By Brian Flagg,
I read this great article in America magazine by the auxiliary bishop of San Francisco, Robert W. McElroy, entitled “Market Assumptions: Pope Francis’ challenge to income inequality” (Nov 3, 2014).
This past April, Pope Francis told over 10 million online followers, in nine different languages, “Inequality is the root of social evil.” And what he tweeted in just seven words, he had elaborated on at length five months earlier in ‘The Joy of The Gospel’ (No.202):
The need to resolve the structural causes of poverty cannot be delayed… As long as the problems of the poor are not radically resolved by rejecting the absolute autonomy of markets and financial speculations and by attacking the structural causes of inequality, no solution will be found for the world’s problems, or, for that matter, to any problems. Inequality is the root of all social ills.
Bishop McElroy points out that while Americans like much about Francis, there has been a barrage of criticism of his words on inequality. Many have accused him of being naïve and ignorant about economics.
I agree with the Bishop who says that Pope Francis has raised fundamental questions about justice and the American economic system.
The Bishop explains how deeply ingrained American cultural beliefs blind and paralyze Americans in their beliefs about the economy.
It is ingrained in Americans that this economic inequality is part of some natural order that is somehow sacred and can’t be changed.
In real life, this American mentality wages war against Catholic Social Teachings and the gospel itself!
Bishop McElroy quotes Pope Francis as saying,
“We cannot resign ourselves to losing a whole generation of young people who don’t have the strong dignity of work….. Not having work does not just mean not having what one needs to live…the problem is not being able to bring bread to the table and this takes away one’s dignity.”
John C. Scott asked me on the radio the other day what was the cure to poverty and what would I do if I was King.
My reply is:
I would quote the Holy Father all day long every day and insist on a full employment economy. And I’d insist that all Catholics and especially the wealthy ones act on the full employment/dignity of the human person. If they are not willing to embrace or even consider this, maybe they should seriously consider not claiming to be Catholic or Christian?
We who have access to spiritual power can’t sit on the sidelines and watch fellow humans suffer from being robbed of their dignity.
Put your faith into action.