Monday Aug 10, 2015
István Szilárd | Source: Kettős Mérce
Pope Francis is of Argentinian birth. In Latin America colonization is not an abstract idea children learn about at school. Its grave consequences are part of the everyday reality of the inhabitants of Central and South America. And so are the global free market and the policies of the multilateral financial institutions that keep it going. Suffice it to refer to expropriated pieces of land, restrictions forced on countries of the continent, and repressive military juntas backed by the West in general and the United States in particular.
Those dictatorial regimes have elevated free-market fundamentalism to the rank of state doctrine. In Latin America the Catholic Church has had an ambiguous relationship to those regimes.
On the one hand, it has pursued the policy of appeasement. Even Pope Francis, [i.e. Jorge Mario Bergoglio] has been accused of being too soft towards the former military junta of Argentina, which is held responsible for the “disappearance” of tens of thousands of opponents of the regime. On the other hand, it has been common among the rank-and-file clergy even to embrace Marxist ideas to stand up for the rights of the poor.
Latin America was the cradle of “liberation theology.” For decades that theology has been marginalized by the Vatican but nowadays its welfare doctrine and critique of capitalism can be repeatedly discovered in public speeches of Pope Francis.
The pope’s sensitivity to the woes of the downtrodden might, in the long run, assure the survival of the Catholic Church. An excellent PR practitioner, Francis has realized that a massive section of Catholics live on the southern hemisphere. For them poverty, exploitation and inequality are more burning issues than, say questions of sexual morality, which are so often harped on by bishops in the northern hemisphere.
Or take climate change: its effects are hitting the Global South more directly than the Global North. Besides, inequalities have also been growing in the north. Unless the Catholic Church is resigned to become a relic of the past, it must be vocal about such issues.
Francis is no Marxist revolutionary. He is, for instance, conservative on abortion and sexual otherness. To guarantee the survival of the global “megacorporation” he is heading, he has amalgamated his own moral and political ideas about the ills of the world and his desire to return to the pristine sources of the Church into a new community vision, which promises to improve the Church and make the world a better place.
The entire article in Hungarian is to be found here.
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