Will Catholic advocates of economic austerity like Paul Ryan heed the message of the new pope?


It says HERE that a paper written by an economist specializing in Latin American matters tells an interesting story about Pope Francis and other Catholic bishops in Argentina:

Francis…seems to be an opponent of austerity, most notably during his time as spiritual leader of Argentina when the country defaulted on its debt in 2002.

A paper by Thomas Trebat, “Argentina, the Church, and Debt,” details the church’s role in the crisis’s resolution. Argentine bishops, including Francis, had long criticized the laissez-faire policies of Carlos Menem, who was president from 1989 to 1999. “The bishops were critical of the economic model as a generator of poverty and unemployment, notwithstanding the stability it had brought to the country,” Trebat wrote.

And when the debt crisis hit in 2002, the church called in strong terms for a debt restructuring to take place which privileged social programs above debt repayment. They argued that the true problems in the Argentinian economy were, in their words, “social exclusion, a growing gap between rich and poor, insecurity, corruption, social and family violence, serious deficiencies in the educational system and in public health, the negative consequences of globalization and the tyranny of the markets.”

Trebat thinks this influenced the eventual outcome of the crisis, wherein the country’s creditors accepted a less devastating austerity package than many expected. “Civil society, of which the Church is a part, has a clear role to play in demanding that debt service not take precedence over human development once reasonable efforts have been expended to pay the debt,” he concludes.

Trebat studied the whole church’s response, rather than just Francis’s, but comments by the new pope suggest he held similar views. [The National Catholic Reporter’s John] Allen quotes a later speech in which then-Cardinal Bergoglio declared, “We live, apparently, in the most unequal part of the world, which has grown the most yet reduced misery the least. The unjust distribution of goods persists, creating a situation of social sin that cries out to Heaven and limits the possibilities of a fuller life for so many of our brothers.”



  1. Will Catholic advocates for abortion rights ( see Democratic Party USA) heed the message of this pope or any or the recent popes?

  2. exdoc, it appears that you assume (correct me if I am wrong) that U.S. Catholics who advocate for woman’s reproductive choice also oppose the Vatican’s policy on the topic.

    In my experience, many progressive Catholics feel strongly that a woman’s decision should be based solely on the parent’s spiritual convictions. Similar to a consideration of adoption, secular laws should never preempt a person’s religious beliefs about when to bear and raise children.

    In other words, keep the government out of it, because once you allow politicians to police morality everyone’s religious freedoms will suffer.

    A further irony: When the feds want Catholic businesses (not churches) to offer contraception in their health plans, we hear the Bishops whine “Big government is trampling religious freedom!”

    Yet when the feds remain wholly uninvolved in whether a woman terminates a pregnancy, these same old white men claim abortion is evil in every context, and the government should require every last one of us to abide by their religious dogma.

    Any Catholics out there care to clear up this laughable inconsistency for me?

  3. The first order of business for the new Papa is to order a broom and a large carpet.

  4. How is it inconsistent Luke?

    In both instances the Catholic Church is standing up for life.

  5. Steven Cornett

    I wonder about the justice of allow a government to spend $4.00 for every $3.00 it takes in taxes, and growing 40% over five years while making a more top-heavy economy in the name of fairness.

    One can yell “Rand-lover” and other libertarian-bashing slogans all we want, but as Samuel Adams famously said, “facts are stubborn things,” as are national debts that get bigger than the GDP of the nation.

  6. Francis is an opponet of murdering babies which Pat and the Red star just love. You talk about budgets then you support the mass slaughter of human children. It’s sand and disgusting to hear people like Pat and those at the Red Star claim to care about people when they support the mass uurder of children in the womb.

  7. Jim: You have no basis whatever for claiming that I support the mass murder of children in the womb.

    And your reference to the “Red Star” is just right-wing nonsense. Over the years, the paper has endorsed more pro-life Republican candidates than pro-choice Democrats.

  8. I hope Francis is an opponet of protecting child rapists.

    I’ll believe the Catholic Church stands up for life when they stand up for the ruined lives of raped kids. Aggressively seeking criminal prosecutions is just a start. And not just for the rapists, but also for those who did not call police when credible allegations were first made.

    Why did the administrators at Penn State face jail for not reporting child rape, yet there are scores of church officials who did the same thing with impunity? There is no moral distinction between Paterno and Mahony, other than that Mahony protected rapists REPEATEDLY and SYSTEMATICALLY.

    Born babies have souls too!

  9. “I hope Francis is an opponet of protecting child rapists. ”

    I hope so too.


    It’s unclear how much direct experience Pope Francis, an Argentine cardinal, has had dealing with sexually abusive clergy in Latin America, where the scope of the abuse scandal has been more muted. When the scandal broke, however, he made it harder for people to become priests and now 60 percent are eliminated, his authorized biographer, Sergio Rubin, told The Associated Press.

  10. Here is a good column on the topic from the recently much maligned Peggy Noonan.


    I’ll tell you how it looks: like one big unexpected gift for the church and the world.

    Everything about Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio’s election was a surprise—his age, the name he took, his mien as he was presented to the world. He was plainly dressed, a simple white cassock, no regalia, no finery. He stood there on the balcony like a straight soft pillar and looked out at the crowd. There were no grand gestures, not even, at first, a smile. He looked tentative, even overwhelmed. I thought, as I watched, “My God—he’s shy.”

    Then the telling moment about the prayer. Before he gave a blessing he asked for a blessing: He asked the crowd to pray for him. He bent his head down and the raucous, cheering square suddenly became silent, as everyone prayed. I thought, “My God—he’s humble.”

    I wasn’t sure what to make of it and said so to a friend, a member of another faith who wants the best for the church because to him that’s like wanting the best for the world. He was already loving what he was seeing. He asked what was giving me pause. I said I don’t know, the curia is full of tough fellows, the pope has to be strong.

    That is more than strength,” he said of the man on the screen. “This is not cynical humanity. This is showing there is another way to be.”

    Yes. This is a kind of public leadership we are no longer used to—unassuming, self-effacing. Leaders of the world now are garish and brazen. You can think of half a dozen of their names in less than a minute. They’re good at showbiz, they find the light and flash the smile.

    But this man wasn’t trying to act like anything else.

    “He looks like he didn’t want to be pope,” my friend said. That’s exactly what he looked like. He looked like Alec Guinness in the role of a quiet, humble man who late in life becomes pope. I mentioned that to another friend who said, “That would be the story of a hero.”

    And so, as they’re saying in Europe, Francis the Humble. May he be a living antidote.

  11. doc: Peggy Noonan has been “much maligned” here of late because of her ridiculous political slants — not because of her piety.

    Her gushing admiration for Pope Francis doesn’t absolve her of her political naivete.

  12. More treacle, of course, from Noonan, but to continue her analogy, an antidote must remove the poison to work.

    May Francis the Humble demand U.S. bishops cooperate in grand jury investigations, arrests, public trials, and restitution.

  13. Interesting to hear what people like peggy were thinking. I was watching all the hoopla as well. As i watched it I was wondering how many of the men on that balcony had a thing for little boys. I’m not religious but i think it is awful to see the church going through this. Can’t be easy for the good catholics to have to deal all the priest being charged.

    Doc does the topic of molestation ever come up at church or is it something that isn’t talked about? Hope that doesn’t sound bad. Not trying to get wise. Just wondering what the mood is of your average joe catholic.

  14. Joe,

    You should get some actual facts. Try this:


    Pedophilia is horrible. I have noted here before that my son was a victim of a male sexual predator when we lived in Rockford. But he wasn’t a priest.

    The VAST majority of priests are wonderful,intelligent, committed, caring men who live their calling and collectively benefit more that a BILLION people a year.

    To your last question, the topic of molestation “comes up” at church constantly. In fact, it is prayed about frequently, actively discussed often and any adult who will be working with or in contact with any minor at church MUST complete an entire course on awareness and prevention of abuse and molestation.

  15. Sorry to hear about your son. I didn’t know. Makes me angry to even think about that happening to your boy. I have 3 little ones so that stuff really hits home for me.

    I don’t think all priest are bad. My guess is the percentage of bad priest is equal to the percentage of regular folks that have the same problem. Just at one point I would of never thought that. When people started talking about the old pope quitting over male prostitutes I said no way, but it didn’t sound crazy. I never would of thought that 20 years ago. Views have changed on how pure these men are. IMO it is almost like I have become a racist. I see a catholic priest and I instantly wonder what he knows.

    Now as far as getting actual facts I don’t think the church is who should be trusted on this one. They have to much skin in the game. What you are asking of me is similar to suggesting the NFL is giving the players all the info they have on head injuries. That just isn’t how things work.

  16. If you want to dispute any of the information in the article please give me specifics. If you find references that suggest the rate of pedophilia amongst Catholic priests is higher than any other age matched group of males, please cite it for me.

    Why would you not expect the church to defend itself?

    Why would you not expect men to commit sin or otherwise have flaws or bad behavior? Do you think priests are immune from evil action or intent?

  17. The issue is not how many priests are pedophiles relative to other males, it is how many were enabled to continue to rape kids through institutional coverups. The church leadership systematically chose to protect priests, not children. Where is the criminal accountability?

    And expdoc, I was unaware of your personal history here… I hope my frankness is not insensitive to you.

  18. Your frankness isn’t insensitive at all. This is a tough issue whether or not it involves a church. It most often involves a relative or someone close to the child, not only priests but coaches, teachers and close relatives.

    The archdiocese in Milwaukee (where I live now) could not be more open and proactive in preventing abuse and protecting children in any church facility.

    The attack on my son was random, by a disturbed young adult who had been abused himself as a child. My son (12 years later now) was not physically harmed and while he remembers it, does not seem to have been permanently harmed by it. We talk about it occassionally, and he received excellent, age appropriate counseling at the Carrie Lynn center in Rockford at the time.

    The perpetrator was captured and sent to jail and received mandatory treatment. I honestly don’t have a clue where he is right now.

  19. Pat, don’t you support abortion? If I have heard wrong and you do not support the “choice” to kill unborn babies I will gladly apoligize and send a check for $100.00 to Food for the Poor as a way of making up my unfair, decitful, and unjust statment – that is if you are for the legal protection of the unborn.

  20. Jim/Expdoc,

    how do you respond to this video?

    Video link:


  21. My response is that Stephen Fry is a very angry man.

    His lead off argument about the Catholic Church centered on activities that happened centuries ago.

    By that same logic, we should hate all physicians (have you ever seen a blood letting to release evil humors ?), all government ( can you believe what those crazy Egyptians/Romans/Monarchs/Communists/Democrats/Republicans did to those poor Slaves/Jews/Homosexuals/Gypsies/Vietnamese etc) and certainly all religions (which I am sure that he does).

    Read more about what the Catholic Church really says about homosexuality, at least during my lifetime, and note how the beliefs are similarly applied to heterosexuals.


    Q: What is the official Catholic teaching about homosexuality?
    In the mid-1970s, the Vatican recognized the difference between being homosexual and engaging in homogenital (same-sex) acts. Catholic teaching holds that, as a state beyond a person’s choice, being homosexual is not wrong. But just as it is wrong for unmarried heterosexuals to engage in sex, so, too, homogenital acts are wrong.

    The Church also teaches understanding and compassion toward gay and lesbian people. In their 1976 statement, To Live in Christ Jesus, the American bishops wrote, “Some persons find themselves through no fault of their own to have a homosexual orientation. Homosexuals, like everyone else, should not suffer from prejudice against their basic human rights. They have a right to respect, friendship, and justice. They should have an active role in the Christian community.… The Christian community should provide them a special degree of pastoral understanding and care.” In 1990, in their instruction, Human Sexuality, the Catholic Bishops repeated this teaching, which is also in the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

    In 1997, the U.S. Catholic Bishops published Always Our Children: A Pastoral Message to Parents of Homosexual Children and Suggestions for Pastoral Ministers. Addressing lesbians and gay men, the bishops said, “In you God’s love is revealed.” The bishops encouraged families to remain connected when a member revealed his or her homosexuality and called for the establishment of ministries sensitive to the needs of gay and lesbian Catholics and their families.

    EspañolBack to Top
    Q: What is the basis for Catholic teaching about the immorality of homogenital acts?
    All Catholic sexual ethics rests on this principle: procreation is an essential aspect of human sexuality, so every genital act must be open to the possibility of conception. For this very same reason, Catholic teaching forbids contraception, masturbation, and pre-marital and extra-marital sex as well as homogenital acts.

    The Vatican insists that procreation pertains to the very nature of human sexuality. That is, the Church presents this teaching as natural law, the ordering which the Creator built into the universe.


    Q: What options are open to a person who is homosexual and Catholic?
    Official Catholic teaching requires that homosexual people abstain from sex. But the Catholic Church also teaches solemnly that people are obliged to form their conscience carefully and responsibly and to follow it as the bottom line in every moral decision.

    Neither Scripture nor Tradition nor natural law theory nor human science nor personal experience convincingly supports official Catholic teaching about the immorality of homogenital acts. Accordingly, and after much soul-searching, many gay and lesbian Catholics have formed consciences that differ from official Church teaching and have entered into homosexual relationships. In this respect they are exactly like heterosexual married Catholic couples who cannot accept Vatican teaching on contraception.

    EspañolBack to Top
    Q: Can someone be involved in a lesbian or gay relationship and still be a faithful Catholic?
    Certainly yes, not as a matter of public Church teaching but as a matter of conscience, as a matter of personal application of the whole of Catholic teaching to their particular case.

    In 1975, the Vatican published a Declaration on Certain Questions Concerning Sexual Ethics. One of those questions was homosexuality. A principal author of that document was Fr. Jan Visser, C.Ss.R. In an interview in L’Europa, January 30, 1976, he said, “When one is dealing with people who are so deeply homosexual that they will be in serious personal and perhaps social trouble unless they attain a steady partnership within their homosexual lives, one can recommend them to seek such a partnership, and one accepts this relationship as the best they can do in their present situation.” One of the very men who formulated the Vatican teaching that homogenital acts are wrong allows that in certain cases one may not only permit but even recommend a homosexual relationship.

    Similarly, speaking about Catholics who dissent on Church teaching about contraception, the Canadian bishops wrote in 1968, “Since they are not denying any point of divine and Catholic faith nor rejecting the teaching authority of the Church, these Catholics should not be considered nor consider themselves cut off from the body of the faithful.”

    EspañolBack to Top
    Q: How could someone do what (the Church says) is wrong and not be living in sin?
    According to Catholic teaching, wrong and sin are not the same thing. Wrong is harm, disorder, destruction; it is in the objective or external world. Sin is self-distancing from God; it is in the heart. Sin is more a general attitude than any particular action. We sin when we deliberately do what we believe is wrong. Then in our hearts we opt for evil. Then we move away from goodness and from God, who is good.

    It may well be that what you do is not wrong at all. But if you think it is and you do it anyway, well, you are corrupt. That’s sin! Or what you do may really be wrong. But if you don’t honestly think so and you do it, well, your heart is not really amiss. You may be uninformed, naive, or stupid, and even dangerous, but unless you neglected to inform yourself, you are not sinful.

    The Church teaches right and wrong but never says who is a sinner. Only God knows our hearts. Many homosexual people simply cannot believe that gay sex is wrong. So they do what for them is “the best they can do,” though Church teaching says that homogenital acts are wrong. Still, according to the same Church’s teaching on conscience, they do not sin in their hearts or before God. Then they need not confess what is not sin, and they may participate in the Sacraments of the Church.

  22. Expdoc,

    You are very, very wrong. Catholic teaching is and always will be that homosex is a grave mortal sin that can send a soul to hell.

    You cannot put window dressing on a sickening sins like homosex, contraception, and abortion.

    True, the church teaches compassion for those with the cross of same sex attraction – but a compassion that will lead them to the truth of Christ not down the road to hell.

    Your quotes on consciences are deadly and misleading. According to you if Hitler had a good consciences then his part in murdering six million jews if just fine. The KKK can lynch anyone they want if their consciences approves. A man can have sex with a man, a dog, a goat, or 150 men and according to your approval of a malformed or dead consciences it’s OK – you are leading people to sin, satan, and death.

    Any couple that uses contraception has lost the Holy Spirit – the pill also acts as an abortificiant so they may be murderers as well.

    Yes we must follow our consciences but that consciences must be formed to Jesus Christ and the natural law.

    EXPDOC, you may be trying to make faith in Christ acceptable to people who have chosen mortal sin – instead you should be tring to bring them to truth and not make excuses for crimes against God and humanity.

    one last point – above you make the statment that homosexaul temptation is not a sin but you forget to state it is a grave moral disorder – that MUST be fought against if a soul will enter heaven.

  23. Steven Cornett

    Q: How could someone do what (the Church says) is wrong and not be living in sin?

    The answers given diverge from the truth. They promote the Protestant error of individual interpretation of scripture. This lead to a notion that all moral truth could be determined privately, without authority, which makes every man their own Pope.

    This is a short step from the common error of Post-modern society, which makes every man their own idol.

    Sin is a divergence by deliberate, personal action from the objective moral law (in fact, the word in Hebrew means “missing the mark”). If done on a serious matter of which one knows the teaching on, and with deliberate intent, it will destroy our relationship with God. This is the definition of mortal sin (which is to say that, since we only live in Christ, to destroy that link to Him leads to spiritual death). It would be the same as listening to someone saying that taking a woman as a live-in lover and having sexual relations with her, and using the same argument to justify myself. I, and my lover, would still be in mortal sin, and if we died in that state would be damned by our free choice (because God does not send us to Hell; we choose to go there) because we choose ourselves and our physical pleasures over Him.

    Imagine any act you will and run it by that argument. You will see it leads to anarchy.

    I will only add the link to the FAQ to the Courage Apostolate, which encourages those with Same Sex Attractions to lead lives of chastity: couragerc.net/FAQs.html

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