By Alex Haney
Pope Francis has been very popular in the news for his seemingly radical statements and behavior since he became pope last year. He’s gotten a lot of attention from politicians left and right, and made his way even to my sheltered Presbyterian radar screen several times in the past months. Since December he’s made the news for some remarks on economic systems and the poor and I believe in what critics are calling an attack on global capitalism he is simply calling Christians to live out the same message of economic discipleship we teach at BFJN.
Too bad he’s the Pope, he’d be great on BFJN staff! We can’t hire him, so we’ll just have to listen to him and follow his example.
He recently spoke at the World Economic Forum on the subject, yet much of his opinions on economics are written in his Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium (or Joy of the Gospel) which outlines many ways he wants Christians to live out the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Economics is mentioned briefly in the second of four chapters of the 224 page document which can be found here: http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/francesco/apost_exhortations/documents/papa-francesco_esortazione-ap_20131124_evangelii-gaudium_en.html. I think this chapter 2 excerpt sums up economic discipleship according to the Lazarus at the Gate curriculum.
53. Just as the commandment “Thou shalt not kill” sets a clear limit in order to safeguard the value of human life, today we also have to say “thou shalt not” to an economy of exclusion and inequality. Such an economy kills. How can it be that it is not a news item when an elderly homeless person dies of exposure, but it is news when the stock market loses two points? This is a case of exclusion.
(RNS) The national ecumenical program encourages young adults, aged 18 to 35, to connect social and environmental justice activities with Franciscan teachings that stress the interconnectedness of creation.