In the past few months the world has heard much from Pope Francis on the greed of the market. We should not be surprised that his statements reflect what was written in the Aparecida document, since he was involved in the final redaction of the document.
In paragraph 50, the bishops comment on the relation of the greed of the market to happiness.
“The greed of the market unleashes the desires of children, youth, and adults.”
In order to further this unleashing of desires, advertising plays an important role, sometimes presenting consumption as the way to bring happiness and banish depression.
“Advertising creates the illusion of distant make-believe worlds where every desire can be satisfied by products that are of an effective, ephemeral, and even messianic nature.”
Happiness does not come from the satisfaction of desires:
“The notion that desires should turn into happiness is condoned. Since only the here-and-now is needed, happiness is sought through economic well-being and hedonistic satisfaction.”
This brief paragraph could be the basis for a deeper understanding of the idolatry or fetishism of consumer products and consumerism. The late Jesuit John Kavanaugh wrote an important book on the subject, Following Christ in a Consumer Society: The Spirituality of Cultural Resistance, which would help give flesh to this paragraph and other paragraphs in the Aparecida document and the words of Pope Francis.