This is an excellent interview of Father James Fryar, FSSP, who explains the traditional Mass.
If you know a Catholic who is new to tradition, have him watch these videos!
If you know a Catholic who is new to tradition, have him watch these videos!
After watching this interview, you might find the following book interesting!
The Reform of the Roman Liturgy by Monsignor Klaus Gamber http://www.neumannpress.com/reofroli.html
Please find the document above that I have entitled "freedom" which contains Father Magiera's sermon about religious liberty. You will find other sermons by Father Magiera that are listed below. Scroll to the bottom of the page for book reviews.
Father Michael W. Magiera
Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary Catholic Church
11 and 12 February 2012
In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. There is a word bandied about so often these days. It's almost like a "mantra" that no one dare question. It's almost like a universal justification, or better, excuse, to allow everyone to think an do as he pleases and to dictate to everyone else what is right and what is wrong. That word is "conscience." I act according to my conscience. My conscience tells me that I'm doing nothing wrong. What a convenient placebo, or even opiate, conscience can be. It's "carte blance" for everything these days. Wrong.
I'm sad to say that, even in the corridors of Holy Mother Church, the word slips off the tong of priest and layman alike with little regard for consequences. I remember my sister telling me a few years ago about the priest who was response for her and her then fiancé's marriage prep. During the prep, a certain topic came up-you guessed it-the topic of "birth control." With a sardonic smirk, Father Watsisname looked at my sister and the man who is now my brother-in-law and said that he "had to tell them that artificial birth control was against Church teaching" but that he wasn't going to say anything more about it and that it was a matter for their "conscience." I'm sure you'll not be at all surprised to learn that a few years down the line, that priest not only left the priesthood, but that he was defrocked and laicized-and yes, for the worst reasons.
I remember the scene in Robert Bolt's A Man For All Seasons in which Thomas Cromwell is speaking to Richard Rich about King Henry VIII's conundrum in which he wants Thomas More's approval for his intentions to divorce Catharine of Aragon in order to marry his mistress, Anne Boleyn: "While More's alive, the King's conscience breaks into fresh, stinking flowers every time he gets from bed." Poor Henry's conscience is bothering him, but not, of course, because he intends to dissolve his lawful marriage or because he's wallowing in adultery, but because his conscience tells him that his marriage to Catharine was unlawful in the first place. How convenient! But how inconvenient for poor Thomas More, whose conscience didn't matter at all to the King.
I'm reminded of another scene, this from the film, Elizabeth, The Golden Age, starring Cate Blanchett. At the thought of Spain's naval forces obliterating her fleet, the Queen bemoans that, if Spain is victorious (it bringing with it the Inquisition), "conscience" will be no more in the realm. Of course, it was all well and good for Elizabeth, following her conscience, to murder countless Catholic laymen and Jesuit priests, to force her subjects to attend Church of England "services" under pain of death and to tax loyal Catholic nobility into poverty for their stubbornness, better known as fidelity. What a shame she couldn't consider any conscience but her own!
Well, to a great extent, though the context is a bit different, history repeats itself, as it has, time and again for centuries.
Let's consider the conscience in its own right for a moment. What is it, really? It is that reaction of the intellect to a deliberate act of the will, be that act in the subject or in another agent. From another perspective, the Catholic Dictionary defines conscience in this way: The natural conscience conscience is no distinct faculty, but the intellect of a man inasmuch as it considers right and wrong conduct, aided meanwhile by a good will, by the use of emotions, by the practical experience of living and by all external helps that are to the purpose. Very good and to the point.
But, it is dangerous to think of the conscience as a "tabula rasa," an empty slate. Something basic to human nature has to have some role in "forming" a conscience. Philosophers through the ages, Plato particularly, have dealt with the soul and its properties. Plato deals with it primarily through the lens of recollection. For him the existence of our conscience is further evidence of the soul's existence. The conscience is like a vague memory of the truth, once known and since forgotten. As humans have dormant knowledge of principles such as whole truthfulness, perfection, etc., it follows logically that we must also have a dormant sense of morality, of right and wrong. This sense of morality is common to all, present in everyone, but in varying degrees. Here, Plato is validated by St. Paul in his epistle to the Romans (2:15): "Who show the work of the law, written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts accusing or else excusing themselves between themselves."
What we have in the natural conscience are unarticulated, yet very real principles that must undergo some sort of formation. This is where the "informed" conscience makes its entrance. Building on the principles of philosophers such as Socrates, Plato and Aristotle, the Church takes over using Divine Revelation to properly inform the conscience of man. This means that it logically follows that, if God is rejected, if Divine Revelation is rejected, it is not possible to inform a conscience properly or completely. Remember the maxim: In a true or false test, if a statement contains 10 propositions, and if nine of those propositions are true and only one is false, the statement is still false. And, yes, we must remember that truth is objective.
So, armed with these principles, we enter the battle and we see that we are hopelessly outnumbered because those against whom we fight (some of them, many of them or most of them) not only reject Divine Revelation, God its Author, sound philosophical principles, the concept of a properly formed conscience but, also of course, ultimately truth itself.
In the past, such a battle was an intellectual one, the battlefield being academia, the written and spoken word. There was civilized debate, didactic discourse and, alas, sometimes a degenerate forum like the Jerry Springer Show. Yet there was always some kind of boundary, barrier or frontier. There was always some mechanism that applied the brakes and, at least in civilized societies not governed by megalomaniacs, the invisible barrier was never transgressed by force or coercion. Alas, the playing field or better, the battle field has now been redefined and force and coercion, under the guise of civil law, are now acceptable battering rams to foist the will of one onto another, to negate the conscience of one one, to hold it of no account and to supplant it-illegally-with an "anti-conscience" and call it "fair," "equitable," "justifiable" this panacea of "liberation" for the women of today.
If we do nothing, we will see it in our hospitals, pharmacies, physician offices, universities and, then, hey, why not, high schools and elementary schools. Well, women of all ages have to be "free," don't they? Well, we will all end up paying for it and we will all have to swallow our properly formed consciences and bow down to the juggernaut. Think not? How about the "Morning After Pill" vending machines now at Shippensburg State University in Pennsylvania?
What will we do? What can we do? Sometimes I think the outlook is very bleak when I know some of the electoral choices made by Catholics, even alas, by brother priests.
Is it possible that all (highly unlikely) or a great many Catholic physicians, hospitals, health care services, universities, politicians, voters, might finally dig their heels in and simply say-rightly this time- "non serviam?" What would happen?
Though the disaster was imposed from without, at the time of the "reformation" in England, universities, hospitals, orphanages, virtually the entire "charity" system started a centuries long swirl about the toilet bowl because the force behind the entire infrastructure, the Catholic Church, was removed from the equation. They don't tell you much about that in history books.
What would happen in the United States if all the Catholic people and institutions I mentioned above were to do the right thing? Wouldn't it spell disaster for health care industry as it is in this country? How could those entities without conscience make up for all of the entities with conscience who just refused to play the game? What a thought! Catholics could conceivably bring the entire system to its knees.
In his book Rediscover Catholicism, Matthew Kelly tells us that we Catholics have forgotten our story. I quote, "Catholicism is more than a handful of priests who don't know what it means to be a priest. There are at least 1.2 billion Catholics in the world. There are 67 million Catholics in America-that's at least 15 million more people than it takes to elect an American president. And every single day the Catholic Church feeds, houses, and clothes, more people, takes care of more sick people, visits more prisoners and educates more people than any other institution on the face of the earth could ever hope to."
What did I say just two short weeks ago from this very pulpit? God tells us to turn to Him, to conform to Him. What better way than by allowing Him to form the conscience? The first thing, the fundamental thing is life. If there is no life, there is nothing to dignify, there is nothing to qualify. Our job is not to prevent life from entering the world but to make the world a better place for life to enter. In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.
Social Justice Sermon
Father Michael W. Magiera, Administrator
Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary Catholic Church
28 and 29 January 2012
In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. I was going to give normal homilies at all the Masses this weekend, but I changed my mind, deciding that there were a few topics- which played major roles in the world, both sacred and secular within the last two weeks-that needed to be addressed.
Well, what did we experience in the last two weeks? There was one event that always looms high annually in the secular world. That is the day honoring Dr. Martin Luther King. It is right that this day is considered so important. Indeed, it is a day which honors an idea every bit as much as it is a day honoring an individual. It is also a day which looks toward an ideal, the realization which is not yet complete in our time. There was another event, also annual, that touches both the secular (though the secular world wishes it would go away) and the sacred. That is the annual March For Life, marking the anniversary of the day on which the evil Roe vs. Wade decision became the law of the land. The ironic thing is that, even though the secular world wishes that March for Life would disappear, it refuses to acknowledge (because of a myriad of other implications) that it has all the power necessary to make said march, in fact, disappear. It dare not do so, however. It cannot if it wants to preserve itself. And you can believe it does want to preserve itself.
There is still the looming specter of poverty in our world, particularly that part of the globe known as the "third world." For years, various countries, including our own, and for the past few years the UN has involved itself in this as well, have pressured these third world countries to implement mandatory contraception and family planning-ridiculously touting this mass implementation as a solution to world poverty. The thinking is that contraception (and its evil twin abortion) is the only and certainly the quickest way to rid the world of poverty. What a crock.
You might think what I now say is kind of funny. It, I suppose. But there was a certain catalyst that got me thinking about all this stuff and firmed up my decision to speak about these things this Sunday and to put a scriptural homily-per se- on the back burner. This isn't to say that our scripture passages from today have no import or are totally unrelated to these topics, but I wanted to treat these topics before tying them all together with a scriptural, theological ribbon, presenting a gift-wrapped package solution.
The catalyst that I referred to was this: I happened to be watching the public TV station, WYFI, I think it's called. Anyway, they presented a program on a man, a song-writer in that turbulent time known as the 60s. His name was Phil Ochs. This short expose on his life and music not only caused me to think that-though my taste in music, as you know, really doesn't embrace this kind of "idiom"-not only did this man have quite a bit to say, but his music was rather good and his texts not only clever, but quite revealing both of the troubled times in which he lived and of his own jumbled psyche. He was very much an "in your face" kind of guy, had a lot to say, and made no bones about saying it. The program claimed that he idolized Dylan and that Dylan despised him This is kind of logical in that, I believe Ochs' music superior to Dylan's and that Dylan was, far more than Ochs, out for number one and all the causes he sang about came in a distant second. Of course, Dylan would despise Ochs.
Now, I really don't want to give Phil Ochas any more time, as such, in this message. I merely cite him as a vehicle and an example of principle. Let me be clear-I mean only "vehicle" and principle, not necessarily the messages he proclaimed, the sometimes ridiculous and/or dangerous causes he espoused (in many cases, both were clearly morally out of the question). But, more than the iconic Dylan, he was hones enough to declare what he was for-what he saw as the truth (and yes, this is another can of worms altogether)-and to get the message out there, no matter what the cost.
All three aspects to this meditation, I hope you can see, to a greater or lesser degree, exemplify the all-powerful, contemporary buzz-word, "social justice" or, if you prefer to approach it negatively, "social injustice." We all have to care about social justice. We all have to work to destroy social injustice.
When I was a kid, I can remember that either with my grandparents or with my parents, whenever we went on vacation, we'd go to Atlantic City, NJ. Before, during and after the Great Depression, Atlantic City was known as the playground of the rich. Well, we weren't rich, of course, but in the 50s and, in a more accelerated way in the 60s and 70s, Atlantic City was feeling her age. In the 50s, there was genteel facade to the place that hid ugliness and squalor. We always stayed in a hotel, of course. Our bags were carried by black porters, the elevator operator was an old black man, the maids were black ladies of any age, as were the wait and kitchen staff. From the beach, back about three or four blocks, AC was a nice clean pace. Farther back from the ocean, it definitely was not. I remember city ordinances at that time and I actually witnessed one in action when I was a kid. I'll never forget it. This was the time before the term African American, Black and even Negro. Back then, they were "colored folks." This is how I knew them when I was a kid. One day I witnessed two colored children being put off the beach. Colored people weren't permitted on Atlantic City's beaches then.
This was a symptom, of course, and, truth be told, a mild one. I also remember seeing live TV footage of the March on Selma and the action taken to stop it. I remember the lynchings in Philadelphia, Mississippi. I see what we have today, thanks to the efforts of Dr. Martin Luther King and others like him. We have something resembling a modicum of that thing ideally known as Social Justice. But, I believe, if you dig down a bit below the surface, you'll find it as superficial as Atlantic City's beach front gloss.
How many children have been murdered since the enactment of Roe vs. Wade? To be sure there must have been hundreds of thousands perpetrated in this country in the years and centuries prior to that evil event. Indeed, abortion wa known in ancient times, treated specifically in Church law at Her very beginning, but it reached back much farther than that, going back to the ancient civilizations far older than Greece and Rome-back to Babylon, Ninevah, and the ancient civilizations in India, China, and Japan. It has been around as long as the "oldest profession." Yes, there is a link. This link is obvious, as obvious as the link to contraception. Yet, we, in this civilized nation are content to live with the fact that not merely hundreds, not merely thousands, but millions of children are brutally and tortuously murdered every year. And yes, we just wish that bothersome march and all of those horrible Neanderthal people would just go away.
The world-well, at least the United Nations-thinks that contraception is the cure-all for world poverty. Well, in one skewed way it is. It will surely ensure that there will be fewer people who are poor, sick, starving and dying. But those that ARE "uncontracepted" will still be just as poor, just as sick, just as starving and just as dying. The world does not want to deal with the real problem-an inequality of the distribution of the world's wealth; nope, just gotta look out for number 1- it is quite content to deal with the symptoms it imposes, those symptoms which are convenient and which make us feel oh, so much better about ourselves.
We need social justice! Yes, we do, certainly. But, though I think Phil Ochs got much closer to the problem than Dylan and Dr. King got much closer to the problem than Jesse and Michael Jackson, and though the pro-life movement gets closer still to the problem, I think that what we have to realize is that despite programs (some Catholic Church based), despite rhetoric, despite fund raisers, despite speeches, votes and demonstrations, though we must not discard these,
Social Justice cannot be regarded or treated or promoted as if it were a means. It is an end. It is not the tree, it is the fruit. It is not the cause, it is the effect.
Does any of this have to do with scripture? Only everything. The great principle of scripture is that man is to conform himself to the will of God. It is not to be the other way around. Why do you think the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob always forbad the Israelites to worship false gods? Was it merely the fact that these gods were of wood or stone? Did God Almighty have anything to fear from these "gods?" Of course not. It wasn't so much what the false gods were as it was what they meant. The overarching principle here was that man turns from the Creator to worship the creature. And it wasn't so much the worship of wood or stone images, but rather what those images allowed man to do. The end result was always man's worship of himself. If man worships himself, then he can permit himself to do anything he wants: injustice toward his fellow man, murder his children and then call himself god, but continue to regard himself a good person.
The prophet Joel tells us to rend our hearts and not our garments. This is the message of the collective readings for this weekend, along with the command to love one another, and, thereby fulfill the law. Rend your hears-turn to Me, conform to Me. Taking it upon yourselves to rend your garments while maintaining a heart of stone like your idols serves nothing. Love one another: acknowledge the equality of everyone in justice and charity; serve charity and justice by acknowledging that without life there is no justice and charity because is the big and necessary "prior." There can be no equality in human dignity if there is no humanity to dignify.
Our gospels this weekend speak of the absolute authority of God, against Whom any contention is doomed to fail. Yet, it is, in fact- to a great extent in our world-that we attempt to act without God. In that case, even if such acts are good in themselves, they lack the primary ingredient-that participation in the Good itself.
It is only in using the means: acknowledging life comes from Life itself, and following the Author and Being of charity and justice that, we ensure that human dignity and equality. Despite what you hear out there, regardless of the number of petitions, speeches and demonstrations, even Phil Ochs songs, all good in themselves, perhaps, this acknowledgement of the greater is the only real way to achieve social justice. In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.
The first review that I am posting is with the permission of Mr. Matt from The Remnant. If you are interested in subscribing, you can contact the Matts by phone at 651-204-0145 or by visiting www.RemnantNewspaper.com.
June 15, 2011 issue of The Remnant
Russian Sunrise: A Novel of Faith and Hope by Bruce W. Walters, M.D.
Good Counsel Publications, Pound Ridge, NY
Available online at fatima.org
Reviewed by Will Livingston
Set in the years 2015 to 2017, Russian Sunrise is a future fiction novel that explores what magnificent world-changing events might take place if Russia were to be miraculously converted, becoming the modern world's next powerful Catholic Confessional State.
The story combines a heartwarming and chaste royal romance, the fairy-tale glamour of palaces and royal balls, magnificent classical music imagery, and a secret papal retreat to a tradition-oriented inner-city Detroit parish. Extensive analysis of the Global Financial Crisis is woven into the story, culminating in a demonstration of how the actual implementation of Catholic Social teaching could rectify the increasing impoverishment and wage-enslavement of the common man.
Moving beyond the old cold-war mentality that sees America as the solution and Russia as the problem, this novel posits future Russia as heaven's chosen vessel to convert the world back to Catholic Christendom. Ostpolitik and interfaith dialog have not produced reunification of the Orthodox Churches with Rome, precisely because these methods are contrary to the mandate of heaven: Russian Sunrise demonstrates the rapid resolution of world problems that could result from the supernatural intervention of heaven, promised by Our Lady of Fatima, if and when her simple request is finally fulfilled by a pope and all obedient bishops.
The story depicts the enormous spiritual struggle involved in final papal obedience, in 2015, to the specific request of Our Lady of Fatima: in 1929, Our Lady told Sister Lucy that it was time for the Pope, together with all the world's Catholic bishops, to publicly consecrate Russia to Her Immaculate Heart. Otherwise, Russia would be heaven's chosen vessel of chastisement for the world, spreading errors and increasing human misery throughout the world.
In 1931, Jesus warned sister Lucy that if the Popes continued to delay in obeying Our Lady of Fatima, they would suffer misfortune like the kings of France. In 1689 the French kings were asked to consecrate their kingdom to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. They did not. One hundred years (to the very day) after the request was made through St. Mary Margaret Alacoque, King Louis XVI was stripped of his power by the French Revolution of 1789.
In Russian Sunrise, the fictional Pope Nicholas VI receives "The Russian Request"-a private letter, jointly signed by the Russian Orthodox patriarch Filaret III and the Russian Federation President Vasily Polzin-urgently requesting that the Holy Father consecrate their nation to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, exactly as requested by Our Lady of Fatima.
These top Russian officials, both privately devout in their Orthodox faith, have received the grace of conversion obtained by annual multi-million rosary compaigns for the consecration of Russia, offered in preceding years by traditionalist groups. After intensively studying the message of Fatima, using materials published by the world's largest Fatima apostolate, the Russian leaders can see no other possible hope for either Russia or for the world.
The novel asserts that the "conversion" of a nation, from heaven's perspective, would have to entail the rather sudden and miraculous conversion of the vast majority of individual souls within that nation. Such a conversion of Russia would be by far the most public miracle in modern times, far outshining the 1917 Miracle of the Sun at Fatima witnessed by 70,000. Indeed, the conversion of tens of millions of Russians, in a short time, would parallel the millions of conversions which followed the apparition of Our Lady of Guadalupe in the sixteenth century.
The miraculously converted Russians begin to clamor for a Catholic Confessional State, and for the restoration of Russia's Christian monarchy. Delightfully, a thirty-five year old American physician named Mikhail Nicholaevich Romanov suddenly emerges on the world stage as the rightful heir to the Romanov throne. Mikhail, a bachelor, was raised Orthodox but is now a devout Catholic. he is a decorated war hero, a talented musician, and a Professor of Medicine at Michigan State University who lectures and runs medical missions part-time in Russia.
Mikhail's younger brother Father Kiril Romanov, a tradition-oriented Catholic priest and talented musician, hosts the secret papal retreat at his inner city Detroit parish, known as Fatima "Cova." There in Detroit, the Pope and the future monarch secretly meet-just before the papal decree to all Catholic bishops, ordering the consecration of Russia, is announced in Rome.
Mariya Peterson, a beautiful young Cova parishioner who was a home-schooled music prodigy, and who is now studying organ and piano at Detroit's Wayne State University, suddenly learns she is a secret Russian princess, and soon finds herself drawn into a chaste romance with her pastor's older brother Mikhail, who just happens to be the crown prince of Russia.
Princess Mariya and her parents accompany Prince Mikhail to the annual Romanov Nobility Ball in New York City, where Mikhail and Mariya win the hearts of the solidly-Orthodox expatriate Romanov clan-despite being Catholic. The very next evening, the Pope and all obedient bishops publicly consecrate Russia, exactly as requested by Our Lady of Fatima.
Soon, a public referendum in Russia call upon Crown Prince Mikhail to ascend the Romanov throne, as Russia's new Catholic Christian autocrat. He establishes a Ministry of Catholic Social Reorganization to re-order Russian society from top to bottom according to Catholic social teaching. The Russian people begin to rejoice in that true liberty which is to be found only in obedience, not only by individuals but also by social institutions, to the Law of Christ and His Church.
Russia thus becomes a demonstration to the modern world of the inestimable and widespread blessings that are possible in a Catholic Confessional State. As the novel closes, Russia is posed to re-evangelize the once-Christian, now-essentially-pagan nations that once comprised Western Christendom.
Russian Sunrise combines a well-crafted and heart-warming story line with intermittent suspense, uplifting musical and cultural imagery, and erudite humor. In an entertaining style it informs (or reminds) the reader about Catholic Social teaching, the Social Kingship of Christ, and the Orthodox Church and its potential for rapid conversion to the Catholic fold. Far from implying that Russia is the problem, Russian Sunrise disclosed the ultimate mission of Russia revealed by Our Lady of Fatima: Russia will be converted, and the world will enjoy a period of peace.
Indeed, those inclined toward an excessive faith in "democracy" as the best possible form of government, or who still view America as the chosen nation called to solve the world's problems, may find this creative and very Catholic novel somewhat disquieting. As the book makes clear, the single most important thing that Catholics may do, to help bring about a solution to current world crises, is to offer the daily Rosary for the intention that the Holy Father and all the bishops will consecrate Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, in final late obedience to Our Lady of Fatima.
The second book review was written by Christopher A. Ferrara and
featured in the November 15, 2010 issue of The Remnant.
Toward a Truly Free Market
A New Book by John C. Médaille
ISI Books (2010)
To paraphrase G.K. Chesterton, the errors of our time are so enormous that men cannot perceive them, for they occupy what seems to be our entire field of vision, leaving no sign of eternal truths that were commonplaces not so long ago. Even Catholics who think themselves daring opponents of the status quo of modernity are reduced to wearing cliches from a rack of fashionably "conservative" ideas, the sporty casual separates of a line of carefully coordinated Liberal clothing.
The conquering zeitgeist of Liberalism has obscured so many truths that what was obvious yesterday has become a revelation today. John Rao calls this process of revelation "removing the blindfold." In Toward a Truly Free Market, John C. Médaille removes the blindfold of economic liberalism to show us what is authentically conservative in matters economic: not the bourgeois, laissez-faire liberalism of a Frederic Bastiat, but the Church's distributist view of the market, according to which economic as well as political power is as widely dispersed as possible in keeping with the principle of subsidiarity. That is, a truly free market.
This is a book full of "why didn't I think of that?" moments. On page after page Médaille exposes with diamond clarity what perhaps we had intuited but never really articulated clearly for ourselves, beginning with the astonishing proposition-astonishing only in the moment before we realize it is obvious-that "capitalism and the free market are incompatible."
There is a reason the socialist John Maynard Keynes was able to view The Road to Serfdom by the libertarian icon Frederich von Hayek as "a grand book," declaring, as Médaille notes, that "morally and philosophically I find myself in agreement with virtually the whole of it; and not only in agreement, but in a deeply moved agreement." The reason, writes Médaille, "is that the growth of capitalism and the growth government go hand in hand." The problems of wealth distribution that laissez-faire capitalism creates, with its ever-increasing concentration of economic power in the hands of a plutocratic elite that is always in league with government, are the very problems government purports to solve with Keynsian measures for redistribution of wealth that capitalists themselves consistently promote.
Indeed, as Médaille observes, "capitalism cannot function without government interference," for the social distribution of goods to which "unbridled" capitalism gives rise depends upon the assistance of government in taxing masses to provide what capital wil not allot to labor. Hence it is no coincidence that our Keynesian social welfare system rests upon the backs of a dwindling number of ordinary taxpayers rather than Big Business, while smaller business owners struggle to survive in niches that are always on the verge of elimination. And it is no coincidence that in the midst of the Meltdown of 2007-2009 Wla-Mart, with its legions of Chinese wage slaves, earned record profits and paid record dividends to its shareholders, including the Walton with their $84 billion in holdings, while recommending that its underpaid domestic "sales associates" seek government assistance with their medical expenses.
Both capitalism and the modern State are at war with the society of small owners that was a hallmark of Christendom, and the prosecution of that war requires a massive externalization of costs by Big Business onto Big Government, meaning ultimately the working man as taxpayer, including the very cost of supporting the labor without which capital can produce nothing.
Médaille begins his demolition of the claims of economic liberalism by stripping it of its scientific pretensions, founded on the myth that there are "economic laws" that "no ethical judgement can invalidate - precisely the opinion Pius XI condemned in Quadragesimo Anno. There can be no "value-free" laws in the field of human action; and economics is, after all, a humane science. To deny this, of course, is to impose upon the discipline a value judgment that contradicts the Christian teaching. Médaille rightly calls upon the proponents of economic liberalism, be it Keynsian or Austrian, to be honest enough to make explicit the values that underlie their conclusions, "thereby exposing them to critique and evaluation." Instead (as I have shown in my own writings on the Austrians) they play a game of hide-the-ball by promoting liberal values under the guise of economic "facts."
The whole fact-value distinction, as Médaille shows, is a rhetorical contrivance (courtesy of Hume) in service of a post-Enlightenment, value-laden liberal polemic on the ultimately ethical subject of "economics"-a word that (as Médaille notes) could not be found even in the Oxford English Dictionary as late as 1928. In neo-classical and Austrian thinking "economics" is the pseudo-science that replaces the traditional term "political economy" that even Adam Smith employed, the aim being to suggest that economics, like physics, is a science that studies the operation of "laws" and need not concern itself with such "vague" and debatable moral concepts as justice.
But justice, as Médaille reminds us, is the very end of political economy. And justice in political economy, as the entire Western tradition from the Greeks to the Popes maintains, means the adequate provisioning of the family as the basic unit of political society. The very word "economy" is derived from the Greek oikonomeia, meaning "household management." This is why Austrians, following their agnostic gurus Misus and Rothbard, substitute another invented word-"catallactics"-for the classical term "economy" so as to connote a quasi-Newtonian "catallactic" process of exchanges and price formation by individual market actors, unimpaired by the overarching ethical telos of family support.
Médaille unfurls a compelling demonstration that capitalism needs both usury (buying on credit) and Keynesian government interventions (social welfare programs) to support families and clear the market of goods produced, which explains why Keynesian capitalism, founded on a mountain of debt, is the lot of the common man today while the plutocrats of capital ride high above the economic storm, assisted by government bailouts. Modern economics, even the Austrian variety, has lent itself to this failed model by treating workers as mere commodities whose "cost of production" via the nurturing of the family, without which there would be no workers in the first place, is conveniently omitted from economic calculations.
In modern economic theory workers are delivered individually to market, ready to work, by a zero-cost stork that flies in from nowhere and whose existence is arbitrarily placed "beyond the price system." The workers who would not exist without families are compensated as if they had no families, leaving the families from which they come to look to credit and government to bridge the gap. This Keynesian arrangement suits Big Business just fine, but it threatens the very existence of the family itself in a corrupted political economy that views contraception for the sake of the workplace as a civic virtue. Thus are Wal-Mart's "unbeatable prices" made possible-until the whole thing collapses-by Chinese wage slaves forbidden to reproduce by their communist overlords. Yet Wal-Mart is the Austrian "free market" poster child, as any search of mises.org will reveal.
Médaille's brilliantly simple insight is that modern economics, both neoclassical and Austrian, negates economic justice because it reduces justice in the market to a mere exchange of goods at "market prices" without determining in the first place the just distribution of the output of production as between labor, including the families supported by labor, and capital. By presuming without demonstration that labor's just share of the output- i.e., its just share of the revenue of an enterprise- is the "market price" for labor, modern economics begs the question of justice and thus reasons in a circle: labor's just share of output is the market price for labor, which is labor's just share because it is labor's market price. An input (the market price of labor as a production cost) is thus confused with an output (i.e., labor's just share of the output).
This means that, amazingly, modern economic theory, including Austrianism, really has no production function even though it pretends otherwise. This is so because, as Médaille demonstrates, production is a social process involving the cooperation of human beings, not a mathematical process. Only the social process of production as a whole has an output, and it cannot be divided in a neat mathematical way between the inputs of capital, which produces nothing on its own, and labor, without which nothing is produced. "Capital cannot do without labor nor labor without capital," as Pope Leo put it in Rerum Novarum, the encyclical from which "Catholic Austrians" uniformly dissent.
Therefore, the claims of both capital and labor to the same output can be resolved only on an ethical basis: the duty of provisioning the family as the prime requirement of distributive justice in society. The solution to the problem of achieving distributive justice, says Médaille, begins with eliminating economic liberalism's conflation of distributive justice, the distribution of goods in society, with commutative (or corrective) justice in individual exchanges- a distinction on which the Church insists but which economic liberalism (beginning with Locke) rejects as Scholastic pettifoggery.
Much of this remarkable book is devoted to examples of how distributive justice is being achieved in the real world via the just wage (for those who earn wages) and the wide distribution of income-producing property in worker-owned companies, such as the multi-billion dollar Mondragon Cooperative Corporation in Spain, founded by a priest on Catholic principles, and in entire market regions, such as Emilia-Romagna in Italy. These examples show that under a distributist model of the economy private property means private property, as opposed to the vast capital accumulations of the government-assisted corporate giants like Wal-Mart that call themselves "free enterprise" today. Médaille notes the supreme irony that Austrians belittle these examples of distributist success even thought they embody true libertarian principles-that is, Catholic principles- which presuppose widely distributed private property. It seems libertarians are not really interested in liberty! How very telling it is that socialists and AUstrians are united in their liberal enmity toward distributism.
Médaille's discussions or real world examples of the Church's distributist social teaching in action are combined with prescriptions for a drastic reduction in the size and power of the centralized governments (beginning with ours) to which liberalism in general and capitalism in particular have given rise. Readers may not agree with all of his prescriptions, but they will certainly be surprised and even amazed by many of his diagnostic insights. (My own copy of the book is filled with excited underlining, emphatic check marks, and several outright "wows.") It is enough to say that Médaille clearly and convincingly proves his central contention: that "idealistic capitalism always ends up relying on government power and money to rescue it from its own idealistic excesses; the distributist relies on functioning systems to deal with reality. Distributism goes from success to success; capitalism goes from bailout to bailout." I quite agree with Joseph Pearce that Toward a Truly Free Market "shak(es) our understanding of political economy to its very foundations," and with Patrick Deneen that Médaille has written "a tour de force, a call to a return to realism following a devastating period of economic fantasy and falsehood."
"This is the distributist moment," writes Médaille in the closing lines of this seminal work. Which is to say that this is the Catholic moment, once again, for America and the West. The survival of our civilization depends on whether it can remove the blindfold of Liberalism and recognize anew the perennial wisdom of the mother and teacher of all nations, and indeed the very nature of man. This book is a major signpost on the way back to social sanity. Toward a Truly Free Market deserves a prominent place in the library of every thinking Catholic.