16 May 2013

We've returned to the Golden Calf. . .

Addressing four new ambassadors to the Vatican, Pope Francis hits one out of the park!

Certain pathologies are increasing, with their psychological consequences; fear and desperation grip the hearts of many people, even in the so-called rich countries; the joy of life is diminishing; indecency and violence are on the rise; poverty is becoming more and more evident.

People have to struggle to live and, frequently, to live in an undignified way. One cause of this situation, in my opinion, is in the our relationship with money, and our acceptance of its power over ourselves and our society. 

 Consequently the financial crisis which we are experiencing makes us forget that its ultimate origin is to be found in a profound human crisis. In the denial of the primacy of human beings! We have created new idols. 

The worship of the golden calf of old (cf. Ex 32:15-34) has found a new and heartless image in the cult of money and the dictatorship of an economy which is faceless and lacking any truly humane goal.

Read the whole thing
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  1. LudiDomestici5:48 AM

    "We have begun a throw away culture. This tendency is seen on the level of individuals and whole societies; and it is being promoted! In circumstances like these, solidarity, which is the treasure of the poor, is often considered counterproductive, opposed to the logic of finance and the economy. While the income of a minority is increasing exponentially, that of the majority is crumbling. This imbalance results from ideologies which uphold the absolute autonomy of markets and financial speculation, and thus deny the right of control to States, which are themselves charged with providing for the common good."

    - Pope Francis

    1. I agree with the Holy Father that we've made money an idol. However, I know of no nation on earth that upholds "the absolute autonomy of markets and financial speculation. . ." All western nations, including the US, are regulated out the wahzoo.

    2. LudiDomestici12:53 PM

      Oh, rly?


      And we all saw in 2008 what happens when you unfetter Wall Street...

    3. 2008 happened b/c of govt regs. Clinton signed a law requiring banks to loan money to people who couldn't afford them.

    4. Yes, really. What does an unregulated fertilizer plant have to do with the regulation of banks, etc?

  2. I am deeply suspicious of papal (or episcopal or sacerdotal or nunly) pronouncements about the morality of complex economic systems. While the Church is happy to go on about natural law when it comes to sex, and respects the facts of biology, it seems to think that human societies and their economic systems are mostly arbitrary. As Catholic historian Thomas Woods pointed remarks: "The primary difficulty with much of what has fallen under the heading of Catholic social teaching since Pope Leo XIII’s Rerum Novarum (1891) is that it assumes without argument that the force of human will suffices to resolve economic questions, and that reason and the conclusions of economic law can be safely neglected, even scorned." It's fine, even vocationally necessary, for the Church to remind people of things like the common good and concern for the poor, but that does not mean it has any competency at all in setting economic policy, where even economists struggle to understand a financial ecosystem perhaps even more complex than the terrestrial environment. A bit of Francis' favorite virtue, humility, is called for. (PS. Glad u got ur new laptop.)

    1. I agree. I don't read +F's statement as a declaration about any particular economic system. Socialists, Marxists, Capitalists are all perfectly capable of being greedy. Daniel Ortega got in trouble back in the 80's (post-revolution) for spending $600 on a pair of sunglasses in NYC. The EU socialists are all pretty wealthy.