“It will, I believe, be everywhere found, that as the clergy are, or are not what they ought to be, so are the rest of the nation.” Jane Austen
The main male character in Jane Austen’s “Mansfield Park” is Edmund Bertram. Edmund, a good man who aspires to and eventually becomes a member of the clergy. Edmund is judged as less than successful for even desiring to be part of the Church by Mary Crawford, a shallow female character who tries to and almost leads him astray. In defending his calling, Edmund states in Chapter Nine,
“We do not look in great cities for our best morality. It is not there that respectable people of any denomination can do most good; and it certainly is not there that the influence of the clergy can be most felt. A fine preacher is followed and admired; but it is not in fine preaching only that a good clergyman will be useful in his parish and his neighbourhood, where the parish and neighbourhood are of a size capable of knowing his private character, and observing his general conduct, which in London [a large city] can rarely be the case. The clergy are lost there in the crowds of their parishioners. They are known to the largest part only as preachers. And with regard to their influencing public manners, Miss Crawford must not misunderstand me, or suppose I mean to call them the arbiters of good–breeding, the regulators of refinement and courtesy, the masters of the ceremonies of life. The manners I speak of might rather be called conduct, perhaps, the result of good principles; the effect, in short, of those doctrines which it is their duty to teach and recommend; and it will, I believe, be everywhere found, that as the clergy are, or are not what they ought to be, so are the rest of the nation.”
It’s quite sad that a number of men (certainly not all or even close) and many women do not understand that Austen wasn’t simply an author of “romantic novels”. She had the uncanny ability to take the part of social scientist when fleshing out her characters in all of her novels. When reading the reports of the latest attack on the Church, the quote I used for the title immediately came to mind. It is such a sweet delight to know that Miss Austen “got it”. She also was able to articulate it from the masculine perspective quite successfully even when modern churchmen can’t or won’t do it themselves. You just can’t make this up.
In the last several days I went ballistic on Twitter. The ridiculous “white paper” which was released from the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, (an office within the Vatican) named “Towards Reforming the International Financial and Monetary Systems in the Context of Global Public Authority,” from the Pontifical Council for Justice & Peace (read the full text here) by His Eminence Cardinal Peter Kodwo Appiah Turkson and Bishop Mario Toso, Titular Bishop of Bisarcio and perhaps a ghostwriter. In addition, I went crazy over the shoddy coverage of the story on “The Blaze” by Billy Hallowell.
First, please understand I hold Rome responsible for how this document was introduced to the media. Per usual, the Vatican’s public relations department finds new and exciting ways to make sure that the Church is continually misrepresented. At the very least, it sets up the attacks on Holy Mother Church (either unknowingly, because of stupidity or deliberately, or BOTH, in order to undermine the Faith and the Holy Father, take your pick).
How hard could it be for the PR people in Rome to say simply what this document is? The PR folks at the Vatican will not say what is really going on here. If they did, it would be a scandal. Yup, I said it…a scandal. Why, Sofia, do you think it would be a scandal? Sadly, Professor Leonardo Becchetti, though not named as one of the actual authors, was present at the press conference ( why, if he wasn’t one of the authors?) for the now reknown white paper. Father John Zuhlsdorf in his blog, “What Does the Prayer Really Say?” has done the job thoroughly deconstructing and explaining what really is going on here with this latest attempt to vilify the Church from within [my opinion, not Father Zuhlsdorf’s]
Professor Bechetti’s political beliefs and agenda are well known in Catholic circles and let just say…he isn’t on the side of the Church and Her Teachings. Ironically, the 2011 Summit of the Group of 20 (G20), the sixth meeting of the Group’s Heads of State or Government, will take place in Cannes, France, from November 3-4, 2011. Hmmmm…”they” say timing is EVERYTHING in life.
Does Bechetti think that Roman Catholics around the world are so stupid that we are not able to read or understand exactly what is going on here? Oh yeah, that’s right, I’ll be called a right wing conspiracy nut, but that in itself is a funny thing. Unlike those attacking “right-wingers”, the left wing who purport those talking points, I still believe in God and KNOW that He is Truth and sees all. Too bad for them.
Father Zuhlsdorf has posted several pieces concerning this white paper and for clarity’s sake we will be cross-posting his work and will put out links for the posts he refers to in his blog. In addition, we have compiled a reading list (which we will post at the end of this piece so that you, dear readers can make up your own minds.) of related posts.
In addition to Father Z’s work, we are crossposting an excellent piece by Lisa Graas from her blog, LisaGraas.com . Lisa addresses the additional issue of the erroneous claim that the Holy Father supports the protestors at Occupy Wall Street. It never ends.
By the way, It is a “white paper” because basically if you print it out, and shred it, you have excellent packing material.
I will say only a few things concerning the coverage by Billy Hallowell at “The Blaze”. A very close friend of mine has used gentle correction as a Christian to help me realize where the real problem lies in this issue. I do agree I was going after the messenger but I do think that The Blaze needed to do a better job of research and delivery on topics regarding the Catholic Church. If I was too hard, I apologize for my lack of charity. I still believe however, that well known Catholic writer/blogger Lisa Graas and close friend was correct when she stated on Twitter: “It seems anti-Catholic to push something like that (which is falsehood) and ignore other things.”
Well said, Lisa. I guess my reaction wasn’t the hallmark of charity but my only reason would be to say, I am truly sorry but I must defend the Faith and Church I love. I ask those who want to write about the Catholic Church to at least stop taking the lazy way out by grabbing a video from MSNBC of all places of a “priest”, Thomas Reese, S.J., who makes his living denouncing the Church and then twisting Her Teachings to appear to be a truthteller.
Here is Father Zuhlsdorf’s post, “More about the “white paper” from the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace” October 26, 2011
More about the latest schizophrenic “white paper” from the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace. This new “white paper” – for I don’t want to dignify it with “document”, which might give it more weight that it deserves – offered some pretty good analysis of the status quaestionis and then went to the zoo on offering proposals.
When new documents or initiatives are issued from some dicastery of the Holy See there is usually a presser, during which the heads of the dicastery and experts involved with the genesis of the piece or event present what is going on to members of the press.
In the case of the “white paper” – which does not form part of the Ordinary Magisterium – the presenters were Card. Turkson and Archbp. Toso. Also present was Prof. Leonardo Becchetti, whom I assume was involved in part in the genesis of the “white paper”.
At this point I direct your attention to the comments made by Jeffrey Tucker, which I have posted here. Tucker made the observation, and I think he is right, that different hands contributed to this “white paper”. He wrote: “Probably this document had many authors, one of whom gets the Austrian theory of the business cycle. He prevailed in the first section. Another author seems to know nothing about politics and power or the history of the problems of centralized states and central banking. He prevailed in the second section.” I am guessing that Prof. Becchetti is the one who prevailed in the second section.
I have some Italian friends who are very well-informed about the topics addressed in the “white paper”. One of them, a sometime contributor here and a mainstay of the Catholic Online Form, the great Fabrizio, offered some observations on Prof. Becchetti.
This is what Fabrizio had to say, and he is generally spot on in my experience:
I’ll quote what I said on COL. Trust me this is another “Fisichella” scandal.
Even though it’s not about abortion: it’s not as if liberty and private property are not rather important inalienable rights of man.
“A socialist economist, a left-wing “Catholic” who’s extremely active with the Democrat Party (formerly known as Partito Comunista Italiano, here’s is profile on the website of the party and other socialist organizations. He even has a blog on the website of the ultra-secularist paper “La Repubblica” which leads the charge against the Catholic Church every time the occasion presents itself. I guarantee you that loyal Catholics – and competent economists – don’t get to spread the truth through blogs on La Repubblica’s website.
Among other things this guy formed a lobby to request the EU to levy crazy taxes on financial transactions which will destroy whatever is left of available capitals, especially for small businesses and small investors, with a trickle-down effect that will further damage an economy brought to collapse by socialist greed for power, money and control.
So basically a Vatican dicastery helped a socialist ideologue to advance his agenda with the imprimatur of the Holy See (obviously he is the ghost writer of the part on financial transactions).
The writings of this guy are quoted by all Marxist organs and groups. Here is an example taken by a blog of a local group of the Italian “Democratic Left for European Socialism”. I guarantee you these people HATE the Church and of course liberty and property. They are part of a left-wing coalition led by “Niki” Vendola, a militant homosexualist of the former Communist Party.”
Curiouser and curiouser. There would have had to have been some pretty good cover provided for this “white paper” from the Secretariat of State. Otherwise, with this pedigree, it probably wouldn’t have seen the light of day.
In any event, I think we have a better idea now why the left-wingers and catholics have gotten so excited about this “white paper”. They are able very easily to tune into that frequency.
Related posts here at FatherZ’s Blog, “What does The Prayer Really Say”
“Jeffrey Tucker on the new “white paper”: “a near total absence of clear thinking””
“Samuel Gregg on the new “white paper” from the Pont. Con. for Justice and Peace”
“The new “white paper” from the Pont. Council Justice and Peace. Fr. Z rants like loon.”
It’s funny how so many “conservatives” these days tell me they are perfectly comfortable with writing off the Catholic vote when it comes to abortion and “gay marriage” but then when something comes out of the Vatican about fiscal issues, they freak out. What’s up with that? Anyway, THIS STORY at The Blaze which suggests that “the Vatican” has endorsed Occupy Wall Street is misleading, to say the least, as are many other reports coming out about a proposal from the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace in regard to a “world bank”.
In a nutshell, this paragraph from Catholic News Service may help to clear up the biggest confusion over this [Emphasis mine]:
At a news conference Oct. 24, the Vatican spokesman, Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, emphasized that the document was “not an expression of papal magisterium,” but instead was an “authoritative note of a Vatican agency,” the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace. In that sense, he said, it would not be correct to report that “Pope Benedict says” what’s in the document, he said.
The rest of the post at LisaGraas.com click here…
First, thank you to both FatherZ and to Lisa Graas for their intelligent, common sense approach to writing and for always telling the truth. Second, thank you to all who have helped me see that sometimes I need to vent BEFORE I tweet. “Im learning, I’m learning!! ha ha) Finally, I want my readers to know that I have always supported Glenn Beck and his cause to help educate us about those who want to destroy America. For this, I thank him for his tireless effort to help protect America and her citizens. I ask that he and his organization to please do their homework regarding Catholic issues. Believe me, I know there are plenty of Alinsky Progressives in the Church trying to destroy Her from within. However, the Pope is not one of them. Case closed.
I wanted to get this post out yesterday when perhaps it would have been timely in the 24 hour news cycle. However, it’s about more than just reporting the stories in a timely fashion, I think. In this case I needed to take time off to pray first. In the end, Saint Paul is correct….”And now there remain faith, hope, and charity, these three: but the greatest of these is charity.” 1 Corinthians 13:13
I pray I learned that lesson, finally…
God love you,