A recent article posted over at Vox-Nova linking to Ivan Kauffman’s piece, “After Ideology” brings in to focus some of the issues that I have been meaning to point out over what I see as the “politicizing” within the USCCB. I agree with Julia Smucker when says in the Vox-Nova combox:
…Catholicism is not supposed to be an ideological group. It’s the alternative to ideology.
This video, featuring the Bishop Fr Robert Sirico speaking on the compatibility of Catholicism and Capitalism, is a wonderful example of kind of harmful ideological affiliating I am trying to point out.
If the bishops aren’t explicit about the fact that no political/economic system can accomplish what the Church is commissioned to accomplish, political factionalism within the USCCB and subsequently within the laity become inevitable.
Granted, upon a more thorough examination of Fr Sirico’s project I don’t think he is saying that Catholics need to endorse a kind of neo-liberal economic policy, full-stop. Again, I don’t think it would be bad even if he did. The advocacy of certain economic/political schemas become dangerous when they are justified as being Catholic economic policies or Catholic political schemas. Neo-liberalism is not Catholic. Neither is communism, neither is any other economic system. We may have reasons to say that such-and-such a system can be justified by a Catholic moral framework in certain instances, and we have even more liberty to denounce systems like National Socialism that cause obvious evil and harm (as the Third Reich certainly did) based on Catholic principles. But to say that a “good Catholic” is one who subscribes to this or that ideology? Let that be anathema!