March 21, 2006

MINING SOME "OLD" GOLD

I had the occasion recently to read a pastoral statement first published by Appalachian Catholic bishops back in 1975 called “This Land is Home to Me.” OK, it was a slow day. Still, it holds up remarkably well.

One thing that is particularly striking about reading it in our gilded age of kleptocracy is its critique of the quest of profit at the expense of all human values and its exposure of the idolatry at the root of the worship of the market god (a favorite theme of the El Cabrero). As old as Isaiah, as new as today...

Some take-home messages are that 1. people make the economy and can change it; and 2. the economy exists for people and not people for the economy.

So here is the first installment of the Goat Rope version of the Appalachian Catholic Bishops Greatest Hits, Vol. I:

ON MARKET IDOLATRY

“…technological rationalization
and the profit principle
have served important functions
in human development.
It is not they themselves
that form an idol,
but the idol is formed
when they become absolutes
and fail to yield,
when the time has come
to other principles…”

“Some may say,
‘That’s economics,’
but we say
that economics is made by people.
Its principles don’t fall down from the sky
and remain for all eternity.
Those who claim
they are prisoners of the laws of economics
only testify
that they are prisoners of the idol.”

"...Worse still,
swallowing us up in things
is the power of the idol
which eats away at our openness
to the Living God."

"The choice between the Living God
and inert idols
is not only a choice between justice
and injustice;
it is also a choice
between life
and death."

Not bad at all, guys! Hats--make that miters--off to the bishops. More to come...

GOAT ROPE ADVISORY LEVEL: HIGHER THAN IT HAS TO BE

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