Social Magisterium

In my reading this morning I came across a couple of new terms. Both are filled with relevant meaning. The first term is social magisterium. It is a term the heralds from Catholic teaching and illustrates the debate around the expression of faith in everyday life. How do we live our faith in our public and private lives? Is there consistency between what we say we believe and how we live, or do we categorize and live one way on Sunday and another on Monday?

The second term is subsidiarity. This is a term that proposes that government closest to the people governs best. This is another Catholic term used to argue for parishes serving the people in communities. Both of these terms were used by Paul Ryan on the Christian Broadcasting Network where he discussed his budget proposal. The Left stated shortly thereafter that Ryan had drank the Libertarian Kool-Aid.

However, I think Ryan raises a good point. The point is around personal responsibility. I think this discussion is also in line with the current debate dealing with Capitalism. Jerry Muller in his wonderful series on Capitalism, from the Great Courses company, makes a very interesting point. He states that Capitalism is too important to be left to the economists. He argues that Capitalism is a system of competition and cooperation that helps humanity meet its goals, needs, and wants. Muller also states that Capitalism has political and cultural effects. I would add to this that Capitalism is a system that has the ability to create wealth, but is poor, at least in its current expression, in its ability to fairly distribute the created wealth.

This leads me to my point. If Social Magisterium is correct, and our country still claims to have a majority of Christians, then we must decide how we intend to live out our faith in the realm of commerce and wealth creation. In other words we create wealth and then do something with it. The question is what do we do with it? Obviously I must be a good steward of the wealth that has been entrusted to me. And if the best care comes from those who are closest to the need, as subsidiarity proposes, then it is up to those who are closest to the need to do the most.

Maybe Capitalism isn’t the evil we think it is. Maybe it is the fact that we are evil? Maybe we are focusing on being specialists at creating wealth, and not on being intellectuals questioning how we share the wealth? I really like where I am going with this.

And that is my thought for the day!


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