Roman Catholic Priests Reflect On Christmas And A Free Economy. Por Alejandro Chafuen.
For those who claim that our western civilization owes its success to the Christian contributions a question should always come to mind: how does the vision of the human person that comes out of the Christmas traditions and celebrations influence our views about freedom?
The question for those who focus and work to promote the free economy is more focused. A free economy is nothing more, and nothing less, than the free movement of goods, people, and money (including financial instruments) across a region. The trip of Mary and Joseph and Mary to Bethlehem likely involved all three: people, money and goods. In a mostly free economy, one can move to another region, state or province, with little restrictions, even with “sensitive” goods such as a donkey. But have you ever tried to cross a national boundary with a horse or donkey? Not easy. In a way, the birth of Jesus of Nazareth was made possible by parents who exercised their rights of free movement and also trying to obey the law.
These political and economic considerations have much less relevance for the impact of Christmas than its essential message: the liberating sign of God, the Creator, becoming one of us. By “us” I mean one like you and me, who is reading, writing about Christmas, or just enjoying the season.
The first thing that comes to my mind in Christmas, apart from an immense awe, is that of hierarchy and equality. Hierarchy regarding God and his creatures. Equality in the dignity of His higher creatures, created in His image. Christ birth is for me, a powerful example of equality before the law.
As my field of study is more economics than religion, I asked a select group of Roman Catholic priests, who also help society as intellectual entrepreneurs and value the free economy, to share their views.
Father Robert Sirico, the President and co-founder of the Acton Institute, a think tank based in Grand Rapids that works across the globe tells me: “Christmas is fundamentally about God’s embrace of the material world in the coming of his son as man through the agency of the Virgin Mary.” The human person, the drama of life and birth appear in each scene of the Christmas story. How can those who have been close to a loved one, wife daughter, giving birth not sympathize with young Mary about to deliver the Son of God, Sirico adds: “this, and the more ancient belief that the material world itself was formed by God at the dawn of creation, work together to form the foundation of the economic inquiry itself.” He sees the gift of Christmas as opening a path to abundance in heaven and in earth: “think of it: in a free economy, scarcity gives way to abundance; so too, in the Incarnation of God’s son, the corporal points toward transcendence.”