Time magazine has chosen Pope Francis, leader of the Roman Catholic Church as its “Person of the Year,” in a December, 2013 issue of the magazine. The article stated that one of the reasons he was chosen was that “he took the name of the humble Saint Francis” and “called for a church of healing”.
That is of course honorable, but we must also keep in mind that, using blunt language, Pope Francis sharply criticized capitalism in late November in his first “Mission Manifesto” after taking office as head of the Church. The content of this Manifesto was shocking.
Regarding the market-oriented economic system, he wrote, “Just as the commandment ‘Thou shalt not kill’…we also have to say ‘thou shalt not’ to an economy of exclusion and inequality,” “Such an economy kills (humanity),” and “The excluded are not just the ‘exploited’ but the outcasts, the ‘leftovers’”.
He denounced the current economic system as “unjust at its roots.” He also claimed that “unequal distribution of wealth leads to violence,” and that “unfettered capitalism is creating a “new tyranny.”
Pope Francis also stated that the problems of the poor are radically resolved only by rejecting the absolute autonomy of markets, and called for the overhaul of the current economic system. Further, he urged politicians to pay attention to those who are excluded and treated unequally and strive to provide work and social security to all citizens.
Although each of these statements holds some underlying truths, and are certainly well-intentioned (there is a growing dichotomy and unrest between the haves and have-nots), these views are also over-simplistic and lack economic reason. They also fail to address one of the major causes of poverty – unfettered population growth – which goes unchecked in predominantly Roman Catholic countries due to Church policy.
The Pope also caused controversy when he stated at a Mass in May that “Even atheists can be as good as practicing Catholics, if they do good”. However, if he both criticizes the underlying postulates of free-market capitalism and appears to affirm atheism, are not his ideas smacking of some dangerous theories of Marxist communism?
State-planned economics that criticize capitalism have already collapsed in the former Soviet Union. Also, spiritual truth reveals that it is difficult for those who do not believe in God, Buddha or the spirit world to return to heaven.
The Reason Behind the Declining Number of Catholics in Emerging Countries.
In South America where half of the 1.2 billion Catholics of the world reside, the number of believers has been on the decline in recent years. Every year in Brazil, about 500,000 people are converting to Protestantism. They say it is because Protestantism encourages them “to work hard and succeed as is the glory of God”. This teaching brings greater prosperity to people and is very appealing. It is built on self-reliance and responsibility that uplifts the soul and results in personal dignity and social economic soundness.
As the world’s population is nearing ten billion, if people become more dependent on government, that can bring about worldwide economic collapse.
The Pope says, “the poor are unconditionally good,” but his words might be misinterpreted in a way that undermines those who work diligently, and happen not to be poor. This could eventually result in a corrupting influence on people. If the Pope really wishes to uplift people from poverty, he should teach the importance of education and the spirit of self-reliance. And we should also remember that all people are inherently good and work toward raising consciousness to foster inclusion of all souls.
Pope Francis naively criticizes the free competition market as being “unfair,” but he should not turn his eyes away from the reality that Catholicism is losing ground in the “free competition” of religion”, and that some of the major underlying causes of poverty lie within the policies of the Church itself. We sincerely hope that Pope Francis, whom we believe to be both a man of God and conviction, will look within first to heal the economic and social architecture of his own house.