Thou shalt not kill: the Pope on the economy

The Chicago Tribune reports on a new Apostolic Exhortation by Pope Francis:

In the first major written work of his papacy, Pope Francis attacked unfettered capitalism as "a new tyranny," urging global leaders to fight poverty and growing inequality. ...

In it, Francis went further than previous comments criticizing the global economic system, attacking the "idolatry of money" and beseeching politicians to guarantee all citizens "dignified work, education and healthcare"….

"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.

Comments (6)

The Apostolic Exhortation is a massive 288 paragraphs. I'm still wading through it but it appears to be well integrated with Roman Catholic social teaching, Vatican II, and previous papal teaching. Joy is set out as the virtuous framework for both proclaiming and receiving the gospel.Parts of Section IV seem very compatible with aspects of Lonergan's views on religion and cultural pluralism. The notion of the "preferential option for the poor" is at home here, including in #s 47, 48, and 197 for example.

The so called free market comes under withering theological fire; but there is also very clear commitment to traditional Catholic teaching on sexuality--so an interesting read to say the least for those of us in affluent liberal democracies.

Preaching is described in part as "maternal" yet is clearly to be done by males. There is a treatment of the oppression of women. Apparently the question of women in the priesthood is settled.

The section on pastoral workers sets high standards for service but does not offer in depth consideration of the long term challenges faced by pastors. I found this section oppressively naive.

The Exhortation is filled with great expectations for the church; but offers only a very modest and piety based critique of the institution.

The challenge for Anglicans likely will be not allowing traditional socially conservative teaching on women and sexuality to block out a very sharp critique of capitalism, market forces,and the forces of economic exclusion. This is not the kind of document one takes to a stewardship prayer breakfast if one plans on targeting wealthy donors.

http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/francesco/apost_exhortations/documents/papa-francesco_esortazione-ap_20131124_evangelii-gaudium_en.html

Thanks for the closer reading Rod. I worry about the reverse - the love of someone who comes down hard on capitalism blinding us to the anti-gay and anti-women poison pill.

Ann, yes, that's the other side of the same coin, and it is a consideration. Roman Catholic social teaching, on the economy, offers a coherent ethical challenge to the so called free market model. The particular nuances around money as idolatry and the exclusion of the poor are very appropriate. Non Roman Catholics don't really have anything as systematic as this. I've long thought that aspects of R.C. sexuality teaching has fault lines with their economic analysis. So, one takes away what is more universally useful.

Ann, yes, that's the other side of the same coin, and it is a consideration. Roman Catholic social teaching, on the economy, offers a coherent ethical challenge to the so called free market model. The particular nuances around money as idolatry and the exclusion of the poor are very appropriate. Non Roman Catholics don't really have anything as systematic as this. I've long thought that aspects of R.C. sexuality teaching has fault lines with their economic analysis. So, one takes away what is more universally useful.

It's like RC social teaching (Pope Francis is the latest) can recognize ALL the Imago Dei, in the economic sense. (Yay!)

But turn to Sex&Gender, and suddenly they look down on Sheep Or Goats. >:-/

JC Fisher

Love Rod Gillis comment, "This is not the kind of document one takes to a stewardship prayer breakfast if one plans on targeting wealthy donors." :-)
Yet, would it not be a worthy exercise to prayerfully, (and it would probably take a lot of prayer) to present Jesus' mandate to implement God's special concern for the poor, in a way that is transformative for wealthy and middle class people? Ideas anyone?

Debbie Graham (added by editor)

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