Pope Benedict has recently made his way to one of the last communist regimes still standing today, Cuba. While en route, el Papa reminded us that Communism (like the various ideologies that have gone extinct before it, and its cousins which for the moment, persist) is not grounded in reality, and not surprisingly , is therefore now on a path to disappear.
But, before our chests swell with capitalistic triumph, let’s take the opportunity to reflect on the short-falling of capitalism as well… and that most important paragraph of Centisimus annus:
42. Returning now to the initial question: can it perhaps be said that, after the failure of Communism, capitalism is the victorious social system, and that capitalism should be the goal of the countries now making efforts to rebuild their economy and society? Is this the model which ought to be proposed to the countries of the Third World which are searching for the path to true economic and civil progress?
The answer is obviously complex. If by “capitalism” is meant an economic system which recognizes the fundamental and positive role of business, the market, private property and the resulting responsibility for the means of production, as well as free human creativity in the economic sector, then the answer is certainly in the affirmative, even though it would perhaps be more appropriate to speak of a “business economy”, “market economy” or simply “free economy”. But if by “capitalism” is meant a system in which freedom in the economic sector is not circumscribed within a strong juridical framework which places it at the service of human freedom in its totality, and which sees it as a particular aspect of that freedom, the core of which is ethical and religious, then the reply is certainly negative.
So the Church is about to outlive another one of humanity’s fads, reminds one of Lord Macaulay:
There is not, and there never was on this earth, a work of human policy so well deserving of examination as the Roman Catholic Church.
[Inserting various examples of fallen regimes and ideologies here]
[He then concludes…]
And she may still exist in undiminished vigour when some traveller from New Zealand shall, in the midst of a vast solitude, take his stand on a broken arch of London Bridge to sketch the ruins of St. Paul’s.