08/01/1983

Kierkegaard took it to be a mark of genius that a relatively insignificant event could occasion a wholly disproportionate result. That an obiter dictum in a newsmagazine and a Canadian theologian's animadversions on Laborem Exercens should have been the prelude to the remarkable florilegium of short essays which follows is a tribute to the genius [...]

Kierkegaard took it to be a mark of genius that a relatively insignificant event could occasion a wholly disproportionate result. That an obiter dictum in a newsmagazine and a Canadian theologian's animadversions on Laborem Exercens should have been the prelude to the remarkable florilegium of short essays which follows is a tribute to the genius [...]

Everywhere in the world, socialist populations face inefficiencies, shortages, mean salaries, and endless hours waiting in line. Once one of the richest nations of South America, Cuba, e.g., depends every day on enormous Soviet subsidies. Indeed, the most lively experiments within the socialist world — in Poland, Yugoslavia, Hungary, China, and even the Soviet Union [...]

Is the pope a socialist? Which would serve Marxist propaganda better, that he is perceived to be a socialist or that he is perceived not to be a socialist? If he is perceived to be a socialist, the perception alienates him from capitalists, including those in democratic countries, who argue that only capitalism can create [...]

Ken Woodward remarks casually that Pope John Paul II is a socialist. This is quite true, if he means that the pope supports some positions that are in some way related to the word social: e.g., that he holds that man is a social being, that the socialization of productive property is in some cases [...]

It would be more accurate to call him a Taurus, like Perry Como, who has the same birthday. In this pontificate, astrological and ideological designations are about equally useful. The Curial neurosis of secrecy invites all sorts of speculation on the Holy See's financial affairs, but ever since the president of the Banco Ambrosiano was [...]

How would we respond to a request by the bishops if they were to ask for some general guidelines to help them in the preparation of their pastoral letter on the American economy? I have a few tentative suggestions. I have no idea how useful they are, but they may provoke others to consider the [...]

Any high school debater knows that his first job is to define the terms of the resolution he has to debate. In this case, everyone knows who this pope is, but what is a "socialist"? As I have tried to come up with a simple definition, I have been more and more impressed with the [...]

Kenneth Woodward titles a recent article on John Paul II in Newsweek (June 20, 1983), "The Vision of a Socialist Pope," and provocatively contrasts John Paul's purported socialism with Pius XI's statement that "No one can be at the same time a sincere Catholic and a true socialist." In the body of his article, Woodward [...]

Surprise! We are told that the Pope is a socialist. In this, apparently, he is like his predecessors, Paul VI and John XXIII. If recent history is any indication, American political liberals will claim the Pope as their ally. And docile conservatives, making no effort to dispute that claim, will grumble that the Pope doesn't [...]

The strange but suddenly popular notion that in John Paul II the Roman Catholic Church may have its "first socialist pope" (Kenneth L. Woodward, "The Vision of a Socialist Pope," Newsweek, June 20, 1983, p. 47; cf. Gregory Buam, The Priority of Labor, Paulist Press, 1982, pp. 80-88) is based on a superficial reading of [...]

Gregory Baum would convince us that Pope John Paul II is a socialist. But trying to force the present Pope into a neat category is a waste of time for the simple reason that the Pope has been seeking, throughout his intellectual life, to perceive complex matters more profoundly and more originally capitalist) allow. This [...]

Msgr. Francis J. Haas, the second of two prominent Right Reverend New Dealers during the presidency of FDR (John A. Ryan was No. 1), once told his Catholic University graduate students that the word "socialism" might well have been taken over by the Catholic Church to describe its political philosophy had the term not been [...]

In addressing the question whether John Paul II is "the first socialist Pope," as Kenneth Woodward wrote in Newsweek, with more than a touch of wishful thinking, I want to stress that the word "socialism" denotes a pattern of ideas far more extensive than a mere economic system. In his book The Socialist Phenomenon the [...]

Gregory Baum thinks that Pope John Paul II is a socialist (so, too, does Kenneth Woodward of Newsweek). Baum argues that in Laborem Exercens the Polish Pontiff "permits himself to be impressed by certain Marxist insights," which he "opens up" and "expands toward new meaning," thus producing "a social philosophy that transcends Marxism from within" [...]

Without evidence or documentation, predicting the content of the next pastoral letter of the American Catholic bishops, on capitalism and the United States economy, is no more instructive than a parlor game. Yet there does exist one document that may contain some clues about the eventual outcome of the bishops' study of economics. It is [...]

Is Pope John Paul II a socialist? Despite the controversy and debate which swirl around it, the question is really jejune. The Pope is a pastor of souls, not a politician. Like his Master, his is not a rule over temporal regimes. I think that the Pope would agree with the judgment of Jacques Maritain, [...]

The very question "is the Pope a socialist?" helps to reveal the intellectual slipperiness that characterizes the socialist movement. For, confronted with numerous societies which call themselves socialist — Soviet Russia, Red China, Castro's Cuba, Idi Amin's Uganda — dedicated socialists reject the validity of the label. Socialism, it turns out, requires some very rigorous [...]

If John Paul II is a socialist, as some would claim, you could not establish it on the basis of Laborem Exercens. This encyclical letter On Human Work certainly extols the value and dignity of man the worker. It underlines the fact that man fulfills himself as a human being through his work; man is [...]

An economic system is a set of institutions constructed by people, living in community, to fulfill their needs and goals, not to be its servants. To elevate an economic system into a philosophy of life is a form of idolatry that deforms and corrupts the nature of society and its members. Since Leo XIII's Rerum [...]

Pope John Paul II's attitude toward Socialism should be seen in the context of the Poland and Italy he has known since World War II. As a foreign correspondent for the New York Herald Tribune from the middle 1940's into the early 1960's I had occasion to observe much of that. In the months just [...]

In a perceptive article in Newsweek (June 20, 1983) Kenneth Woodward calls the present Pope a socialist and cites Ronald Modras as supporting this judgment. Gregory Baum gives the same impression in the New Catholic World (July/August, 1983). Indeed Baum's commentary on the Encyclical On Labor (1981) describes the Pope's socialism as, 1) moral, 2) [...]

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