Thursday, May 23, 2013

Pope Francis condemns financial oligarchs

Economics 21
Pope Francis
We Must Reject
Today’s ‘Golden Calf,’
The ‘Cult of Money’
May 16—Greeting
the new ambassadors
to the Vatican, from
Kyrgyzstan, Antigua
and Barbuda, Luxembourg,
and Botswana,
today, Pope Francis
spoke out strongly
against the tyranny
of those who run
the global financial
system, and “urged
them not to forget
the predominance of
ethics in the economy and in social life, emphasizing
the value of solidarity and the centrality of the human
Here is the main part of his speech:
“Ladies and Gentlemen, our human family is presently
experiencing something of a turning point in its
own history, if we consider the advances made in various
areas. We can only praise the positive achievements
which contribute to the authentic welfare of
mankind, in fields such as those of health, education
and communications. At the same time, we must also
acknowledge that the majority of the men and women
of our time continue to live daily in situations of insecurity,
with dire consequences. Certain pathologies
are increasing, with their psychological consequences;
fear and desperation grip the hearts of many people,
even in the so-called rich countries; the joy of life is
diminishing; indecency and violence are on the rise;
poverty is becoming more and more evident. People
have to struggle to live and, frequently, to live in an
undignified way. One cause of this situation, in my
opinion, is in the our relationship with money, and
our acceptance of its power over ourselves and our
society. Consequently the financial crisis which we
22 Economics EIR May 24, 2013
are experiencing makes us forget that its ultimate
origin is to be found in a profound human crisis. In
the denial of the primacy of human beings! We have
created new idols. The worship of the golden calf of
old (cf. Ex 32:15-34) 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 goal.
“The worldwide financial and economic crisis
seems to highlight their distortions and above all the
gravely deficient human perspective, which reduces
man to one of his needs alone, namely, consumption.
Worse yet, human beings themselves are nowadays
considered as consumer goods which can be used
and thrown away. We have started a throw-away culture.
“This tendency is seen on the level of individuals
and whole societies; and it is being promoted! In circumstances
like these, solidarity, which is the treasure
of the poor, is often considered counterproductive, opposed
to the logic of finance and the economy. While
the income of a minority is increasing exponentially,
that of the majority is crumbling. This imbalance results
from ideologies which uphold the absolute autonomy
of markets and financial speculation, and thus
deny the right of control to States, which are themselves
charged with providing for the common good. A
new, invisible and at times virtual, tyranny is established,
one which unilaterally and irremediably imposes
its own laws and rules. Moreover, indebtedness
and credit distance countries from their real economy
and citizens from their real buying power. Added to
this, as if it were needed, is widespread corruption and
selfish fiscal evasion which have taken on worldwide
dimensions. The will to power and of possession has
become limitless.
“Concealed behind this attitude is a rejection of
ethics, a rejection of God. Ethics, like solidarity, is a
nuisance! It is regarded as counterproductive: as something
too human, because it relativizes money and
power; as a threat, because it rejects manipulation and
subjection of people: because ethics leads to God, who
is situated outside the categories of the market. God is
thought to be unmanageable by these financiers, economists
and politicians, God is unmanageable, even dangerous,
because he calls man to his full realization and
to independence from any kind of slavery.
“Ethics—naturally, not the ethics of ideology—
makes it possible, in my view, to create a balanced
social order that is more humane. In this sense, I encourage
the financial experts and the political leaders of
your countries to consider the words of Saint John
Chrysostom: “Not to share one’s goods with the poor is
to rob them and to deprive them of life. It is not our
goods that we possess, but theirs” (Homily on Lazarus,
1:6—PG 48, 992D).
“Dear Ambassadors, there is a need for financial
reform along ethical lines that would produce in its
turn an economic reform to benefit everyone. This
would nevertheless require a courageous change of attitude
on the part of political leaders. I urge them to
face this challenge with determination and farsightedness,
taking account, naturally, of their particular situations.
Money has to serve, not to rule! The Pope loves
everyone, rich and poor alike, but the Pope has the
duty, in Christ’s name, to remind the rich to help the
poor, to respect them, to promote them. The Pope appeals
for disinterested solidarity and for a return to person-
centred ethics in the world of finance and economics.
“For her part, the Church always works for the integral
development of every person. In this sense, she reiterates
that the common good should not be simply an
extra, simply a conceptual scheme of inferior quality
tacked onto political programmes. The Church encourages
those in power to be truly at the service of the
common good of their peoples. She urges financial
leaders to take account of ethics and solidarity. And
why should they not turn to God to draw inspiration
from his designs? In this way, a new political and economic
mindset would arise that would help to transform
the absolute dichotomy between the economic
and social spheres into a healthy symbiosis.
“Finally, through you, I greet with affection the Pastors
and the faithful of the Catholic communities present
in your countries. I urge them to continue their courageous
and joyful witness of faith and fraternal love in
accordance with Christ’s teaching. Let them not be
afraid to offer their contribution to the development of
their countries, through initiatives and attitudes inspired
by the Sacred Scriptures! And as you inaugurate
your mission, I extend to you, dear Ambassadors, my
very best wishes, assuring you of the assistance of the
Roman Curia for the fulfilment of your duties. To this
end, upon you and your families, and also upon your
Embassy staff, I willingly invoke abundant divine
“Thank you.”

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