Saturday, April 24, 2010

The temptation to "beyondism"

[A] remark about distributism and what can correctly be called "beyondism". Distributists are often concerned with "getting beyond partisan divides," i.e. getting beyond capitalism and socialism. This is a particular temptation for Catholics, who are correct in thinking that Catholic morality (personal and social) transcends partisanship, but incorrect in thinking that a parallel truth exists for Catholic political thinking. Partisan political divides within and without the Church are not a bad thing. The only way we can expect all Catholics to agree about the best political and economic arrangements is if such truths (a) exist and we can know them and (b) such truths are divinely revealed. We know definitively, as the Church repeatedly teaches in Her social thought, that the specifics of politics and economics are not part of revelation. Therefore we should not expect Catholics to speak with one voice about politics: we should expect a healthy plurality of political and economic opinions grounded in the divinely revealed principles of Catholic Social Teaching.
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