Some readers of MICHAEL prefer to read only religious articles and say: “Economics...politics, it does not interest me; it’s not religious.” Others only read articles on economic reform, saying: “Religion does not interest me. It is outdated; we do not need that.” The correct perspective is that we must be interested in both the spiritual and material realms. We have both a body and soul, and therefore we have material and spiritual needs. That’s why MICHAEL discusses both the spiritual life and monetary reform in every issue of our magazine.
Pope St. Paul VI, in 1967, in Populorum Progressio on the development of peoples, offered the formula: “In order to be authentic, human development must be integral, that is, promote the good of every man and of the whole man.” That we are beings endowed with both a body and soul, and thus possess the material and spiritual dimensions, are fundamental to integral development.
In 2009, Pope Benedict XVI also wrote an encyclical letter on integral human development, elaborating on the meaning of Paul VI’s reference to “every man and the whole man”:
“The Gospel reminds us that man does not live on bread alone: it is impossible to satisfy the profound thirst of the human heart solely with material goods. The human horizon is undoubtedly higher and broader; for this reason every development program must consider, alongside the material, the spiritual growth of the human person, who is endowed with both a body and a soul. This is the integral development to which the Church’s social doctrine constantly refers.”
It is a common mistake to reduce religion to a purely private aspect as if it had no impact on social life. Some are not aware that the Church has an entire set of teachings about justice, called the “Social Doctrine of the Church”. The social teaching on justice is explained in the Catechism of the Catholic Church in the article concerning the Seventh Commandment, “Thou shalt not steal”. Louis Even teaches us that the greatest theft is committed by private banks who steal, appropriating for themselves the right to create money (Financial Credit) based on the production capacity of the whole nation (Real Credit).
St. Thomas Aquinas stated that it takes a minimum of material goods to practice virtue. Some have this minimum of material goods, but avoid practicing virtue, and therefore jeopardize the salvation of their souls. All should practice the Cardinal Virtues: prudence, justice, strength and temperance.
Justice is particularly important because it allows human beings to live together and respect the rights of all. St. John Paul II says: “To define justice, and above all to put it into practice — is a great thing through which every man lives, and thanks to which his life has a meaning”.
The Church teaches that an economic system will be good or not insofar as it applies the principles of justice taught by the Magisterium. Thus St. John Paul II described liberal capitalism and Marxist collectivism as two “concepts being imperfect and in need of radical correction… This is one of the reasons why the Church’s social doctrine adopts a critical attitude towards both liberal capitalism and Marxist collectivism”.
The problem with capitalism is that it has been vitiated by the financial system. The Church wants for all to be truly capitalists and owners of a social capital. This is taught by the principles of Economic Democracy (also known as Social Credit) disseminated by MICHAEL. We hold that every human being is a co-heir to a common capital, the natural wealth and inventions of past generations, and that this inheritance must be represented by a social Dividend, a sum of money paid monthly to each citizen.
We therefore strongly encourage all our readers to study the important doctrine of Economic Democracy, not only by reading the articles on this subject that appear in each issue of MICHAEL, but to read more in-depth texts, booklets and books available on our website. The best way to gain a fuller understanding is to attend our Study Session on Economic Democracy in 14 Lessons, which will take place in Rougemont, Quebec, September 22-27. All are welcome! Good study!