may be a lapsed Catholic, but my morals and values have stood firm over the decades, without
guidance from religious leaders. However I’m still interested in what the Pope
has to say about important issues that we all face.
Francis appears to be our most socialist and environmentalist pope yet.
are a few of his statements from the past several years.
While the earnings of a minority are
growing exponentially, so too is the gap separating the majority from the
prosperity enjoyed by those happy few. This imbalance is the result of
ideologies which defend the absolute autonomy of the marketplace and financial
speculation. Consequently, they reject the right of states, charged with
vigilance for the common good, to exercise any form of control. A new tyranny
is thus born, invisible and often virtual, which unilaterally and relentlessly
imposes its own laws and rules...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
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? 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.
Human beings are themselves considered
consumer goods to be used and then discarded. We have created a “disposable” culture
which is now spreading. It is no longer simply about exploitation and
oppression, but something new. Exclusion ultimately has to do with what it
means to be a part of the society in which we live; those excluded are no
longer society’s underside or its fringes or its disenfranchised – they are no
longer even a part of it. The excluded are not the “exploited” but the outcast,
In this context, 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. Meanwhile, the excluded are still waiting. To sustain a lifestyle which
excludes others, or to sustain enthusiasm for that selfish ideal, a
globalization of indifference has developed. Almost without being aware of it,
we end up being incapable of feeling compassion at the outcry of the poor,
weeping for other people’s pain, and feeling a need to help them, as though all
this were someone else’s responsibility and not our own. The culture of prosperity
deadens us; we are thrilled if the market offers us something new to purchase;
and in the meantime all those lives stunted for lack of opportunity seem a mere
spectacle; they fail to move us.
One cause of this situation is found in
our relationship with money, since we calmly accept its dominion over ourselves
and our societies
October 2014 the Pope said, “An economic
system centered on the god of money needs to plunder nature to sustain the
frenetic rhythm of consumption that is inherent to it...The system continues
unchanged, since what dominates are the dynamics of an economy and a finance
that are lacking in ethics. It is no longer man who commands, but money. Cash
commands...The monopolizing of lands, deforestation, the appropriation of water,
inadequate agro-toxics are some of the evils that tear man from the land of his
birth. Climate change, the loss of biodiversity and deforestation are
already showing their devastating effects in the great cataclysms we witness.”
2015 the Koch-funded Heartland Institute sent a team of “climate
scientists” to Rome to inform Pope Francis of the truth about climate science:
“here is no global warming crisis!”
May 16, 2015 Pope Francis told a group of diplomats gathered at the Vatican, “We have created new idols...the golden calf
of old 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
February of this year, Pope Francis said,
“Structures of sin today include repeated tax cuts for the richest people,
often justified in the name of investment and development; tax havens for
private and corporate profits, and the possibility of corruption by some of the
largest companies in the world, often in tune with some dominant political
would seem the Catholic men on the Supreme Court, and the woman recently
appointed, along with all the Catholic Trump voters haven’t heard of this Pope. They
certainly don’t respect his thinking, his understanding of the world, and his
do Christian conservatives vote for Republicans? It would seem their opposition
to women’s reproductive rights and LGBTQ equality is their only justification.
Jesus never preached about abortion. He never condemned people for their sexual
orientation. Tax-exempt conservative church leaders do.
recall Jesus calling out religious leaders of the time as sanctimonious
I also recall Jesus going all "antifa" with some money changers at a
temple. That didn’t go over well. The "law and order" religious
conservatives of the time wanted him executed. They considered Jesus an “enemy
of the people”.
they any different from today’s religious conservatives?
Are there any Christian conservatives willing to answer a few simple questions?
How does giving tax cuts to the rich reflect what Jesus wants?
does cutting food stamps for the poor reflect what Jesus wants?
does cutting Social Security and Medicare for the elderly reflect what Jesus
is taking healthcare from the sick and poor what Jesus wants?
What did Jesus say about taxes and the rich?
does allowing corporate polluters have their way reflect what Jesus wants?
does turning a blind eye to racism and police brutality reflect what Jesus
does Trump follow the teachings of Jesus?
Why does Jesus want us to vote for a servant of mammon?
Conservative Christians have yet to explain to me how voting for Republicans reflects any of the values so clearly laid out for them to embrace:
40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch
as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it
41 Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye
cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:
42 For I was an hungered, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me
43 I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick,
and in prison, and ye visited me not.
44 Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungered,
or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not
minister unto thee?
45 Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did
it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.
I'll be darned if I can find any Republican/conservative agenda there. Apparently none of these values can make America great, or something...
Christian conservatives can be honest for a change, and just say they don't
want to discuss the answers to these questions.
Perhaps these questions make them FEEL confused, frustrated and angry.
That confusion, frustration and anger, especially towards more progressive folks, like the Socialist Pope, and Antifa Jesus, might just be the only “answer” that matters to them.
Open Letter to Judge Amy Coney Barrett From Your Notre Dame Colleagues
write to you as fellow faculty members at the University of Notre Dame.
congratulate you on your nomination to the United States Supreme Court. An
appointment to the Court is the crowning achievement of a legal career and
speaks to the commitments you have made throughout your life. And while we are
not pundits, from what we read your confirmation is all but assured.
is why it is vital that you issue a public statement calling for a halt to your
nomination process until after the November presidential election.
ask that you take this unprecedented step for three reasons.
voting for the next president is already underway. According to the United
States Election Project more than seven million people have already cast their
ballots, and millions more are likely to vote before election day. The rushed
nature of your nomination process, which you certainly recognize as an exercise
in raw power politics, may effectively deprive the American people of a voice
in selecting the next Supreme Court justice. You are not, of course,
responsible for the anti-democratic machinations driving your nomination. Nor
are you complicit in the Republican hypocrisy of fast-tracking your nomination
weeks before a presidential election when many of the same senators refused to
grant Merrick Garland so much as a hearing a full year before the last
election. However, you can refuse to be party to such maneuvers. We ask that
you honor the democratic process and insist the hearings be put on hold until
after the voters have made their choice. Following the election, your
nomination would proceed, or not, in accordance with the wishes of the winning
the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s dying wish was that her seat on the
court remain open until a new president was installed. At your nomination
ceremony at the White House, you praised Justice Ginsburg as “a woman of
enormous talent and consequence, whose life of public service serves as an
example to us all.” Your nomination just days after Ginsburg’s death was
unseemly and a repudiation of her legacy. Given your admiration for Justice
Ginsburg, we ask that you repair the injury to her memory by calling for a
pause in the nomination until the next president is seated.
your nomination comes at a treacherous moment in the United States. Our
politics are consumed by polarization, mistrust, and fevered conspiracy
theories. Our country is shaken by pandemic and economic suffering. There is
violence in the streets of American cities. The politics of your nomination, as
you surely understand, will further inflame our civic wounds,
confidence in the court, and deepen the divide among ordinary citizens,
especially if you are seated by a Republican Senate weeks before the election
of a Democratic president and congress. You have the opportunity to offer an
alternative to all that by demanding that your nomination be suspended until
after the election. We implore you to take that step.
asking a lot, we know. Should Vice-President Biden be elected, your seat on the
court will almost certainly be lost. That would be painful, surely. Yet there
is much to be gained in risking your seat. You would earn the respect of
fair-minded people everywhere. You would provide a model of civic selflessness.
And you might well inspire Americans of different beliefs toward a renewed
commitment to the common good.
wish you well and trust you will make the right decision for our nation.
Yours in Notre Dame,
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