The new pope’s economic justice platform will continue to fall short if it ignores women’s and LGBTQ rights
Wednesday, Nov 27, 2013
Pope Francis issued a mission statement for his papacy on Tuesday that features an incredibly direct indictment of free market economics and growing global inequality. Agnostic or religiously indeterminate progressives of the Internet were suitably excited, as they have been before about the new pope.
Francis doesn’t pull any punches when laying into those who preach the gospel of trickle down, noting in the 84-page document that, “This opinion [about trickle down theories], 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.”
His critique grows more explicit in the next paragraph, continuing:
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.
Francis, to his great credit, is taking his religiously-grounded critique of capitalism well beyond the bland reassurances of his predecessors (and his many contemporaries in church leadership) that “the poor will inherit the earth,” and into a far more radical, policy-oriented place. He is using the heft of his position to pressure leaders to reform a global system that actively marginalizes billions of people across the globe.
Having the leader of 1.2 billion global Catholics get explicit about holding corporate heads and global leaders accountable for causing widespread poverty and all of its resultant suffering is no small thing. And his recent remarks have made all of the right people angry, which is also worth noting.