Most of the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics reside in capitalist societies: societies in which the means of production are controlled by private institutions and the sole aim of human productivity is surplus value (profit). After taking the History and Capitalism course, it is evident that capitalism promotes destructive consumerism and exploitation. In my research, I reveal the paradox of existing for-profit while simultaneously identifying as a Catholic, and how modern Catholics meditate on this paradox to believe that they are not living in contradiction. In true trinitarian fashion, my argument moves along three lines: In the first section, I focus on how the fundamental right of free will in Catholicism compares to how the concept is promoted in capitalism. Specifically, I demonstrate how capitalism removes freedom from the individual and thereby alienates him from a fundamental right promised by the Catholic faith, alienates him from his religion. Complementing this, I show how the Ten Commandments and the covenant with God are contradicted by the principles and actions of capitalism. Finally, I provide examples of how modern “Catholic-capitalists” turn the irrational, paradoxical conjunction of the capitalist idea and Catholic ideas into a single way of life that they see as rational and not in contradiction.
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Kim, Jin, "The Paradox in the Simultaneous Existence of Catholicism and Capitalism" (2022). Research Days Posters 2022. 64.