Thursday, August 27, 2009

Today on Kresta - August 27, 2009

Talking about the "things that matter most" on August 27

3:00 – Kresta Comments

3:20 – The New Ecumenism

The last several popes have made the quest for Church unity an item of the highest priority on their agendas. This has been true to perhaps a much greater extent than most Catholics, and indeed most Protestants, have generally realized. John Paul II put more personal time and effort into seeking improved relations with our fellow Christians, than into almost anything else. From the time of his election to the chair of Peter in 2005, Benedict XVI has followed the same pattern. These acted in response to a mandate of the Second Vatican Council which inaugurated a whole new era in ecumenism for the Catholic Church. The subject of ecumenism -- the Church's relations with other Christians, and the search for Christian unity – is our topic with Ken Whitehead.

4:00 – Kresta Comments

4:20 – Who Is My Neighbor?: Personalism And The Foundations Of Human Rights
Over the past half century the language of human rights has gained such dominance in moral, civic, and ecclesiastical discourse that ethical and social questions are increasingly framed in terms of rights. Yet the vast literature dealing with human and civil rights focuses almost exclusively on the juridical and practical ramifications of rights, rather than the philosophical, moral, and foundational aspects. As a result, the proliferation of rights claims and catalogs has not been accompanied by a reasoned case for the existence of human rights or rational criteria for distinguishing true moral entitlement from spurious claims. Fr. Thomas Williams makes an original, compelling case for human rights as moral entitlements grounded in the dignity of the human person.

5:00 – Wisconsin compels parishes, dioceses to provide contraceptive coverage
The bishops of Wisconsin have reacted angrily to a new state mandate that compels health insurance providers to include contraceptive coverage in their insurance plans. “This mandate will compel Catholic dioceses, parishes, and other agencies that buy health insurance to pay for a medical service that Catholic teaching holds to be gravely immoral,” the bishops write. “Only dioceses or agencies that are self insured, such as La Crosse and Superior, are not covered by this mandate. As Catholic teachers and pastors, we strongly object to this blatant insensitivity to our moral values and legal rights … This mandate violates not just our religious values, but also our constitutional rights.” We talk to Kim Wadas of the WI Catholic Conference.

5:20 – The Economy: The Government, Thirty Years of Bad Economic Policy, or Both?
Conventional wisdom in America today holds that high levels of taxes and government spending diminish America’s prosperity. The claim strikes a deep intuitive chord, not only among those on the Right, but also among many on today’s Left. Indeed, the antitax credo has become so obvious to so many over the past thirty years, and rolls off the tongues of policymakers from both parties with such fluency, that one would think evidence needn’t even be gathered to support it. Even Clinton proudly announced that “the era of big government is over.” Michael Miller of the Acton Institute is here to look the economic meltdown: blame the government, free market principles, or both?

5:40 – Feast of St. Augustine Tomorrow
Tomorrow we celebrate the feast of one of the greatest Saints the Church has ever known. Augustine was born in a Roman province and educated at Carthage. As a young man he became interested in philosophy, with little interest in Christianity until a profound experience in his early thirties. By 396 he had become bishop of Hippo, and his sermons and writings gained fame, notably his Confessions and the treatise City of God. His notions of God's grace, free will and Original Sin have had an unmatched influence on Christian theology. Augustinian philosopher Dr. Barry David joins us.


  1. I caught the end of Mr. Miller's comments about the economy, and the Catholic view of various aspects of the same. In talking about free markets, he flippantly mentioned the "Late Scholastics" and their view on prices. I want to submit to you an article by Dr. Peter Chojnowski that critiques the commonly held Liberal/Libertarian Catholic view of the School of Salamanca - to which I can only assume that Mr. Miller was referring:

    I realize that this article is not from the Acton Institute, so it may meet with some hostility, but it is time for Catholics to give a serious eye to the alternatives to thinkers like Mr. Thomas Woods and Ludwig von Mises. I submit this to you under the Mercy of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

    Matthew Wade

  2. Excellent Points Matthew,

    I will be reading this when I get the opportunity. I thought that the interview of Micheal Miller was exceptional, but I would like to ensure my view is well rounded. Perhaps Al would be interested in having this author on at some point?

    "In one sweeping statement, Mises has negated Christendom and every social, economic, and moral teaching of the Catholic Church; this statement also renders "inoperative" the entire Classical moral and philosophical tradition."
    This statement seems incredibly sweeping to me too. Perhaps it needs a little temperance and understanding to see the point that is being made?

  3. JohnnyK, I'm glad you took the time to review the article. I concede that Dr. Chojnowski is not the most charitable in some of his comments. In addition, the Angelus is a very Traditional Catholic periodical, so it's other articles may seem to diminish the validity of the arguments put forth against Libertarians/Actonites. However, I pray that we avoid empty ad hominem arguments and view these writers in their cogency and clarity of logic.

    In Christ,

    Matthew Wade

    P.S. - JohnnyK, if you find the article in the least bit interesting, please feel free to e-mail me ( and I will be happy to provide you with some more material from some other faithful, orthodox Catholic men. God bless.

  4. Hi Matthew, I only had the chance to read the first section. After which I realized it was several pages long. I will review in further depth and respond.

  5. Matthew,

    I read through about 2/3 of the article, but sadly I was not able to understand all of it, and I was not able to finish it. I think part of it has to do with the author's writing style, and the massive education required to understand the points being made by the author including an extensive and exorbatant history of the Catholic church and economics. I sadly did not major in economics and church history and am left lacking in this area.

    If Mises were really so off base to "negate all of christendom and every social, economic, and moral teaching of the catholic church" then this should be straighforward enough for the lay person to recognize with basic instruction. The author's approach is certainly not basic and thus fails to prove this statement to the vast majority of Christendom.

    Matt, would you be able to summerize some of his claims so that I can better understand the authors arguments? I would settle for basic principles that show the incorrect approach of Mises. Thanks!

  6. JohnnyK, I applaud your effort to confront Dr. Chojnowski's article. It is quite dense and can be difficult to read quickly. It must be absorbed with a slow read, or two or three reads. Indeed, it was not written to be a Times article. This is evidenced by the plethora of footnotes. However, I posted that article in reference mainly to the claim of Mr. Miller's regarding the "Late Scholastics" support of free market economics, Libertarian style. That the Libertarians have attached themselves to what is known as the School of Salamanca is seen in the series of works available at including Dr. Stephen Grabill's "Sourcebook in Late-Scholastic Monetary Theory" and Dr. Thomas Woods' "The Church and the Market: A Catholic Defense of the Free Economy".

    My aim is not to refute either works in the current response, but only to draw your attention to the fact that there are simple and easily understood principles present that contradict and refute the claims of these men. I want to first point you to what could be considered an introductory website on what is known as Distributism. The ChesterBelloc Mandate is a phenomenal resource of material from basics up to scholarly refutations. I urge you to check out the lefthand side of this website under the heading "Economics and Social Thought". You will find copious amounts of information, and the time that I presume you took to read Dr. Chojnowski's work will benefit you far more greatly on this website. Another fine website with more critiques of contemporary issues is Several books, new and old, have been published in this sphere as well, and I would ask you in good faith to give them just as much credence as you give to some of the guests on Mr. Kresta's fine show. You'll find them very orthodox and faithful to the Magisterium of the Church.

    As I said, please feel free to e-mail me, as I want to take up no more space on Mr. Kresta's website.

    In Christ,

    Matthew Wade