Pope Francis, known for his more liberal views than his predecessors, spoke at the US Congress at the end of September. His address made Speaker John Boehner cry …
The Pope described the core of his teaching, which Time magazine dubbed “Pope-onomics” :
““It goes without saying that part of this great effort is the creation and distribution of wealth. The right use of natural resources, the proper application of technology and the harnessing of the spirit of enterprise are essential elements of an economy, which seeks to be modern, inclusive and sustainable. “
He spoke against liberal economics, making a good case for reducing income inequality and providing for the poor.
“Jesus affirms that you cannot serve two masters, God and wealth,” Francis states in an interview with the Italian daily La Stampa, bluntly asking: “Is it pauperism?”
“Jesus tells us that it is the ‘protocol’ on the basis of which we will be judged, it is what we read in Chapter 25 of Matthew: I had hunger, I had thirst, I was in prison, I was sick, I was naked and you helped me: dressed me, visited me, you took care of me,” the pontiff continues.
“Every time that we do this to our brother, we do this to Jesus. To have care of our neighbour: who is poor, who suffers in the spirit, who is in need. This is the touchstone. ,” he states, asking again: “Is it pauperism? No, it is the Gospel.”
“The Gospel message is a message open to all,” the pope continues. “The Gospel does not condemn the rich but idolatry of wealth, that idolatry that renders [us] insensitive to the cries of the poor.”
In this interview, he was asked if the progress of capitalism over the past decennia was irreversible. Pope Francis answered, ”
I recognize that globalization has helped many people to rise from poverty, but it has condemned many others to hunger. It’s true that in absolute terms it grows world wealth, but it also increased the disparity and the new kinds of poverty.
What I notice is that this system is maintained with the culture of waste, of which I have already spoken several times. There is a politics, sociology, and also an attitude of rejection.
When at the center of the system there is not anymore man but money, when money becomes an idol, men and women are reduced and simply instruments of a social system and an economy characterized, indeed dominated by deep imbalances.
The role of the Church
At a forum on June 3 in Washington, Cardinal Óscar Rodríguez Maradiaga of Honduras, said that the world financial system “has been built as a new idolatry,” . During his keynote address, Cardinal Rodríguez issued a ringing endorsement of the church’s competency to critique economic systems. Some of the church’s critics ask: “What is the hierarchy of the church doing in the economy? They know nothing about the eonomy. The church knows about the economy because “we know about the human being,” the cardinal said. “The human being was not made for the economy, but the economy was made for the human being.” He added that “the market’s invisible hand has become a thief.”
“Who else but committed Christians can clean up the economy?”
Where are the protestant leaders who speak out on our economy?