When we examine our society, which is generally called capitalist (because of its methods of producing and controlling wealth) we find it far from God’s justice…
Private and state capitalism bring about an unjust distribution of wealth. Too frequently, an unbridled profit motive guides the decision makers of society. In too many cases, those in power live off the sweat of others while those without power are robbed of a just return for their labor.
Human need is no longer the reason for human work. Instead, the unbridled expansion of technology, necessary to capitalism and viewed as “progress,” holds sway. Jobs are concentrated in productivity and administration for a “high-tech,” war-related, consumer society of disposable goods, so that laborers are trapped in work that does not contribute to human welfare. Furthermore, as jobs become more specialized, many people are excluded from meaningful work or are alienated from the products of their labor. Even in farming, agribusiness has replaced agriculture, and, in all areas, moral restraints are run over roughshod, and a disregard for the laws of nature now threatens the very planet.
The state functions to control and regulate life. Its power has burgeoned hand-in-hand with growth in technology, so that military, scientific and corporate interests get the highest priority when concrete political policies are formulated. Because of the sheer size of institutions, we tend towards government by bureaucracy–that is, government by nobody. Bureaucracy, in all areas of life, is not only impersonal, but also makes accountability, and, therefore, an effective political forum for redressing grievances, next to impossible.
Relations between people are corrupted by distorted images of the human person. Class, race and gender often determine personal worth and position within society, leading to structures that foster oppression. Capitalism further divides society by pitting owners against workers in perpetual conflict over wealth and its control. Those who do not “produce” are abandoned, and left, at best, to be “processed” through institutions. Spiritual destitution is rampant, manifested in isolation, madness, promiscuity and violence.
The Arms Race
This stands as a clear sign of the direction and spirit of our age. It has extended the domain of destruction and the fear of annihilation, and denies the basic right to life. At best, participation in an arms race provides an uncertain peace. The arms race and its associated hazards are not a desirable method for solving differences between men. “The arms race is an utterly treacherous trap, and one which injures the poor to an intolerable degree.” (Gaudium et Spes – the Pastoral Constitution on the church in the Modern World – paragraph 81)
*In contrast to what we see around us, as well as within ourselves, stands St. Thomas Aquinas’ doctrine of the Common Good, a vision of a society where the good of each member is bound to the good of the whole in the service of God.
To this end, we advocate:
Emmanuel Mounier (1905-1950) articulated the ideas of personalism, of human persons whose responsibility it is to take an active role in history, even while the ultimate goal is beyond the temporal and beyond human history. Mounier articulated it as “a philosophy of engagement…inseparable from a philosophy of the absolute or of the transcendence of the human model.” Peter Maurin brought this thought to the catholic worker movement. We pray for a Church renewed by this philosophy and for a time when all those who feel excluded from participation are welcomed with love, drawn by the gentle personalism Peter Maurin taught.
A Decentralized society
In contrast to the present bigness of government, industry, education, health care and agriculture. We encourage efforts such as family farms, rural and urban land trusts, worker ownership and management of small factories, homesteading projects, food, housing and other cooperatives–any effort in which money can once more become merely a medium of exchange, and human beings are no longer commodities.
A “Green Revolution”
So that it is possible to rediscover the proper meaning of our labor and our true bonds with the land; a distributist communitarianism, self-sufficient through farming, crafting and appropriate technology; a radically new society where people will rely on the fruits of their own toil and labor; associations of mutuality, and a sense of fairness to resolve conflicts.
We believe this needed personal and social transformation should be pursued by the means Jesus revealed in His sacrificial love. With Christ as our Exemplar, by prayer and communion with His Body and Blood, we strive for practices of:
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called children of God” (Matt. 5:9). Only through nonviolent action can a personalist revolution come about, one in which one evil will not simply be replaced by another. Thus, we oppose the deliberate taking of human life for any reason, and see every oppression as blasphemy. Jesus taught us to take suffering upon ourselves rather than inflict it upon others. He invites us to overcome evil with spiritual weapons.
Prayer and Fasting.
For some, refusal to pay taxes for war, register for conscription, comply with unjust legislation, or other legitimate acts of civil disobedience.
For some, participation in nonviolent strikes and boycotts, protests or vigils.
Withdrawal of support for dominant systems, corporate funding or usurious practices are all excellent means to establish peace.