In a major statement released on November 24, 2013 titled Evangelii Gaudium, Pope Francis has leveled a major broadside at the current economic and political systems which he condemns as serving only the interests of the few and ignoring the needs of the many.
It is a long and comprehensive statement touching on many aspects of Catholicism. Right wingers are freaking out at one section of the document titled Some challenges of today’s world in which he pretty much echoes what many of us have been saying, that we now live in a world which seems to be run for the benefit of the one-percenters at the expense of the rest, and this is something to be condemned.
I will quote from some of the short subsections of this section.
No to an economy of exclusion:
How can it be that it is not a news item when an elderly homeless person dies of exposure, but it is news when the stock market loses two points? This is a case of exclusion. Can we continue to stand by when food is thrown away while people are starving? This is a case of inequality. Today everything comes under the laws of competition and the survival of the fittest, where the powerful feed upon the powerless. As a consequence, masses of people find themselves excluded and marginalized: without work, without possibilities, without any means of escape.
In this context, 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. This opinion, which has never been confirmed by the facts, expresses a crude and naïve trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power and in the sacralized workings of the prevailing economic system. Meanwhile, the excluded are still waiting. To sustain a lifestyle which excludes others, or to sustain enthusiasm for that selfish ideal, a globalization of indifference has developed.
No to the new idolatry of money:
While the earnings of a minority are growing exponentially, so too is the gap separating the majority from the prosperity enjoyed by those happy few. This imbalance is the result of ideologies which defend the absolute autonomy of the marketplace and financial speculation. Consequently, they reject the right of states, charged with vigilance for the common good, to exercise any form of control. A new tyranny is thus born, invisible and often virtual, which unilaterally and relentlessly imposes its own laws and rules.
No to a financial system which rules rather than serves:
Money must serve, not rule! The Pope loves everyone, rich and poor alike, but he is obliged in the name of Christ to remind all that the rich must help, respect and promote the poor. I exhort you to generous solidarity and a return of economics and finance to an ethical approach which favours human beings.
No to the inequality which spawns violence:
Today in many places we hear a call for greater security. But until exclusion and inequality in society and between peoples is reversed, it will be impossible to eliminate violence. The poor and the poorer peoples are accused of violence, yet without equal opportunities the different forms of aggression and conflict will find a fertile terrain for growth and eventually explode.
This is not the case simply because inequality provokes a violent reaction from those excluded from the system, but because the socioeconomic system is unjust at its root.
Inequality eventually engenders a violence which recourse to arms cannot and never will be able to resolve. This serves only to offer false hopes to those clamouring for heightened security, even though nowadays we know that weapons and violence, rather than providing solutions, create new and more serious conflicts. Some simply content themselves with blaming the poor and the poorer countries themselves for their troubles; indulging in unwarranted generalizations, they claim that the solution is an “education” that would tranquilize them, making them tame and harmless.
I couldn’t have said it better myself.
This is pretty strong stuff from a pope. Remember that it has been fifty years (since the death of pope John XXIII in 1963) since we had a pope who genuinely seems to care about the plight of the poor. Most people are only familiar with sex-obsessed right-wing popes and this new guy is definitely charting a new course which is going to take some getting used to.
I wonder how long it will take for them to see if a pope can be impeached. Or demand to see his birth certificate. Orly Taitz, the world is waiting for you!