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Pope Francis continues to revolutionise the Church with devastating assessment of unfettered capitalism

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The Pope has delivered a withering assessment of unbridled capitalism, inequality, the deification of markets and the state of social justice in the first official document of his papacy. The 84 page apostolic exhortation, the Evangelii Gadium is essentially a manifesto for his pontificate and yet another indication of the extraordinary shifts Pope Francis has set in motion.

Nothing became Pope Benedict in office quite like his leaving it. Indeed the Catholic church had not only become a byword for child abuse, homophobia and machinations against contraception in AIDS ridden countries, but seemed to resemble a multi-national corporation far more than the protectors of Jesus Christ’s legacy and the champions of the marginalised. Profit and power rather than humility, acceptance and charity seemed to be the Vatican’s true priorities. It is astonishing to what degree Pope Francis has revolutionized perceptions in his short time in office. Even atheists are cheering him on.

From embracing those disfigured by disease, to refusing all the outward trappings of power. From washing the feet of Muslims to telephoning a woman, pregnant by a married man, to assure her he would baptize her child if local priests refused. And homosexuals? ‘Who am I to judge’ says Francis.

Indeed, his eloquent attack on the state of the modern world, published yesterday, finally made the Catholic church seem like it was doing its job after centuries of temporal avarice. How much the actions of it's leader will ultimately change the entrenched and deeply troubling strains within Catholicism is very questionable and we must not allow Pope Francis' 'holiness' to mask the pain and suffering the Church has wrought. But there is no denying that as a spiritual leader, he is saying some some admirable things

"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.

“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” he continued . “It is vital that government leaders and financial leaders take heed and broaden their horizons, working to ensure that all citizens have dignified work, education and healthcare.”

Taking trickle-down economics, the gospel of Reganite conservatives in the US head on, he wrote

“Some 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.”

And he was nowhere near finished.

“We have created new idols,” the pope wrote. “The worship of the ancient golden calf has returned in a new and ruthless guise in the idolatry of money and the dictatorship of an impersonal economy lacking a truly human purpose. The worldwide crisis affecting finance and the economy lays bare their imbalances and, above all, their lack of real concern for human beings; man is reduced to one of his needs alone: consumption.”

“The thirst for power and possessions knows no limits. 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.”

“Such an economy kills,” he continued. “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. Can we continue to stand by when food is thrown away while people are starving? This is a case of inequality. 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.”

Pope Francis..... Amen

Written by Cyrus Bozorgmehr - Google+ Profile - More articles by Cyrus Bozorgmehr

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