Recently FOX network commentator Glen Beck has attacked all those who use terms like "social justice" and "economic justice" as un-American; even accusing them of being, or being like, "socialists," "communists" or "fascists." More astounding yet, he aims his comments at Christens and specifically at the Catholic Church.
On 25 March Stephen Colbert used his cutting humor to seriously respond to Beck. You can see and hear Colbert's response on the Colbert Report. This segment is extremely funny, partly because Colbert is a Catholic and knows whereof he speaks. At the end of the show Stephen interviews Fr. James Martin, SJ who also has been attacked by Glen Beck.
At the end of the program, Colbert asks Fr. Martin if, in the unfortunate and most unlikely case, that Pope Benedict had to resign and Glen Beck were elected pope, what would he do. With a twinkle in his eye and a smile on his face Fr. Martin said, "I'd leave the Church just as Beck recommends."
At bottom, Glen Back is ignorant of, yet still opposed to the Catholic understanding of the the Gospel message as currently and steadily proclaimed for the last 120 years by the popes. Anyone who wishes to get to the core of the "social justice" doctrine and ethic of the Catholic Church can begin with the following papal encyclicals:
- 1891 Leo XIII Rerum Novarum
- 1931 Pius XI Quadrageemus Anno
- 1961 John XXIII Mater et Magistra
- 1963 John XXIII Pacem et Terris
- 1967 Paul VI Populorum Progressio
- 1981 JP II Laborem Exercens
- 1987 JP II Sollicitudo Rei Socialis
- 1991 JP II Centesimus Annus
- 2009 Ben XVI Caritas in Veritate
For the serious person (Catholic or non-Catholic) who wishes to understand the common themes of social justice in the Catholic tradition, it is important to be familiar with the entire social justice teaching of the Church. Glen Beck is most certainly not one of them.