Pope Francis vs. Capitalism: Consumer...

Pope Francis vs. Capitalism: Consumers need to help the poor

Posted in the Minneapolis Forum


Chicago, IL

#1 Nov 26, 2013
In a new declaration, the pope warns that the ‘culture of prosperity deadens us,’ taking aim at free market capitalists and consumers alike.
“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?”

I guess Pope Francis doesn’t watch Bloomberg TV.

This quote is one of the many zingers Pope Francis aims at global capitalism in his just-issued Apostolic Exhortation (here’s the PDF version)

The economic sections were a small component—items 54-60 of a 106-item, 86-page document. But they were noteworthy for injecting the Vatican into the raging global debate about inequality. And they are likely to delight many followers and alarm many others who generally look to the Vatican for guidance on spiritual and policy matters. Earlier this month, Sarah Palin kicked up a storm when she expressed concern about some of Pope Francis’s views on a range of issues—from poverty to the treatment of gays.“He’s had some statements that to me sound kind of liberal, has taken me aback, has kind of surprised me,” she told CNN. I wonder what she’s thinking now that Francis has unleashed a broadside at supply-siders, defenders of the prerogatives of finance, and at consumers in general.

Francis, of course, hails from Latin America, the wellspring of the radical, feared ‘Liberation Theology’ movement of the 1960s and 1970s. While no leveler, Francis is allergic to ostentation. He doesn’t like the imperial trappings of the office. He has no entourage, and moved into rooms at the Casa Santa Maria, the Vatican hotel, instead of occupying the large papal penthouse at the Apostolic Palace. Not for him the Red Prada slippers of his predecessor. His church has cracked down on showy displays of wealth. This fall, he suspended of the Bishop of Limburg, who spent millions of Euros renovating his residence.

Francis has been relentless in talking about the church’s mission and need to serve the poor. Poverty and inequality used to be accepted as an order imposed by God. Today, Francis forthrightly pinned the blame on humans. The global economy has grown in every year since 1944 except one—2009. Broadly speaking, living standards are rising around the world, and hundreds of millions of people have been lifted out of abject poverty. Yet there are glaring, often violent deficiencies in the system.

Minneapolis, MN

#2 Nov 27, 2013
A true Irishman, a true Catholic, and a true Christian would follow the lead of Jesus and the Pope and love the poor and treat them with dignity, as well as work towards social justice and reducing the inequality gap.

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