Pope Francis condemns current economic system

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.

Brace yourself for the right-wingers to get into an outright tizzy. Rush Limbaugh has already accused him of being a Marxist and Pamela Geller has accused him of being a Muslim.

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!


  1. voidhawk says

    And yet this man says that curiosity is a terrible thing which distracts people from God, ignoring the fact that it is curiosity about the world which helps us develop better ways of living in it.

  2. mnb0 says

    Yeah, the economic system of the Middle Ages, when the predecessors of Pope Francis were in charge, were so much more beneficial.

  3. sigurd jorsalfar says

    Well it’s nice to see a pope attacking someone else’s beliefs for a change, instead of mine.

  4. says

    the current economic and political systems which he condemns as serving only the interests of the few and ignoring the needs of the many

    I think Sarah Silverman already addressed this topic.
    How much is the vatican worth? How many homeless people could the catholic church help, if they sold their assets and shut down?

  5. G. Priddy says

    The RCC isn’t going away anytime soon. Given that, having a pope who is willing to spend some of the capital of his office promoting greater justice in the world should be seen as a good thing. I’m not excusing his failure to address some of the other injustices perpetuated by the RCC, but the more voices of reason in the world, regardless of their source, is a good thing, IMO.

    Curiously, the holy spirit supposedly leads the Cardinals in electing each pope. Yet, over the past 50+ years, they have chosen popes who have each taken the RCC in very different directions. It’s almost like that rascally ghost can’t make up his mind!

  6. colnago80 says

    I saw this on Benson’s blog but didn’t realize that the lunacy came from Syria, (I thought it came from Saudi Arabia) which, before the current situation, was a fairly secular country. This, perhaps, is a reflection of the rise of Al Qaeda elements in the opposition. I think this sort of stuff explains why the administration is so reluctant to support the opposition, not being able to tell the good guys from the bad guys.

  7. colnago80 says

    To be fair about this, every Pope starting with John XXIII has been to a lesser or greater extent, rather negative about capitalism. Even arch conservatives like Joe the Rat were unenthusiastic.

  8. Al Dente says

    Someone should explain to Rush Limbaugh that there are other forms of economics besides free markets and Marxism.

  9. Wylann says

    True, the RCC isn’t going away, but it’s hard to overlook the hypocrisy of a man living in the lap of luxury, heading an organization that still hides pedophiles from the law. I mean, just because what he’s saying on this specific topic is something we agree with, doesn’t mean we can’t point out the other inequities which the church could address, and more importantly, could actually affect change, whereas these statements are nice, but the church doesn’t have the kind of power to really do anything about it.

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