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Ear to the Ground

Pope Francis: Unfettered Capitalism Is a ‘New Tyranny’

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Posted on Nov 26, 2013
Catholic Church (England and Wales) (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Pope Francis seeks to bring the plight of the poor into the international spotlight.

Though he may not come down strongly on discrimination against the LGBT community or women, if there’s one thing this latest pope knows how to condemn it’s greed. He famously rode buses in Argentina and has worked to maintain some semblance of his humility despite being charged with being the leader of one of the most ostentatious institutions in the world. He’s even decided to set up camp in the Vatican guesthouse instead of the Apostolic Palace, all in order to live up to his chosen name of Francis after an Italian saint who decided to live in poverty.

In the pontiff’s first major publication, he uses his megaphonic powers to tell the 1 percent to spread the wealth, for God’s sakes. He previously denounced the “idolatry of money” and now he’s gone as far as pleading with world leaders to provide “dignified work, education and healthcare” for all their citizens. The Guardian reports:

The 84-page document, known as an apostolic exhortation, amounted to an official platform for his papacy, building on views he has aired in sermons and remarks since he became the first non-European pontiff in 1,300 years in March….

“Just as the commandment ‘Thou shalt not kill’ sets a clear limit in order to safeguard the value of human life, today we also have to say ‘thou shalt not’ to an economy of exclusion and inequality. Such an economy kills,” Francis wrote in the document issued on Tuesday.

“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?”

The pope said renewal of the church could not be put off and the Vatican and its entrenched hierarchy “also need to hear the call to pastoral conversion”.

“I prefer a church which is bruised, hurting and dirty because it has been out on the streets, rather than a church which is unhealthy from being confined and from clinging to its own security,” he wrote….

The 76-year-old pontiff calls for an overhaul of the financial system and warns that unequal distribution of wealth inevitably leads to violence.

“As long as the problems of the poor are not radically resolved by rejecting the absolute autonomy of markets and financial speculation and by attacking the structural causes of inequality, no solution will be found for the world’s problems or, for that matter, to any problems,” he wrote.

Denying this was simple populism, he called for action “beyond a simple welfare mentality” and added: “I beg the Lord to grant us more politicians who are genuinely disturbed by the state of society, the people, the lives of the poor.”

Religious or not, many of us can probably say amen to that!

—Posted by Natasha Hakimi

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