Natural Law, Social Justice, and the Crisis of Liberty in the West

The essay below by Ryan T. Anderson on The Witherspoon Institute website is an excellent piece on the natural law. Edmund Burke outlined similar ideas about the duties inherent in man’s nature. See Edmund Burke on what it means to be a people.

Since I have just said a few words on natural law and economic freedom, I want to say a few words about a natural law conception of social justice and how it can help us now. Some people think social justice is a twentieth century invention of left-leaning thinkers, but this starts the history of social justice midstream. To understand its true meaning, we must look farther back to its real historical origins.

The first known use of the phrase “social justice” was by a Jesuit Thomist, Luigi Taparelli, in his multivolume work published between 1840 and 1843 titled Saggio teoretico di dritto naturale appoggiato sul fatto (A Theoretical Treatise on Natural Law Resting on Fact). I want to emphasize two arguments that Taparelli highlighted by coining the new phrase “social justice”: first, that man is social by nature and belongs to many societies and, second, that man has natural duties to others in justice.

Read on…

The Place of Laissez-Faire Economics in Edmund Burke’s Political Order

Professor C.B. MacPherson in his short book Burke raised what he thought was a inconsistency between Edmund Burke’s political philosophy and his ideas on economics. Joseph Pappin III takes up the challenge in this paper and provides a convincing case on how the two can be reconciled in the natural law. Joseph Pappin’s book The Metaphysics of Edmund Burke is the only book devoted to the subject (metaphysics). Highly recommended.

The Austrian Scholars Conference, March 2002
By Joseph Pappin III, University of South Carolina
President of The Edmund Burke Society of America

I wish to focus upon what until now has been a largely unanswered question: “What is the relationship between Burke’s economic theory and his political theory?” The implications of this question and the built-in assumptions are that Burke’s political economy is entirely libertarian, stressing laissez-faire principles in a free-market setting, and that his political philosophy emphasizes order, hierarchy, tradition – all of which comprise a conservative world-view, recalcitrant towards change, prizing order and virtue over economic liberalism.

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Edmund Burke and Magna Carta

This was a talk I gave on the occasion of the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta.

Edmund Burke devoted the eighth chapter in his Abridgment of English History, to King John’s reign. He records that it was near the end of John’s reign that the barons forced him to place the royal seal on the provisions and undertakings that form the document called Magna Carta, Latin for Great Charter. The Abridgment of English History is a little known and almost entirely disregarded work of Burke’s. He began it in 1757 as a commission from publisher Robert Dodsley. It was one of the projects taken up when he abandoned the law to devote himself to a literary career. He never completed the planned series of books. Indeed, chapter eight is the final full chapter. The eight chapters plus a fragment of chapter nine, ‘An Essay Towards An History Of The Laws Of England’, appeared after his death.

The reader has to take seriously Burke’s title to his work on English history because a distinct purpose is revealed in the process of abridgment. Through the sometimes sparse historical details, the reader finds a concentration on the effect of the different settled arrangements (like custom and tradition) on the development of the law governing the English people. The contrast, though nowhere near as explicit as in his later writings, is between law as developed out of the concrete circumstances of a people being a people and law as the product of abstract speculation.  The fragment of chapter nine confirms this analysis.

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Vatican II’s (lost) condemnations of communism

In 2018, LifeSiteNews, a leading Catholic website, published a translation of the drafts prepared for the Second Vatican Council on Communism and Marxism. The drafts were a resounding condemnation of the malignancy of a theory and movement that has laid waste nations and poisoned societies.

The manoeuvring of the notorious leftist ‘Rhine Group’ of Germany, France, Holland and Belgium succeeded in having the drafts sent to the archives to gather dust. The last thing they wanted was series of drafts that would undermine their leftist agenda for Vatican II. One of the leaders (if not the leader) of the Rhine Group was the subversive Fr Edward Schillebeeckx whose voluminous scribbling continues to flow like a stinking green ooze through Catholic orders, colleges, and seminaries around the world, infecting all it comes into contact with. See the links below:

Vatican II’s (lost) condemnations of communism (LifeSite article)


Catholic Church in Australia surrenders to the enemy

In January The Australian Bishops Conference invited Catholics to a ‘listening and dialogue session’ in anticipation of the Plenary Council to take place in 2020. I suspect this session on 6 February was merely the first step in softening up Australia’s Catholic population in preparation for the Council. The invitation provided the opportunity for a rich flow of the New Church rhetoric that reduces some of us to a catatonic state. Here is the mind-numbing text of the invitation:

Upcoming Plenary Listening & Dialogue Session

Calling all LGBTIQA+ Catholics, Christians and the broader LGBTIQA+ community, family, friends and supporters to come along for a safe and inclusive conversation.

What is discussed and determined by the Plenary Council will be based on a long listening to the Holy Spirit speaking through the voices of people from around Australia. This listening and dialogue process provides an opportunity to come together as a group to spend time thinking and talking about personal experiences of faith, life and church. Following this session, a submission will be made on behalf of the LGBTIQA+ community by Acceptance Melbourne, a community for LGBTIQA+ Catholics.  The session will be facilitated by Kevin Meese (Catholic Mission) and Mary Ryan (Archbishop’s Office for Evangelisation). Other key collaborators include Ro Allen (Victorian Commissioner for Gender and Sexuality), Kaye Bradshaw (Collective Impact), Teresa Ma (Acceptance Melbourne), Bishop Mark Edwards OMI (Auxiliary bishop of Melbourne) and Fr Kevin McGovern (St Cecilia’s Parish, Camberwell South). This session is being held in partnership with the Victorian Government and Acceptance Melbourne. Health Care card holders please let us know if you require further assistance with travel costs. Privacy and confidentiality are assured. 

I wonder that the authors of such announcements are not embarrassed by the regurgitation of the same deadening and ultimately meaningless rhetoric. Listening to ‘Holy Spirit’, dialoguing and other ‘spirit of Vatican’ buzzwords and phrases have meant in the past the charade of the Catholic left pretending to listen and dialogue but dominating the proceedings that lead to the imposition of their ‘vision’.

Let me make a prediction this far out from the Plenary Council. The Council will be a leftist farce with the outcome already decided. A huge amount of money will be spent in orchestrating that farce. The only question for the victors is how far they get in forwarding their agenda, an agenda that now differs little from the Marxist agenda of the secular left.

What other conclusion could you come to about the collusion of Church representatives with Australia’s first Marxist government headed by an ideologically drooling premier entertaining Stalinist measures against dissenters, a government virtually legalising infanticide, a government ramming through a program of indoctrination that aims to sexualise children from infancy? The Church is dialoguing with a bunch of state paedophile pimps. And down the road is the slow destruction of a decent man framed with the crime of child sexual abuse.

Gays in Vatican – The Australian censors comments

The Australian ran an article on 16 February headed ‘New book on sex lives of Vatican priests suggests 80 per cent are gay.’ The book In the Closet of the Vatican by homosexual Frederic Martel is ‘based on 1500 interviews with cardinals, clerics and even papal Swiss guards.’ It alleges further that one of the most outspoken prelates against ‘same-sex marriage’ ‘secretly frequented male prostitutes.’ All very sensational.

The article provoked the usual simple-minded, ignorant, anti-Catholic bigotry in the comment section as well as the usual reaction by many Catholics that the anti-Catholic media were at it again. They were, indeed, but they were close to the truth this time. I submitted the following comment:

The Australian media appear way behind the international conversation (especially in the US) over the incidence of homosexuality among the clergy and what it means. Some traditional Catholic groups, like Church Militant, are hammering the hierarchy unmercifully not only over clerical sexual abuse and the cover-up by many bishops, but about the behaviour of some well-known prelates.

Google Cardinal McCarrick and one will find a sensational story of scandal. Cardinal McCarrick is on the point of being laicized – defrocked. There has been a 180 degree turnaround by some traditional Catholics (like me) in their attitude to clerical sexual abuse. They thought it was just a beat-up by an anti-Catholic press. No, we have discovered that the story goes far deeper – and into the past. The huge increase of homosexuals in the priesthood after 1960 was no coincidence. Nor was it a coincidence that the rate of the abuse of male teenagers rose relative to that increase. The figures are there.

The Australian did not print my comment – as I expected. Even Australia’s most reliable newspaper quakes before the power of the far-left homosexual activists.

Cardinal George Pell is on trial – so is Australian Justice

The trial of Cardinal George Pell for ‘multiple historical sexual offences’ is ongoing. If it were up to the media behemoth ABC and the collapsing Fairfax Group plus a legion of Pell-haters, there would be no trial of any sort. They already have Cardinal Pell convicted, and if they had their way he would be hanging from one of the steeples of St Mary’s Cathedral.

They can rest assured. They have so poisoned the minds of Australians, particular in Victoria, there is little chance of justice prevailing. Indeed, there may be an even more satisfying outcome for the poisoners.

Behind the wall-to-wall denunciations of the Cardinal there are commentaries that provide compelling argument and evidence in his defence. The following are from Julia Yost of First Things. They should be read one after the other for the full effect.

Children of Desire

The Case Against Cardinal Pell

Writer … and still in the fifties