Monthly Archives: September 2020

Casti Connubii

In his encyclical Casti Connubii, Pope Pius XI says right here in 120 “it is the duty of the public authority to supply for the insufficient forces of individual effort.”  This is not calling for communism (communism is atheist anyway!), but the safety net that is supposed to *prevent* communist revolution. If we don’t want Russia’s errors to spread, then we should care more for the vulnerable poor, body, mind, and soul. 

Right before this, in part 119, he mentions it is the duty of the rich to be generously charitable to families (“private resources”). 

As he concludes part 120, the Pope admits it is  understandable that the neglected poor would become “emboldened to hope for chance advantage from the upheaval of the state and of established order.” Aka rioting, revolution, crossing borders illegally, etc.  🤔 He *is* saying for the State to provide for the poor, in particular the working poor, so as to avoid such rioting and revolution, when individual and private resources are insufficient.  He admits how much more difficult it can be for the poor to follow God’s commands.  (I never understand condemning a just wage and then complaining about the government “handouts”…if in the proper order a just wage was had, then we wouldn’t have to get to private or public resources, in theory.)

I would add that the Pope repeatedly indicates that this “public duty” should be designed around the family as a *unit,* with a preferential option to support families, not as we do primarily today with giving  help as individuals instead of viewing situations as familial and adapting the aid to the overall diverse needs of that family.   Children get Medicaid but not their parents, in many cases, for example, particularly the working poor. Three siblings may not be “disabled enough” as individuals for SSI, but together they are and so should qualify for modified help as family members.  A poor wife who just gave birth can get Medicaid for a year but not the husband.  But if they are unmarried, many times they can get Medicaid and more government help, when their marriage and work should be supported. Or if they’re unmarried, better promotions since they don’t have to ask for time off as much.    (Something the pope also notes, that single mothers and their children get more help than married couples and their children, and that was back in 1930. )

If you rightly recognize stable marriages as the bedrock of society, then you need to support a firmer safety net to let families join and bounce back *together.*  Pope Pius XI rightly recognized securing the individual *family* (not just each person individually) secures civil order.

Casti Connubii:

120. If, however, for this purpose, private resources do not suffice, it is the duty of the public authority to supply for the insufficient forces of individual effort, particularly in a matter which is of such importance to the common weal, touching as it does the maintenance of the family and married people. If families, particularly those in which there are many children, have not suitable dwellings; if the husband cannot find employment and means of livelihood; if the necessities of life cannot be purchased except at exorbitant prices; if even the mother of the family to the great harm of the home, is compelled to go forth and seek a living by her own labor; if she, too, in the ordinary or even extraordinary labors of childbirth, is deprived of proper food, medicine, and the assistance of a skilled physician, it is patent to all to what an extent married people may lose heart, and how home life and the observance of God’s commands are rendered difficult for them; indeed it is obvious how great a peril can arise to the public security and to the welfare and very life of civil society itself when such men are reduced to that condition of desperation that, having nothing which they fear to lose, they are emboldened to hope for chance advantage from the upheaval of the state and of established order.

Pius XI, “Casti Connubii”

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