POLITICAL POWER: THE BASIS OF THE NEW ORDER
Benedict’s new “world political authority” would have power, backed by force, over the key sectors of the global economy. Throughout the long, densely written pontifical document, the same theme emerges repeatedly. He said:
“Political authority also involves a wide range of values, which must not be overlooked in the process of constructing a new order of economic productivity, socially responsible and human in scale.”
Benedict thought that “political authority” could be used safely and effectively for “constructing a new order of economic productivity.” However, post-1789 history is littered with the corpses of those slain in human efforts to construct a “new order” of any kind, however beneficent the original intent may have been. As a result of the world economic crisis, Benedict expected (and approved) growth of State power, at the national and international level: “The integrated economy of the present day does not make the role of States redundant, but rather it commits governments to greater collaboration with one another. Both wisdom and prudence suggest not being too precipitous in declaring the demise of the State. In terms of the resolution of the current crisis, the State’s role seems destined to grow, as it regains many of its competences. In some nations, moreover, the construction or reconstruction of the State remains a key factor in their development.”
His prediction that the current slump will increase government power has already been proven correct – but it is also clear that Benedict approved of this development. Benedict said, “Alongside economic aid, there needs to be aid directed towards reinforcing the guarantees proper to the State of law: a system of public order and effective imprisonment that respects human rights, truly democratic institutions.”
Note well: for Benedict, one of the two elements defining the rule of law is “a system of public order and effective imprisonment.” “Respect for human rights” is a very elastic constraint on a prison system and on a government; most governments claim that they do this. For Benedict, prison is integral to the New State that he has proposed. (Nor is Benedict’s inquisitorial definition of the “State of law” an artifact of a bad English translation; in the Latin version of the encyclical, the same sentence reads “Praeter auxilia oeconomica adesse debent subsidia, quae proprias cautiones Status iuris roborent, systema nempe ordinis publici et efficientis carcerationis, hominum iuribus servatis, quae ad instituta vere democratica spectant.”
Benedict proposed to ride the wave of globalization, using its power as a way to carry out “unprecedented … large-scale redistribution of wealth on a world-wide scale.” He said, “‘globalization, a priori, is neither good nor bad. It will be what people make of it.’ We should not be its victims, but rather its protagonists, acting in the light of reason, guided by charity and truth. Blind opposition would be a mistaken and prejudiced attitude, incapable of recognizing the positive aspects of the process, with the consequent risk of missing the chance to take advantage of its many opportunities for development. The processes of globalization, suitably understood and directed, open up the unprecedented possibility of large-scale redistribution of wealth on a world-wide scale … The transition inherent in the process of globalization presents great difficulties and dangers that can only be overcome if we are able to appropriate the underlying anthropological and ethical spirit that drives globalization towards the humanizing goal of solidarity. Unfortunately this spirit is often overwhelmed or suppressed by ethical and cultural considerations of an individualistic and utilitarian nature. Globalization is a multifaceted and complex phenomenon which must be grasped in the diversity and unity of all its different dimensions, including the theological dimension. In this way it will be possible to experience and to steer the globalization of humanity in relational terms, in terms of communion and the sharing of goods.”
Benedict called his readers to be “protagonists” – leading players and advocates – of globalization. As is usual for collectivists and utopians, Benedict scorned the “individualistic and utilitarian” opposition to a new economic order. He dismissed resistance to globalization as “blind,” seeming to ignore clear-sighted opponents of this trend. His hope for “unprecedented… large-scale redistribution of wealth on a world- wide scale” should raise alarms for anyone who is familiar with the history of post-1789 radicalism of the left or of the right.
Large-scale, rapid wealth redistribution has always been accompanied by dictatorship, famine, and violence; there is no reason to expect that the results would be different under any conceivable future globalist regime. If Benedict has discerned an “underlying anthropological and ethical spirit that drives globalization towards the humanizing goal of solidarity,” it makes sense to question his discernment in this (and related) matters.
Benedict explicitly called for redistribution of world energy resources to poor nations. In addition to energy-saving technical change and lower energy consumption by consumers and businesses in developed nations, he said,
“What is also needed, though, is a worldwide redistribution of energy resources, so that countries lacking those resources can have access to them. The fate of those countries cannot be left in the hands of whoever is first to claim the spoils, or whoever is able to prevail over the rest.”
Benedict repeated this call for redistribution of energy resources in his message for the 2010 Day of Peace. This might sound reasonable at first, and it is true that energy-poor underdeveloped nations need such assistance. However, there are insurmountable practical questions, especially given the fallen human nature of anyone who will manage such redistribution. Who will take what from whom, under what law, and by what regulatory standard, to give to whom, and with what means of enforcement? Those who would carry out this redistribution will be no wiser, no more peace-loving, no more just, and no more honest than the current crop of world political leaders, bureaucrats, and police. Benedict emphasized the necessity for the Church to be active in the political world. He said, “The Church has a responsibility towards creation and she must assert this responsibility in the public sphere.”
(In his message for the 2010 World Day of Peace, Benedict said the same.) In his encyclical, Benedict said, “The Christian religion and other religions can offer their contribution to development only if God has a place in the public realm, specifically in regard to its cultural, social, economic, and particularly its political dimensions. The Church’s social doctrine came into being in order to claim ‘citizenship status’ for the Christian religion.” However, to say that “the Christian religion” can offer its “contribution to development only if God has a place in the public realm … particularly its political dimensions” casts disrespect on the ministry of Jesus, who said that “my kingship is not of this world” (John 18:36). It also ignores the pre-Constantine Church, which – despite centuries of persecution – managed to overturn the religious order of the world’s greatest empire without wielding any State power whatsoever.
As the capstone of his analysis, Benedict proposed the erection of a “true world political authority” with “real teeth” and wielding sufficient power to manage economics, food, armaments, environmental protection, and migration for the whole world: “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.” This new regime would have wide responsibilities: “implementing the principle of the responsibility to protect,” to “give direction to international cooperation for the development of all peoples in solidarity. To manage the global economy … 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.” A global authority with enough power to manage all these “portfolios” would necessarily be despotic.
Benedict imagined that the “world authority” he seeks could be directed by “the values of charity in truth,” so as to create a new “social order that at last conforms to the moral order.” This authority would be “universally recognized” and would have “the effective power” to carry out its vast mandate. He said, “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. … 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.” Understanding the basis of Benedict’s manifesto, only an ecclesiastical propagandist could deny that Benedict was seeking a powerful world government.
MEDIA ROLE: “ENGINEERING CHANGES IN ATTITUDE”
With a new world order would come the need to propagandize the people. Benedict had this in view, since he assumed that a key role of the mass media is “engineering changes in attitude towards reality and the human person” for their audience. He said, “Given the media’s fundamental importance in engineering changes in attitude towards reality and the human person, we must reflect carefully on their influence, especially in regard to the ethical-cultural dimension of globalization and the development of peoples in solidarity. … This means that they can have a civilizing effect not only when, thanks to technological development, they increase the possibilities of communicating information, but above all when they are geared towards a vision of the person and the common good that reflects truly universal values. … To achieve goals of this kind, they need to focus on promoting the dignity of persons and peoples, they need to be clearly inspired by charity and placed at the service of truth, of the good, and of natural and supernatural fraternity.”
The same questions need to be asked here that would be asked of any other would-be social planner who wishes to manage us “for our own good”: who will define the goals that the media are to promote; who will enforce these rules, and by what means? What room will there be for dissenting views? As with all utopias, the question is: who is to engineer whom, and for whose benefit? The notion that writers (or others in the media) should be engineers of their audience is totalitarian in origin and intent. As Stalin told a meeting of writers in October 1932, “You are engineers of human souls.”
Dreaming of a new order in the current age, based on “adhering to the values of Christianity” Benedict has proposed “building a good society” and “integral human development” based on worldwide adherence to “the values of Christianity,” as defined by the Church. Early in the encyclical, Benedict said, “practicing charity in truth helps people to understand that adhering to the values of Christianity is not merely useful but essential for building a good society and for true integral human development. … Without truth, charity is confined to a narrow field devoid of relations. It is excluded from the plans and processes of promoting human development of universal range, in dialogue between knowledge and praxis.”
He has offered his own vision of total social reform, based on “plans and processes” to promote “human development of universal range.” Until now, preparing plans to direct all aspects of human development has been a hallmark of utopians and socialists. Now, Benedict is – for his own reasons – singing along with that choir. Benedict was inclined to view globalization, in its essence, as good: “The truth of globalization as a process and its fundamental ethical criterion are given by the unity of the human family and its development towards what is good.”
He said that globalization “has been the principal driving force behind the emergence from underdevelopment of whole regions, and in itself it represents a great opportunity. Nevertheless, without the guidance of charity in truth, this global force could cause unprecedented damage and create new divisions within the human family. Hence charity and truth confront us with an altogether new and creative challenge, one that is certainly vast and complex. It is about broadening the scope of reason and making it capable of knowing and directing these powerful new forces, animating them within the perspective of that ‘civilization of love’ whose seed God has planted in every people, in every culture.” Benedict imagined that somehow, those who exercise “charity in truth” while “adhering to the values of Christianity” will be able to direct globalization in order to build a “civilization of love.”
In this vision, Christian leadership, after “broadening the scope of reason and making it capable of knowing and directing these powerful new forces” (a formulation that could have come from the French Revolution), will be able to govern globalization – a political and economic force that has thus far proven able to evade restraints from nations and from today’s international organizations. Also, given the anti- Christian and anti-traditional track record of the UN and the European Union, and given the current balance of forces in the world (in which Communists, secularists, Muslims, Hindus, and followers of other faiths outweigh traditional Christians of all denominations together), it is not clear how it will ever be possible to build a “civilization of love” based on “adhering to the values of Christianity.” Does Benedict imagine that somehow, before the Return of Christ, the whole world will accept Christianity – and governance on Christian norms?
“In all cultures there are examples of ethical convergence, some isolated, some interrelated, as an expression of the one human nature, willed by the Creator; the tradition of ethical wisdom knows this as the natural law. This universal moral law provides a sound basis for all cultural, religious and political dialogue, and it ensures that the multi-faceted pluralism of cultural diversity does not detach itself from the common quest for truth, goodness and God. Thus adherence to the law etched on human hearts is the precondition for all constructive social cooperation. … The Christian faith, by becoming incarnate in cultures and at the same time transcending them, can help them grow in universal brotherhood and solidarity, for the advancement of global and community development.”
However, not all cultures accept the existence of natural law; those who acknowledge it do not necessarily agree on its principles. It is utopian to imagine that such fundamental disagreement on the nature of reality and the source of morality will be peacefully overcome in the foreseeable future. Benedict placed “charitable” political action on a par with individual charity: “The more we strive to secure a common good corresponding to the real needs of our neighbors, the more effectively we love them. Every Christian is called to practice this charity, in a manner corresponding to his vocation and according to the degree of influence he wields in the polis. This is the institutional path – we might also call it the political path – of charity, no less excellent and effective than the kind of charity which encounters the neighbor directly, outside the institutional mediation of the polis.”
To ensure that no one missed his message, he made it clear in the conclusion of the encyclical that he was addressing those who work “alongside ‘political authorities and those working in the field of economics”: “God’s love calls us to move beyond the limited and the ephemeral, it gives us the courage to continue seeking and working for the benefit of all, even if this cannot be achieved immediately and if what we are able to achieve, alongside political authorities and those working in the field of economics, is always less than we might wish.” When Benedict said that “the political path” is “no less excellent and effective than the kind of charity which encounters the neighbor directly,” he made it seem that Christ, St. Francis of Assisi, St. John Bosco, and Blessed Teresa of Calcutta all missed their targets in directing their charity to their neighbors, rather than agitating for political reform.
Benedict said, “Man’s earthly activity, when inspired and sustained by charity, contributes to the building of the universal city of God, which is the goal of the history of the human family. In an increasingly globalized society, the common good and the effort to obtain it cannot fail to assume the dimensions of the whole human family, that is to say, the community of peoples and nations, in such a way as to shape the earthly city in unity and peace, rendering it to some degree an anticipation and a prefiguration of the undivided city of God.” If the “earthly city” prefigures the “city of God,” and the unified “earthly city” is to cover “the whole human family,” there would be no reason not to build a new world system that would be like “a tower with its top in the heavens” (Genesis 11:4). From Genesis through Daniel to Revelation, Scripture warns against such human hubris. Several other unusual theological ideas make their appearance in this encyclical
THE NECESSITY OF USING REASON TO PURIFY FAITH?
Benedict said that “Reason always stands in need of being purified by faith: this also holds true for political reason, which must not consider itself omnipotent. For its part, religion always needs to be purified by reason in order to show its authentically human face.” Later in the encyclical, he said that in the face of ethical challenges posed by biotechnology, “reason and faith can come to each other’s assistance. Only together will they save man. Entranced by an exclusive reliance on technology, reason without faith is doomed to flounder in an illusion of its own omnipotence. Faith without reason risks being cut off from everyday life.”
It is true that without a living faith in the one true God, application of human reason to politics is likely to produce disaster; in that sense, reason does indeed need to be “‘purified by faith.” However, it is strange for any Christian to claim that “religion” must always be “‘purified by reason.” This may be true for man-created religions, or for man- made reconstructions of Christianity. But Christian faith is not one of many man-made or partially true “religions;” it is (or should be) a relationship with Christ, who is uniquely the human face of God. How could that faith (and such a relationship between God and man) need purification by reason?
The Scriptures do not present Christian faith as something to be deduced or purified by human reason; St. Paul testifies that Christ is folly (not reason) to the Greeks, of that era or of this one: “Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? … For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles.” (1 Corinthians 1:20-23) In any event, it is not true that “reason and faith” together can “save man;” the only Savior is Christ. How could any Christian – let alone the current occupant of the Chair of Peter – suggest otherwise?
FIDELITY TO MAN?
Benedict put “fidelity to man” rather than to God at the center of his social vision, and seemed to view truth as something that is assembled into “a unity” by the Church from “fragments” found in “whichever branch of knowledge”:
“Fidelity to man requires fidelity to the truth, which alone is the guarantee of freedom … and of the possibility of integral human development. For this reason the Church searches for truth, proclaims it tirelessly and recognizes it wherever it is manifested. This mission of truth is something that the Church can never renounce. Her social doctrine is a particular dimension of this proclamation: it is a service to the truth which sets us free. Open to the truth, from whichever branch of knowledge it comes, the Church’s social doctrine receives it, assembles into a unity the fragments in which it is often found, and mediates it within the constantly changing life-patterns of the society of peoples and nations.”
This vision of truth is depersonalized, and is a far cry from the clear testimony of Christ, who told His followers that He is “the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6). A truth that is assembled by human reason its place in a university seminar, but it will not be the same saving truth as “the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 3). At the beginning of this same paragraph, Benedict said that “The Church does not have technical solutions to offer and does not claim ‘to interfere in any way in the politics of States.” It seems inconsistent for him then to propose that the Church assemble a unified social truth from fragments offered by the world’s branches of knowledge, and then offer this new construct to the “society of peoples and nations.” A strange faith in man also appeared when Benedict warned against “rejection, not only of the distorted and unjust way in which progress is sometimes directed, but also of scientific discoveries themselves, which, if well used, could serve as an opportunity of growth for all. The idea of a world without development indicates a lack of trust in man and in God. It is therefore a serious mistake to undervalue human capacity to exercise control over the deviations of development or to overlook the fact that man is constitutionally oriented towards ‘being more.””
Benedict’s justified rejection of back-to-nature primitivism comes with a condemnation of an odd pairing, “lack of trust in man and in God.” But nowhere in Scripture are we called to exercise “trust in man,” let alone to trust man in the way that we are to trust God. Instead, we are told to have faith in God, and to “put not your trust in princes” (Psalm 146:3). Benedict called on mankind to manage technical progress by using “human capacity to exercise control over the deviations of development,” even though the ongoing pollution of land, air, and water shows how well we exercise this “human capacity” in practice. If Benedict sought to solve environmental crises by establishing new laws and bureaucracies to “exercise control over the deviations of development,” he (and we) face the intractable reality of fallen human nature. No army of saints and angels is available to make and enforce such new controls; the only available people are people.
Benedict also overlooks the ambiguity in “the fact that man is constitutionally oriented towards ‘being more.’” We are fallen; the line between good and evil is now drawn through each human heart. Our better part seeks “being more” by following God; our evil part seeks to “be more” for ourselves against God, ever again eating illicitly of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, and ever again building new Towers of Babel.
THE WORK OF THE CHURCH: “INTEGRAL HUMAN DEVELOPMENT”?
Benedict offered his readers two truths: “The first is that the whole Church, in all her being and acting – when she proclaims, when she celebrates, when she performs works of charity – is engaged in promoting integral human development. She has a public role over and above her charitable and educational activities: all the energy she brings to the advancement of humanity and of universal fraternity is manifested when she is able to operate in a climate of freedom. In not a few cases, that freedom is impeded by prohibitions and persecutions, or it is limited when the Church’s public presence is reduced to her charitable activities alone.
The second truth is that authentic human development concerns the whole of the person in every single dimension.” There are several oddities here. Benedict said that the aim of the Church “in all her being and acting” – including teaching and worship (“when she proclaims, when she celebrates”) – is “promoting integral human development.” This is a new doctrine, quite different from Christ’s post-Resurrection mandate that the Church is to “make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:19-20). The earthly goals that Benedict stated (“advancement of humanity and of universal fraternity”) are good in themselves, as far as they go, but they are effects of the Church and her members acting in accord with God’s will. “Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be yours as well” (Matthew 6:33). When Benedict says that “authentic human development concerns the whole of the person in every single dimension,” he is fostering an ideology that would govern every aspect of human life: a utopian vision in religious garb.
BENEDICT’S “NEW HUMANISTIC SYNTHESIS
Like other utopians – and like Gorbachev, Kissinger, and other leaders who support a new world order -Benedict saw the post-2007 world crisis as an opportune occasion for radical change, a “new humanistic synthesis” and a “new vision for the future” that will affect “nothing less than the destiny of man.” He said that “the current crisis … presents us with choices that cannot be postponed concerning nothing less than the destiny of man, who, moreover, cannot rescind from his nature. … The different aspects of the crisis, its solutions, and any new development that the future may bring, are increasingly interconnected, they imply one another, they require new efforts of holistic understanding and a new humanistic synthesis. … The current crisis obliges us to re plan our journey, to set ourselves new rules and to discover new forms of commitment, to build on positive experiences and to reject negative ones. The crisis thus becomes an opportunity for discernment, in which to shape a new vision for the future.” Later in the encyclical, Benedict added, “The significant new elements in the picture of the development of peoples today in many cases demand new solutions. These need to be found together, respecting the laws proper to each element and in the light of an integral vision of man … Remarkable convergences and possible solutions will then come to light.”
When Benedict saw the world crisis as “an opportunity for discernment, in which to shape a new vision for the future,” he was following the logic of American political leaders. In November 2008, Rahm Emanuel, President Obama’s chief of staff, told a Wall Street Journal conference of chief executives, “You never want a serious crisis to go to waste. … Things that we had postponed for too long, that were long-term, are now immediate and must be dealt with. This crisis provides the opportunity for us to do things that you could not do before.”
BENEDICT’S CALL FOR “SUBSIDIARITY”: A DEFENSE AGAINST GLOBALIST TYRANNY?
Benedict called for “a dispersed political authority, effective on different levels … The articulation of political authority at the local, national and international levels is one of the best ways of giving direction to the process of economic globalization. It is also the way to ensure that it does not actually undermine the foundations of democracy,” indicating that he did not wish to build a fully centralized global regime. Later in the encyclical, Benedict restated his call for decentralization of political power in the context of global governance.
“Subsidiarity is first and foremost a form of assistance to the human person via the autonomy of intermediate bodies. … Hence the principle of subsidiarity is particularly well-suited to managing globalization and directing it towards authentic human development. In order not to produce a dangerous universal power of a tyrannical nature, the governance of globalization must be marked by subsidiarity, articulated into several layers and involving different levels that can work together. Globalization certainly requires authority, insofar as it poses the problem of a global common good that needs to be pursued. This authority, however, must be organized in a subsidiary and stratified way, if it is not to infringe upon freedom and if it is to yield effective results in practice.”
This nod in the direction of decentralized authority has given great reassurance to many American conservative commentators in the encyclical. It makes it seem as if Benedict has signed off on the equivalent of the Tenth Amendment to the US Constitution: “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” However, there is little basis for such reassurance. Benedict himself places an important restriction on the scope of subsidiarity and decentralization in the next paragraph of the encyclical. He says, “The principle of subsidiarity must remain closely linked to the principle of solidarity and vice versa, since the former without the latter gives way to social privatism, while the latter without the former gives way to paternalist social assistance that is demeaning to those in need.”
This is the same logic that supporters of ever-stronger Federal authority have used since World War I to justify their own centralization of power in the US. There is no realistic reason to believe that the new rulers of a world government will show any more respect for localism and the virtues of decentralization than the US government has done with respect to states, counties, and cities. In his April 18, 2008 address to the UN General Assembly, Benedict said, “The United Nations embodies the aspiration for a ‘greater degree of international ordering’ … inspired and governed by the principle of subsidiarity, and therefore capable of responding to the demands of the human family through binding international rules and through structures capable of harmonizing the day-to-day unfolding of the lives of peoples. This is all the more necessary at a time when … the world’s problems call for interventions in the form of collective action by the international community.”
Benedict thus accepted the UN as an example of an authoritative world body “governed by the principle of subsidiarity” and able to establish “binding international rules” that will harmonize “the day-to-day unfolding of the lives of peoples.” In other words, the “world political authority” envisioned by Benedict would – by design – reach out and touch all of us in our daily lives. Furthermore, the concept of “subsidiarity” is built into the treaties that govern the European Union; anyone can see how well that is working to defend national sovereignty, traditional values, and Christian faith in Europe. If the bureaucratic, corrupt, arrogant, tyrant-coddling, pro-socialist, population- controlling United Nations and European Union are examples of the “subsidiarity” that Benedict would rely upon to curb despotism by the “world political authority” that he favors, then we should all re-read Orwell’s 1984 and Solzhenitsyn’s Gulag Archipelago for tips on how to survive in the new world order.
THE CHURCH IGNITES POLITICAL GLOBALISM
Caritas in Veritate should be seen as what it is: a theological and political earthquake. The Roman Catholic Church, which was once a guardian of tradition worldwide, now wishes to use radical means (a “true world political authority”) for its own ends. It is as if Benedict had wished to mount and ride a wild beast, and imagined that he (and those who believe as he does) would be able to direct that fierce beast’s course. Ordinary prudence – even without reference to the dire symbolism of Revelation 17:3-18 – should have warned the Vatican against such folly. Europeans have already tried using radical means to support conservative goals; the results of that 20th century experiment in Italy, Portugal, Germany, Spain, and Vichy France are written in letters of blood and fire. Seeking a world government that is governed and limited by natural law and Christian tradition is akin to seeking dry water or square circles. Lord Acton, a Catholic historian in 19th Century England, made a warning that the Vatican ought to have heeded.
“Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men, even when they exercise influence and not authority: still more when you super add the tendency or the certainty of corruption by authority.”
No power could be more absolute than that of “world ruler,” and such is the post which (despite the fig-leaf invocation of “subsidiarity”) Benedict proposes to create. Even the billionaire leftist utopian George Soros recognized that full-scale global government would be a threat to freedom. In August 2006, he said, “I’m against global government. Now [laughing] if you don’t like a national government, you can move someplace else. A global government would probably interfere with our freedom more than national governments.” Several months later, Soros added, “A global government could not avoid being repressive even if it were built on liberal principles. A global open society could not even be as closely integrated as the European Union because the affinity among the member states would be less pronounced.” Essentially, an avowedly globalist “change agent” has a more sober perspective on global government than the Pope. In September 2009, a columnist for the London Telegraph provided a realistic view of global governance:
“The idea of global governance is meaningless without mechanisms to enforce it, so what are we talking about here? World government? A system of laws and policing which would be beyond the reach of the electorates of individual countries, and therefore have no direct democratic accountability to the peoples of those nations? Even assuming that such institutions did not take on a self-justifying life of their own – which history teaches us is almost inevitable – and that they remained fastidiously responsive to the heads of national governments, they would still be, by definition, supranational. In other words, their function would be precisely to ignore those needs and interests of individual countries which might endanger the welfare of the larger entity. And the welfare of that larger entity would be judged by – what? … It is hard enough for a leader to remain in touch with the consciousness of his own people: playing to a global electorate puts almost any politician out of his depth. Not that we are talking about electorates any longer.
Voters are way, way down on the list of considerations in this new ball game. But perhaps you find yourself convinced, in the present economic circumstances, that there are no national crises any more, only global ones – and that the governing of all nations must now be subsumed under some overarching international framework of law and supervision, to be monitored and policed by suitably empowered agencies. Maybe you think that is an acceptable price to be paid for stability at home and security abroad. But consider this: what if the new dispensation, once installed, fails to produce that stability and security, or delivers it only to certain nations (not yours), or does so only by limiting freedoms that you consider precious? What recourse will you have then to remove it peaceably from power, as you do your national government?”
As the bishops have led, the Catholic laity have followed. The Knights of Columbus, a 1.7 million member Catholic fraternal organization, passed a resolution on August 6 at their 2009 general convention expressing “deep appreciation to the Holy Father for the timely publication of the encyclical Caritas in Veritate.” Vatican apologist Robert Moynihan, founder and editor of Inside the Vatican magazine, a staunchly conservative publication, stood with the African bishops in their acceptance of Benedict’s version of global governance, and dismissed critics as “doing the work of the devil.”
On October 24, he said, “the Africans are supporting a more just ‘world order,’ something which the Pope also called for in his recent encyclical, not because they want a ‘one world government’ which might be a prelude to a type of ‘anti-Christian’ rule (the rule of anti- Christ), but precisely because there is already a ‘world mis-government’ which allows enormous injustices to be perpetrated with impunity. This leads to another thought: those who would encourage simple, good Catholics, and others, to fear that the Pope is calling for a dangerous, anti-Christian ‘new world order’ are being duped. The Pope knows that there already is a dangerous ‘world government’ (or ‘mis-government’) which is … allowing the rape of Africa, and even encouraging it. So, those who are fanning the passions of the simple against any calls for a government which could restrain these excesses, are playing the devil’s game. The type of ‘world governance’ the Pope was calling for is the same type these bishops are calling for: a reasonable government, with reasonable laws, able and willing to impede and prosecute these crimes against humanity. Until such a government is formed, to reign [sic] in the excesses already occurring, ‘anti-Christian’ forces will continue to have their day, and simple people will continue to suffer.”
Such is the counterattack that Church apologists are likely to make against traditional Christians who reject Benedict’s embrace of political globalism. Tony Blair, who converted to Catholicism in late 2007 after completing his ten-year term as Prime Minister of the UK, praised Caritas in Veritate in an August 27, 2009 speech to an annual assembly of members of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic “new ecclesial movement.” Blair, like Benedict, believes that the Church should have a strong voice in politics and global governance. More than 10,000 members of the movement, which has a reputation for orthodoxy and loyalty to the Vatican, gave Blair two standing ovations. Blair (who has been a public supporter of “the right to choose”) said, “The danger is clear: that pursuit of pleasure becomes an end in itself. It is here that Faith can step in, can show us a proper sense of duty to others, responsibility for the world around us, can lead us to, as the Holy Father calls it, “Caritas in Veritate.”
Bankers have followed the lead of churchmen, and have praised Caritas in Veritate – while defending their own wealth and privilege. On October 21, 2009, Archbishop Vincent Nichols of Westminster organized a private seminar at which chairmen and CEOs from banks and other financial institutions met to study Caritas in Veritate. (The financiers in attendance included Schroders chief executive Michael Dobson, Schroders president George Mallinckcrodt, vice chairman of Goldman Sachs International Lord Brian Griffiths, Rothschild’s director Anthony Salz, Barclays Bank chairman Marcus Agius and former Chief of the Defense Staff Field Marshal Lord Peter Inge.)