|5 years ago :: Sep 11, 2009 - 2:39PM #1|
THE POPE'S ENCYCLICAL
From Pastor Steve Wohlberg Sept. 9, 2009
Two months ago, in early July, President Barack Obama went to Italy for the G-8 economic summit. While in Italy, he also had a personal interview with Pope Benedict XVI during which the pope presented Obama with a copy of his latest papal encyclical entitled, Charity in Truth. For those who don't realize it, a papal encyclical is one of the most authoritative documents a pope can produce.
Charity in Truth is a 44-page letter in which Pope Benedict XVI comments on the world's current economic crisis and, from his perspective, what he sees as the solution. From a prophetic standpoint, here are 9 significant highlights found within this encyclical:
1. A Global Government. Pope Benedict is calling for a "true world political authority" to fix the problems that plague planet Earth. (Page 67)
2. Church and State. The pope says this new political authority must make its decisions based on spiritual values. (Chapter 5)
3. The Papacy at the Head. These spiritual values cannot be derived from just any religion, since not "all religions are equal." (Page 55)
4. Religion, Politics and the Economy. The "church" must influence all areas of society because God must have "a place in the public realm, specifically in regard to its cultural, social, economic, and particularly its political dimensions." (Page 56)
5. Power to Enforce Law. This "political authority" must have "real teeth" and "be vested with the effective power" to enforce laws around the world. (Page 67)
6. Control Buying and Selling. Once in place, the new world governing power will institute socialistic policies for government to redistribute wealth. (Chapter 3)
7. Resurgence of Labor Unions. Labor Unions are to be empowered to "play a decisive role" in the new world order. (Page 25) For those who know European history, this is exactly what happened in Poland, leading to the collapse of Soviet Communism.
8. The Church's Goal. Pope Benedict says that his encyclical will help achieve "The goal of the history of the human family," which is to build "the universal city of God." (Page 7)
9. Redefining Religious Liberty. While claiming not "to interfere in any way in the politics of States," the pope redefines "liberty" as happening when the world obeys laws shaped by the Roman Catholic Church's spiritual values. According to the pope, as the church influences states to enforce "truth" upon others, such people are then set "free." "This mission of truth is something that the Church can never renounce." (Page 9)
When Charity in Truth was first released in July 2009, newspapers ran stories on it around the world. Here are just three headlines from Time, USA Today, and New American:
For those who have read my book, End Time Delusions, which clearly documents not only what the Bible teaches, but also what Reformation Protestants understood "about the beast," then you know what's coming. The proverbial handwriting is on the wall. God's Word predicts;
And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death,
and his deadly wound was healed. And all the world wondered
after the beast... and power was given to him over all
peoples, and tongues, and nations (Revelation 13:3, 7).
This prophecy is on the verge of fulfillment right now.
Concerning the "signs" of the approaching end of the age, Jesus Christ plainly said, "Now when these things begin to happen, look up, and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near" (Luke 21:28).
Maranatha! Come Lord Jesus!
Selected refferenced pages from the original transcript.
64. While reflecting on the theme of work, it is appropriate to recall how important it is that labour unions - which have always been encouraged and supported by the Church - should be open to the new perspectives that are emerging in the world of work. Looking to wider concerns than the specific category of labour for which they were formed, union organizations are called to address some of the new questions arising in our society: I am thinking, for example, of the complex of issues that social scientists describe in terms of a conflict between worker and consumer. Without necessarily endorsing the thesis that the central focus on the worker has given way to a central focus on the consumer, this would still appear to constitute new ground for unions to explore creatively. The global context in which work takes place also demands that national labour unions, which tend to limit themselves to defending the interests of their registered members, should turn their attention to those outside their membership, and in particular to workers in developing countries where social rights are often violated. The protection of these workers, partly achieved through appropriate initiatives aimed at their countries of origin, will enable trade unions to demonstrate the authentic ethical and cultural motivations that made it possible for them, in a different social and labour context, to play a decisive role in development. The Church's traditional teaching makes a valid distinction between the respective roles and functions of trade unions and politics. This distinction allows unions to identify civil society as the proper setting for their necessary activity of defending and promoting labour, especially on behalf of exploited and unrepresented workers, whose woeful condition is often ignored by the distracted eye of society.
65. Finance, therefore - through the renewed structures and operating methods that have to be designed after its misuse, which wreaked such havoc on the real economy - now needs to go back to being an instrument directed towards improved wealth creation and development. Insofar as they are instruments, the entire economy and finance, not just certain sectors, must be used in an ethical way so as to create suitable conditions for human development and for the development of peoples. It is certainly useful, and in some circumstances imperative, to launch financial initiatives in which the humanitarian dimension predominates. However, this must not obscure the fact that the entire financial system has to be aimed at sustaining true development. Above all, the intention to do good must not be considered incompatible with the effective capacity to produce goods. Financiers must rediscover the genuinely ethical foundation of their activity, so as not to abuse the sophisticated instruments which can serve to betray the interests of savers. Right intention, transparency, and the search for positive results are mutually compatible and must never be detached from one another. If love is wise, it can find ways of working in accordance with provident and just expediency, as is illustrated in a significant way by much of the experience of credit unions.
Both the regulation of the financial sector, so as to safeguard weaker parties and discourage scandalous speculation, and experimentation with new forms of finance, designed to support development projects, are positive experiences that should be further explored and encouraged, highlighting the responsibility of the investor. Furthermore, the experience of micro-finance, which has its roots in the thinking and activity of the civil humanists - I am thinking especially of the birth of pawnbroking - should be strengthened and fine-tuned. This is all the more necessary in these days when financial difficulties can become severe for many of the more vulnerable sectors of the population, who should be protected from the risk of usury and from despair. The weakest members of society should be helped to defend themselves against usury, just as poor peoples should be helped to derive real benefit from micro-credit, in order to discourage the exploitation that is possible in these two areas. Since rich countries are also experiencing new forms of poverty, micro-finance can give practical assistance by launching new initiatives and opening up new sectors for the benefit of the weaker elements in society, even at a time of general economic downturn.
66. Global interconnectedness has led to the emergence of a new political power, that of consumers and their associations. This is a phenomenon that needs to be further explored, as it contains positive elements to be encouraged as well as excesses to be avoided. It is good for people to realize that purchasing is always a moral - and not simply economic - act. Hence the consumer has a specific social responsibility, which goes hand-in- hand with the social responsibility of the enterprise. Consumers should be continually educated regarding their daily role, which can be exercised with respect for moral principles without diminishing the intrinsic economic rationality of the act of purchasing. In the retail industry, particularly at times like the present when purchasing power has diminished and people must live more frugally, it is necessary to explore other paths: for example, forms of cooperative purchasing like the consumer cooperatives that have been in operation since the nineteenth century, partly through the initiative of Catholics. In addition, it can be helpful to promote new ways of marketing products from deprived areas of the world, so as to guarantee their producers a decent return. However, certain conditions need to be met: the market should be genuinely transparent; the producers, as well as increasing their profit margins, should also receive improved formation in professional skills and technology; and finally, trade of this kind must not become hostage to partisan ideologies. A more incisive role for consumers, as long as they themselves are not manipulated by associations that do not truly represent them, is a desirable element for building economic democracy.
67. In the face of the unrelenting growth of global interdependence, there is a strongly felt need, even in the midst of a global recession, for a reform of the United Nations Organization, and likewise of economic institutions and international finance, so that the concept of the family of nations can acquire real teeth. One also senses the urgent need to find innovative ways of implementing the principle of the responsibility to protect and of giving poorer nations an effective voice in shared decision-making. This seems necessary in order to arrive at a political, juridical and economic order which can increase and give direction to international cooperation for the development of all peoples in solidarity. To manage the global economy; to revive economies hit by the crisis; to avoid any deterioration of the present crisis and the greater imbalances that would result; to bring about integral and timely disarmament, food security and peace; to guarantee the protection of the environment and to regulate migration: for all this, there is urgent need of a true world political authority, as my predecessor Blessed John XXIII indicated some years ago. Such an authority would need to be regulated by law, to observe consistently the principles of subsidiarity and solidarity, to seek to establish the common good, and to make a commitment to securing authentic integral human development inspired by the values of charity in truth. Furthermore, such an authority would need to be universally recognized and to be vested with the effective power to ensure security for all, regard for justice, and respect for rights. Obviously it would have to have the authority to ensure compliance with its decisions from all parties, and also with the coordinated measures adopted in various international forums. Without this, despite the great progress accomplished in various sectors, international law would risk being conditioned by the balance of power among the strongest nations. The integral development of peoples and international cooperation require the establishment of a greater degree of international ordering, marked by subsidiarity, for the management of globalization. They also require the construction of a social order that at last conforms to the moral order, to the interconnection between moral and social spheres, and to the link between politics and the economic and civil spheres, as envisaged by the Charter of the United Nations.
Respectfully, your brother in Christ,