Catholic Social Europe - how it fails the poorest
But does it?
The advocates of Catholic social doctrine (i.e., the EPP) claim that its economic model achieves higher social standards than the heartless and barbaric Anglo-Saxon economies, where it’s ‘dog eat dog’ in ‘the law of the jungle’. The reality is that protectionist Catholic social doctrine fails the poorest and society’s most vulnerable. According to the publication Beyond the European Social Model, the incomes of the poorest 10% have increased considerably in Ireland and the UK, compared to other EU countries, and these so-called Anglo-Saxon economies have a smaller proportion of their populations below the poverty line. Since Ireland cut public spending as a proportion of GDP from 55% to 35%, while the tax burden across the rest of the EU stayed roughly the same, growth accelerated, and real spending on public services increased as a result by almost 250%. This is good news for the poor!
The EU is falling behind in education and science, it has increasingly unsustainable levels of unemployment, and a looming pensions crisis. From youth to the elderly, the EU’s social model reduces freedom and diminishes quality of life even for those who can find work. This is a moral issue, since Catholic social teachings ‘trample on the heads of the poor...and deny justice to the oppressed’ (Amos 2:7). How can the abdication to foreign control of the responsibility for fundamental human needs ever be justified from a Christian perspective? God cares for the poor, the oppressed, and the underdogs in society. He pours his wrath upon those who corrupt justice or create economic machines designed to provide more wealth for the wealthy and deprive the poor. The story of Naboth’s vineyard in 1 Kings 21 establishes that authorities are not free to pursue any policy they please or to ride roughshod over the rights of the poor.
How long, O Lord, how long?