By way of update: We give you Lady Malkin's - "The Pfelger-ization of the Catholic Church"
Mr. Glenn Beck is in no need of our defence. Suffice to say that, as regards “social justice” as defined by the Left, we concur with him entirely. Indeed, we have written similarly and extensively on many occasions ourselves. Here then, we write not to echo or attempt to add to Mr. Beck’s political analysis of “social justice” which is more than spot on; but to complement it with analysis of what we consider the fundamental theological flaw of the Left’s understanding of “social justice.”
One thing church-going advocates of justice Left or Right ought agree upon is that poverty is the result of immoral behavior. If we are to identify, condemn and root out such behavior among the rich and powerful, are we not obligated to do the same among the poor and powerless? The answer – presuming one is genuinely interested in justice – is “yes.” If a rich, white CEO is misleading board members to justify his preposterous salary to the detriment of the company he is leading, he ought be rebuked. If a poor, unmarried, black teen age girl is delivering her second severely pre-mature child at a cost of tens of thousands of dollars to Medicaid (i.e. tax payers), she ought be rebuked. This would be justice.
Behavior aloof or antagonistic to human dignity – be it directed outwardly or inwardly – is first and foremost an offense against God (i.e. Sin) and is therefore requisite of rebuke. Such rebuke is intended not to establish that the non-sinner is morally superior to the sinner in a particular instance, but to educate him to the error of his ways – as would a friend, a sibling, a spouse, a parent - and guide him back to the path to God. To believers this is true compassion, for the most loving and important act a soul can perform for another is that which brings them closer to God.
The Christian Left rejects all of this. Thoroughly secularized and steeped-in the Progressive mind-set, they have removed the spiritual dynamic from all understanding of human behavior. All that matters is the material: the level of income, the condition of the housing, the access to public amenities. It is forbidden to analyze to what extent “those less fortunate” are responsible for their own misfortune. To do so, we are told in no uncertain terms, is to show a “lack of compassion”, a “failing to understand”, “insensitivity” and, of course, in cases where the unfortunate are members of ethnic minorities, “racism.”
Is it any wonder then that in a nation that gives $300 billion a year in charity, and billions more through tax-funded government poverty programs, poverty persists? Indeed, many on the Left insist it is growing, as “the rich get richer and the poor get poorer.” If a man is never rebuked for picking the scab off his wound he will continue to bleed. If the human family forbids itself from rebuking the devastating effects of certain behaviors, that family will continue being devastated.
And when people are forced by law to fund programs that merely encourage and enable destructive behavior by masking their effects, we are hastening that destruction, more deeply embedding it into the culture, ensuring it will continue for generations to come, and - to those of faith – institutionalizing a grave sin against God and man. Thus Sister Angelica’s charge that “misplaced compassion” comprises the “reigning sin of our age.”
Gads. Are we suggesting then that social justice as defined by the Left is immoral? Yes. Not only because it perpetuates poverty, destroys lives and hope, greatly diminishes human achievement, dishonors the fruits of human labor, and breeds dependency that atrophies the human spirit, but most significantly because it eases men off the path to truth – God – which makes everyone poorer in the most absolute sense of the word.
On the occasion of this blessed Easter, let us pray that Reason, enlightened by God Almighty, be resurrected in the minds and hearts of all mankind so that true compassion and true justice once again be made the object of our ambition to virtue.