Excerpts are included from a talk given by Louis Even at the Congress of the Pilgrims of St. Michael in Trois Rivières, Quebec, in 1957. In it, Mr. Even reflects on Pope Pius XII’s radio message of June 1st, 1941.
Dear Social Crediters,
If we are to expect a year of achievements, then we must be prepared to embark upon a year of hard work, keeping in mind the importance of what we are undertaking. We are always asking our Social Crediters to apply more effort, to work harder and to sacrifice more.To fully convince everyone that Social Credit is as wonderful as it seems we could go on for days talking about its many positive aspects. But, for this afternoon, I will focus on one main point and touch lightly on others in passing.
Social Credit would have lawful human rights re-established for all persons. That, in itself, says a lot! This means that each person must be given what is his due: not as a group, not as a nation, not as a class of people and not as a labour union! To each person his lawful rights! Each person!
Each and every one of us has a destiny to fulfill, a destiny that will endure throughout all eternity. But while each person is here on earth it is important that he enjoys a climate conducive to the fulfillment of his destiny. What concerns us then, as Social Crediters, lies precisely in this domain: establishing an order, whether political, economic or social, which fosters the development of each human person in their pilgrimage toward their personal destiny.
Each of us has an eternal destiny. Each is called to live the divine life of God by His grace for all eternity. But to do this we need a favourable environment. Consequently, we must look after our temporal needs, always keeping in mind our eternal destiny. For this we must not get caught up in materialism, nor allow ourselves to be deceived by communist or socialist ideas which favour state rather than individual rights!
What exactly are the rights of the human person? In the radio broadcast delivered by Pius XII on June 1st, 1941, on Pentecost Sunday, the Pope outlined the rights of every human being:
“The things God has created were for all men and should be available to all, according to the principles of justice and charity!”
When the Pope says “all” note that no one is excluded! So, for anyone who does not want Social Credit, but who desires the rights of “each and everyone”, let them give us an alternative formula so that we may secure justice and charity for everyone!
To proponents of “full employment” policies, please explain how a baby will be hired to have his rights secured? How will an elderly person be hired? How will the woman at home raising children be hired so that she receives an income? To expect to resolve this social problem simply by giving a salary from employment to everyone is not the way. We cannot give wages to everyone; even more so today, when modern technology progressively reduces the need for workers!
The other day I was reading a passage from Dr. Bryan Monahan, the Director of the Social Credit Secretariat [in 1957], and the immediate successor to Major C. H. Douglas. He said:
“It is the conflict between progress and the search for full employment which is at the root of inflation today!”
It seems that as soon as technologies are developed that reduce the need for labour, we proceed to create other jobs by manufacturing weapons, building factories and extracting minerals that are not presently needed — doing all this in order to supply jobs to everyone. None of this will be used for the building of homes, but it will be calculated into the cost of the home, and thus add to its price. This is the basic cause of inflation. Instead of giving us more leisure time for cultural advancement and to prepare ourselves for eternal life, they are creating more jobs to keep us fully employed! Even some very good Catholics will say to us: “Man must be employed at all times! He must work by the sweat of his brow. Otherwise he will not have earned his bread!”
I will continue to quote from Pope Pius XII. It is a wonderful text!:
“Every man, as a being endowed with reason...”.
Reason is what distinguishes us from animals. The Pope does not say “as a Christian”; he does not say “as a Catholic”; he does not even say “as someone called to eternal life”. He says, “as a being endowed with reason”. This is true humanism!
“Every man, as a human being endowed with reason!”
Not as an employee, but as a being endowed with reason! In fact, it is by the very nature of man that he has the fundamental right to the material goods of the earth. Every man! Any man who has a soul has reason, has he not? Reason is what makes the human soul what it is and it is what distinguishes us from animals. Every man has a fundamental right to the goods of the earth just because he is man; not for any other reason. What is the basis of my right to my daily bread? It is that I am a man, that I was born!
The Pope added something which has not yet been achieved:
“This is left to the human will and to the legal forms of nations”.
The “legal forms” refers to legislation which is left up to man and the community to develop. It is left to the legislators to establish in more detail the practical realization of this right but it is never allowed for them to deny the right, nor to prevent men from exercising it.
Legislators who do not recognize the right of every person to earthly goods or who set barriers to access this right are legislators contravening the fundamental rights of man and are not worthy of their mission. They are usurpers! Thieves! In our code of national law, or in provincial law, I would like to see the section that guarantees these rights for every Canadian. In our Catholic provinces and our neighboring provinces [in Canada], where is the section of the legislation guaranteeing that every person may exercise his fundamental right to use the goods of the earth?
Cardinal Paul-Emile Leger founded a hospital in Montreal for the underprivileged. This is a beautiful work among many other such admirable efforts to help the poor.
But why are there so many disadvantaged and disinherited people and why do we say they are “have-nots”? The reason is because they have lost their inheritance; their rights to the goods of the earth, which God created for all men. Man has a twofold inheritance: the goods of the earth and the cultural inheritance. We have already spoken about the goods of the earth, now let us take a look at the cultural inheritance. It is the sum of what has been made and passed on to us through past generations and until our present day. Our generation did not invent all the things upon which we rely as we too continue to innovate. These have all come down to us from past generations; these are also part of our inheritance, a gift to us from past generations! How can groups of men on this earth claim control over these benefits from the past? What right have they to stingily and contingently distribute them back to the people?
Pope Pius XII cited “the principles of justice and charity”. It is an injustice to steal the goods of the earth that belongs to others! Charity must only come after justice; to fill in the small holes, so to speak, that justice could not fill. If everyone had most of their income supplied by a National Dividend, as Social Credit proposes, and thereby received his share of earthly goods, there would still be cases where extra help would be necessary. This could be because of illness, bad luck, such as having a house fire, or because of an accident. At this point, charity must complete the provision of justice.
But what about those who preach charity but support injustice? How can this be explained? We are told that charity is a theological virtue and therefore is more elevated than justice. This is true, but when it comes to the distribution of the goods of the earth, justice must always come first!
The Pope tells us that this right to the goods of the earth by everyone is an imprescriptible right. What does imprescriptible mean? Ask any lawyer and he will tell you an imprescriptible right is inalienable and not subject to prescription. After a certain period of time: five years in some cases, one year, in the case of an automobile accident, thirty years for a property, etc.; the right becomes inalienable. In other words, it cannot be taken away.
Pope Pius XII tells us that the right of everyone to the goods of the earth is inalienable and cannot be taken away. It can neither be abrogated by time nor by legislation! Though there may be laws that deny these rights, or limit their exercise, they do not cancel that right; this right always exists!
We seek that each person enjoys the right to fulfill his destiny with dignity as a child of God under Social Credit. We recognize that one cannot do so when the “heart to live” is compromised. St. Vincent de Paul said it well: “Before we can tell someone to save their soul, to work for their salvation, we must first ensure that their material conditions are such that they are able to discover that they even have one”.
How can we expect people to be concerned about their souls when their physical conditions are poor? I know that in prison and in cases of poverty, even abject poverty, one’s soul can be saved. The good Lord gives His graces in challenging circumstances but it is more difficult to achieve salvation under these conditions. The Pope has spoken well.
We do not have the right to create difficult conditions for people! We do not have the right to put them in these conditions and then say: “Be heroic! Save yourself all the same! Pull yourself up!” We do not have the right to do that! If such conditions happen then we are forced to suffer them, but we do not have the right to accept difficult conditions without an effort to change them! A Christian has no right to be resigned to disorder, even when he suffers it!
“This individual right of each person [for material goods] cannot be suppressed, not by the exercise of other definite and recognized rights”,
according to the Pope. For example, a person has a clear claim to his house, another to his farm, another to his factory; these are specific and certain rights. They are definite, they are acknowledged and they will not be abolished. But, this does not preclude the other fundamental right; the right of each individual to share in the goods of the earth! First of all, how do we see this as Social Crediters? Do we demand that a property be taken away from an owner in order to give it to one who has nothing? Not at all! The homeowner can keep his home, the farmer his farm, and the factory owner his factory. What we demand is that each and every person has the right to be able to procure for himself the products made in the factory and the goods produced on the farm. The factory owner, as well as the farmer, will be very happy that their products are being bought; they will be the happiest of all.
Social Credit is a marvelous formula that respects private ownership and the means of production. At the same time it recognizes the rights of everyone to the immense resources created by God and developed by man. "Usufruct » is a word that means “the legal right of using and enjoying the fruits or profits of something belonging to another.” People have this right in view of the order of society. We cannot just obtain anything, anytime, at will. In our modern world, we must submit such a “right” on a printed sheet of paper we call money. This money, in turn, is what represents our true rights, as bestowed upon us by God. Under Social Credit, we will receive this money [a National Dividend] according to our needs and according to our country’s capacity to produce and to respond to our needs.
Clifford H. Douglas made two important distinctions in Social Credit between Real Credit, which is what a country is capable of producing to meet the needs of its population, and Financial Credit, which is the money that accesses these needs. Douglas wrote: “We need a relationship of equality, a relationship of proportion, a relationship of permanence, of stability, between Financial Credit and Real Credit.”
Who makes Real Credit? Where does a country’s capacity to produce come from? The author of Real Credit is God!
If He had not made the earth with everything on it — the trees in the forests, the rivers, the sea, their waters, the sun which draws the water to the clouds, the mountains which allow the existence of waterfalls that can be harnessed for energy... all these forces, already known to man as well as the unknown ones, which are up to us to discover... if God had not created all these things then man would not be able to use them for his needs. Such is the mission which God gave to Adam, even after his sin: “Dominate the earth, you have sinned, but dominate the earth, do your best to dominate it, nonetheless!”
Politicians acclaim the country’s prosperity by producing “production statistics”. They do not calculate into these statistics the suffering that exists in households. There is no statistician to factor in hardships! But Social Crediters, going from door to door throughout the many regions of Quebec, Ontario, and the other provinces of our beautiful country, you have seen much misery and suffering!
Are human beings being considered? No, only laws and regulations count! What about the care of humanity? No, the legislation does not provide for the needs of humanity! But, there are legal protections for the rights of money! If you do not meet your financial obligations your creditor will bring you to court and the court will side with him. He will foreclose on your property. If you have any wages, they will be confiscated. All this to protect the rights of money. I do not criticize these procedures. What I am saying though is that there are laws to protect the rights of money but none to protect the rights of the individual to the goods of the earth. For these people, there is nothing. It is about time that we create laws to protect people and what they are due!
The Pope, the Vicar of Our Lord on earth, and the first representative of Christ, is head of the Universal Church in Rome. He takes the place of Christ here on earth and speaks with authority. He does not say that a nation is prosperous only because there are many goods available. He has stated that:
“The economic wealth of a people is not strictly in the abundance of goods measured according to an outright material computation of value.”
As in, this is worth so much, totals so much, therefore the country is rich... On the contrary, he says that real wealth is not in such a measurement but rather that such abundance
“represents and provides in a real and effective way a material basis for the suitable personal development of the members of society.”
Prosperity that is not distributed is not prosperity! Real prosperity is distributed prosperity. I look forward to the day when politicians extol the distribution of prosperity to each person; to each family! It has not yet been done.
The Pope added:
“If such a just distribution of goods were not to be effected, or just imperfectly ensured, the true end of the national economy would not be achieved, opulent though the abundance of available goods might be. since the people would not be rich, but poor, as they would not [have been] invited to share in that abundance.”
We have been witnesses of poverty and the poor while there is an abundance of wealth! As long as wealth is not distributed, and the people remain poor, then we have no right to say that prosperity reigns! Is this a wealthy country? Yes! Very well then, this is a judgment against the government. The people are poor, and the country is rich. The government is guilty!