The Vatican Takes Aim at the Global Economy

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Nov. 27 (Bloomberg) -- Holy Family Church Pastor and Canon Lawyer Father Murray and Fordham University Theology Professor Christiana Peppard discuss Pope Francis's critique of capitalism with Trish Regan on Bloomberg Television’s "Street Smart." (Source: Bloomberg)


What effect will this have on the millions of catholics around the world?

The pope is reminding us that we have to be concerned about our poor brothers and sisters, finding ways to help them gain the economic benefit from modernity, experienced largely in the west and northern hemisphere.

Argentina is a fairly wealthy country.

With a high poverty level, government corruption, a lot of problems.

Argentina really is into -- is not a capitalist country.

It has invoked more of a socialist cents.

There is a varied history not only in argentina, but a lot of south america.

It is not the smooth history we have had in other places.

You mentioned south america.

Brazil has wrought a lot of controversy of late.

A lot of people feel that there is social injustice there.

Capitalist policy, we have seen a lot of the uprising, a lot of the riots there.

Does this help people there feel like they have something more to stand on?

Does the pope's message resonate more in brazil?

Might we see more protests?

It might be possible, but the more important question is is he speaking of realities experienced by people not so much in the first world, who make the economic decisions for those who benefit, like the wto, imf, and so forth, but does he describe on the ground reality?

Other murray is right to say the pope calls for our responsibilities to be charitable approaches words ameliorating some of the worst conditions in other parts of the world, but part of what is revolutionary about this document is that he is giving structural critique.

He is saying that this is not just a problem of individual responsibility and charity, that there is something endemic to capitalism, he names it as a to radical appetite for infinite growth that preys on the most vulnerable.

Have we ever seen a pope do anything like that before?

Is that not somewhat unusual, to have such a strong critique of the economic system?

Popes going back to leo the 13th have critique unfettered capitalism, i think in part due to papal teaching and social responsibility or has been a lot of improvement in government regulation, but his particular bent and how he calls it trickle-down, it is perfecting a critique that is something new.

It is subjected to some dispute, facts on the ground, and i think that that is where he would welcome a dialogue.

Father, why do you think he is taking such an aggressive stance?

It is not just against the u.s. for its individual motions in europe, it is about capitalism as a whole.

Why is he being so aggressive?

The pope has a frustration with the level of economic development he has seen in his own country.

They have had a lot of problems, paraguayans fled paraguay, came to argentina, were not welcomed, lived in slums.

He has a personal context and is saying -- what can governments do to make this better?

Another question is, how can governments get out of the way to let entrepreneurs develop?

He is not condemning capitalism, per se.

On some of those points i think the question is not whether pope francis is aggressive, this is an apostolic exhortation, he is talking about mission, evangelism.

The verbiage is very specific.

It is specific, he uses strong words like tierney, infinite growth, vulnerability and expectation.

I would argue that those are not necessarily aggressive rhetorical moves, those are accurate descriptors of how much of the third world developing world nonindustrialized world, what we often referred to as emerging markets, particularly with regards to natural resources and various forms of production outsourcing is an accurate description.

I think much of us would say yes, but it depends on what you are looking at.

What he is doing that is neither new nor revolutionary is that the church's obligation is to the least among us, let's look at our lives in see what is going on there.

In that sense he is not trying to pivot between a church that is communist and one that rejects market capitalism, he is saying -- here are the realities.

The people to whom responsibility and attention will always flow is the shareholders, not the stakeholders.

We hold in this country so dear the separation of church and state, father, maybe you can address that?

President john f. kennedy was adamant about the separation of church and state.

Where is that border?

I do not think the pope wants to take over running the u.s. economy, but he does want to tell them to pay attention to the gospel, the attitudes, the poor.

I think we have a good record of doing that in this country, but it is not the same in others and the pope has a lot of experience with the sadness of corrupt government and unjust instruction.

Just so our viewers have it more from his letter, he writes -- trickle-down economics have never been considered a fact, it is the naiàve trust from those wielding economic power.

"meanwhile the excluded are still waiting for the results of the ideologies -- and financial speculation." so, capitalism sort of reigning supreme as the root -- the real problem here?

I do not know the capitalism by itself is necessarily a problem, it could be used for good ends or negative ones, but for calling it, as the father says, the pope comes from a context in which various world banks and consensus policies were advocated by the likes of milton friedman, he sees the negative underbelly of that regarding the impact on women and children and even in our own country we can see with the recent government shutdown that it is often women and children who bear a lot of the brunt of the burden, which is what he is trying to call our attention to.

How much is this going to resonate with catholics around the world?

How might this change the religion?

How might this change the economies in some of these countries?

That is a great question.

As a professor of theology and ethics -- we have already seen in brazil people taking to the streets and demanding more.

I think that truth, as paul said, makes a nonviolent appeal, and when people recognize that truth and feel that their reality is being per trade, that is a wonderful thing, and energy can be marshaled behind that.

One of the important things is that the pope is pointing out that socioeconomic rights are as important in terms of life issues as the ones we know in the united states, abortion, birth control, the death penalty, etc., which i think is revolutionary in our context, it reminds us of the broad swath of teaching that a lot of americans tend to forget.

This pope is not milton friedman, he is a lot more karl marx meet jesus in the underbelly of 21st century capitalism.

The pope is not a marxist, we know that.

He says in the document that the greatest poverty impose on the poor is lack of spiritual care.

He's calling the priests to go out and care for the people.

Serving to get to heaven.

He has done that.

His focus is that it is great to have a thriving economy, but you want to get to heaven, help people.

Do unto others as you would to a yourself.

Thank you so much, father murray, christiana.

We are going to focus on

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