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Second Thoughts about Pope Bergoglio: A Liberation Pope or Just More Blah, Blah?

By       Message Mike Rivage-Seul     Permalink
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4.       Remedying that problem necessitates government interference in the marketplace.

5.       . . .   based on an ethics of solidarity taking its lead from the poor and prioritizing human welfare and the common good over untargeted economic growth.

6.       Solidarity ethics find their origin in God who calls all humans to liberation from slaveries and idolatries of all kinds.

7.       So governments must overcome their reluctance to correct the wealth-concentrating tendencies of free markets,

8.       . . . and the attitude which sees ethical and theological concerns as counter-productive when they prioritize the needs of the poor over the profits of financiers and the moneyed classes.

9.       Avoidance of these responsibilities makes governments complicit with the crimes of robbery from the poor who (rather than the rich) are the true owners of the resources of God's creation.

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10.   Economics and social justice should not be understood as standing in opposition to one another, but as mutually nourishing.

I find the pope's words encouraging and quite promising. True, most popes (even J.P.II and Ratzinger) made isolated statements in tune with the comments just quoted. And taken as a body, the social teachings of the Catholic Church from Leo XIII's Rerum Novarum (1891) to Vatican II's "Church in the Modern World" (Gaudium et Spes, 1965) are progressive   enough though they remain the church's "the best kept secret."

Yet, the words I've quoted come from a new pope who (as Boff notes) has demonstrated his concern for the poor in practical ways, and has embodied a preference for simple living, And that might be sufficient reason for hope the pope's words will define his papacy rather than simply being more papal "blah, blah."

The jury's still out.  

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Mike Rivage-Seul is a liberation theologian and former Roman Catholic priest. Recently retired, he taught at Berea College in Kentucky for 36 years where he directed Berea's Peace and Social Justice Studies Program.Mike blogs (more...)
 

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