We all love liberal Pope Francis! But beneath that love-everyone-even-the-godless-and-gay exterior, is he el papa del comunismo? Judging from his just-released 84-page exposition on the evils of consumerism and modern economics, he may start wearing a lot more red:
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.
Much of the papal document, an "apostolic exhortation" titled The Joy of the Gospel, deals with minutiae of how the many dioceses and parishes under Francis manage their workload of soul-savin'. But he makes clear that the Catholic Church's job would be made easier with some economic activism that would do occupiers proud, with headings like "No to the new idolatry of money," "No to a financial system which rules rather than serves," and "No to the inequality which spawns violence."
In any case, here are 10 more of the pontiff's most radical, Van Jones-loving lefty Marxist utterances about the "tyranny" of runaway corporate capitalism. There's something in here for everyone, even atheists. Except maybe the ones with "Who Is John Galt?" tee shirts. But seriously, who likes those guys? Fuck them.
"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? This is a case of exclusion."
"Today everything comes under the laws of competition and the survival of the fittest, where the powerful feed upon the powerless. As a consequence, masses of people find themselves excluded and marginalized: without work, without possibilities, without any means of escape."
"Human beings are themselves considered consumer goods to be used and then discarded. We have created a 'disposable' culture which is now spreading. It is no longer simply about exploitation and oppression, but something new."
"[S]ome people continue to defend trickle-down theories which assume that economic growth, encouraged by a free market, will inevitably succeed in bringing about greater justice and inclusiveness in the world. This opinion, 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."
"Almost without being aware of it, we end up being incapable of feeling compassion at the outcry of the poor, weeping for other people's pain, and feeling a need to help them, as though all this were someone else's responsibility and not our own."
"The culture of prosperity deadens us; we are thrilled if the market offers us something new to purchase; and in the meantime all those lives stunted for lack of opportunity seem a mere spectacle; they fail to move us."
"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."
"In this system, which tends to devour everything which stands in the way of increased profits, whatever is fragile, like the environment, is defenseless before the interests of a deified market, which become the only rule."
"Money must serve, not rule! The Pope loves everyone, rich and poor alike, but he is obliged in the name of Christ to remind all that the rich must help, respect and promote the poor. I exhort you to generous solidarity and a return of economics and finance to an ethical approach which favours human beings."
"Today in many places we hear a call for greater security. But until exclusion and inequality in society and between peoples is reversed, it will be impossible to eliminate violence."
Question, though: Is all this problematic, given the Church's massive (publicly undisclosed) wealth and the fact that it's embedded in the very international system of usury that Francis—and Jesus—condemned? Well, yeah, entirely. But even if the Vatican is still a money-lender extraordinaire, at least the CEO is showing signs of penitence. At least he has something big to save for next Sunday's confession.
[Photo credit: AP]