18 June 2015

Pope equates capitalism with pedophilia

How do I justify this bit of clickbait? I refer you to the official English text of Laudato si', Pope Francis's long-awaited and long-controversial encyclical on the environment. Like many a religious person Bergoglio rails against modern-day moral relativism, but he differs from the American religious right, for instance, in the scope of his critique. After all, if you're a Catholic, and especially if you're the Supreme Pontiff, a lot is going to seem relativistic today, and a lot will have seemed relativistic for a long time. Some things that in some places have not seemed morally relativist for some time, and in fact strike many people today as perfectly moral, don't meet Francesco's more exacting standards, whether those standards are particularly or exclusively Catholic or are, as many Americans fear, mixed with baser stuff. Anyway, enough suspense. Here's our money quote from what should prove a very interesting document throughout. This is Paragraph 123 of the encyclical:

The culture of relativism is the same disorder which drives one person to take advantage of another, to treat others as mere objects, imposing forced labour on them or enslaving them to pay their debts. The same kind of thinking leads to the sexual exploitation of children and abandonment of the elderly who no longer serve our interests. It is also the mindset of those who say: Let us allow the invisible forces of the market to regulate the economy, and consider their impact on society and nature as collateral damage. In the absence of objective truths or sound principles other than the satisfaction of our own desires and immediate needs, what limits can be placed on human trafficking, organized crime, the drug trade, commerce in blood diamonds and the fur of endangered species? Is it not the same relativistic logic which justifies buying the organs of the poor for resale or use in experimentation, or eliminating children because they are not what their parents wanted? This same “use and throw away” logic generates so much waste, because of the disordered desire to consume more than what is really necessary. We should not think that political efforts or the force of law will be sufficient to prevent actions which affect the environment because, when the culture itself is corrupt and objective truth and universally valid principles are no longer upheld, then laws can only be seen as arbitrary impositions or obstacles to be avoided. [emphasis added]

Some will say that the Pope of the Catholics has a lot of gall, or a lack of shame, to bring up pedophilia, but my understanding is that this guy is trying to clean things up in his church. Some may say that I have some gall to cite his remarks against relativism since I may be assumed to be a relativist himself. But I'm only a relativist if everyone's a relativist who doesn't believe in God. I believe that people are capable of articulating values and sticking to them, and that they should be able to answer for going against the values they espouse. Looking at it another way, if Francis is right that libertarian laissez-faire capitalism is relativism, than I'm not a relativist unless you're a relativist if you don't agree with Francis on everything. I could just as easily say that Francis is a relativist for not agreeing with me on everything -- and that wouldn't make me a relativist, either. That just makes me a critic, and ideally one who can back up his criticisms. I think Francis's criticisms can be backed up without appealing to God, which will be a good thing when Americans of all denominations deny that God gives the Pope any basis to criticize the Market. But if Francis infers from the criticism that is sure to come that the critics worship the Market rather than God, then things could get very interesting....

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

"Let us allow the invisible forces of the market to regulate the economy, and consider their impact on society and nature as collateral damage."
What they're really saying is "Let the upper management of the Fortune 500 secretly control the economy." Let's face it, the market is an artificial construct; an idea, not a conscious being. It is incapable of controlling anything, especially itself.

My guess is that, in America, his Encyclical will fall on deaf ears (or blind eyes, as the case may be). Jesus denounced greed. He horsewhipped the capitalist that were using his (Jewish) religion as nothing more than a money-making scheme - exactly as televangelists do today. America is driven by greed so anyone who preaches against greed will automatically be labeled a "commie" and disregarded. A part of me almost wishes christianity were true so I could jeer at them all as they burn in hell. America simply disgusts me.