Letter: Can Catholics be capitalists in Aspen?
Years ago, the Western Slope of Colorado was about nature — and not real estate.
Today, the Western Slope of Colorado is about real estate — at the expense of nature.
According to St. Mary Catholic Church, Aspen “is one of the most secular and wealthy communities in the U.S.”
Thus, St. Mary, in a manner of curious logic, proposes to raise “millions of dollars” in order to combat such wealth and secularization.
It shall do this by introducing “spirituality” as a remedy to “materialism.”
And so, it has established a building committee “made up of quite a number of very experienced, longtime parishioners.”
In actual fact, length in Aspen, and experience with its difficult issues, is questionable.
One of its members represents Aspen’s self-described premier luxury firm, which was recently acquired by New York’s self-described premier luxury firm.
According to Multiple Listing Service, the firm lists the following:
One estate at $100 million.
Five estates at $33.5 million to $46 million each.
Eleven estates at $20 million to $29.5 million each.
Sixty-two estates at $10 million to $19.9 million each.
One hundred twenty-five estates at $5 million to $9.9 million each.
A total of 204 estates.
Multiple Listing Service, in this case, carries 44 pages of 21 listings per page for the firm for a total of 924 listings, leaving 720 less endowed prospective buyers to scramble for the remainder.
Insofar as the continuing conflict exists between the proper conservation of pristine nature (God’s creation), and the damage to and reduction of it is concerned, it is obvious that developers, brokers and their consumers have arrogated unto themselves the use of this land by means of the use of their money.
And inasmuch as Aspen’s Catholic parishioners are involved, a serious moral (ethical) and intellectual concern arises: May one be Catholic and capitalist simultaneously in this overtly unjust, secular market?
How timely, therefore, that the supreme pontiff of the Catholic Church is soon to release his encyclical on mankind’s damage to God’s creation (the natural environment) following his previous encyclical on economics (“Evangelii gaudium”), which calls for “the duty to establish and maintain just economic, political, and legal orders. … The world can no longer trust in the … invisible hand of the market … and calls for action … that attacks the structural causes of inequality.”
Thus, in his writings, he speaks of the “universal” condition — the world’s present unjust economy and its adverse effect on man and nature.
However, the language of philosophy presents the “particular” as a means by which to explain the “universal.”
Aspen presents a perfect “particular” condition.
In view of the foregoing, it is perhaps not at all inappropriate to suggest that Aspen’s Catholic parishioners conduct their own “Referendum 1” in order to decide whether the proposed project should go forward at all.
For in matters of this magnitude, layperson democracy ought to override archbishop/pastor edicts.