Pope Benedict’s “Dictatorship of Relativism” always struck me as a soft adversary. Relativism, as I understand the broad sense of it, is often used as an excuse by some people who otherwise have good intentions. Even the deeply religious Catholic. We explain away war by making it just. We dodge the excesses of hierarchy with encrusted excuses. Some nebulous greater good insulates prelates from consequences for common sins. And those same someones have the nerve to preach a lack of a sense of sin to the laity.
With Pope Francis, I detected in his address to ambassadors today, a new dictatorship. This is one that will be far less elusive. And it’s a cruelty and oppression which is very real for hundreds of millions in our world. If not more.
Consequently the financial crisis which we 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 (a person) to one of (their) needs alone, namely, consumption. Worse yet, human beings themselves are nowadays considered as consumer goods which can be used and thrown away.
The dictatorship of an inhumane economy. Now that’s a real dragon.
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.
Rock mentioned this was one of the few times the Holy Father has referred to himself as “the Pope.” That’s the kind of Pope we need today.
I think Pope Francis’ statement is stronger than the translation being provided. He speaks not of the “cult” of money but the “fetishism” of money, which is, I think, much stronger.
So, is he prepared to get the Vatican out of the banking business?