Regular readers will know that Pope Leo XIII's Rerum Novarum has long been a favourite of mine; its unequivocal condemnation of socialist doctrine and of the interference of the State in personal and family life stands the test of years. Yet it not only condemns socialism but corporatism; making wealth is fine, and retaining wealth so that capitalists and their families may live 'becomingly' with their station in life is also fine, but excess and conspicuous consumption, or wealth for power is not. The wealthy have a duty to use any excess of wealth to the benefit of their fellow man.
Paradoxically, as the Telegraph (£) reports today, the EU's crisis is driving people to reject the authority of the corporatist super-State and reinforcing the authority of the family and the local community. The role of the churches and their charities such as Caritas have also been enhanced and they have gained authority. The Bishops of the European Community are in conference and due to meet in October under the chairmanship of Cardinal Marx. But don't worry. Cardinal Marx supports Marxism in the same way as Cardinal Sin supported Sin. Rather, it is hinted, COMECE will look back to Leo XIII.
All the gains of the political class and their corporatist allies over the past decades are being washed away like sand by the tide. Europe is turning away from its politicians, bankers and global magnates; their authority is eroded, their status derided, their pretences popularly ridiculed. The Telegraph reports the Archbishop of Toledo as saying that the
roots of the debt crisis lie in the "moral disarmament" of the last quarter century.
A `get-rich-quick' culture of "stupid consumption" and "deranged
indebtment" has corrupted public life. Children have been brought up to
wallow in self-gratification. "This is common to the whole of Western Europe. It goes back to the core
issues of moral philosophy, of what we are as human beings. It is here that
we must search for a way out of the impasse," he said.