Papal Economic Ideology Poisons Western Thought

By Richard Bennett and Robert J. Nicholson

My kingdom is not of this world,[1] was the response of the Lord Jesus to Pilate’s interrogation of Him regarding His relationship to the political economy of the Roman Empire.  The Lord fulfilled all righteousness in respect to fearing God, and honoring in this case, Caesar, and the pattern is demonstrated for His disciples to follow.  The kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ is heavenly; however, believers in the Lord Jesus Christ live in the world as He did.  They are in the world, but not of the world.  In contrast, the kingdom of the Pope of Rome is very much of this world.  Papal Rome binds men, even in economic matters.  Few people, outside of the Vatican Curia, are aware of the Vatican’s vast financial and real estate assets, through which it has exerted a powerful effect upon the world economy, both historically and in the present day.  For example, the Papal Church is a multinational corporation operating in the USA and across most of the western world, with a local office in almost every town.

It is a law of the Roman Church that, “By virtue of his primacy in governance the Roman Pontiff is the supreme administrator and steward of all ecclesiastical goods.”[2]  All holdings even on the local level belong to the Pontiff.  The impact of Catholic economic theory, doctrine, and commercial practice is global.  Influence on government policy, state treasury decisions, commercial bank management, stock exchange pricing, academic teaching, media presentation, multinational corporations, and employees are profound.  In fact, the reach of Rome in commerce far exceeds the dimensions of its ‘spiritual’ rule over those that she calls, “the faithful.”  Its financial tentacles extend into private and public education, civil elements of federal and state health care, national charities, and a multitude of minor municipal enterprises.

Whatever Papal Rome teaches on economics, redistribution of wealth, and social justice, she does so even while seated as a primary player in many boardrooms of international industry and banking.  Further, she often occupies these seats of power by using Catholic non-clerical trustees and share proxies to remain relatively invisible.  Even at a local level, their commercial bank trading accounts are hidden from the view of public and government, and more importantly, never audited by any independent body.  All transactions, transfers, and trade exchanges occur “in house” under the supervision of diocesan business managers, otherwise known as bishops.  The line of financial transmission runs from episcopates and regular clerical orders direct to the Vatican Bank in Rome.  This bank is in fact, the cash, stock, and bonds treasury of the Vatican City–State.  It answers to nobody but the Roman curia and its pope.

Stripped of its camouflage, and seen to be occupying a privileged position in the world of commerce and finance, the Roman Catholic Church is firmly enthroned as the queen of capital.  And all this is quite separate from her fabulous material wealth of real estate, gold, silver, precious gems, and priceless art.  The Vatican has real estate all the way down to parish schools, presbyteries, and churches from one end of the globe to the other.  The Papacy is identifiable as an international financial leech sucking the economic lifeblood from other nation–states.  Particularly in the “third world,” Papal Rome holds, almost unhindered, sway over substantial populations of devotees in such places as the Philippines, Mexico, or South American countries.  The Papacy exerts financial power in ways that most dictators can only dream about.  This is the practice of Papal Rome and how it actually behaves in the real world of global economics.

At this present time, pontifical teaching on economic theory has become hugely influential worldwide.  This can be seen in Europe in her philosophy of intrusion into economic matters for the purpose of wealth.  Redistribution of wealth is the economic philosophy formulated by the Vatican.

Biblical Economic Principles

Without embracing “capitalism,” which has its own pitfalls, we shall first give an overview of the biblical principles of economics.  True economics must be administered by justice, rendering objectively to each, based on one’s conduct relative to the commandments of Scripture.  The key requirements of justice are revealed in the Ten Commandments and the civil and judicial laws that are given throughout Scripture.  The Apostle expressed the relationship between faith and God’s moral law, “do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law.” Scripture also teaches all men are not due equal wages for their labor regardless of their behavior.  The biblical standard is that the more work that is done the greater must be the wages, “the workman is worthy of his meat,” and “the laborer is worthy of his hire.[3]  The Bible does not teach that justice means equality of conditions among all men.  The Lord is our provider and He expects that we deal justly with our fellow man,

Behold, the hire of the laborers who have reaped down your fields, which is of you kept back by fraud, crieth: and the cries of them which have reaped are entered into the ears of the Lord of sabaoth.”[4]

The Bible permits justice for a violation of the Commandment, “Thou shalt not steal.”Any church or society that ignores the moral standards of the Bible is heading for strife and difficulties within families and the lives of individuals.

Historical Scholarship in Economics

In 1904 and 1905, the German ecumenist Max Weber published a book that has created great interest.  According to Weber, the ways of life in the earliest part of the 20th century were motivated by biblical ideas.  There were new lifestyles where hard work was motivated by the principle that such work brought its reward with increase of goods.  The application of principles of honest hard work and the discipline of labor and time were means by which the believers could be responsible before God.  Basically, however, with the accumulation of money for investment, a gradual secularization took place.  The biblical way of doing business gave way to modern capitalism.  Thus, with the expansion of trade and the pursuit of wealth by economic strategies, gain became an end itself.  They were no longer dependent on the economic practices that biblical principles brought.[5]  The rationale of the biblical principles had been appropriated by secularism and transmuted into the spirit of modern capitalism.  This is in harmony with Weber’s major theme of the “rationalization of action” in theoretical sociology.  So, since we are not endorsing modern capitalism, we need to go back to biblical economic responsibility and the commandment to not steal.  In facing these clear biblical principles, on the other hand, we have the devastating economic theories of Papal Rome.  These destructive theories have to be documented, as they are difficult to believe, if we were not to quote from exact Roman Catholic sources.

Roman Catholic Economic Philosophy

Where Roman Catholic economic theories have been embraced, nations have been devastated.  The Pope claims legislative and executive authority over his subjects, even in economic matters.  In total contrast, Scripture presents man as answerable to God for the use of possessions and capital.  The Word of God upholds the principle that the ownership of private property is a just reward for labor on the principle that “the labourer is worthy of his hire.[6]  Rightful ownership proceeds from the receipt of an inheritance or gifts on the standard, “a good man leaveth an inheritance to his children’s children…”[7] The Lord instructed His disciples regarding economics, as for example, in a parable when He likened God to a vineyard owner, expecting a return on His investment.  He is expecting profit from both His vines and His workers.  He rewards good stewardship and punishes poor stewardship.  God’s will for believers is that they be faithful stewards that are accountable to Him.  Believers are entrusted with talents and goods to be used for the glory of God and the good of others, especially those of the household of faith.

According to the Bible, a person cannot procure for himself what he needs out of the riches of others, as we will document; however, Papal Rome officially teaches this must be done!  Besides the devastating partnership with fascism and dictators in the first part of the 20th century, there have been many devastating revolutions and upheavals in nations across the world through the Roman Catholic teaching regarding “social justice.”  The Papacy’s Vatican Council II proclaimed the principles of the possession of property, including the need that can exist of making another’s goods one’s own property.  The Council made clear the wide disparity between rich and poor nations, and it endorsed the most influential of all Catholic theologians, Thomas Aquinas, in his philosophical “justification for theft.”  The official words of the Council are,

“Whatever the forms of property may be, as adapted to the legitimate institutions of peoples, according to diverse and changeable circumstances, attention must always be paid to this universal destination of earthly goods.  In using them, therefore, man should regard the external things that he legitimately possesses not only as his own but also as common in the sense that they should be able to benefit not only him but also others.  On the other hand, the right of having a share of earthly goods sufficient for oneself and one’s family belongs to everyone.  The Fathers and Doctors of the Church held this opinion, teaching that men are obliged to come to the relief of the poor and to do so not merely out of their superfluous goods.  If one is in extreme necessity, he has the right to procure for himself what he needs out of the riches of others.”[8]  This is

The theological roots of Vatican Council II’s teaching go back to the most influential of all Catholic theologians, Thomas Aquinas, whose writings it quoted.  Aquinas wrote,

“….whatever certain people have in superabundance is due, by natural law, to the purpose of succoring the poor… In cases of need, all things are common property, so that there would seem to be no sin in taking another’s property, for need has made it common. …it is lawful for a man to succor his own need by means of another’s property by taking it either openly or secretly; nor is this, properly speaking, theft and robbery…. It is not theft, properly speaking, to take secretly and use another’s property in a case of extreme need; because that which he takes for the support of his life becomes his own property by reason of that need….  In a case of a like need a man may also take secretly another’s property in order to succor his neighbor in need.”[9]

In Aquinas’ philosophy, “need” is the criterion for what is right regarding the possession of property.  Need can make another’s goods one’s own.  This is simply a philosophical justification for theft.  The “Robin Hood principle” of robbing the rich to feed the poor, is also contained in Aquinas’ reasoning.  He stated,

“In a case of a like need a man may also take secretly another’s property in order to succor his neighbor in need.”[10]

The Catholic writers, Leonardo and Clodovis Boff have explained the devastating results of Liberation Theology implementing in Latin America, the Vatican Council II teaching.  The “preferential option for the poor” implemented the Robin Hood principle for theft and has devastated not only Central and South America but also developing nations, and across the world and in particular, Africa and the Philippines.  This principle, called “Liberation Theology” has really been the root cause of revolutions in many nations in South America.  The failure of Liberation Theology is admitted even among those who persist in trying to implement its fantasies.  The revolutionary fervor of the of the 1970’s and 1980’s has not abolished the grueling poverty in Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Costa Rica; rather, it has been in these and other nations a demoralizing economic and social influence.

Many Different Fronts Woo People to Papal Economics

The Maryknoll and Jesuit orders of the Roman Catholic Church began their support of Catholic economic policy.  These Catholic orders continue to have members implementing the principles of Catholic economic policy.  In Ossining, N.Y., there is the headquarters of the Maryknoll order; it is a dominant force for Catholic economic strategy.  And the Paulist Press, of the Catholic Missionary Society of St. Paul, also implements many principles of Catholic economic strategy through the radical feminist theology movement.  It is necessary to document the general policy of the Catholic Church for the Western World.  We quote firstly from the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales.[11]  They state publicly that their goal in “evangelization” is to encounter the modern world with the Church’s social teaching.  What they teach is the following,

“In encountering the modern world, the Church’s social teaching is a necessary component of evangelisation as we meet people in their social, political and economic contexts.  In particular this must be a priority in lay formation.  The ‘preferential option for the poor’ and walking with the poor in mission have a particular priority.”[12]

The mindset of the Papal teaching is seen in these words.  The way that they are to win people is through Catholic economic policy.  It is quite similar to the Pastoral Letter on the U.S. Economy issued by the Catholic Bishops of the USA.  In writing about the “option for the poor” they state,

“As followers of Christ, we are challenged to make a fundamental ‘option for the poor’ –– to speak for the voiceless, to defend the defenseless, to assess life styles, policies, and social institutions in terms of their impact on the poor.”[13]

What is the mission field for Catholic Bishops as they advocate the Papal policy of evangelization by social teaching?  In the U.S.A., the answer is 36 million Americans.  One of the ‘quick links’ on the United States conference of Catholic Bishops’ web page is, “Poverty USA.”[14]  There it is stated,

“The numbers are staggering.  Today, nearly 36 million Americans live in a state of poverty, hunger, and hardship.  That is more than last year.  More than ever before.”

When we consider that the Vatican is one of the richest corporations in the entire world, we really see warning lights, because it is quite like the old tale of the wolf and “Little Red Riding Hood.”  When we read the statements of the massive Roman Catholic conglomerate, by far the wealthiest corporation worldwide, we sense that we are listening to the wolf speaking to Little Red Riding Hood.

To explain just what we are looking at in Papal Rome we quote from the book, “In God’s Name” by David Yallop,

“The Catholic faith’s claim to uniqueness is valid.  It is the only religious organization in the world that has its headquarters an independent state, Vatican City, which is a law unto itself.  At 108.7 acres it is smaller than many of the world’s golf courses, is the size of St. James’s Park in London, and is approximately on eight the size of Central Park in New York City.  A leisurely stroll around Vatican City takes something over an hour.  To count the wealth of the Vatican would take far longer…Bernardino Nogara was a member of a devout Roman Catholic family; many of its members made, in a variety of ways, significant contributions to the Church…Evidently Nogara was not a man with whom to play Monopoly.  Apart from banks, he acquired for the Vatican controlling interests in companies in the fields of insurance, steel, financing, flour and spaghetti, mechanical industry, cement, and real estate.  With regard to the last–named his purchase of at least 15 percent of the Italian giant Immobiliare gave the Church a share of an astonishing array of property.  Societa General Immobiliare is Italy’s oldest construction company.  Through its ownership of the building firm, Sogene, Immobiliare—and therefore to a significant degree the Vatican after its 15 percent acquisition—owned the Rome Hilton, Italo Americana Nuovi Alberghi, Alberghi Ambrosiani (Milan), Compagnia Italiana Alberghi Cavalieri, and Societa Italiani Alberghi Moderni.  These are just the major hotels in Italy.  The list of major buildings and industrial companies owned by Immobiliare is twice as long.  In France it built huge block of offices and shops at 90 Avenue des Champs Elysees, and other of 61 Rue de Ponthieu, and another at 6 Rue de Berry. In Canada it owned one of the world’s tallest skyscrapers (the Stock Exchange Tower, situated in Montreal), the Port Royal Tower, a 224–apartment block, a huge residential area in Greensdale, Montreal…In the United States it had five huge apartment blocks in Washington D.C., including the Watergate Hotel, and in New York, a residential area of 227 acres at Oyster Bay. In Mexico it owned an entire satellite city of Mexico City called Lomas Verdes. This list of properties is by no means exhaustive.  Nogara also bought into General Motors, Shell, Gulf Oil, General Electric, Bethlehem Steel, IBM and TWA.  If the shares moved, and moved upward, men like Nogara created the movement.”[15]

When we see that the wealthiest corporation in the world is now using its spiritual, moral, and political power to reach out to the poor of the nations, we understand that it is their policy to use this for what they call “evangelization.”  That is they desire to attract, they hope, literally millions of people to their Church by way of their financial programs.

The Vatican’s Economic Political Power

So we comprehend that in the United States the appeal for “evangelization” using this type of Catholic policy is 36 million people in the U.S.A. alone.  This should really set Bible believers to on guard against what has become a coalition of evangelicals listening to Catholic moral and social teaching.  The stage is set like never before.  There is a definite undertone of Catholic bias in the media, such as quite popular talk show hosts as Sean Hannity and Laura Ingram.  Roman Catholics such as Pat Buchanan, Alan Keyes, Henry Hyde, Phyllis Schlafly, William J. Bennett, William F. Buckley, Jr., and others are accepted as moral crusaders by Evangelical Christians.  Indeed, many of the issues they stand for are things that every Christian should be advocating.  However, what is never addressed is the damning effect of Vatican economic teaching on the lives of peoples and nations.

Correct understanding of the Bible is to see man as a sinner utterly destitute in sin.  To see his personal need of salvation before God, and then as he trusts on Christ and Christ alone, he knows the true freedom in peace that comes with salvation, and thus he becomes a responsible citizen.  This is the Good News, and Catholic economic policy is a curse because it subordinates the Gospel and biblical evangelism to a secular ideology.  Catholic economic policy, acclaimed by many Catholic theologians, has been allowed to grow wildly in South America, Central America and other Catholic nations, bringing with it increased destitution, poverty, and most of all spiritual death.

Climax in Conclusion

For the most part conservative Evangelicals do not make statements on economic policies.  Most likely they will remain silent, because they have been convinced any Christian policy regarding social and economic life is always radical.  They allow and applaud the many ministries that deal with family issues of budget and economy, but they fail to draft any Christian policy statements, or in any way to challenge the Vatican on a field where so few have dared to thread.  The results of this attitude are universally devastating.  Many are convinced that to speak out on social and economic matters in the name of Christ is to be extreme.  True Christians are losing by default unless they begin to address general economic issues that are so clearly delineated in Scripture

God has mandated and regulated both ownership of property[16] and a free enterprise economy in His Word.[17]  The biblical econ
omic system checks injustice and grants men responsibility in both private property and in economic decisions.  It allows men the freedom to act with the dignity of beings created in God’s image.  The importance of true economics is that it offers not riches or extravagance, but a freedom to one’s role in God’s universe.  God’s rules in economic matters are achieved through self-control,[18] by family supervision,[19] and finally by civil government.[20]  A free market economy is based on the private ownership of property and individual responsibility.  Civil governments ought to promote a free market economy, and to advance an economic policy where human beings can have their needs for food, clothing, and shelter met through their own labor and not through stealing from others under the guise of social welfare programs where people are forced to pay through punitive taxes for others, many who refuse to work.

Church government is responsible for the true Gospel and church discipline.[21]  Church government ought to manage its own finances, and it may advise its members on economic matters; but Church government does not and ought not regulate personal, family, and civil economic policy.  However, the Vatican’s dogma on “need” being the criterion for what is morally right is simply a philosophical justification for theft.  Because God is the All Holy One, He abhors moral unrighteousness.  Yet, this is exactly what Catholic economic policy is in word and deed.  God, being by nature infinitely Holy and True, hates falsity, as it is the greatest and most deformed evil.  The word of J. C. Ryle applies directly to true Christians at the present time.

“Let us not be ashamed of showing our colors and standing out for New Testament truth.  Let us not be stopped by the cuckoo cry of ‘controversy.’  The thief likes dogs that do not bark, and watchmen that give no alarm.  The devil is a thief and a robber.  If we hold our peace, and do not resist false doctrine, we please him and displease God.”

The Lord commands each true believer to “occupy till I come.[22]  All Christians have commerce to do for Christ Jesus in this world, for this they are commissioned, and they are not to be idle.  The Lord furnishes the gifts necessary for the business of those that are called to economic matters.  The Lord Jesus commands His disciples to increase their “talents,”[23] to make the most of them, to increase their capability of doing good, and to do it until He comes.  The talents He gives to His people to invest include the most necessary one, that of contending for the faith.  This responsibility is particularly necessary in the areas of understanding and defending the true biblical standard in economic policy.  The Lord delivers the charge, “The manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal, and as every one has received the gift, so let him minister the same[24]

The Lord God continues His creative work as He draws men and women to His righteousness and eternal life.  The Apostle Paul proclaimed the Gospel of Christ as, “the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth…for therein is the righteousness of God.[25]  This re-creation can occur today as the work of the same Spirit of God that hovered over the earth at the beginning, as we obey His command, “this is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.[26]

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[1] John 18:36

[2] Code of Canon Law #1273

[3] Matthew 10:10; Luke 10:7

[4] James 5:4

[5] See Weber’s The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism (1904–5) (1992 edition) pages 180-183.

[6] Luke 10:7

[7] Proverbs 13:22; Matthew 21:38

[8] Vatican II Documents, Gaudium et Spes, Para. 69The text is also on the Internet at:

[9] Summa Theologiae, 11-11, 7th article

[10] Ibid.

[11] All the bishops of England & Wales meet together twice a year to decide policies for the church at national level. 6/10/05

[12] 11/16/06

[13] 6/9/05

[14] 6/10/05

[15] In God’s Name by David Yallop, pages 92, 93, 97-98

[16] Exodus 20:15, 17; Deuteronomy 19:14

[17] Ecclesiastes 5:19; Proverbs 10:2-4, 12:24, 13:4,11; I Thessalonians 3:10

[18] Timothy 3:4-5; 2 Peter 1:5-8, Proverbs 16:32

[19] Psalm 101:2; Ephesians 6:1-4; I Timothy 3-4-5

[20] Romans 13:1-4; I Peter 2:13-14, It is God’s prerogative to make His laws bind conscience so that men,” render to    Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” Mark 12:17

[21] Romans 1:16-17; Galatians 1:7-9; Timothy 3:1-13; Titus 1:5

[22] Luke 19:13

[23] Talents is referring to that which God has given to believers to invest and have increase. Matthew 25:14-30

[24] I Corinthians 12:7; I Peter 4:10

[25] Romans 1:16

[26] John 6:29