This is not intending to be a political post. I’m worried because some seem to hold the tenets of Capitalism closer to their hearts than their Faith. They use their Faith to justify their belief in Capitalism, they say “my Faith shows that Capitalism is the only valid economic process”. This is dangerous. Faith should never be used to justify any theory. It is absurd as using Faith to justify a particular theory in science as being better than another scientific theory. One place we end up in, if we go down that route is the academically unsatisfying backwater that is “Intelligent Design”. There is an embarrassing lack of academic rigour both for scientists and theologians in intelligent design, the Church is rightly sceptical of its merits. Incidentally, can it ever work the other way round, has anyone ever been brought to a deeper understanding of their Faith by wholehearted embracing of a political theory? Has anyone ever said “My wholehearted embrace of Capitalism/Socialism has deepened my faith, hope and charity”. Would you trust them if they did?
Now this I say, that every one of you saith: I indeed am of Paul; and I am of Apollo; and I am of Cephas; and I of Christ. Is Christ divided?
1 Cor 1:12-13
How can we be a “right wing Catholic” or a “left wing Catholic”? The universiality of the Church demands that the C of Catholic is branded on our heads and pierces our hearts, it can not lead to unstinting political allegiance, or unstinting allegiance to an economic theory (we have to let go of this idea), our allegiance is to Christ alone. Christ in the poor, the naked, the hungry, the lame, the neighbour who tells you uncomfortable truths, the neighbour you like, the neighbour you can't stand and Christ manifest in the Magesterium of the Church and the great Sacraments of the Church.
So, why are our American brothers and sisters in Christ often such truculent political idealogues? Partly, I think as they see us in Europe as inherently leftist, they see the old world as a failure and leftism being the epitome of failure, it makes them love America more. Partly also because the spirit of Frontierism seems hardwired into the American psyche. Wagon trains roll and strive, achieve, make good by your own hands and love your liberty. A regulatory state such as appears in Leftist governments gnaws at the very soul of the Frontierist. He feels emasculated and threatened. Importantly, the American will also have a strong sense of family, and a sense that the family is the most precious thing. It could be argued however that some Americans cannot see beyond the family and a concept of wider networks of humanity and wider bonds of charity and affection. In many ways there is nothing to admonish in loving your country, Frontierism or strong family values, they are all valid and life-affirming. However they can be quite insular mindsets, firstly there is an inability to see and love much that is good in Europe and beyond, secondly Frontierists do not interact with their environment they conquer it and do not listen to its needs and thirdly a totally family centred approach falls apart if it is not thoroughly bound into the wider communion of the Church Militant, Triumphant and Suffering.
We all have mindsets, I’d like an American perspective on prevalent European mindsets. My grouse is a worry that some of us will hold onto these mindsets at the expense of failing to let Christ work in our hearts.