping the poor. It presented the Marxist as well as other views, though not the Austrian school. Developmental economics is very different from micro and macro. It’s much more practical and contradicts macro quite often. I kept reading after graduation because I never really got an answer in all of my graduate courses as to why a few nations are rich and the majority very poor. I eventually came across New Institutional economics and read a lot of economic history searching for the roots of capitalism. That all prepared me for Austrian econ. which I think is the only true econ in existence.

    Austrian econ is the truth, and if the Church loves people, it will teach them the truth.

  • Rich Schmidt

    Roger, It’s interesting to note that we’ve ended up in very similar places. I, too, have found my way to the Austrian camp and count “Human Action” as one of the seminal books that helped pull it all together for me. I’m not an anarcho-capitalist, though, like Rockwell and Rothbard, but I do sympathize with their state-less leanings – I would much prefer to err on the side of less state than more.

    But not being an anarcho-capitalist presents some technical challenges which goes back to my freedom continuum. I believe a state is necessary to ensure that liberty is preserved for everyone to enjoy, but the state I envision is much closer to the Founder’s vision, one which has very limited powers and exists for the good of all and views equality as equality before the law and fundamental rights and not equality of outcomes.

    But it’s a slippery slope, I guess, though it could be less slippery if we all agreed on some theoretical foundation on which to stand (and I believe the Austrians have provided the best framework for this). I find Richard Epstein very helpful in thinking through problems of freedom within a minimal state context.

    I very much agree with your last statement – if we’re really concerned about the poor we would be eager to seek out those systems and solutions that work and cast antiquated beliefs and ideologies aside. At the end of the day, however, it’s very hard for people to step outside of the belief systems that have given them a foothold in the world, even if they no longer hold up. Beliefs trump reason almost every time (at least in my experience). It took a long time for the church to come to terms with the heliocentric model of our solar system.

    George Kinder, a pioneer in the “psychology of money” movement within the financial planning industry believes that much psychological pain around money (and, by extension, economics) is caused when people try to apply their beliefs about money formed in childhood to the adult world. The beliefs we carry around money usually have a strong grain of truth to them and may even serve us well as children, but when we become adults they no longer have significant explanatory power causing us cognitive dissonance as we encounter the “real” world. At that point we can either labor to press our immature beliefs onto the Procrustean bed of reality or we can do the hard work of examining them and changing them to be better representations of the world around us and better guides for being and acting.

    It is painful either way, but the pain of laboring to change our beliefs and understanding to be suitable for a grown up results, ultimately, in peace and self-power while the other pain can only go away if we become adept at self-delusion.

  • Roger McKinney

    “…people try to apply their beliefs about money formed in childhood to the adult world.”

    Interesting thought. That may explain why the idea that wealth is limited and one person can gain wealth only at the expense of others is still so dominant.

  • Thomas Sundaram

    “Austrian econ is the truth, and if the Church loves people, it will teach them the truth.”

    Roger, I like that you have such great respect for the need for free enterprise. As the op-ed that I co-wrote with Noah Meek for Acton while I was an intern will indicate (“Ban The Bottle?”, probably located SOMEWHERE on the website, I should think) I am not a big fan of government regulation where it should not be, or even for the most part. But there are many branches of Austrian economics. Principally, which one you advocate depends on how you view government and the human person. So when you say Austrian econ is “the truth”, you have to clarify, because the economics of Rothbard and of Hayek (for example) are in some respects mutually exclusive.

    Now let us say that you discover the most natural system of “free enterprise.” Good for you, that’s something I am still trying to figure out myself, although I am somewhat convinced that it will be far closer to Hayek or Friedman than Rothbard. But even if you figure it out, there is still the moral aspect to take into account. Show an economist a political system or a desired end, and he will tell you how best to bring it about, whether good or bad, according to his own principles. Even if you have the principles right, the moral life of human beings MUST be considered, and that moral life includes charity. Which is why I have trouble hearing that:

    “Today, we have witnessed a real miracle in China where small slivers of market freedom (obeying God’s laws) has lifted hundreds of millions of people out of the worst poverty on the planet. Free markets did that, not charity.”

    Because the worst poverty on the planet is prior even to the poverty of economics. Moral poverty exists even in the most developed nations, and exists MORE, arguably, in more “developed” countries of late, just as it existed in Ancient Rome during a time of luxury. And when a country is in a state of moral poverty, a state which exists in her people, whether ruler or ruled, no economic prosperity will keep it afloat. This is why (as far as I can tell in my admittedly brief, but certainly enjoyable experience) Acton emphasizes the theological-economic synthesis; because while economic action may determine the internal disposition of the person in some respect, the internal disposition also determines economic action, and without an understanding of good morality and ethics, all the free enterprise in the world will profit both man and country naught. That understanding cannot be divorced from the role of charity, which acts hand in hand with economics.

  • Roger McKinney

    Thomas: “…the economics of Rothbard and of Hayek (for example) are in some respects mutually exclusive.”

    Actually, I think you need to separate the economics of Rothbard from his ethics. Rothbard thought that freedom required a stronger foundation than what natural law had provided, so he tried to invent his own. I think he failed. On pure economics, I don’t see much difference between the two. Hayek was more willing to compromise on politics while Rothbard sought intellectual purity.

    Thomas: “But even if you figure it out, there is still the moral aspect to take into account.”

    I agree, but the most important moral issue is that of property. Debates about the honesty of business people seem senseless to me if you don’t have the firm foundation of the morality of property.

    If you make the focus of your morality (in terms of economics) property, as the Dutch Republic did, then you’ll have a system to protect it, such as free markets, limited government and honest judges and police. In that case, the greed of businessmen won’t matter because the free market will contain it. But if you don’t have a moral foundation in property, then greed will run rampant because the state does not limit greed; it encourages it. The only reason men want to be politicians is so that they can sell their votes to the highest bidder. The more control over the economy that you give them, the more votes they have to sell and the more power greed has.

  • Richard K. Munro

    Re; The Common Good.

    Jennifer I agree of course that the common good (or general welfare), though it has different interpretations means for the good of all, that is to say for the entire family, the entire community, the entire nation and in a larger sense for all mankind (humanity). This concept may be unknown or
    unintelligible to many but it is taught in the churches (I am a master catechist) and it is a key term in the “We the People” Curriculum which is taught in all 50 states at some level. Just today we were talking about the importance of man-woman (traditional)marriage as promoting the common good.
    One of the reasons so-calld “Gay Marriage” is harmful to the common good is that millions of dollars of resources are wasted just so that a tiny minority can demand “equal rights” (actually special privileges). In this time of war and economic problems it is very selfish of this tiny minority group do demand these special privileges. No Gay man is denied the right to marry (a woman); they choose not to marry the opposite sex. No Gay woman is denied the right to marry (a man); they choose not to marry the opposite sex.
    I have no problem if Gay people want to live together in so called “monogamous” relationships but I do think it poor taste, for example, to take public school children during school hours to witness a sham Gay Wedding where two Gay people play act at marriage. They must be doing something but in the final analysis anything they do is ‘dud in the mud’ sex and so it is not in the common good to expend time or energy promoting such unions. The free society may tolerate eccentricities in private life -even the virtual polygamy of Hugh Heffner but they do not have to promote or endorse such wasteful and I think harmful sillyness.

    The market economy CAN promotes the common good, as you say but in my view only if the society is based on moral values.

    Private property and the private life are probably essential to the free society. But this does not mean the rights of property are above all other rights. In my view property is only part of the “pursuit of happiness” -an important part but only part. The right to life and personal and community liberty (within the Common Good) must be higher values than private property and private profit. Some forget that Acton himself was not a libertarian or an extreme liberal. He was above all a Roman Catholic liberal who cared about the Common Good. Acton said “Adam Smith disregareded actual facts…he started the common idea of Liberalism: the Disinterested state. No care for religion, morality, education, poor relief, health. Laissez-faire. We have been correcting this extreme ever since then.” These are Acton’s word’s not mine. Acton consider Classical Liberalism of the Adam Smith school to be EXTREME and Ill-advised. Acton is in fact often in agreement with Adam Fergusson, Smith’s Highland countryman. Perhaps few of you will understand this – we all admired Adam Smith in our household- but my grandfather always said: “The first thing to ken aboot Adam Smith is that he was a “Gall fuar agus glas’ -a sallow, cold-hearted Lowlander.” He was a peculiar sort without a family of his own and dependent on female relatives and servants to clean and cook for him. He was a very bookish man and unlike Fergusson he had no experience at sea or in the military service nor could he speak the languages of his country. (Fergusson could read, write and speak Gaelic as well as French, Latin and Greek and English of course). I agree with Jennifer that his Holiness the Pope did write and think non-ideologically though I think the world would consider him at best Center-Right (many people think he is Ultra Right; many teachers I know consider the Catholic Church be a reactionary and harmful institution. I never cease to be shocked by the ignorance and bigotry of so-called educated people. I personally would compare the contributions to the Common Good of Humanity of the Catholic Church to Planned Parenthood anytime. In some future time, long after the West has ceased to exist and countries like Spain, France and Germany are just geographic expressions like Gaul and Dacia I doubt very much that Planned Parenthood will be considered the shinning achievement of the USA in the 20th century. I am quite sure it will be considered one of the cancers that help undermine, depopulate and destroy the West and the USA.