Video: Authentic Charity Comes from God, Not Government

A group of young Catholics at John Paul the Great Catholic University in San Diego put together this video and asked me to help share it. I said I’d be thrilled to!

Please watch and share it with your friends and family as they deliberate and prepare to vote this weekend:



  • Tom Prebis

    Mr. Peters, sir; the essential premise of your post, that “Authentic Charity comes from God, not government;” presupposes, good sir, that God has ZERO influence on our government! Such simply ISN’T TRUE, Thomas!!!

  • abadilla

    Mr. Peters, I wish I could watch the video but I can’t. The man makes me so ill, I guess it is as bad as it is for some Democrats to watch a video on Ronald Reagan. I’m not saying this is good, but I’m being honest with my feelings! I just can’t stand the man!

  • Bartolome Casas

    A fundamental principle of the Catholic Church’s Social Doctrine is that is a sin to offer and give as CHARITY what is due in JUSTICE. The Social Doctrine of the Catholic Church teaches that a JUST WAGE be paid to every head of household who is an employee, and that when private employers refuse to do this voluntarily, that the government must mandate this. The Church defines a Just Wage as one that will allow one wage earner to support a large family of young children in all the basic necessities of life. This is Catholic Doctrine, and has been for a 100 years or more. It is not optional for Catholics who are devout and faithful to God and live to please God. So, yes, it is correct to say that government does not do CHARITY, but rather that it is the servants of God who do charity. But the government does do JUSTICE. The Catholic Church insists that governments mandate that private employers pay all their employers a Just Wage (at least). The Church teaches that it is a grave sin to make workers BEG for food at food pantries when, if they were paid the Just Wage that the Church mandates, they would have no need to go to the food pantry at all. All this is very contrary to Ayn Rand Social Doctrine, and Libertarian Social Doctrine in general, which insists that there must be no government imposition into the so-called “free market” or which insists “private property” is sacred and inviolable. But these other “faiths” are simply idols from the godly Catholic point of view. If indeed the Free Market did provide full employment for all willing to work, in provided to all workers jobs that allowed all the workers to support their family in all basic necessities, then no reasonable person would want to interfere with that. But the Church is full of reasonable bishops, theologians, economists, and pope past and present, and they have seen that the Free Market does not need all needs. They have written that truth explicitly into Catholic Social Doctrine. Sadly, there is a full court press effort going on today in the USA to try to re-write Catholic Social Doctrine to conform to the “dogmas” of the leading conservative political partly. Shame on the Catholics involved in this diabolical obfuscation of the Holy Catholic Faith. And, LORD have mercy on us all (including me, a sinner).

    • Joe M

      You skipped the second half of the reasoning provided in Catholic Social Teaching. The part about how government enforced justice must always defer to the Common Good. In other words, if a policy is bad for more people than it helps, it doesn’t matter that some people feel that it provides justice for them. It’s still a bad policy in the eyes of the Catholic Church.

      And that is where we find ourselves with the policies of liberals like Obama. Policies that depress the economy and harm millions of people so that Democrat voting blocs like union auto-workers can be bailed out and claim that “justice” was served.

      The government robbing Paul to pay Peter is not an example of Catholic Justice.

      • Bartolome Casas

        You bring up a good point, one I’ve haven’t really considered before. The issue I see is this: Does the Catholic Social Doctrine of the “Common Good” mean that civil government can only pass legislative mandates that benefit every citizen? Obviously a Just Wage law (aka Minimum Wage law) only directly benefits those who work jobs that, in the free market, would pay less that what the government mandates by its Just Wage/Minimum Wage law. So, is such a law immoral according to Catholic Social Doctrine because such a law only benefits a portion of the citizenry? I believe this simply cannot be the right conclusion. Why? Because all the popes for the last 150 years, along with all the bishops in union with them, have said that the civil government must pass Just Wage laws to force private employers to pay at least a Just Wage to every employee. (Read the papal documents. That’s what they really say.) The popes and bishops are not feeble minded, so they surely understood that a Just Wage/Minimum Wage law only directly benefits those who, under free market conditions would not be paid a Just Wage. They knew that a Just Wage law would not directly benefit every worker in the economy. Therefore, since it is these popes and bishops who define what “Common Good” means, it seems that the only conclusion is that a Just Wage Mandate does promote the Common Good and does not undermine the Common Good. I can’t see any other way of reasoning through this. Can you?

        • Joe M

          Yes. I can. The premise you provide is wrong. The doctrine of the Common Good does not mean that all policies have to affect everyone in an equally positive way. It means that law-makers must use prudential judgement regarding what policies best serve society as a whole.

          • Bartolome Casas

            The above answer prompted me to think more about this. Using the logic above, is okay for law-makers using prudential judgment to enact legislation that legalizes birth control pills, despite the Church’s declaring the use of birth control pills to be sinful under all conditions for all people in all times and places? Are civil government law-makers, even Catholic ones, morally free to use the concepts of “prudential judgment” and “Common Good” to set aside any and all of the moral doctrines of the Catholic Church? Is the notion of “Common Good” a sort of magic wand by which any and all of the moral teachings of the Church can be erased by law makers? How about individual Catholics? Are they free to lie, cheat, steal when, in the exercise of the “prudential judgement,” they view such acts as being for the “Common Good.” America has a long tradition of emphasizing freedom and liberty. Does that mean freedom and liberty from any and all of the moral teachings of the Catholic Church, per the “prudential judgment” of individuals or legislatures or the President or the Supreme Court?

    • abadilla

      Just to answer one of your points because you made many. “The Catholic Church insists that governments mandate that private employers pay all their employers a Just Wage (at least).” Correct, but the Church does not define what a just wage is in terms of numbers and it wisely does so, because a just wage in Costa Rica is going to differ from a just wage in the United States. Precisely because certain things are not set on stone, other than we have an obligation to help the poor and needy, that this teaching is part of a prudential judgment perspective.

      No one here is denying Catholic social teaching, but there is an acknowledgement that Catholics of good will can and do disagree on many issues regarding Catholic social justice issues. Not so with intrinsic evils like abortion, where there is no room for disagreement in the Catholic Church.

      All Catholics can understand Catholic social teaching and understand what is important, but all Catholics are going to disagree on “how best” to implement policies that help the poor. As an example, government stepping in and doing everything for the poor. Many Catholics who loudly proclaim social justice, like the federal government to have one quarter of this nation on food stamps. They see this as an example of social justice. I see it as the violation of another principle of socil justice, the violation of the principle of subsidiarity. Now. “all” Catholics have a moral obligation to help the poor. That can’t be denied without betraying one’s Catholic faith. Where we don’t agree, is in the means to reach that goal, and that’s also part of Catholic social teaching and that is what we call “prudential judgement.”

      Bartolomé don’t be so quick in condemning others for obfuscating our Catholic faith. ” Shame on the Catholics involved in this diabolical obfuscation of the Holy Catholic Faith.” It might just be that we differ in the means to reach the same goal, that’s all.

      • Bartolome Casas

        The Catholic Left uses claims of “prudential judgment” to be personally opposed to abortion, but to support laws that uphold every woman’s right to choose an abortion. The Catholic Right uses claims of “prudential judgment to be personally in favor of helping the hard working poor in some way or another, but to set aside the Catholic Just Wage Mandate due to belief a non-Catholic Free Market “fundamentalism” that says that government interventions into the economic system on behalf of the working poor are always and everywhere illegitimate, immoral, and unconstitutional. These Free Market “fundamentalists” (or they might be more kindly be called “libertarians”) are more flexible regarding interventions into the free market to rescue banks that are “too big to fail,” however. Okay, that’s all highly charged rhetoric. Okay, let me calm down. There, now I’m calm. Now I can say this. The Catholic Just Wage Mandate really is a mandate. It is a mandate of Catholic Social Teaching. It is not a suggestion. It is not something that citizens or legislators can set aside based on “prudential judgment.” Just read the Church’s documents about it and you will see. It is a Mandate of Catholic Social Doctrine, and it calls for a government legislative mandate to bring Just Wage conditions into effect whenever private employers refuse to do it themselves. Of course the Just Wage won’t be the same in every country or in every county. But that doesn’t mean that it is unknowable. It is easily knowable. The price of a loaf of bread is not hard to know. Why don’t Catholics know about all this, or hear about it? Why do so many Catholics thing it okay to reject the Catholic Just Wage Mandate on the basis of “prudential judgment”? Because the radio talk shows and TV talk shows are constantly full of people preaching Secular Conservative Social Doctrine. Virtually no one ever talks about Catholic Social Doctrine. There is EWTN, and Catholic Radio stations, but they very, very, very rarely talk about the Church’s Social Doctrine. My guess it is because most of the hosts are Republicans, and they realize how much Catholic Social Doctrine is in conflict with Secular Conservative Social Doctrine. They have a divided loyalty. Or, to be more generous and fair, maybe there just isn’t much interest in Catholic Social Doctrine among listeners and viewers. The Secular Conservative Social Doctrine, subscribed to by every Republican member of the U.S. Congress (as far as I know) says that the government must NEVER under ANY circumstances EVER mandate ANY minimum wage at ANY dollar level. That is a clear and specific REJECTION of Catholic Social Doctrine. If a Protestant or Mormon or Muslim rejects Catholic Social Doctrine, that is understandable. That doesn’t make them a dissenter from Catholic teaching. But when a Catholic who is a member of Congress holds the Secular Political Social Doctrine view of the Just Wage/Minimum Wage issue, then they ARE a DISSENTER. They are saying to the pope and to God, “I will not follow” on this matter. But, all in all, this is a much less grave matter than dissenting from the Catholic Pro-Life Doctrine. In the final analysis, I think that is how Catholics on the Right justify their “cafeteria” approach to Catholic Social Doctrine: They say, at least I am faithful to Catholic Pro-Life Doctrine, unlike most of the people in the other party. And that is true. But they are still DISSENTERS. They are still looking the pope and God right in the face and, on the Catholic Just Wage Mandate, saying “No sir.” To me, that is something risky to do, regarding eternal salvation. But I’m not perfect. I have may own repeated failings to think about. I am not qualified to be an Old Testament Prophet who calls the People of God back to fidelity in order to avoid or cease the punishments and chastisements of God. Still, I hope to God that my little writings here have been of some use, for the Glory of God and the Salvation of Souls. Amen. To summarize: A simple and quick test to see if a Political Conservative is a dissenter from Catholic Social Teaching: Ask him or her if they will or would ever support, under any conditions, any sort of Minimum Wage at any level. If they say “No,” then they are a Dissenter, an unfaithful Catholic. They are publicly rejecting the authority of the Church, and thereby weakening the authority of the Church in the eyes of their neighbors and fellows Catholics. Such dissenters, if they treasure their soul as they ought, should go to a priest to talk this over. Of course, such a right-wing dissenter can always tell themselves that they are at least much better, or much less evil, than the left wing dissenters who reject Catholic Pro-Life Teachings. But since they are still publicly rejecting, or at least obscuring, Catholic authority and teachings, I wonder if being better than a liberal is such a safe or holy position to be in. Please notice, friends (I know that’s a stretch, but, let me be a wishful thinker), that I’ve not said anything about who to vote for, or not vote for, or which party to support. That decision, as the bishops and the popes have said, is a “prudential judgment.” What isn’t a matter of prudential judgment (or option or choice) is whether a Catholic ought to learn, accept, and conform to all of official Catholic Doctrine. The Catholic Left dissents on all things related to sex and gender (abortion; divorce and remarriage; gay marriage; women priests; sex in dating; etc.). The Catholic Right dissents all things related to economics (Just Wage; Labor Unions; government-mandated private or government health insurance for every citizen; unemployment insurance; overtime pay laws; etc.). To me, it is helpful to really see what our Most Holy Lord and Savior Jesus Christ teaches through his one and only Church, and, to not be surprised that politicos, hunger for the passing power and glory of office, should be actively trying to mislead and seduce Catholics and others. This is a fallen world. You and I are subject to the burden of original sin too, and so contribute to the dismal state of this world. Yet, by arming ourselves against political Utopianisms of the Right and of the Left, by detecting the lies of both the political Right and of the political Left, we have a better chance of more often being workers for God bringing the Light of Christ into the world. Amen.

        • abadilla

          You are correct, specially in what you say about both groups of Catholics conveniently embracing one position or another, when, in fact, they should embrace both, the fight against abortion and the fight for social justice.
          The only thing where we would differ, is that all Catholics should know the difference between intrinsic evil matters and prudential judgment matters, not to use that distinction as a pretext not to do anything about abortion or anything about social justice issues, but for the sake of keeping the teaching of the Church in its proper perspective.
          Indeed you are correct in stating that EWTN and others rarely deal with social justice issues and that is only giving us Catholics half of the teachings of the Church.
          Now, you and I have been able to have a dialogue without insulting each other. Well, that is not possible at CV anymore, at least for the time being, and I’m leaving till the moderators are able to bring some sanity into CV.
          Thank you so much for your thoughtful reply.

          • Bartolome Casas


            You are correct that a mother and doctor conspiring to kill an unborn child is something like a BILLION TIMES worse than not paying a Just Wage to workers. Alas, I think there is no political movement or party in the USA that has as its Number One priority bringing to an end to the murderous practice of abortion in the USA. Even among national secular political figures who state that they are Pro-Life, I don’t see this issue as being high on their agenda. Anyone can claim to be Pro-Life, but if they actually do little or nothing about it, then it might just be a tactic to get votes for public office. I think we, who see abortion in the USA over the last 40 years as a true “Holocaust” level event, must not depend on the promises of politicos. They seem to all be too busy. We must organize ourselves as Catholics to do effective, sensible, reasonable, nonviolent things that will end all this shedding of innocent blood in our nation, the USA. By the way, I see a connection between Catholic politicians who state a Pro-Life position but who reject the Catholic Just Wage Mandate. I think Catholic politicians who claim to be Pro-Life but openly and strongly dissent from major portions of Catholic Social Doctrine are likely to be stating a Pro-Life position merely as a cynical vote getting strategy, and will be officer holders who will just pay lip service to the Pro-Life cause and never work hard to do anything about it. Some of these Catholic politicians cynically misuse the “5 Non-Negotiables” to suggest that those 5 positions are all that a Catholic need subscribe to in order to be a faithful Catholic. Not so. No part of Catholic doctrine is negotiable or optional. The 5 Non-Negotiables is only applicable to choose between two candidates when neither of them is a Catholic or Faithful Catholic. If one of the Candidates in the race for a particular office is a Catholic who is 100% faithful to both Catholic Pro-Life Doctrine and Catholic Social Doctrine, then the 5 Non-Negotiables have no application in that race. To me, if a Catholic dissents from any part of Catholic Doctrine, then he or she is not to be trusted. He or she puts his own judgment above the teachings of God Almighty.

  • Ubi Caritas

    Of course you would be thrilled to keep spreading your lies. That’s what they pay you for.
    A film critic you are not.

    • Joe M

      Do you have an actual argument or just ad hominem statements?

      • The Un-Joe

        So you don’t expect or want the government to help the people of NY and NJ?. You and CV will take all the responsibility? That’s great. Let’s see how things turn out minus government.

        • Joe M

          That’s what I thought. No. You have no argument.

          Ironically, Obama used to criticize behavior like yours… in 2008.

        • abadilla

          Well, is Obama helping you now? That’s not what I’m hearing from the media, and the media is the “adoring” media that protects the President from Benghazi and any problems his administration has. What about addressing the issue of the media?

  • Romaniax

    You mean like the “authentic” charity from Mitt Romney when he “donates” to charity and then withdrawals all the money he “donated” for the next three decades and leaves the charity with absolutely nothing? Abusing the tax exempt status of these charities is illegal thanks to reforms passed by Democrats after millionaires like Romney started using it as a way to avoid paying taxes. It’s a shame that Mitt Romney continues to abuse these charities because he was grandfathered in. At least we know the reason that he wouldn’t release all his tax returns. Stealing from charities so that you don’t have to pay taxes. That’s what Mitt Romney believes in.

    • Joe M

      Ah yes. The completely legal and common tax arrangement that you claimed was illegal. Nobody cares that Romney’s tax returns are LEGAL. Most Americans would do the same thing in his shoes because they are over-taxed. Romney wants to change that for the better, for everyone.



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