miércoles, 13 de mayo de 2015

The difficulties of presenting Catholic social teaching in a way that is both faithful to the Church’s evangelical mission and relevant to today’s world

Economic Manicheanism at the Vatican

By Kishore Jayabalan

Andrea Tornielli and Giacomo Galeazzi are two well-known vaticanisti, as journalists covering the Vatican are called here in Rome. They are “Vatican Insiders,” meaning they are experienced in cultivating anonymous sources (sometimes about the voting of an ongoing papal conclave, a practice expressly forbidden by Church law), leaking damaging stories, and other nefarious activities that have become standard practice among the fourth estate. It also means they are quite adept in defending their own “protectors” against any impertinent questions of rectitude or competence.

I’m not at all suggesting that Pope Francis is one such protector of Tornielli and Galeazzi, but as I started reading Papa Francesco: Questa Economia Uccide [Pope Francis: This Economy Kills], I began to wonder why two Italian journalists would set out to write a book defending the economic statements of an Argentine pope against his American conservative critics. What dog do they have in this fight? Or as the pope himself would say, who are they to judge?

Finishing the book, I still had those questions and many more, but I cannot fault the authors for attempting to ride the wave of global popularity Pope Francis is enjoying. It could have been an engaging subject if it were written with any sense of objectivity, journalistic balance, or even willingness to concede that the pope’s economics critics may have a point worth taking seriously. Alas, this is not the case.

Allow me to attend to personal business first. The authors devote several pages of a chapter entitled “The Attacks against ‘the Marxist Pope’” to a monthly newsletter piece I wrote in October 2014. In “Economic Liberty’s Episcopal Discontents,” I asked why bishops such as the newly-nominated Archbishop of Chicago, Blase Cupich, and Cardinal Oscar Rodriquez Maradiaga have such a dim view of the market economy as evidenced by their public remarks at a conference on Catholicism and Libertarianism. I attributed Cupich’s nomination to what the press calls “the Francis effect,” i.e. favoring fights against poverty and human trafficking to those against abortion and homosexuality, and wondered if the cause of this effect wasn’t more secular progressive than orthodox Christian.


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