that of the total depravity of humannnature. To equate this with a belief innthe impossibility of progress is mistaken.nThe only point the doctrine makesnagainst “works” is that they do not availntoward salvation. Good works are not,ntherefore, impossible. They becomeninevitable, indeed abundant, as thenoverflow of gratitude for a salvationnalready freely given to the believer bynthe grace of God through the personnand work of Jesus Christ. This formsnthe genuine context in which our worksnought to take place, in which works canntruly be good.nMr. Rockwell is free to believe in thenalternative to total depravity — call itnsomething-less-than-total depravity —nbut the point is that the former is nongloomy doctrine. It is, rather, a deepnrecognition that we must confront thenbad news if we are to embrace thengood. In this, we are given no brief tontake perverse satisfaction over the corruptnmotivations of others, as our ownnsinfulness remains clearly in focus. Atnroot, total depravity should not engendernpessimism but, quite the contrary,naffirm the sovereignty of God. Progressnis possible. If it comes, it is God’s handnthat sets it in njotion, and He wouldngraciously have us participate in it.nWhether all that’s done in the name ofnprogress glorifies God is quite anothernthing.nIf Professor Lasch’s opposition tonprogress is properly grounded in Galvinism,nas you suggest — and we certainlynshouldn’t preclude other explanations—nit would stem from thisnpoint. Does that which we label progressnglorify God or glorify man? Totalndepravity helps us ask the question,nrather than dictating the answer beforehand.n—Joel S. ParshallnPittsburgh, PAnWhile Lew Rockwell’s review was interesting,nhis theological conclusionnwas, if not inaccurate, at least in neednof some evidence. Perhaps Rockwellnbelieves that Galvinism’s pessimism hasnbeen dominant in history despite itsnother doctrines. Well, that may be true,nbut I would certainly like to read hisnargument to that effect. Given thenexistence of Max Weber’s The ProtestantnEthic and the Spirit of Capitalism,nand the visible difference in standardnof living between North Americanand South America, I don’t think I amnasking too much to expect Rockwell tonjustify his position instead of merelynasserting it. John Calvin, after all, was ancommitted follower of Saint Augustinen— whom Rockwell quotes favorably onnprogress — and subscribed to his viewnof history. Rockwell’s quoting of Augustinenis almost as ironic as his mentionnof the “Founders’ vision.”nThough the Founding Fathers werenhardly Puritans, does Rockwell believenthat it was Catholic theology that dominatednthe colonies during the previousncentury?nRockwell’s reference to John PaulnIPs latest encyclical hardly justifies hisnclaims. He himself admits in his newsletternthat Pope Leo XIII “adopted thenthen-fashionable Marxist framework”nin 1891. I find it questionable that innChronicles Rockwell says the recentnencyclical “makes clear” the connectionnbetween free-markets and “conservativenculture” without mentioningnthis quasi-Marxian tradition in thenChurch that has helped keep the connectionnunclear for at least a century. Ifnanyone thinks I am being too harsh, henshould read Rockwell’s analysis ofnCentesimus Annus, where he statesnthat it “effectively repudiates such nonsense”nas the “socialist libel of thenindustrial revolution,” which Pope LeonXIII had accepted. If he were to admitnin his book review as he does in hisnnewsletter that Centesimus Annus wasna break with Catholic tradition, thennhis case for Catholicism’s relationshipnto human progress would appear a lotnless credible.nI do not mean to imply that Calvinismnhas been the source of all progressnand freedom. It hasn’t. Nor do I meannto imply that the Catholic Church hasnnot been a cause of progress andnincreased freedom throughout thenworid. She has. I do hope, however,nthat future endorsements of RomannCatholic theology and culture will benwell-argued and well-supported withnevidence, not simply thrown at Protestantsnas insults.n—Mark A. HomenOakland Park, FLnMr. Rockwell Replies:nHow is stating and then disagreeingnwith a tenet of another religion annnninsult? Have conservatives, too, gonensoft in the ecumenical mush? If onenregards man’s nature as totally depraved,nso that good works apart fromnGod are impossible, how could one notntake a dark view of the possibility ofnhuman progress?nCalvinists have also taken a dimnview of human culture, which — innWeber’s words — they saw as being ofn”no use toward salvation” and tendingnto “promote sentimental illusion andnidolatrous superstitions.” Whethernprogress occurs under Calvinist socialnregimes is another matter, but Calvinistsncannot take much comfort in Weber’snthesis about capitalism and theirnfaith.nWeber saw Calvinists’ striving forneconomic success as “the necessity ofnproving one’s faith in worldly activity.”nThis led, he thought, to a radicallynworks-based salvation in practice, if notnformal theology: “The God of Calvinismndemanded of his believers notnsingle good works, but a life of goodnworks combined into a unified system.”n(In contrast, Weber called Catholicismna “very human” system thatnembraced the “cycle of sin, repentance,natonement, release, followed bynrenewed sin.”)nTo Weber, the attempt to demonstratenone’s salvific status led, unintendedly,nto savings, investment, andnentrepreneurship. Since this attemptncontradicted official teachings, however,nCalvinist societies have tended tonapologize for their economic progress.nCalvin himself believed that grace wasnentirely unmerited, and while electionnwas self-evident to the believer, no onencould distinguish election in othersnusing works or any other criterion, nornshould one try to do so.nNote: Centesimus Annus does representna break from Rerum I^ovarum,nbut not from traditional Church teaching.nMany of the scholastics, for example,nheld radically free-market views. Itnis this century that is the anomaly.nFor Immediate ServicenCHRONICLESnNEW SUBSCRIBERSnTOLL FREE NUMBERn1-800-877-5459nNOVEMBER 1991/5n