Monday, October 31, 2011

Important Announcement from John Sharpe

Dear friends of ISOC:

With full support and sponsorship from ISOC, my son John Sharpe is kicking off a huge new initiative concerning the traditional Catholic Social Doctrine, "Undiluted by Modernism," and you need to know about it.

If you've completed the "Prepare for the Aftermath - Do We or Don't We?" survey on the ISOC website, this new initiative could be considered an answer to that survey.

The following email from IHS Press will explain the plan of action and needs. You will see that it's an alternative to the degenerating society -- the social/political/economic morass -- that we live in. It will expose to everyone with an open heart and ears to hear, the centuries-old Catholic Social Teachings which teach that society, government, etc., are to be used as tools to get us to Heaven, and not to lead us to Hell.

Please, if you have the means, help John launch this new crusade for the Kingship of Christ on earth. I, for one, am eager to put what time I have available into making this endeavor a success and we have already agreed to be a sponsor of the August 25th, first-of-its-kind, "Rebuilding Christendom" Conference. Mark your calendars today.

And please read the following carefully, and call or write me if you have any questions.

God bless your day,

Judith Sharpe

Catholic Social Doctrine –
The Alternative to the False Choice in Modern Politics

October 30, 2011
Feast of Christ the King

Dear Fellow Concerned Citizen and Catholic:

Even an occasional glance at your morning paper or the evening news is enough to tell you that our American – and much of the world’s – “system” is broken. Modernism and modernity, broadly conceived, is a busted flush.

Representative government doesn’t represent. Financial institutions have no finances. Educational institutions don’t educate. News outlets report everything but real news, while “opinion” columns give free advice – usually worth what it costs – against the backdrop of a reigning social philosophy where there is no real difference between true and false, or right and wrong. Meanwhile, the very idea of public morality is long gone as both a practical force in society and as an idea in itself.

Things are so bad, in fact, that even mainstream sources are starting to clamor for a “third way,” but frequently they don’t even know what they’re asking for, except for something other than business as usual and the “bread and circuses” that the left vs. right political charade dishes up for public consumption and entertainment. Jon Stewart, while interviewing Republican Congressman Ron Paul, visibly struggled to articulate some notion of a just social and economic “third way” when commending Paul for his “small government” stance but asking whether the Congressman was really serious about his claim that corporations and markets could be trusted to police themselves in the interest of justice and equity.

The Financial Times recently observed that socialism and organized labor are today conservative forces aiming to further entrench the welfare state, while at the same time it warned against “business as usual” by the “free-market right” (Martin Wolf, “The big questions raised by anti-capitalist protests,” Oct. 27). The inequality engendered by the free market is especially corrosive, it said, “if those with wealth are believed to have rigged the game rather than won in honest competition . . . . In the end, democracy is sold to the highest bidder.”

No less a scion of Establishment journalism than Arnaud de Borchgrave has termed the so-called “Marxist mobocracy” of the ongoing Wall Street protests “the flip side of the ‘carnivorous greed’ on Wall Street,” while reminding his readers of the (no doubt rather unwelcome) reality that it was Karl Marx who predicted “that capitalism would eventually sow the seeds of its own destruction” (“Communist boogeyman,” UPI, Oct. 27; our emphasis). And New York University’s Nobel laureate economist, Nouriel Roubini, effectively completed de Bourchgrave’s thoughts by noting just as recently that this “social-welfare state” was in fact the answer proposed by “market-oriented liberal democracies” to the “frequency and severity of economic and financial crises.” But what is clear, he notes, is that the laissez-faire model “has also now failed miserably.”

It is easy to complain, however. And none of these critics, however incisive their critique, seem to possess the historical and intellectual equipment to propose a solution to the welfare-state and laissez-faire models that have – indeed – failed miserably.

But there is one hope. It’s been mankind’s only hope since the birth of Western civilization, and for a few glorious European centuries its impact was actually felt upon both public and private affairs.

The bankruptcy of modern alternatives has, at long last, given us an opening – and we’ve got to get at least the thin end of the wedge into it right now. Simply put, it’s the theoretical and practical wisdom offered by the Social Doctrine of the Catholic Church.

As in generations past, Catholic Social Doctrine (CSD) offers solutions to the political, economic, and social problems that plague our nation and our world today. Consider these few examples.

Had the just-war doctrine – as articulated by Catholic saints and thinkers since at least the era of St. Augustine – been a reality in the halls of government and in voting booths across the country, thousands who died in Iraq and Afghanistan, on both sides of the fighting and as so-called “collateral casualties,” would still be alive today, as would at least some shred of American credibility around the world.

Had the Catholic economic “third way” been in play in modern board rooms and counting houses, our economic situation would be tending to enable real families to come into ownership of real property, unencumbered by usurious mortgages, so that they could earn real livelihoods – as Leo XIII demanded in Rerum Novarum, his famous 1891 “Worker’s Charter.”

Instead, things are worse than when they were surveyed by Leo’s successor, Pius XI, during the years of the Great Depression. Pius XI’s eighty-year-old critique of finance and economic life reads like it was penned yesterday:

"[I]t is obvious that not only is wealth concentrated in our times but an immense power and despotic economic dictatorship is consolidated in the hands of a few, who often are not owners but only the trustees and managing directors of invested funds which they administer according to their own arbitrary will and pleasure.
"This dictatorship is being most forcibly exercised by those who, since they hold the money and completely control it, control credit also and rule the lending of money. Hence they regulate the flow, so to speak, of the life-blood whereby the entire economic system lives, and have so firmly in their grasp the soul, as it were, of economic life that no one can breathe against their will." (Quadragesimo Anno, 1931, §§105–6)

Finally, had the irrefutable idea – taught so well and often by Leo XIII (e.g., Immortale Dei, 1885), on the basis of an unbroken classical and Catholic tradition – that civil society must be governed with an eye towards the virtue of its citizenry, had any traction in local and national politics, we’d have seen honesty, justice, prudence, and even charity come to predominate in political discussions and actually operate in political decisions . . . instead of their opposites and the galling hypocrisy that usually accompany them.

But you may be wondering what all this has to do with IHS Press – and with you. Allow us to explain.

After more than a decade as a small publisher of mostly (though not exclusively) reprinted books dealing with Catholic Social Doctrine, IHS Press is pleased to announce an initiative that starts today, the Feast of Christ the King, to expand beyond the publishing field, while reaffirming its commitment to its principal mission to promote and promulgate CSD. This broader-reaching effort, one that many of you have been urging us to undertake for over 10 years, will be accomplished under the banner of the new “IHS Press Group.”

And since during this past decade we have been functioning with a barely adequate Internet presence, we have contracted with a professional firm to update our Website and come, as they say, kicking and screaming into the 21st century. But rather than re-invent the wheel at some point down the line, the time is now – with this “facelift” in progress – to launch the exciting new pillars of the IHS Press Group, as outlined below.

But we desperately need your help to do it.

That’s right, we can’t do it alone. So you might as well know right up front that this is an appeal for money. For whatever you can give – a tax-deductible $25, $50, even $100. More if you can. (See below for details of the incentives for your various levels of support.)

Here are the things that your generous tax-deductible contribution will help to achieve under the umbrella of the new IHS Press Group.

a) Expanded Publishing Program. As we attempt to broaden the means by which we, and you, can inspire a return to the sanity, the morality, and the wisdom of the Social Doctrine of the Catholic Church, IHS Press will not leave its roots – merely extend them. In addition to the activities listed below, we will add to our “IHS,” “Light in the Darkness” and “Gates of Vienna” imprints as we expand our list of titles into still more specialized areas of Catholic Social Doctrine – with new lines such as “Forgotten Voices” for more obscure but essential historical works, and “Schoolmen’s Bookshelf” for works on traditional CSD appropriate for the high-school and university settings.

b) The Catholic Land Movement. The “Back to the Land” movement has been gathering impetus for some time now. IHS Press has long been in the forefront of the Catholic variant of this movement with numerous titles devoted to the topic. As the movement grows, IHS will continue its leadership role by establishing a network for collaboration between those who already possess rural expertise and those looking to put into practice the truths articulated by the leading lights of Catholic thought who maintain that social stability and genuine culture can only be achieved by rooting families on the land.

c) Rex. A Journal of Political and Social Catholicism. From time to time there are topics or news events of unique interest to Catholics that do not necessarily lend themselves to coverage or discussion via bound-book format. It is our intent to bring you current, up-to-date looks at the contemporary world through a uniquely Catholic social and political lens in a periodical format. The goal is to demonstrate and persuade, without compromise or shameful nods to political correctness, that the lessons of Catholic Social Doctrine are as meaningful today and as useful in addressing societal ills as they were a hundred years ago. Rex promises to be an exciting and unvarnished new publication that is at once “historical, theoretical, practical, political, and controversial.”

d) Institute for Social Catholic Doctrine and Policy Research. The sheer number of historical texts and manuscript collections of interest to scholars of traditional teaching on politics, society, and economics by itself warrants the establishment of this planned research library and archival repository – to which IHS Press plans to contribute its already assembled several-thousand-volume library and dozens of linear feet worth of archival materials. In addition, the Institute will aim to produce, with the collaboration of the right “experts,” frequent position papers and pamphlets in order to engage “anyone with ears to hear” regarding the relevance of Catholic political and economic truth to contemporary society. The country’s – maybe the world’s – leading thinkers and scholars in the Catholic social thought tradition need a scholarly home, and the Institute will provide one.

e) Rebuilding Christendom™ Conference Series. With this line of conferences and other events, the IHS Press Group will initiate and/or sponsor periodic meetings of varying scale to bring together the finest commentators on a wide range of topics of immediate relevance to the problems faced by individuals and societies today. Plans are already underway for the first three-day conference in this exciting series. It’s scheduled for August 24–26, 2012, in Washington, D.C., to coincide with the weekend of the Feast of King St. Louis IX. Mark your calendar now.

More detailed information about the IHS Press Group’s planned evolution is available via our website, on the donate page, or via a downloadable fact sheet.

But none of this will happen without your help. It’s going to take your generous tax-deductible donation of $25, $50, $100 – or more if you can spare it. Fortunately there are several support levels for you to choose from, each with its own “reward.”
Basic “Donor Level” ($50 to $100): For $50 you receive a free copy of our latest book, William Cobbett, by G.K. Chesterton, complete with new scholarly introductions and annotations. Or for $100, you get your free choice of any three books on our list. Download an updated list of available titles from our website.
Benefactor Level ($500 to $1000): Designed to save you money with an additional 15% off our already discounted publisher-direct prices, the “Benefactor” status level is of particular value to you during our fund-raising appeal. A $500 donation now will bring you “Benefactor” status on every IHS Press book you buy for two years. And for a $1,000 contribution, you maintain “Benefactor” status, with its deep savings, for the rest of your life! Meanwhile, for those of you who have donated generously in the past, rest assured your already existing Benefactor or Patron status will not be affected by the current promotion.
Platinum Level ($2000): And for those who can afford it and are determined to help us in this struggle, a donation of $2,000 or more will make you an IHS Press “Platinum Patron,” entitling you to receive automatically a free copy of each new IHS Press title for as long as you live! Make a note in your will and your heirs can enjoy this transferable benefit too!

And now, as you consider your donation, let us leave you with one thought. Like us, perhaps you are amazed during this season of furious political activity at the seeming ease with which politicians are able to raise money – sometimes millions of dollars in a matter of days. And often for causes that as Catholics we would reject out of hand.

Yet, when it comes to funding for truly noble causes, those rivers of cash seem to slow to a trickle. But we candidly believe that even these humble first steps we are making here to restore Catholic Social Doctrine to its place of prominence as the guiding light – family by family, neighborhood by neighborhood, town by town, and eventually statesman by statesman – are far more worthy of support than the “business-as-usual” political, industrial, financial wolves who now operate in our country and our world without even the pretence of sheep’s clothing.

Of course we are not going to change all hearts and minds; even Our Lord didn’t do that. But with your help we can provide evidence to those who listen – and there are many, and will be many more – that the real alternative, the only alternative, to the hopelessly fractured Left vs. Right political culture and socio-economic system under which we now live lies in the Social Doctrine of the Catholic Church.

In closing we ask you to please consider how your tax-deductible support can help us – an help you – enable Catholic Social Doctrine to recapture its place of outstanding and exalted dignity among the failed schemes for social reform and revolution, and how you can further help us to implement now the wisdom of the great Catholic economists, historians, and social critics of less than 100 years ago, though now they are often unknown or forgotten.

Won’t you make your tax deductible donation of $25, $50, $100 or more right now while you’re thinking about it? Just click on any of the buttons in this letter, or send money via any of the charitable-donation firms with which IHS Press is registered (PayPal,, and ChipIn). Otherwise, send your check to:

IHS Press Group Fund
c/o IHS Press
222 W. 21st St., Suite F-122
Norfolk, Va. 23517 USA

We’ll do the heavy lifting. Will you help us carry the load? This may be our last chance.

Yours in loyalty to Our Lady of Victory and Christ the King,

The Directors, IHS Press

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