Benedict the political conservative

Benedict the political conservative

I keep hearing about how the former Cardinal Ratzinger, as a German of a certain outlook and age, is not what many American Catholics would consider a conservative in the political sense. I don’t know about that, but I don’t find anything to argue with in this paragraph from Deus Caritas Est:

The State which would provide everything, absorbing everything into itself, would ultimately become a mere bureaucracy incapable of guaranteeing the very thing which the suffering person—every person—needs: namely, loving personal concern. We do not need a State which regulates and controls everything, but a State which, in accordance with the principle of subsidiarity, generously acknowledges and supports initiatives arising from the different social forces and combines spontaneity with closeness to those in need.

I think Russell Kirk would wholeheartedly embrace that. Would that the current standard-bearers for conservatism in this country would agree.

Heck, would that the people running Catholic Charities in Boston would agree. The way they lobby the State House, they think that the State should provide for all needs.

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Written by
Domenico Bettinelli
  • It’s essentially the dire problem, to paraphrase Lord Acton that, “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”  This being true whether the power resides in one man, several people, or the corporate body, i.e., the government.  Those of us in middle age can see this corruption in the malignant growth of hundreds of tyrannical bureaucracies, mindless and nagging little laws and regulations, interminable processes, discrimination in the name of anti-discrimination—and with it the increased destruction of human enterprise and initiative.

    We traded our old dirty, yet vibrant cities for smokeless vacuums of condos, “art and culture” and a boring repitition of the chic that undermines its very name.  As it exists, whether in suburban mall-sprawl in its utter ugliness or the urban condo-hive, it breeds a numbing sameness caused in large part by a government of bureacracies answerable only to itself and the tight groups of people who draw the noose of dependence ever tighter. 

    In the end, it results in persecution, the distortion of facts, the denial of truth; and the Leninist statues or Maoist posters adorning even the park field houses.  Christ never really answers the questions of taxes and Caesar—he throws the question back on the questioner—“Give unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and unto God the things that are God’s.”

    And what motto now on our money is under attack?

  • AS a Kirk conservative, I was very happy when I read that passage.  So many Catholics, especially in the new Massachusetts that John Hetman described above, believe that it is the government that is responsible for the poor and the needy.  History has shown us that Big Government doesn’t work.  What works is when the individual makes the decision to help his neighbor in need.

  • “what works is when the individual makes the decision to help his neighbor in need.”

    Even more so, what works is when the extended family automatically takes care of its own.

    The nanny state systematically undermines the family, violating the principle of subsidiarity with long-tern catastrophic results. The bureaucrats of the bishops’ conference don’t really understand this and consequently the priorities of their social justice agenda are skewed.

    The top three items should be 1) right to life issues, 2) restoring and protecting the legal framework for family life, 3) vouchers so parents are empowered to educate their children properly. None of these things cost any money.

  • This the same Ratzinger who said “Decisions like this [Iraq war] should be made by the community of nations, by the UN, and not by an individual power.”

    Please, let’s not sully the Holy Father’s message by drawing him into our political ideologies.