Volume > Issue > Toward a More Christian Economy

Toward a More Christian Economy

CHRIST & NEIGHBOR

By John C. Cort | December 1984

By the time this appears in print, two state­ments on “Catholic Social Teaching and the U.S. Economy” will be in public circulation. One will be the first draft of the U.S. Roman Catholic bish­ops’ pastoral letter, and the other, made public first, will be a statement of the Lay Commission on Catholic Social Teaching and the U.S. Economy, which is a creation of the American Catholic Com­mittee, an organization of politically conservative Roman Catholics who were apparently nervous about the bishops’ pastoral.

The Lay Commission is co-chaired by William Simon, former Secretary of the U.S. Treasury, and Michael Novak, a senior staff member of the Amer­ican Enterprise Institute, a conservative think-tank in Washington, D.C. Alexander Haig, former Secre­tary of State, is a member. Of 32 members, 17 are corporate executives.

The following are excerpts adapted from the testimony of this writer before the commission at a hearing on September 17, 1984.

In the Book of Leviticus (19:13, 18), written at least a thousand years before Christ, we read: “You shall not oppress your neighbor…but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord.”

Disagreement followed as to who was a neigh­bor, some maintaining that it included the stranger, the non-Jew, and others that it referred only to fel­low Jews. Jesus settled this argument with the Par­able of the Good Samaritan. Even the despised for­eigner must be regarded and treated as a neighbor, with love. And to make this obligation more bind­ing Jesus raised it to the level of a commandment second only but similar to the first and greatest commandment, the love of God.

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