Pope Frances seems to be shaking foundations with his “radical” ideas of compassion, tolerance, and peace as well as attacking capitalism and today’s poverty stricken war torn world. He delivered a powerful Christmas speech and New Year speech. He also released a revealing 224-page paper. As a slightly paranoid person who questions things that seem too good to be true, I have to question the Pope’s sincerity. He seems to be exactly what the world needs and the complete opposite of what the Catholic Church would want. The Catholic Church is need of an image reboot. Is Pope Frances the real deal or sheep in wolves clothing providing the reboot they need? It seems that those in charge of electing the Pope would not want him crashing their party of over indulgence, arrogance and greed.I really appreciate and agree with a lot of what this man is trying to get out into the world. It is not just a message of Catholicism but also a message of love, compassion and peace, topics that surpass religion.
Popes Frances 224 page Apostolic Exhortation is where the media is getting all those buzz topics he discusses on economy and capitalism. The first several chapters talk about joy, what’s wrong in the hearts of people today and urge people to peacefully spread the word of god by converting people through evangelicalism and mission. The paper also reminds Christians/Catholics of their purpose to aid all those in need the sick, poor, incapable and more. Not a bad message but for me a reminder that he is still the leader of the Catholic church still wanting to convert and spread the world of god, which of course it what a huge part of that religion, so I get it. I also appreciate the section on the selfishness and spiritual sloth of many people. His paper and message is definitely still one of peace, calmness, forgiveness, understanding and an attack on selfish consumerism. In a world dominated by greed and self-interest it is hard for people to cultivate peace, joy, tolerance and compassion. There really is no arguing with what he states.
“The great danger in today’s world, pervaded as it is by consumerism, is the desolation and anguish born of a complacent yet covetous heart, the feverish pursuit of frivolous pleasures, and a blunted conscience. Whenever our interior life becomes caught up in its own interests and concerns, there is no longer room for others, no place for the poor.”
In section one under chapter two Pope Frances starts to address the changing of the world through science and technology and how these changes are used for selfish interest by those in power but hold tons of potential for good. He explains that even with all the advances of today people are needlessly sick, living in despair, impoverish and deprived. Greed has used the tools of technology to gain control. This section is where media outlets found all the wonderful quotes from the Pope on the economy and capitalism. Pope Frances makes strong claims here that ring with nothing but truth. I could go on for days with quotes from the Apostolic Exhortation that I like but here some of my favorite quotes from sections in Chapter 2:
“We can only praise the steps being taken to improve people’s welfare in areas such as health care, education and communications. At the same time we have to remember that the majority of our contemporaries are barely living from day to day, with dire consequences. A number of diseases are spreading. The hearts of many people are gripped by fear and desperation, even in the so-called rich countries. The joy of living frequently fades, lack of respect for others and violence are on the rise, and inequality is increasingly evident. It is a struggle to live and, often, to live with precious little dignity.
“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. 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?”
“Ethics has come to be viewed with a certain scornful derision. It is seen as counterproductive, too human, because it makes money and power relative. It is felt to be a threat, since it condemns the manipulation and debasement of the person.”
“Today’s economic mechanisms promote inordinate consumption, yet it is evident that unbridled consumerism combined with inequality proves doubly damaging to the social fabric.”
“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 worlds problems or, for that matter, to any problems.
“Today everything comes under the law of competition and the survival of the fittest, where the powerful feed upon the powerless…masses of people find themselves excluded and marginalized: without work, without possibilities, without any mean of escape.”
“Human beings are themselves considered consumer goods to be used and then discarded. It is no long simply about exploitation and oppression but something new. The excluded are not the exploited but the outcast, the “leftovers”.
“We have created new idols. 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. To all this we can add widespread corruption and self-serving tax evasion, which have taken on a worldwide dimensions.”
The Pope spoke on Christmas and then again on New Years calling for peace to wore torn countries and sending sympathy for those who die, struggle and live in poverty and fear in war torn countries. “True peace is not a balance of opposing forces. It is not a lovely “façade” which conceals conflicts and divisions.” Seems that we can’t reach peace with war despite constantly being taught that the only way to get peace is through war. I have watched several of his conferences and interviews on YouTube. In one conference he talks about women being ordained in the church. Basically he says that isn’t going to happen. John Paul II made it indefinite that women cannot be ordained. In this same conference he talks about homosexuals. He is by no way condoning people being gay but he still refers to acceptance, judgment and tolerance: Two powerful statements from this conference:
“The door is closed. But let me tell you something, Our Lady, was more important than the apostles, bishops, deacons and priests. Women play a role that’s more important than that of bishops, or priests. How? This is what we have to explain better publically.”
“If a gay person, is a person of good will who seeks god, who am I too judge him.” That is a very powerful statement from the head of the church.
Overall I like the man. He seems genuine but I must remember he is Catholic so he will uphold laws and doctrine that supports those beliefs. I am glad to see such an influential spiritual leader adopt a more peaceful accepting form of religion than in the past. I hope that his message is real and not a revamp of the churches image and that what he says can start to make a difference in this corrupt world I live in. Change comes when a man many people admire publicly stands against greed, poverty, corruption and war. The Catholic Church itself is still filled with many of the same ailments Pope Frances addresses about society. Time will eventual reveal the truth and his commitment to uphold what he preaches. We shall see.
“Life grows by being given away, and it weakens in isolation and comfort. Indeed, those who enjoy life most are those who leave security on the shore and become excited by the mission of communicating life to others.”