The start of Holy Week provides another opportunity for faithful Catholics to pause, set aside all earthly cares, and express with absolute frankness and complete sincerity their disgust with the rite introduced by Pope Pius XII nearly 60 years ago. Their displeasure is understandable even if it is out of place during this particular time of the year. There are, after all, 51 other weeks in which these liturgically minded Catholics can toss out disparaging remarks about, say, the gutting of Palm Sunday or the absurd placement of Tenebrae (darkness!) in the morning light. A number of those dissatisfied with the normative “traditional” Holy Week rite of the Church enjoy extending their ire toward the so-called “1962 books” which, admittedly, also have problems. But as I have argued elsewhere, for the average Catholic in the pew who likely doesn’t have access to the Tridentine Mass outside of Sundays and a handful of feast days, the differences between Mass said out of a 1954 Missal as opposed to one printed in 1962 are minor, even unnoticeable. That doesn’t mean the 1962 books, specifically the Missal and Breviary, shouldn’t be reexamined in the light of what immediately preceded them; it’s just not a matter worth spilling blood over, particularly at this point in the liturgical year.
To close out a series of thoughts which emerged in two earlier posts (here and here), let me start by clarifying something a few readers may have missed, namely that corporatism, as a viable model of socio-economic organization, should only be pursued by Catholics to the extent that it conforms to the dictates of the Church’s social magisterium. There is no one, hard set corporatist model to follow. Both Joseph Schumpeter and Pope Pius XI focus on principles, not machinery. What the two men share in common, however, is a rejection of fascist forms of corporatism. John Pollard, in his book The Papacy in the Age of Totalitarianism: 1914-1958 pg. 247, has this to say on the matter:
If Jesus Christ had come to save anything less than our immortal souls, His Incarnation, Passion, and Resurrection would be absurd. “For what shall it profit a man, if he gain the whole world, and suffer the loss of his soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” No one who has read seriously the works of St. Alphonsus Liguori, or listened to sermons and conferences given in the authentic Redemptorist tradition, can deny that these two verses and all the words of our Lord which point to the perilousness of salvation should be on the minds of all Catholics daily, even hourly. God, in His infinite love, holds that every human soul is a precious treasure, and yet we do not. We are flippant in the face of sin and the contempt we show God by breaking His commandments, from the least to the greatest, with a smile. There is scarcely a nation left on earth that does not legally protect every sin which cries to Heaven for vengeance. Had God not covenanted with Noah, He might have flooded the earth several times over already. Here, however, we remain, with gadgets, diet plans, fashion accessories, and enough craft beer to make alcoholics of us all. It’s difficult to imagine how any of this would be possible if the one Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church of Jesus Christ, established through the Apostles, and promised perpetuity until the Second Coming had not lost its way sometime during the course of the last century. May she find her way back soon.
For those interested, my take on the international liability issues surrounding the recent airline crash in France, “Germanwings Tragedy: Untangling the Legal Web,” is available at The National Interest. Here’s an excerpt:
The crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 in the French Alps on Tuesday opens another chapter in the macabre story of international aviation that began a year ago with the disappearance of Malaysian Airlines Flight 370 and seemed to reach its tragic peak in July with the downing of that same airliner’s Flight 17 over eastern Ukraine. The loss of AirAsia Flight 8501 in December was no less tragic, though it failed to capture sustained public attention. Breaking reports that Flight 9525 was brought down intentionally by the aircraft’s copilot, 28-year old German citizen Andreas Lubitz, has sparked an international outcry and a full criminal investigation by French officials. In the end, who will pay and why are questions that are already addressed under international law.
Dale Cramer and Charles Leathers’s analysis of economist and social theorist Joseph Schumpeter’s views on corporatism (discussed here) rely heavily on Schumpeter 1945 Montreal speech to a group of Quebec businessmen, “How to Preserve Private Enterprise: The Importance of Professional Organizations.” The speech, delivered originally in French, was translated into English by Michael G. Prime and David R. Henderson and published as “Schumpter on Preserving Private Enterprise,” 7 History of Political Economy 293 (1975). In their brief introduction to the translation, Prime and Henderson express some bafflement concerning Schumpeter’s concrete political views in the 1940s, though they note that “[t]here is little doubt that he regarded utilitarian liberalism as an inadequate basis for a durable social order.” Being that he was a critic of both fascism and bolshevism, the translators estimate that “Schumpeter’s sympathies lay with an aristocratic social order” and that “he thought that social reconstruction along the lines suggested by [Pope Pius XI’s] Quadragesimo Anno (QA), as an alternative to impractical laissez-faire or a totalitarian state, was a possibility worth exploring.”
Joseph Schumpeter’s name is not commonly associated with Catholic social teaching, nor is much said about the economist’s views of corporatism, that is, the organization of society around interest groups and their duly appointed representatives. In a 1981 article for the History of Political Economy, “Schumpeter’s Corporatist Views: Links Among His Social Theory, Quadragesimo Anno, and Moral Reform,” Dale Cramer and Charles Leathers tease out Schumpeter’s apparently positive appraisal of corporatism as an alternative to the metamorphoses of capitalism into socialism. In doing so, Cramer and Leathers provide evidence of Schumpeter’s affinities with Pope Pius XI’s landmark encyclical, Quadragesimo Anno (QA), and the Catholic corporatist tradition as a whole. Though Schumpeter never dedicated concentrated attention to the topic, two speeches delivered in the 1940s, including a 1945 address given in (still Catholic) Montreal, reveal Schumpeter’s belief in a corporatist possibility, albeit one predicated upon an ill-defined “moral reform.” As Cramer and Leathers point out, it’s not entirely clear that Schumpter was directly attached to Catholic thought or that his idea of moral reform mapped perfectly well onto the principles enumerated in QA. Even so, Schumpter’s thinking on corporatism reveals an awareness of the ethic component of economic reform, one lost in the minds of many Catholics who, for various reasons, seem to believe that capitalism is both inevitable and desirable.
David Mills, a former editor at First Things and Touchstone, joined Ethika Politika‘s (EP) editorial board last year; now he is assuming the role of editorial director. In a brief but thoughtful article, “Why I Joined,” Mills explains what attracted him to EP in the first place, particularly its diversity. Here are some of Mills’s own words:
Tomorrow, March 24, should be the decorated feast of my namesake St. Gabriel the Archangel. After having his feast extended to the universal Church by Pope Benedict XV in 1921, it lasted for a mere four decades; then the liturgical reformers, in their “wisdom,” knocked St. Gabriel’s Day down to a mere commemoration. By the time the Novus Ordo Missae was promulgated by Paul VI, he was practically pushed off the calendar altogether, forced to share space with his fellow archangels on the day once known as Michaelmas. Apparently declaring the coming of our Lord and, later, authoring Axion Estin doesn’t cut the mustard anymore in our modern, enlightened, and thoroughly de-mythologized Roman Church. The Christian East, in its actual wisdom, not only retains the Feast of St. Gabriel on November 28, but gives him two additional commemorations on March 26 (for his role in the Annunciation) and July 13 (in honor of his many miracles).
If you get the chance, you might recite this hymn to St. Gabriel from the old Dominican breviary tomorrow. Given the many graces St. Gabriel has bestowed upon the Christians of the East throughout the centuries, perhaps a good intention would be for this Holy Archangel, and all his compatriots in Heaven, to bestow protection on our brothers and sisters in Christ who have been left to suffer unspeakable persecution at the hands of men driven mad by a false religion.
Gabriel, Angel of light, and strength of God! whom our Emmanuel
selected from the rest of the heavenly princes,
that thou shouldst expound
unto Daniel the mystery of the savage goat.
Thou didst joyfully hasten to the prophet as he prayed,
and didst tell him of the sacred weeks,
which were to give us the birth of the King of Heaven,
and enrich us with plenteous joy.
‘Tis thou didst bring to
the parents of the Baptist the wondrous and gladsome
tidings that Elizabeth, though barren, and Zachary,
though old, should have a son.
What the prophets had foretold from the beginning of the world,
this thou didst announce in all the fullness of the
mystery to the holy virgin,
telling her that she was to be the true Mother of God.
Thou, fair spirit, didst fill the Bethlehem shepherds with joy,
when thou didst tell them the heavenly tidings;
and with thee a host of Angels sang the praises of the newborn God.
As Jesus was in prayer on that last night, when a bloody sweat bathed His limbs,
thou didst leave Heaven to be near Him, and offer Him the chalice
that His Father willed Him to drink.
O blessed Trinity! strengthen Catholic hearts with the heavenly gift of faith. Give us grace, as we to thee give glory for ever. Amen.
Put “Ukraine” and “fascist” into Google (or Bing) and prepare for a torrent of hyperbolic hits, and a few sane ones as well. There is no shortage of “well-sourced stories” from mainstream news sites, Leftist rags, and, of course, Eastern Orthodox web-logs claiming that Ukraine, or at least all of Ukraine except the “Holy Russian” eastern portion of the country, is in the hands of fascists. Take for instance Alex Gordon’s latest contribution to the socialist news source The Morning Star. Although the headline indicates that the article concerns NATO’s role in fostering Ukrainian fascism, the actual product amounts to little more than smear journalism that fails to make elemental distinctions between far-right, fascist, and Neo-Nazi political movements and positions. Granted, in the murky world of Eastern European politics the lines sometimes blur easily, but not so easily that movements which are consciously nationalistic are automatically racist or genocidal. Gordon’s article also contains manifest untruths, such as claiming that Stepan Bandera, a Ukrainian nationalist hero and Greek Catholic, “murdered thousands of Ukrainian Jews and Poles during World War II.” He did nothing of the sort and was, in fact, interned in a Nazi concentration camp when Ukrainian-backed atrocities took place in the country.
Yesterday’s online dustup over “friendly fascism” and liberalism involving two champions of Catholic libertarianism—John Zmirak and the Acton Institute—reveals more than just the obvious fact that Catholics disagree strongly on the relationship between the Catholic Church’s principles and concrete socio-economic policy. It also shows the extent to which the libertarian wing of the Church chooses to remain ignorant of their critics. (Before proceeding, let me be clear that despite Acton’s claim to be a non-confessional enterprise, its core leadership is Catholic, and many of its activities have a conscious Catholic bent to them.) For those who have been monitoring the “great debate” concerning Catholicism and liberalism which has again picked up steam over the past decade, none of this is entirely surprising. Acton’s members, for instance, have been subjected to withering criticism for years by a broad base of Catholic (and a few non-Catholic) thinkers, particularly Distributists and others who are concerned with upholding the integrity of the Church’s social magisterium. Acton’s response, at least thus far, has been to either ignore those criticisms or, worse, manipulate the debate by presenting caricatures of its critics. At the Institute’s annual “Acton University” (a misleading name if there ever was one), a “course” on Distributism is regularly offered, albeit one taught by Todd Flanders, an economic liberal who has little-to-no clear sympathy for the Distributist tradition. Having been graciously afforded the opportunity to listen to last year’s lecture, I can say with full confidence that the presentation was imbalanced, superficial, and, at points, lacking in seriousness.