At Catholic Vote, Acton Research Director Samuel Gregg joins the web site’s political director Josh Mercer to look into the reasons why socialist and Democrat presidential candidate Bernie Sanders “was invited by ‘the Vatican’ (actually: Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences) to speak on income inequality.” Gregg and Mercer also discuss whether socialism is on the rise here in the United States. Tune in here.
(Rome) on the 21st and 22nd of July, mayors from around the world meet at the Vatican to discuss the global climate and modern slavery. What sounds so politically correct, should be through and through. Initiator of the Mayor Meeting is the Argentine, Marcelo Sanchez Sorondo, Curial Archbishop, the chancellor of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences and the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences . He was the organizer behind the eco-Encyclical Laudato Si who besides creating the contacts next to the dead letter, especially at the United Nations and the “high politics”.
Bishop: Vatican is free to work with everyone, UN is not the ‘devil’
Carol Glatz, Catholic News Service
The United Nations is not “the devil,” so a papal think tank is free to collaborate with the international body as well as people of any political persuasion, said Bishop Marcelo Sanchez Sorondo, chancellor of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences. The church will continue to collaborate with the United Nations on any joint project that “does not go against the doctrine of the church,” he said at a news conference July 15.
Indian children spread pope’s message on climate change
Ritu Sharma, UCA News
Supporting Pope Francis’ global call for urgent action on climate change, children in New Delhi took to the streets to create awareness for the environment. “People tend to ignore the need to preserve the environment and carry on with their lives. I hope they will take into consideration what the pope has said on the issue,” Kalpana Singh told ucanews.com. Singh was among the 7-15 year-olds taking part in a dance event on New Delhi streets July 12 using colorful umbrellas, unicycles and holding banners, despite the heavy downpour.
Donald Trump, Pope Francis — When Fathers Embarrass Their Children
John Zmirak, National Review
Every time Donald Trump opens his mouth to say something brash and provocative, whose sharp edges distract from whatever grains of truth he might have grasped, I imagine how his children must feel. Do they wince and read every word — or blink and look away? Do they spin the quotes to their friends, say that they were taken out of context, or probably misreported? I need no leap of empathy here, because I feel exactly the same whenever Pope Francis speaks on economics or politics. My friends here will jump in and say that I’m being unfair here — either to Francis or to Trump, depending on which friend — but the analogy is exact.
President of Vatican Academy Attacks Climate Change Skeptic
Austin Ruse, Breitbart
In a rare display of diplomatic indecorum, Margaret Archer, the president of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences, has lashed out at the author of a recent essay, accusing him of hate speech and moral depravity for questioning the Academy’s position on climate change.
Pope’s Encyclical on Ecology to Be Released June 18
Deborah Castellano Lubov, Zenit
“To avoid confusion over the date of publication of the long-awaited encyclical of Pope Francis, the confirmed date of publication will be next Thursday, June 18, 2015,” the statement noted, adding, “Next week further details about the encylical will be made public in the daily bulletin of the Holy See.”
Investing Like Exxon
Jeff Siegel, Energy & Capital
It’s not as if the more than 1 billion Catholics in the world are going to stop driving their cars just because the Pope is railing against climate change.
Why Rick Santorum doesn’t want Pope Francis talking about climate change
Jessica Mendoza, The Christian Science Monitor
“It is not the business of the church to stray from the field of faith and morals and wander into the playground that is science,” Christopher Monckton, a devout Catholic who has long played a lead role in the climate skeptic movement and an advisor to former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, said at the conference. “Stand back and listen to both sides. And do not take sides in politics.”
The Pontifical Science Academies has created a website to both educate and fight human trafficking. (Pontifical Academies are academic honor societies that work under the direction of the Holy See and the bishop of Rome, the Pope.)
The new website, www.endslavery.va, is one outcome of Pope Francis’ ecumenical Global Freedom Network held last year. This meeting included a joint declaration against trafficking, signed by Pope Francis and leaders of different faith communities. The website, #EndSlavery, will include Catholic and Anglican resources, according to Vatican News. The homepage features this statement from Pope Francis:
I urgently appeal to all men and women of good will, and all those near or far, including the highest levels of civil institutions, who witness the scourge of contemporary slavery, not to become accomplices to this evil, not to turn away from the sufferings of our brothers and sisters, our fellow human beings, who are deprived of their freedom and dignity. Instead, may we have the courage to touch the suffering flesh of Christ, revealed in the faces of those countless persons whom he calls “the least of these my brethren” (Mt 25:40, 45).
Visit #EndSlavery here.
In this week’s Acton Commentary, I review a new book by economist Joseph E. Stiglitz, Freefall: America, Free Markets, and the Sinking of the World Economy. Text follows:
A rare growth industry following the 2008 financial crisis has been financial crisis commentaries. An apparently endless stream of books and articles from assorted pundits and scholars continues to explain what went wrong and how to fix our present problems.
In this context, it was almost inevitable that one Joseph E. Stiglitz would enter the fray of finger-pointing and policy-offerings. As a Nobel Prize economist, former World Bank chief economist, former Chairman of the President’s Council of Economic Advisors, and member of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences, it would be surprising if he had nothing to say.
Moreover Stiglitz has assumed the role of social-democrat-public-intellectual-in-chief since his door-slamming departure from the World Bank in 1999. From this standpoint, Stiglitz opines about, well, pretty much everything. He also increasingly labels anyone disagreeing with him as a “market fundamentalist” or “conservative journalist.”
Yet despite his iconoclastic reputation, Stiglitz reveals himself in his latest offering, Freefall: America, Free Markets, and the Sinking of the World Economy, as a rather conventional Keynesian-inclined economist who, like most Keynesian-inclined economists, thinks everything went wrong in the early 1980s. (more…)
Yesterday I enjoyed a stimulating presentation of Harvard Law Professor and current U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See Mary Ann Glendon’s new Italian-language collection of essays, Tradizioni in Subbuglio (Traditions in Turmoil). Glendon has previously spoken at Acton’s closing Centesimus Annus conference at the Pontifical Lateran University and her address has been published in the latest issue of the Journal of Markets and Morality.
Situated near the Pantheon at the Istituto Luigi Sturzo, the event was attended by professors, lawyers, journalists and Vatican officials. Kishore Jayabalan, director of Istituto Acton, and I attended the book release which turned into a mini-conference on human dignity and human rights.
Prof. Valerio Onida, an Italian judge, commented that Glendon’s writings “represent a positive outlook that is diverse and encompasses many aspects of humanity. Human dignity, as represented in this work,” Onida continues, “is urgent for the whole world. The problems that affect some aspects of humanity affect the whole global human community.” Veering away from the direct commentary on the book, Onida expressed his view that the real problem “is that there are so many people who do not enjoy basic human rights.” In closing, Prof. Onida expressed thanks for the discourse of Mary Ann Glendon because “it explores these issues and clarifies the limitations of legislation.”
Following Onida, Bishop Marcelo Sánchez Sorondo, Chancellor of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences (where Glendon served as president from 1994 until her appointment as ambassador), gave an excellent discourse covering Traditions in Turmoil as well as other socio-economic issues. He cited Tocqueville at several points, saying, “the manners of the people are more important than the laws. This was one of the basic differences Tocqueville saw between France and the United States.” Sanchez accordingly addressed the need for a moral culture in the fields of economics and politics. Complementing Glendon’s research and understanding of the human person, he declared that “Many types of institutions have an agenda, both in Europe and the United States. An understanding of fundamental human development is crucial for understanding the development of society. Indifference to values creates many problems we face in today’s society.”
Closing the presentation of her book, Glendon made a few brief comments. She reminded those present that “Traditions, if they are alive and healthy, are systems in movement. As Alasdair Macntyre has put it, a living tradition is constituted by an ongoing argument about the goods that give it point and purpose. As for turmoil, this troubling state is not necessarily bad for a living tradition. In fact, a period of turmoil—an encounter with new and disturbing elements—can be the springboard for a great period of creativity, as well as a time of risk.”
Glendon’s book contains several fascinating chapters, including ones on the cultural supports of the American democratic experiment, Rousseau and the revolt against reason, the illusions of absolute rights, and the 1995 UN Beijing Women’s Conference, where she served as the head of the Holy See delegation.
While it appears that Glendon’s work is not very well-known in Italy, that should change with the publication of this book and, of course, her term as ambassador.
The Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences recently held a conference examining population decline and its manifold causes and effects. In connection with that meeting, the Rome-based news service ZENIT interviewed Riccardo Cascioli, president of Italy’s European Center of Studies on Population, Environment and Development. The full interview can be found at ZENIT’s site, in the daily dispatch for May 5.
The final question and answer summarize the state of the situation with respect to the impact of government policy and financial incentives on population growth. It speaks to the limitations of policy and the importance of religious and cultural factors:
Q: Many European countries hope to resolve the low birthrate with financial incentives and increases in the number of immigrants. During his intervention at the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences, Benedict XVI explained the phenomenon of the demographic decline as a lack of love and hope. What is your opinion in this respect?
Cascioli: The experience of some European countries, though they have had decades of policies that favor births — with incentives to births, flexible work to be able to look after children and a network of social services — should teach us that these measures are not enough.
Undoubtedly improvements are seen in the fertility rates, but they are not sufficient to reverse the tendency to the demographic winter.
Sadly, the European Union, which soon will publish a white book on the subject, is moving precisely in this direction, ignoring the cultural factor, that is, the most profound motives for a couple’s deciding to have or not have children.
Benedict XVI has finally put his finger on the problem: The real issue has to do with the meaning we give to life, because there is no financial incentive that could convince me to have children, if I live withdrawn in myself and am afraid of the future.
And here is the great task of the Church, because only the proclamation of Christ can reawaken to life a society that is sliding inexorably towards death.
The Pope’s address sounds, therefore, as a severe call also to those sectors of the Church that, when they address the demographic question, underscore almost exclusively the political options that governments must take.
The state has indeed the duty to remove obstacles — economic and social — to my freedom to decide how many children to have, but it cannot also give me the profound reasons to have them. Love and hope are before the state.