On the heels of the sexual abuse disclosures conservative Archbishop accuses Pope of hiding sexual abuse and attacks “homosexual underground” in the Church. But the influence of the Kochs merits special scrutiny at Catholic University, founded by the U.S. bishops in 1887 with the support of Pope Leo XIII to be the national university of the Catholic Church in America. Catholic University's decision to accept $1 million from the Charles Koch Foundation to support the study of "principled entrepreneurship" is like a … Busch, in contrast, has called the minimum wage "an anti-market regulation that leads to unemployment" and claims it does "great harm" to workers. He quoted Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, the leader of the Eastern Orthodox Church, saying that environmental degradation and the impact of climate change are "a sin against ourselves and a sin against God.". by John Gehring. One bedrock principle of Catholic social teaching is that workers should receive a living wage. Controversial, Capitalist Koch Brothers Pledge Millions To Catholic University Business School, Throwing food away is like stealing from the tables of the the poor, the hungry! The pope, Moore wrote, "has allied himself with the far left and has embraced an ideology that would make people poorer and less free." (RNS) Billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch recently made headlines by pledging nearly $900 million to help elect candidates who support their libertarian strain of economic conservatism, but the industrialists are also nearly doubling their investment in the business school of Catholic University of America, which is overseen by the U.S. bishops. Among the well-heeled guests was a lobbyist from Freedom Partners Chamber of Commerce, a $130 million trade group aligned with the powerful industrialists Charles and David Koch. In an encyclical last June-the first-ever devoted entirely to ecology-Francis assailed climate deniers and called for a transition away from oil dependency. The first Jesuit pope and the first from Latin America, Francis has used his pulpit to challenge the moral failings of contemporary global capitalism. Can a Catholic university legitimately take money from the likes of the Koch Brothers? By 2011, the Mercers started attending seminars set up by well-known billionaire conservatives Charles and David Koch, also known as the Koch brothers. Catholic is not the only university to take money from the Koch Foundation, which is efficiently building a free-market "talent pipeline" in the nation's colleges and universities. But from the moment the first CUA donation was announced in the fall of 2013, many Catholic theologians and others raised questions about why the only pontifical university in the country would take so much money from the Kochs. The articles on the Catholic University’s website detailing Koch’s donations of $1 million in December 2013 and $1.75 million in January 2015, mention that students would be studying this philosophy of “principled entrepreneurship”. He's not the only prominent Catholic in the university's circles philosophically allied with the Kochs. Back to top. Werner. St. Elizabeth Catholic … Back to top. Back to Portfolio. The glaring contrast between the Kochs' ideology and both Pope Francis's priorities and traditional Catholic social teaching is apparently lost on some wealthy conservative Catholics. As Catholics’ spiritual leader, Pope Francis, arrives in Washington D.C. for an historic address to the United States Congress (one-third of which is Catholic), new research by the International Forum on Globalization (IFG) reveals that the oil billionaire Koch Brothers spent at least $23 million to elect 62 Catholic Congressmen. All rights reserved. ", "Some people continue to defend trickle-down theories, which assume that economic growth, encouraged by a free market, will inevitably succeed in bringing about greater justice and inclusiveness in the world," the pope wrote in his first major teaching document, The Joy of the Gospel, released in 2013. Critics said Busch was exaggerating that overlap and glossing over the real goals of libertarian free-market advocates, which they say are in no way compatible with church teachings. (We're not sure why the other two are excluded.) If some conservatives have tried to identify themselves with a popular pope even as they undermine his message, others have directly attacked Francis. At a foundational level, this is the exact opposite of what Catholic teaching says about the common good. Koch Bros. If you are scraping by right now, please don’t give us anything. When adjunct professors at a Catholic university in Pittsburgh, who make near-poverty wages and often lack health insurance, launched an organizing drive, Sirico argued in The New York Times that the church's historic support for unions was conditional. Your voluntary contribution helps keep this website paywall-free. Many Catholic universities are implicated. The Chicago-based Heartland Institute, which has received Koch funding over the years, spearheaded a press conference before the pope's first visit to the U.S. last fall to disseminate the message that "Pope Francis' views on global warming are scientifically in error, and his views on capitalism are outdated and wrong.". Another letter from Catholic Scholars for Worker Justice criticized the university's "potentially misleading message" regarding the church's commitment to unions and workers' rights. But free market orthodoxy is becoming a familiar staple at Catholic University's business school, which has accepted nearly $13 million from the Charles Koch Foundation over the last three years. Creighton University, a Catholic, Jesuit institution in Nebraska, has brought in more than $4 million from the Koch Foundation and from the family of an Omaha entrepreneur named C.L. The university's business school is named for Tim Busch, a Catholic CEO and Orange County, California, attorney who specializes in estate planning for wealthy clients. THE KOCHS ARE ONLY TWO of the players in a broader movement spreading a free-market gospel at Catholic institutions. A few months later, at a conference sponsored by Catholic University’s Institute for Policy Research & Catholic Studies, the Honduran cardinal who is one of Francis’ top advisers blasted today’s free market system as “a new idol” that is increasing inequality and excluding the poor. He has described inequality as the "root of social evil," and has called climate change "one of the principal challenges facing humanity in our day.". Better known for their high-dollar political spending, the billionaire Koch brothers have also poured millions into Catholic University’s business school to promote a free-market orthodoxy sharply at odds with the teachings of Pope Francis. Francis himself has focused on economic inequality in the nearly two years since he has been pope, repeatedly denouncing the current capitalist system and in particular the “trickle down” economics favored by many Republicans and libertarians. "People were being brutalized. While officials at Catholic university's business school and the Acton Institute have tried to dismiss those who raise concerns about the influx of Koch funding at Catholic institutions, some educators warn that big money from right-wing billionaires comes with a cost. It's a libertarian agenda that stands in stark contrast with the communitarian tradition of Catholicism, and that is also hard to square with the priorities of Pope Francis. The school is run by Andrew Abela and it is dedicated to promoting what it calls “principled entrepreneurship.”. "Because God told us to be good stewards, that doesn't mean we have to drive a Prius or support the Paris climate accords," Richards quipped. ©2021 Verizon Media. University officials fired back that critics had set out to "manufacture controversy and score political points." Francis directly links what he calls "an economy of exclusion" to the global climate crisis, saying that the "cry of the earth and the cry of the poor" are inseparable. "This opinion, which has never been confirmed by the facts, expresses a crude and naïve trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power.". This is not a hypothetical question. As the cocktail chatter turned to complaints about government regulations and the power of markets to help the poor, the scene felt more fitting to a conservative political fundraiser than a conference at the nation's only Vatican-chartered university. Some scholars say the Kochs' ideology can't be justified in Catholic terms. By contrast, the Kochs champion a far-right ideology that scoffs at climate change and workers' rights. We made it easy for you to exercise your right to vote! Among the speakers to address Creighton University's Koch-backed Institute for Economic Inquiry is Stephen Moore, an economist at the Heritage Foundation in Washington, D.C., and a campaign adviser to Donald Trump. ... Sacred Heart Catholic Church. "Koch shouldn't be attacked, but applauded.". The editor is at work on another project.) The Koch Foundation is international in scope with no geographical preference. The Koch brothers are billionaire siblings known for their numerous contributions to right-wing causes. You can sign up as a subscriber with a range of benefits, including an opt-in to receive the print magazine by mail. A well-financed network of conservative clergy and Catholic intellectuals on the right churns out research and books, and hosts conferences that often send a decidedly different message than Pope Francis does when it comes to the economy and climate change. ", The American Prospect depends on reader support. Moore, a Catholic, last year blasted Pope Francis in Forbes magazine as "a complete disaster when it comes to his policy pronouncements." The phrase "Koch brothers" generally refers to the sons of Fred C. Koch. Ecclesiastical. The wealthy Koch brothers are best known for making large donations to politicians, universities, and institutions that support their economically conservative views. October 14, 2016. More than two dozen Catholic universities receive funding from the Koch Foundation. He went on to argue that carbon dioxide has "very positive effects" on the atmosphere, and that many scientists and research organizations are misguided alarmists on climate change. Richards, who goes by "Free Market Jay" on Twitter and is the executive editor of the right-wing news outlet The Stream, delivered an environmental message that went over well with the business leaders, libertarian-leaning college students and aspiring entrepreneurs in the room. The Koch brothers, who are not Catholic, have actively thrown their wealth behind conservative and libertarian political causes and candidates that … Your donation keeps this site free and open for all to read. Part of HuffPost Religion. His own economic views-like those of the Kochs- are often in tension with Catholic tradition. One influential figure in this effort is the Reverend Robert Sirico, a Catholic priest who founded the Koch-linked Acton Institute. David H. Koch. Abela is one of several faculty members who have won Acton's $10,000 top award for studying the "relationship between religion and economic liberty." Our mission is built on Carl and Paula Koch’s vision to strengthen and propagate the Roman Catholic faith by providing grant support for a wide variety of evangelization efforts. The Kochs help "advance public policies that directly contradict Catholic teaching on a range of moral issues from economic justice to environmental stewardship," the scholars stated in an open letter to the university. Stephen Schneck, a professor at Catholic University who organized a conference two years ago at the campus, which highlighted the incompatibility of Catholic teachings and economic libertarianism, says efforts to demonize government and sanctify markets are antithetical to the Catholic moral tradition. In another conference seminar, Todd Flanders, the headmaster of a pre-K–12 Catholic school in Minnesota, criticized efforts to raise the minimum wage, complained about the "regulatory state" and breezily said of Francis, "Catholics are not required to agree with popes on particular policy questions.". Gender: Male Religion: Roman Catholic Race or Ethnicity: White Sexual orientation: Straight Occup. Charles Koch and his brother, David, “fund organizations that advance public policies that directly contradict Catholic teaching on a range of moral issues from economic justice to environmental stewardship,” says a four-page letter to CUA President John Garvey, released Monday (Dec. 16). Busch, a philanthropist who owns several luxury hotels and founded the Napa-based winery Trinitas Cellars, sits on the university's board of trustees, and recently gave the university $15 million, its largest-ever donation. Roll mouse over image for a description. Asked directly about the pope's persistent challenges to the "new tyranny" of unfettered capitalism during one lecture, Acton research director Samuel Gregg, author of the book Tea Party Catholic, offered a dismissive retort. "I've learned a lot from the Koch family," Busch acknowledged in an interview with The Catholic World Report. Leftist Catholics Wary of Koch $1M Donation to Catholic University. In particular, the letter's writers pointed out that they believed the Koch brothers, who have donated millions of dollars to conservative and tea party causes, stood in opposition to the Catholic church's teaching "the positive role for government, an indispensable role for unions, just tax policies, and the need for prudent regulation of financial markets in service of the common good." Compared with the nearly $13 million Catholic University has hauled in over the past three years, most are relatively small grants. (They are also generous underwriters of numerous cultural institutions.) But none more so than Catholic University of America, which—in the face of much criticism—has just doubled down with another $10 million donation from the Koch Foundation. They want to form a generation that thinks they are only responsible for themselves. Sign up for membership to become a founding member and help shape HuffPost's next chapter. At a four-day Acton conference in Grand Rapids in June-an annual gathering dubbed "Acton University" that attracts more than a thousand participants from 50 countries-one of the featured lecturers was Jay Richards, a research professor in Catholic University's business school. Based in Grand Rapids, Michigan, the institute has a Rome office near the Vatican, and also has ties to Catholic University's business and economics school. "It's one thing to critique, but you need to know something about what you're critiquing," Gregg said. KochFacts is a website belonging to Koch Industries, the company owned and run by billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch. The money funds the university's Institute for Economic Inquiry, which cranks out research that advocates for the privatization of state services and touts an economic philosophy more in line with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce than traditional Catholic teaching. "Radical market ideologies really are heretical," Schneck, the director of the university's Institute for Policy Research & Catholic Studies, told the Prospect. That’s despite the fact that many Catholics — including Pope Francis — say the kind of unregulated capitalism that the Kochs promote runs counter to church teaching. Though their last name is Jewish in origin, the Koch brothers have pledged over $3 million to the Catholic University of America. Richards finished his lecture by touting the Cornwall Alliance, a Christian evangelical coalition that makes a "moral case" for fossil fuels. In response to Katrina vanden Heuvel’s “Koch Brothers Exposed.” April 23, 2012 John Breithaupt : I am a recent convert to the Catholic Church and have never regretted my decision for an … Today is National Voter Registration Day! Abela, the founding dean of the business school, struck a less than Francis-like note when he told a Catholic news outlet that while Catholic teaching requires respect for the environment, "it doesn't say if you question global warming or climate change that's a sin." Charles and David Koch—who have more money than Bill … Koch Industries, meanwhile, is notorious for its abysmal record of covering up toxic spills, and for underwriting well-funded lobbying and disinformation campaigns to cast doubt on the overwhelming scientific consensus about the severe risks of human-induced climate change. (Full disclosure: I work for Faith in Public Life, which helped promote the Catholic scholars' letter.) He is … Decorating, Inc. Quality Craftsmanship ⃜ Since 1930 . Libertarian Party Vice Presidential candidate, 1980. For example, see the Media Matters for America report on the far-reaching political influence of the Koch brothers: Denise Robbins, “Myths and Facts about the Koch Brothers,” August 27, 2014. Creighton's institute invited Moore last fall to give an address about economic issues in the 2016 election. While Busch is a practicing Catholic, the Kochs are not, and in fact David Koch supports gay marriage and abortion rights. Some conservatives have responded by arguing that Francis is not talking about capitalism as it is practiced in the U.S., or that he simply doesn’t understand economics. Better known for their high-dollar political spending, the billionaire Koch brothers have also poured millions into Catholic University’s business school to promote a free-market orthodoxy sharply at odds with the teachings of Pope Francis. There are four brothers altogether; however, when one says "Koch brothers", one only means Charles and David. The conservative Koch brothers are the left's chimera, a fire-breathing monster that is more myth than reality. The $1.75 million dollar grant from the Charles Koch Foundation, one of several nonprofits with ties to the industrialist brothers, is part of a $3 million pledge to CUA announced in January that includes $500,000 from the Busch Family Foundation and $250,000 each from three business leaders. "The Kochs are influential and have money to throw around," says Thomas Kelly, a Creighton University theology professor. The billionaire brothers aren't known for making public statements about faith, but rather for their defining creed of "economic liberty," which they promote with missionary zeal by spending millions to lower corporate taxes, chip away at environmental safeguards, and erode worker's rights. "For us, promoting limited government alongside the Kochs is an important part of heeding Pope Francis' call to love and serve the poor," they wrote in a column that went on to parrot a litany of Republican talking points about the "insatiable growth" of government. (RNS) Billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch recently made headlines by pledging nearly $900 million to help elect candidates who support their libertarian strain of economic conservatism, but the industrialists are also nearly doubling their investment in the business school of Catholic University of America, which is overseen by the U.S. bishops. "There are no global policies to date that make any sense at all." Born: 3-May-1940 Birthplace: Wichita, KS. The donation to the Washington-based university comes just over a year after the Koch Foundation gave an initial $1 million grant that allowed CUA to launch its own School of Business and Economics. After the business school at Catholic University announced its first $1 million donation from the Koch Foundation three years ago, 50 Catholic theologians and scholars raised alarms. "To yoke human freedom to the same market competition that has given rise to consumerism, materialism, value relativism, and the commodification of labor can't be squared with the Catholic ideal of human dignity.". "They put libertarian thought in front of young people, which is very attractive because it's based on self-interest and individualism. In a Wall Street Journal op-ed, Busch explained why the university accepted the Koch funding and gushed about the "compatibility of capitalism and Catholicism." As people left, Cornwall pamphlets bearing the message "Forget 'Climate Change'-Energy Empowers the Poor" were handed out at the door. The occasion was a $1,700-a-person conference, hosted by The Catholic University of America, focused on integrating Catholic social teaching and business. The author of Defending the Free Market: The Moral Case for A Free Economy, Sirico is a Brooklyn native with a sharp wit who is as comfortable dishing commentary on Fox News as he is waxing philosophical about Saint Augustine. Their dispersion of money into universities is part of a unified, effective political strategy. The money has gone to the Busch School of Business & Economics and has been a source of consternation and controversy among some Catholic scholars. Francis has sharply challenged what he describes as the "dictatorship of an impersonal economy" and calls for "a legitimate redistribution of economic benefits by the state. Those statements have generated a great deal of friction and unusually direct and sharp criticism of Francis from Catholic conservatives, especially in the U.S. Mentions of Koch’s theory are … 1. Tap here to turn on desktop notifications to get the news sent straight to you. Liberals blame them for everything. They objected to the school’s recent acceptance of a $1 million donation from the Charles Koch Foundation to help fund a new school of business. In National Review, Gregg has described the pope's arguments about inequality as "less than convincing." It's a position that the Catholic Church has officially supported since at least 1891, when Pope Leo XIII affirmed that right and also the right of workers to organize. The Koch brothers are Catholic. In fact, just last month, the pope's message for the "World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation" specifically noted that 2015 was the warmest year on record. Kurt Koch (born 15 March 1950) is a Swiss prelate of the Catholic Church. (Daily Clips will not publish Thursday December 19. He has been a cardinal since November 2010 and President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity since 1 July 2010. The Koch brothers and their allies need to understand, … Koch Brothers’ Latest Target: Pope Francis. IN "LITTLE ROME," THE Brookland neighborhood of northeast Washington that houses the university's campus, a theological college for Dominican friars and headquarters of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, the Kochs have some influential fans. He advocated the abolition of Social Security, the FBI, the CIA, and public schools. "In the industrial revolution, the church was concerned about communism and not just capitalism but savage capitalism," he told The Times. Read more. Dozens of theologians and academics wrote to CUA president John Garvey and Abela expressing concern that “by accepting such a donation you send a confusing message to Catholic students and other faithful Catholics that the Koch brothers’ anti-government, Tea Party ideology has the blessing of a university sanctioned by Catholic bishops.”, They renewed that criticism last February, saying the Kochs’ libertarian-leaning positions “are in direct conflict with traditional Catholic values.”. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops explicitly supports raising the federal minimum wage. According to an investigation last year by the nonpartisan Center for Public Integrity, the foundation gave $19.3 million to 210 colleges in 2013 alone. The grant fits with the Kochs’ strategy of funding business and other programs at universities around the country. I encourage everyone to reflect on the problem of thrown away and wasted food to identify ways and means that, by seriously addressing this issue, are a vehicle of solidarity and sharing with the needy. In a Wall Street Journal op-ed, the university's president, John Garvey, and the business school's founding dean, Andrew Abela, declared that they would not "cave to demands made by the liberal social justice movement," and wrote that it would be a "mistake to stifle debate by pretending that genuinely controversial positions are official church teaching.". For those who regard capitalism and Christianity as mortal enemies, few villains loom as large as Charles Koch, whose name in some quarters has become a … Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga was joined at the conference, and in his critique, by Bishop Blase Cupich, who in September was personally tapped by Francis to be the new archbishop of Chicago, the pontiff’s most important U.S. appointment to date. The Koch family (/ k oʊ k / KOHK) is an American family engaged in business, best known for their political activities (active role in opposing climate change legislation, donating to libertarian, criminal justice reform, and Republican Party causes) and their control of Koch Industries, the second-largest privately owned company in the United States (with 2017 revenues of $100 billion). The Koch brothers have spent millions loosing elections and their unfair trade polices have cost millions of American voters their jobs, there homes and their towns all over these dis-United States. "The nature of Big Science leads to groupthink," Richards told the group. West Virginia was ranked last in a 2012 Gallup poll measuring thirteen metrics to determine which states will be the best places to live in the future. Immaculate Conception Catholic Church. That's just not the case in Pittsburgh today.". Catholic Schools – In many areas of the world, the local Catholic School is the primary means of evangelization and, due to the presence of the religious men and women who live and work there, it is also the face of the Church in that community. He warned of the "expensive public policies" promoted by organizations that have been "co-opted" by radical leftists. 2. A onetime activist on the left in the 1960s, Sirico has built a formidable base of operations with the help of the Koch Foundation and the Christian conservative DeVos family, the billionaire heirs to the Amway fortune who are well known for bankrolling Republican candidates, and anti-tax and anti-union campaigns. But if you have the ability to support independent, non-profit journalism, we are so grateful. Critics of the CUA gift say it is ironic that the school would seek such massive support from a social liberal when Catholic charities are not allowed to take any money from any person or group that supports abortion rights or gay rights. AKA David Hamilton Koch. As one of the wealthiest men in the world, Charles Koch is promoting an agenda that is on a collision course with Pope Francis's teachings about Catholic stewardship. The Catholic Church is in real need of it's own version of KochFacts.com. Click to View Subscriber Levels: IDEAS, POLITICS & POWER, Copyright 2021 | The American Prospect, Inc. | All Rights Reserved, Koch Brothers’ Latest Target: Pope Francis. Net worth $17B (Forbes 2007). The most politically active sons were Charles Koch and David H. Koch who bought out their brothers Frederick and Bill in 1983.. David H. Koch was the Libertarian Party's vice-presidential candidate in 1980. It's striking that over the course of several days Pope Francis rarely came up. On Friday, a group of left-wing Catholic academics bashed the Tea Party in a letter to John Garvey, President of Catholic University. On environmental issues, he accuses the pope of aligning himself with a "radical green movement that at its core is anti-Christian, anti-people and anti-progress." On a spring night in downtown Washington earlier this year, hedge fund managers and CEOs mingled with religious scholars and priests at a cigar reception on the 11th floor of the Renaissance Hotel. A year after controversy first erupted around the Koch donations at Catholic University in 2013, two financial contributors to the Freedom Partners Chamber of Commerce wrote a Washington Post op-ed that unconvincingly attempted to link the Kochs with the pope. 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