Money vs. the Common Good: The Battle for American Democracy

Money vs. the Common Good: The Battle for American Democracy

May 12, 2014 · by Robert Christian · in Blog

The Initiative on Catholic Social Thought in Public Life recently held an event titled Moral Dilemmas of Partisanship: Ethical Obligations and Limitations for Political Partisans. The event featured a number of political actors who have not always toed the party line in their respective parties. They discussed the challenges they have faced in a hyper-partisan and polarized DC climate.

One theme ran through the entire evening’s discussions: the role of money in fueling conformity to the interests and desires of the elites who have the capacity to shape electoral outcomes through campaign contributions. As Congressman Walter Jones put it, “The biggest problem in Washington is money!”

The current system fosters plutocracy—government of, by, and for the rich. It undermines democracy and authentic participation. It places men and women of integrity who are sincere about serving the public in difficult ethical binds, forced to choose between their personal interests and deeply held convictions. In each party, it fosters litmus tests (on abortion for Democrats and economics for Republicans) that seek to eliminate those who value the common good over these positions, which are rooted in libertarianism and radical individualism. Continue reading “Money vs. the Common Good: The Battle for American Democracy”


Liberation theology finds new welcome in Pope Francis’ Vatican

VATICAN CITY (RNS) A progressive theological current that emphasizes the Catholic Church’s closeness to the poor and the marginalized but was subject to decades of hostility and censure is now finding increasing favor in the Vatican under Pope Francis.

Archbishop Gerhard L. Muller, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, is pictured in a Jan. 11 photo in Rome. Photo by Paul Haring/courtesy Catholic News Service

Archbishop Gerhard Ludwig Mueller, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, is pictured in a Jan. 11 photo in Rome. Photo by Paul Haring/courtesy Catholic News Service

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Francis, who has called for “a poor church for the poor,” will meet in the next few days with the Rev. Gustavo Gutierrez, a Peruvian theologian and scholar who is considered the founder of liberation theology.

The meeting was announced on Sunday (Sept. 8) by Archbishop Gerhard Ludwig Mueller, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Vatican’s doctrinal watchdog, during the launch of a book he co-authored with Gutierrez. Continue reading “Liberation theology finds new welcome in Pope Francis’ Vatican”

Is capitalism moral?

Is capitalism moral?

By , Published: March 15

Steven Pearlstein is a Washington Post business and economics columnist and a professor of public and international affairs at George Mason University.

Careening from debt-ceiling crisis to sequestration to a looming government shutdown, the nation is caught up in a historic debate over the proper size and role of government.

That’s certainly one way to think about it. Another is that we are caught up in a historic debate over free-market capitalism. After all, if markets were making most of us better off, regulating their own excesses, guaranteeing equal opportunity and fairly dividing the economic pie, then we wouldn’t need government to take on all the things it does.

For most of the past 30 years, the world has been moving in the direction of markets. The grand experiment with communism has been thoroughly discredited, a billion people have been lifted from poverty through free-market competition, and even European socialists have given up on state ownership and the nanny state. Continue reading “Is capitalism moral?”

The Grapes of Ross


Peter DreierE.P. Clapp Distinguished Professor of Politics, Occidental College

The Grapes of Ross

Posted: 02/25/2013 9:26 am

Many Americans know that Barack Obama spent three years as a community organizer in Chicago, but hardly any Americans know about Fred Ross Sr., perhaps the most influential community organizer in American history.

A diverse coalition of activists, clergy, and public officials are now trying to remedy that situation by asking Obama to award Ross posthumously the Presidential Medal of Freedom, America’s highest civilian award. More than 150 volunteer organizers in 20 states have been rallied to build the grassroots campaign by Fred Ross Jr, — Ross Sr.’s son and veteran organizer in his own right — with the help of Eileen Purcell, a nationally respected social justice organizer for more than 30 years.

Why now? It is time to honor this unsung hero and to recognize, by extension, all organizers who continue his legacy working for social and economic justice. Continue reading “The Grapes of Ross”