Everyone knows that the forerunners of our society — our religious, business, and political leaders, possess platforms from which to lead us, but rarely the vision to better the human condition. This week, one of them, Francis, pope of a billion Catholics, spoke to all 7 billion
of us like a terribly concerned parent about the heartless and evil (yes, he uses the e word) socioeconomic system prevailing over the world today. It is evil because it puts profits before people. Simple as that.
Now it has finally come out of the mouth and mind and heart of a respected world leader. Don’t listen to me. Google his vision. “Apostlic Exhortation” — chapter 2, part 1, paragraphs 53, 54: “No
to an economy of exclusion”; 55,56: “No to the new idoltry of money”; 57, 58: “No to a financial system which rules rather than serves”; 59, 60: “No to the inequality which spawns violence.” I
quote from the beginning of paragraph 53: “Just as the Commandment ‘Thou shalt not kill’ sets a clear limit in motion to safeguard the value of human life, today we also have to say, “Thou
shalt not” to an economy of exclusion and inequality about the unfetter marketplace, about financial speculation, about consumerism, about income inequality, unemployment and poverty.
He’s talking about our present economic way of life.
His words are as revolutionary in 2013 as those of “The Sermon of the Mount” were two thousand years ago.
Our minds may resist them, we may have great difficulty implementing them, but these words are a gift this holiday season because we recognize in their profound truth — bedrock for bettering
the human condition in which all of us participate equally.