EG 60: Consumption and Corruption

Vasnetsov_Maria_MagdalenePope Francis offers a searing assessment of the feedback loop in today’s world culture. The solution is not to make poor people more like the rich: more greedy, lustful, and eager to amass things and use people to achieve those ends.

60. Today’s economic mechanisms promote inordinate consumption, yet it is evident that unbridled consumerism combined with inequality proves doubly damaging to the social fabric. Inequality eventually engenders a violence which recourse to arms cannot and never will be able to resolve. This serves only to offer false hopes to those clamoring for heightened security, even though nowadays we know that weapons and violence, rather than providing solutions, create new and more serious conflicts. Some simply content themselves with blaming the poor and the poorer countries themselves for their troubles; indulging in unwarranted generalizations, they claim that the solution is an “education” that would tranquilize them, making them tame and harmless.

This is just what we’ve seen in the kneejerk reactions to Evangelii Gaudium, an incurious and mindless dismissal of the moral challenges. Naturally, it becomes an Ephesians 6:4 moment for those without a pope’s public relations heft:

All this becomes even more exasperating for the marginalized in the light of the widespread and deeply rooted corruption found in many countries – in their governments, businesses and institutions – whatever the political ideology of their leaders.

Tune in tomorrow and the days to come for more of Pope Francis and his critique of western society. Meanwhile, comments are always welcome.

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About catholicsensibility

Todd and his family live in Ames, Iowa. He serves a Catholic parish of both Iowa State students and town residents.
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