The following is an article in Forbes Magazine. This shows us the extent to which this Pope is affecting the world in the most positive way possible. Who would have thought that it would be possible given the "swamp air" we have been breathing in the Church concerning the numerous scandals that are like mill stones around the neck of the Magisterium for the past 15 to 20 years?
Yes, the Holy Spirit is protecting and strengthening the Church against the gates of hell and moving us from scandal to witness and the new evangelization. How could any Catholic, true Catholic, complain about that?
From Forbes Magazine: How Pope Francis Is Changing Our Definition Of Success
How great will Pope Francis’ impact be? Beyond his impact within his own 1.2 billion-strong Roman Catholic Church, he may well redefine modern concepts of success, wealth and prestige for our larger society. (I say this as a non-Catholic.)
But let’s be realistic. It won’t happen overnight, and it won’t happen without withering criticism of him along the way, from the left and right and, hell, even from the mafia, who are rumored to have placed him on a hit list because of his startlingly aggressive reforms.
The changes he may bring about are due to his leadership prowess (discussed more in a separate article) and his unsurpassed global platform. But they’re also due to the fact that his values mirror some awakening aspirations of the larger world beyond his church walls.
Let’s look at how the still-newish pope is likely to change society’s concepts of success:
Francis is making it easier for ambitious people to value simplicity.
The hardest task for a top leader, religious or otherwise, is to pass up any of the swag bags and perks of high office. Enter Francis, who declined to live in the luxurious papal suite in order to remain in the relatively humbler Vatican guesthouse, and who chooses simple garments over ornate ones.
Francis might have seemed a bit naïve or quaint if he’d poped a generation or two ago, back when society worried less about environmental limits or sustainability. But millennials today are gripped by doubts about whether they can live at the posh levels of past generations, as well as suspicions that the ways of the past aren’t sustainable. This pope will inspire them to make an impact that goes beyond having nice possessions.
Francis is changing how we distinguish between “important people” and “unimportant” ones.
While a Billy Graham seemed to take special pride in counseling presidents within the splendid halls of power, Francis has made a career of quietly heading out to slums in order to care for marginalized people. And, strikingly, he asks those people to pray for him, which is a subtle but powerful reminder that the people at society’s margins too have something meaningful to give.
Francis is reintroducing a healthy tension between the concept of virtue and the practice of capitalism.
Just google up “Francis and antichrist,” and you’ll get some fascinating “proofs” that the pope has 666tattooed somewhere on his body. In fact, Francis is more the anti-Ayn Rand, the polar opposite of that uber-capitalist who blamed the poor for their own misfortune.
I wrote a few days ago about the conundrum that arises when Christian belief come into contact with aggressive capitalism. Francis goes so far as to say that excessive admiration for capitalism can be a kind of idolatry, a worshipping of the golden calf.
Granted, Francis’ pronouncements on capitalism may be imperfect or incomplete or misguided in the minds of some. Still, he is the first global religious leader in maybe centuries to bring up the elephant in the room, which is the tension between the Ayn Rand school of economics and the great world religions such as Christianity.
Francis is drawing a dividing line between high status and good character.
The photos of Francis clasping, kissing and blessing a disfigured man caused a global stir this past November.
We’ve seen many people be pope or priest or politician—but we’ve seen few use their power in a more humanizing manner. “Character is destiny,” Heraclitus said. And in that moment, Francis exemplified a manner of character that most of us admire but which few of us could match.
Such displays of character make critics treat him with far greater respect than they otherwise would. And it is such displays of character that will remind Catholics, non-Catholics, agnostics and atheists alike that power and position aren’t ends in themselves. Rather, power and position are means for displaying virtue and character.
Francis is building a path for civil discussion of our worst hot-button issues.
For the moment, at least, it’s good to be pope. Francis has managed to make himself the darling of some progressives. Still, expect the honeymoon to end soon enough, and for Francis to come increasingly under fire by progressives as they realize he will not go as far as they would hope on issues such as gender and sex. Meanwhile, Francis has already been pilloried by Rush Limbaugh and others on the right for being a Marxist in shepherd’s robing.
Our times are ridiculously contentious. Conservatives bristle at how Francis states the Occupy movement’s case with greater eloquence than that movement itself could muster. And many progressives grouse about how the Catholic church is the same old church despite its new tone.
Still, Francis should manage to unite liberals and conservatives in some meaningful way. Both may come to understand that Francis is motivated by loftier and more complex values than black-and-white partisanship.
In that case, a more civil tone would finally be possible in our hopelessly gridlocked democratic societies. And that may well become Francis’ greatest contribution of all.
The Forbes article reflects the globalist, humanistic concerns and agenda of our secular, egalitarian culture. Nothing to see here, folks, move along.
Fix the Liturgy, fix the Church. This ain't happening…this Pope has absolutely zero interest in it. Wake me when it is over...
Try this: take the offending remarks in Evangelii Gaudium about Capitalism and make them about Socialism, or even about evangelization itself. They would be equally true. Elevating the method to the status of a deity is wrong. I have this problem at work all the time. Greed is not about the accumulation of money alone, it is the desire for presage, power, and control. I am not certain Pope Francis understands Capitalism well enough to criticise it as a system, but his exhortation to use it in a good way, for the blessing of all involved is exactly right.
What Pope Francis says about capitalism is nothing new and can be found in many, many papal teachings for the last 100 or so years.
The only people "offended" are those who are "in thrall to an individualistic, indifferent and self-centered mentality." (Section 208)
In Section 202 the pope writes, "As long as the problem of the poor are not radically resolved by rejecting the ABSOLUTE AUTONOMY (emphasis mine) 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."
When profits are considered more important than the people who work to make those profits, or when governments fail to regulate markets in a prudent and just manner, the love of money, which Scripture tells us is the root of all evil, becomes the driving force that leads to artificial inequality and human suffering.
Obviously, Francis seems a wonderful pope to those oriented more toward the world without than to the Church within. Equally obviously, both orientations are vital--to the Church to equip it to go out into the world, and to the world to make it receptive to the Church. The ideal balance between these two necessary orientations may never be achieved, and different popes will have different emphases.
PI, My concurring interpretation of that full paragraph 208 includes that Pope Francis starts by saying he is NOT condemning but trying to help those in the thrall you cite. He finishes by saying he is not touting a political ideology. Again, this is perfectly applicable to the spread of Christianity itself: if it is done only for the exercise of power and spread of control, then it is wrong. As far as paragraph 202 goes, I think Pope Francis pulls up short in that analysis by not identifying the role of oppressive government and rulers in facilitating the autonomy. If he had used 'tyranny' vice 'autonomy' and 'planners' instead of "markets and financial speculation" he would have illuminated the problem better. The use of passive phrasing may be because he is trying to avoid 'naming names' and is consistent with his 'who am i to judge' method of ministry. The issue is, of course, that financial speculation is done by people and 'markets' are 'situations' of reality and SHOULD dictate actions. If there is a problem with 'trickle down' it is that many people interpret that as a passive situation wherein they simply wait for the cheque to show up at the end of the month rather than as the eventual and sustained harvest of the fruits of effort. Again, a properly executed evangelization effort would work exactly the same way.
rcg - I agree, mostly. But oppression can come from Wall Street and Big Banks and other financial institutions as readily as it can come from governments and rulers.
Any economic system can be misused, resulting in benefits for the few, rather than for the many. This is a result of Original Sin which pushes us in the direction of individualism, indifference, and self-serving mentalities.
"Trickle down" doesn't work as long as people are interested primarily in benefitting themselves rather than the Common Good. If a wealthy individual simply amasses wealth, nothing trickles anywhere.
As the great economist Dolly Levi said, quoting her dearly departed husband Ephraim, "Money, pardon the expression, is like manure. It's not worth a thing unless it's spread around, encouraging young things to grow."
My idea is the same as Dolly's, although I have come to see it as electric current that does nothing unless it is moving, then you can light a city. My grandfather taught me the idea of making others around you prosperous as a way to make yourself prosperous. What we need to see is the secondary echelons are the agents of abuse whose power and privilege to abuse flows, as did Pilate's, from a higher authority. The free market works when alternatives are not stifled and people compete to bring prosperity to others.
Thank you for posting this article, Father McDonald.
This is a good exchange, Pater and rcg.
Gene: “Nothing to see here.” Really? How about:
This pope will inspire [millenials] to make an impact that goes beyond having nice possessions.
Francis has made a career of quietly heading out to slums in order to care for marginalized people. And, strikingly, he asks those people to pray for him, a subtle but powerful reminder that the people at society’s margins too have something meaningful to give.
[H]e is the first global religious leader in maybe centuries to bring up the elephant in the room, which is the tension between the Ayn Rand school of economics and the great world religions such as Christianity.
And in that moment, Francis exemplified a manner of character that most of us admire but which few of us could match. . . . And it is such displays of character that will remind Catholics, non-Catholics, agnostics and atheists alike that power and position aren’t ends in themselves. Rather, power and position are means for displaying virtue and character.
Francis should manage to unite liberals and conservatives in some meaningful way. Both may come to understand that Francis is motivated by loftier and more complex values than black-and-white partisanship. In that case, a more civil tone would finally be possible in our hopelessly gridlocked democratic societies.
These would be no mean contributions to betterment of the human condition, to improvement in our cultural and professional values, our economics, our morality, and our politics. And, don’t forget, everyone can see who is doing these things. It is the recognized leader of Roman Catholicism and more broadly of Western Christianity, not some secular humanist figure, and so it is a contribution to development of our spiritual identity and values too. So, wake up and smell the coffee.
Money should be spread around by creating opportunities for people to earn it. It should not be handed out or stolen from working people to be given to deadbeats and welfare queens. Many of you are so co-opted by your salaried jobs, government employment, or unmotivated work environments that you haven't a clue about what it is like to work hard on commission, run a small business, take major risks for large gains, or stay up nights worrying about large investments, making a payroll, or paying off major loans for your entrepenurial efforts. You wallow in the self-righteousness of pedestrian jobs and living paycheck to paycheck because you know you do not have the will, the drive, or the guts to take the risks required to do anything else. I find the attitudes of people like Ignotus, for instance, to be disgusting. He is a loser hiding in a collar and spouting all kinds socialist, self-righteous garbage while he will not even answer direct, simple questions about whether he believes in the Real presence or the Bodily Resurrection of Jesus. You scorn the rich because you resent their success and hate yourself because you can't be like them. You ought to be living in a card board box and wearing Che t-shirts.
Don’t knock the metaphor of a cardboard box, Gene.
Have you, or has any other fellow blogger, read “Mr. Blue” by the Catholic author Myles Connolly (1928)? I have mentioned it before on the Blog. Please at least read the reviews below. And if you do read the book, check out Mr. Blue’s idea for a movie and the last priest who defies the World Government. The book is, of course, itself an impossible allegory that I read in the 1980s as a young man. But tell me you aren’t wowed by it even if older. Of course, I could never have lived such a life – I lack Mr. Blue’s faith and the courage (although not perhaps his hope). Nevertheless, because the account of the last priest in Mr. Blue’s movie changed forever the way I see the Miracle of the Mass I am eternally grateful to the fellow retreatant who introduced me to the book during one of my stays at the monastery in Conyers. Here are the links:
And here is a link to a discussion about the connection between Mr. Blue and Pope Francis:
Pin/Gene - Nothing I have said regarding the Church's teaching on matters of economics has not already said by the Pope and the Bishops.
If you are disgusted, it is not with me, but with the Church.
My beliefs regarding any - ANY - part of the Faith of the Church is not subject to your judgment in any way, shape, or form. I have faculties and my appointment as pastor from our bishop and that, in the Catholic Church, is what matters.
You consistently fire your increasingly shrill broadsides at me, personally, as a way of hiding your own discomfort with or even rejection of the teachings of the Church.
When the Holy father speaks to an issue such as war, I always (except in very rare instances) expect him to come out in favor of a peaceful resolution.
A President could decide to take military action and the Pope more likely than not would take the position that it was a mistake to do so. He might be right in his assessment but right or wrong, it does not take away the fact that the Commander-In Chief made a prudential decision do what he thought best.
It's the same when it comes to Economic issues. The Holy father is always going to advocate for the poor,the dispossessed and the downtrodden. This does not mean that when it comes to the origins of the problem and possible solutions that his pronouncements can be accorded ontological certitude. He is just setting the table so to speak.
If presented with the facts of the economies of the U.S. and Argentina(after allowing for differences in size) the Holy Father would have to conclude that we in this country are doing things better. And if it is true that things could even be better, then some of that could be attributed to excessive government intervention of some sort or another and other factors. This would not negate what he has said about the poor.
In closing let me just say this. I never heard my parents, not even one time that I can remember, say anything against those that had wealth.
So, Ignotus, your appointment by a Bishop covers it all…
Your beliefs (which you essentially deny by refusing to confess them) are, indeed, an issue. They (or the lack of them) do not vitiate the Sacraments you celebrate, but you have been dishonest and coy on this blog for years because you think it is all a game.
I am very comfortable with the teachings of the Church; my discomfort is with those who pretend to believe them and lie about it.
Gene, I understand what you are saying about those who take risks in doing such things as making investments and starting and running a business. These types are resented and envied for what they have accomplished and are under appreciated for what they contribute in creating employment for others and generating wealth. Few stop to consider those that take risks and fail and in some cases lose everything.
As far as the "pedestrian jobs";
we do also need nurses, teachers,policemen, fireman,electricians,carpenters, brick-masons, janitors and so on.
George, Of course we need those people. My father was a warehouse foreman and my wife's family worked in steel mills. My wife is a nurse. It is about attitude and the anti-wealth mentality fostered by our dying culture and by the socialist minions in the government and in the Church.
Pin/Gene - No, by refusing to submit to your judgment by answering your questions I am not denying any aspect of the faith.
To quote Sir Thomas More in "A Man for All Seasons" speaking to Master Cromwell on the matter of not answering questions:
"Not so. Not so, Master Secretary. The maxim is "Qui tacet consentire": the maxim of the law is "Silence gives consent". If therefore you wish to construe what my silence betokened, you must construe that I consented, not that I denied."
You're just royally ticked that I won't submit to your inquisition.
Gene, I have no idea where you've been, but it sounds like you infiltrated a group of 20 year old progressives.
George, I don't know how old your parents are, but the progressives my age today verge on socialism and communism, often without being aware of it. Today's "progressives" (pronounced useful idiots) are a very different breed than the ones of yesteryear. They have zero respect for "the rich", their wealth, or their property, and are all too eager to get their hands on it using whatever means necessary.
Once again, Ignotus…and you don't seem to be able to remember (another trait of sociopaths), the questions were not mine, but another bloggers. I have never been you inquisitor because I already know the truth about you. I have no need to ask you any questions at all, nor have I. You refused to answer the question regarding belief in the Real Presence and the bodily Resurrection from another blogger. You said it was beneath you to answer and that it was a trap. The humor and irony in that are just marvelous...
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