Laudato Si 56: The Pursuit of Material Gain

Earth from Apollo 8The encyclical letter Laudato Si is available here on the Vatican website. Is economics the new god for humankind?

56. In the meantime, economic powers continue to justify the current global system where priority tends to be given to speculation and the pursuit of financial gain, which fail to take the context into account, let alone the effects on human dignity and the natural environment. Here we see how environmental deterioration and human and ethical degradation are closely linked. Many people will deny doing anything wrong because distractions constantly dull our consciousness of just how limited and finite our world really is. As a result, “whatever is fragile, like the environment, is defenseless before the interests of a deified market, which become the only rule”.[Evangelii Gaudium 56]

A brief section, but one with an argument far beyond a handful of words. How bad is the modern pursuit of financial gain? An impoverished worker tries to support a family and may be as diligent as a member of the one-percent who is building a nest egg for retirement, or hoping to amass possessions. Which human pursuits retain a God-given dignity? Which sow alienation, even among colleagues, friends, and even loved ones?

And Pope Francis mentions distractions? Consider that anytime celebrity news eclipses real concerns.

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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