Pope Francis ‘Evangelii Gaudium’ Calls For Renewal Of Roman Catholic Church, Attacks ‘Idolatry Of Money’

By Naomi O’Leary,  Reuters Posted on HuffingtonPost.com: 11/26/2013

Excerpt

Pope Francis called for renewal of the Roman Catholic Church and attacked unfettered capitalism as “a new tyranny”, urging global leaders to fight poverty and growing inequality in the first major work he has authored alone as pontiff…In it, Francis went further than previous comments criticizing the global economic system, attacking the “idolatry of money” and beseeching politicians to guarantee all citizens “dignified work, education and healthcare”. He also called on rich people to share their wealth. “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,” Francis wrote in the document issued on Tuesday…Denying this was simple populism, he called for action “beyond a simple welfare mentality” and added: “I beg the Lord to grant us more politicians who are genuinely disturbed by the state of society, the people, the lives of the poor.”…Stressing cooperation among religionsHe praised cooperation with Jews and Muslims and urged Islamic countries to guarantee their Christian minorities the same religious freedom as Muslims enjoy in the West.

Full text

(Reuters) – Pope Francis called for renewal of the Roman Catholic Church and attacked unfettered capitalism as “a new tyranny”, urging global leaders to fight poverty and growing inequality in the first major work he has authored alone as pontiff.

The 84-page document, known as an apostolic exhortation, amounted to an official platform for his papacy, building on views he has aired in sermons and remarks since he became the first non-European pontiff in 1,300 years in March.

In it, Francis went further than previous comments criticizing the global economic system, attacking the “idolatry of money” and beseeching politicians to guarantee all citizens “dignified work, education and healthcare”.

He also called on rich people to share their wealth. “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,” Francis wrote in the document issued on Tuesday.

“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 2 points?”

The pope said renewal of the Church could not be put off and said the Vatican and its entrenched hierarchy “also need to hear the call to pastoral conversion”.

“I prefer a Church which is bruised, hurting and dirty because it has been out on the streets, rather than a Church which is unhealthy from being confined and from clinging to its own security,” he wrote.

In July, Francis finished an encyclical begun by Pope Benedict but he made clear that it was largely the work of his predecessor, who resigned in February.

Called “Evangelii Gaudium” (The Joy of the Gospel), the exhortation is presented in Francis’ simple and warm preaching style, distinct from the more academic writings of former popes, and stresses the Church’s central mission of preaching “the beauty of the saving love of God made manifest in Jesus Christ”.

In it, he reiterated earlier statements that the Church cannot ordain women or accept abortion. The male-only priesthood, he said, “is not a question open to discussion” but women must have more influence in Church leadership.

POVERTY

A meditation on how to revitalize a Church suffering from encroaching secularization in Western countries, the exhortation echoed the missionary zeal more often heard from the evangelical Protestants who have won over many disaffected Catholics in the pope’s native Latin America.

In it, economic inequality features as one of the issues Francis is most concerned about, and the 76-year-old pontiff calls for an overhaul of the financial system and warns that unequal distribution of wealth inevitably leads to violence.

“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 world’s problems or, for that matter, to any problems,” he wrote.

Denying this was simple populism, he called for action “beyond a simple welfare mentality” and added: “I beg the Lord to grant us more politicians who are genuinely disturbed by the state of society, the people, the lives of the poor.”

Since his election, Francis has set an example for austerity in the Church, living in a Vatican guest house rather than the ornate Apostolic Palace, travelling in a Ford Focus, and last month suspending a bishop who spent millions of euros on his luxurious residence.

He chose to be called “Francis” after the medieval Italian saint of the same name famed for choosing a life of poverty.

Stressing cooperation among religions, Francis quoted the late Pope John Paul II’s idea that the papacy might be reshaped to promote closer ties with other Christian churches and noted lessons Rome could learn from the Orthodox such as “synodality” or decentralized leadership.

He praised cooperation with Jews and Muslims and urged Islamic countries to guarantee their Christian minorities the same religious freedom as Muslims enjoy in the West.

(Editing by Tom Heneghan and Alison Williams)

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/11/26/pope-francis-evangelii-gaudium_n_4342964.html

Pope Slams Capitalism, Inequality Between Rich And Poor In New Years Message

Reuters  |  By Philip Pullella Posted: 01/01/2013

The 85-year-old pope rang in the new year with a mass for about 10,000 people in St Peter’s Basilica on the day the Roman Catholic Church marks its World Day of Peace with initiatives around the world.

He also spoke of peace after the mass, addressing tens of thousands of people who had followed the service from outside in St Peter’s Square.

“A new year is like a trip. With the light and the grace of God, may it be the start of a path to peace for every person, every family, every country and for the entire world,” he said from his window overlooking the square.

He thanked the world’s peacemakers, saying they deserve praise for working, often behind the scenes, tirelessly, thanklessly and armed only “with the weapons of prayer and forgiveness”.

Peace marchers carrying rainbow banners released blue balloons in a sunny but cold St Peter’s Square as the pope spoke.

Earlier in his homily, the leader of the world’s 1.2 billion Roman Catholics decried “hotbeds of tension and conflict caused by growing instances of inequality between rich and poor”.

He also denounced “the prevalence of a selfish and individualistic mindset which also finds expression in an unregulated capitalism, various forms of terrorism and criminality”.

Benedict said he was convinced of “humanity’s innate vocation to peace” despite many problems and setbacks. A personal relationship with God can help all believers deal with what he called the “darkness and anguish” that sometimes defines human existence.

“This is the inner peace that we want in the midst of events in history that are sometimes tumultuous and confused, events that sometimes leave us shaken,” he said.

In his full message for the peace day, the pope called for a new economic model and ethical regulations for markets, saying the global financial crisis was proof that capitalism does not protect society’s weakest members.

He also warned that food insecurity was a threat to peace in some parts of the world and strongly reaffirmed the Church’s opposition to gay marriage. Heterosexual marriage had an indispensable role in society, he said.

Thousands of people took part in a peace march to the Vatican led by the Catholic peace and charity group, the Sant’ Egidio Community, which negotiated the end of the civil war in Mozambique in 1992.

Other peace marches took place in Italian cities, and Catholic dioceses around the world held their own events.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/01/pope-slams-capitalism-ine_n_2392653.html?utm_hp_ref=business&ir=Business