Letter: Butt out
In his critique of what he calls the “curious logic” of St. Mary Catholic Church’s plan to build a parish hall on its property, Art Allard stands logic itself — nay, common sense — on its head (“Can Catholics be capitalists in Aspen?” Commentary, The Aspen Times, June 9).
How does the church’s proposal to develop a small portion of the urban property that it has owned for more than 130 years have anything to do with “damage to and reduction of” the “pristine” natural world? It’s like arguing that if Allard owned residential property and decided to erect a gazebo in his backyard and double the size of his garage, he would be expediting the death of the planet.
The only way he attempts such an argument is through a tortured ad hominem, guilt by association, Saul Alinsky demonization of one of the church’s parishioners who is connected with a “premier luxury firm” engaged in the buying and selling of pricey Aspen estates. Horrors! Blood money is involved.
As to his question of whether Catholics may be capitalists in this matter, what else could they be — socialists? Should they wait for a government grant to fund their building, drawing upon Allard’s tax dollars? Alas, although government can confiscate all kinds of money for environmentalist schemes, it may not do so on behalf of a church.
Besides, what does he mean by “capitalism”? St. Mary’s is not exactly engaging in the acquisition of material goods for the purpose of making a killing at the expense of the laboring class.
Allard refers to the current pope’s condemnation of unrestrained capitalism, but the church has a much longer and stronger history of affirming that “the fact that God has given the earth for the use and enjoyment of the whole human race can in no way be a bar to the owning of private property,” property that “every man (even a very wealthy one, Mr. Allard) has by nature the right to possess” (Leo XIII, “Rerum Novarum,” paragraphs 6 and 8). Gee, kind of sounds like the Declaration of Independence, doesn’t it?
It is St. Mary’s property, Mr. Allard, which it will put to use in developing human resources. I suggest that you go save the planet at your own expense.