The Church Is Part of the Heart and Soul of Economy

January 2, 2014

It is in these shared areas that the Church becomes a most important part of the heart and soul of economy. By safeguarding the moral law, the Church provides immeasurable social capital for the free practice of commerce. Her charity binds men together in a higher union hindering them from following only secular ends where they might easily succumb to the lust for power and riches.

King John signing the Magna Carta

King John signing the Magna Carta

The Church has a hallowing influence upon the structures of society and economy. She establishes a high degree of justice so as to prevent the State from abusing its authority and descending to the level of organized banditry. As guardian of the natural and Divine law, the Church helps the State fulfill its functions more perfectly. Where the Church’s influence is present in society, there is a beneficent action upon all that prevents the ruin of a nation. Giving a historical example of this positive influence, M. Stanton Evans writes that, “On net balance, it is fair to say, the Catholic Church of the Middle Ages was the institution in Western history that did the most to advance the cause of constitutional statecraft. This resulted from its constant readiness, in the spirit of the Hebrew prophets, to challenge the might of kings and emperors if they transgressed the teachings of religion.” (1)

St. Antoninus of Florence

St. Antoninus of Florence

The State best fulfills its role when permeated by the Christian spirit, and when the two work together for the common good. This is especially true of the Christian State we have just described.

 

Leo XIII spoke of this respectful cooperation of Church and State in this way:

There was a time when the philosophy of the Gospel governed the states. In that epoch, the influence of Christian wisdom and its divine virtue permeated the laws, institutions, and customs of the peoples, all categories and all relations of civil society. Then the religion instituted by Jesus Christ, solidly established in the degree of dignity due to it, flourished everywhere thanks to the favor of princes and the legitimate protection of magistrates. Then the Priesthood and the Empire were united in a happy concord and by the friendly interchange of good offices. So organized, civil society gave fruits superior to all expectations, whose memory subsists, and will subsist, registered as it is in innumerable documents that no artifice of the adversaries can destroy or obscure. (Immortale Dei, no. 21. Emphasis added. American TFP translation.)

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(1) M. Stanton Evans, The Theme Is Freedom: Religion, Politics, and the American Tradition (Washington, D.C.: Regnery Publishing, 1994), 152.

 

John Horvat II, Return to Order: From a Frenzied Economy to an Organic Christian Society—Where We’ve Been, How We Got Here, and Where We Need to Go (York, Penn.: York Press, 2013), 216-7.

 

 

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