"There is always a philosophy for lack of courage."—Albert Camus

Friday, May 26, 2017

St. John Paul II on the error of making politics a "secular religion"

"Moreover, man, who was created for freedom, bears within himself the wound of original sin, which constantly draws him towards evil and puts him in need of redemption. Not only is this doctrine an integral part of Christian revelation; it also has great hermeneutical value insofar as it helps one to understand human reality. Man tends towards good, but he is also capable of evil. He can transcend his immediate interest and still remain bound to it. The social order will be all the more stable, the more it takes this fact into account and does not place in opposition personal interest and the interests of society as a whole, but rather seeks ways to bring them into fruitful harmony. In fact, where self-interest is violently suppressed, it is replaced by a burdensome system of bureaucratic control which dries up the wellsprings of initiative and creativity. When people think they possess the secret of a perfect social organization which makes evil impossible, they also think that they can use any means, including violence and deceit, in order to bring that organization into being. Politics then becomes a "secular religion" which operates under the illusion of creating paradise in this world. But no political society — which possesses its own autonomy and laws55 — can ever be confused with the Kingdom of God. The Gospel parable of the weeds among the wheat (cf. Mt 13:24-30; 36-43) teaches that it is for God alone to separate the subjects of the Kingdom from the subjects of the Evil One, and that this judgment will take place at the end of time. By presuming to anticipate judgment here and now, man puts himself in the place of God and sets himself against the patience of God."

-- Centesimus Annus (May 1, 1991).

1 comment:

Tom Van Dyke said...

In fact, where self-interest is violently suppressed, it is replaced by a burdensome system of bureaucratic control which dries up the wellsprings of initiative and creativity.

This is why modernity's socio-political "systems" are contra the natural law and can be opposed on those grounds both philosophically and theologically. The physical world is not perfect: Man gets hungry, gets cold, gets sick. Only initiative and creativity can address and correct problems—Governments and "systems" create nothing, they can only at best distribute industry's produce.

Creativity is an essential facet of man's nature and must be expressed. To make it superfluous is to thwart his telos.