The Joy of the Gospel



Today November 26 Pope Francis  issued his first Apostolic Exhortation, Evangelii Gaudium, “The Joy of the Gospel”, on the proclamation of the Gospel in today’s world.

It will certainly prove stimulating not only to Catholics but to all people of  good will.

Although he said it before Francis once again rails against “an economy of exclusion”(section 43). True to his  master, the pope goes to the margins and  and  judges  economies on how the poorest are treated.

This is not good new for the rabid free marketers who have driven the global economy into the toilet.

Human beings are themselves considered consumer goods to be used and then discarded. We have created a “disposable” culture which is now spreading. It is no longer simply about exploitation and oppression, but something new. Exclusion ultimately has to do with what it means to be a part of the society in which we live; those excluded are no longer society’s underside or its fringes or its disenfranchised – they are no longer even a part of it. The excluded are not the “exploited” but the outcast, the “leftovers”.

Francis then rejects the trickle down economies which it was claimed would have “raised all the boats’. In reality they succeeded in simply lifting the yachts higher. Everywhere the gap between the poor and the rich has advanced.

Francis continues:

In this context, some people continue to defend trickle-down theories which assume that economic growth, encouraged by a free market, will inevitably succeed in bringing about greater justice and inclusiveness in the world. This opinion, which has never been confirmed by the facts, expresses a crude and naïve trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power and in the sacralized workings of the prevailing economic system. Meanwhile, the excluded are still waiting. To sustain a lifestyle which excludes others, or to sustain enthusiasm for that selfish ideal, a globalization of indifference has developed. Almost without being aware of it, we end up being incapable of feeling compassion at the outcry of the poor, weeping for other people’s pain, and feeling a need to help them, as though all this were someone else’s responsibility and not our own. The culture of prosperity deadens us; we are thrilled if the market offers us something new to purchase; and in the meantime all those lives stunted for lack of opportunity seem a mere spectacle; they fail to move us.





  1. 1

    I have a question for you. Why are you quoting a Pope? Why are you quoting an Apostolic Exhortation? Does this document have authority? I’m not implying it does not, nor that it does. I just want to know why YOU are quoting a Pope. Is the Pope the Vicar of Christ or something? Is his voice somehow the voice of Christ?

    I’m just wondering! Because I can quote Humanae Vitae, or I can quote JPII on the Dignity of Women where he points out that women cannot be validly ordained. Now, you would reject that, and in rejecting it, you would clearly imply that he is not an authority, that his voice is not more authoritative than yours or some other theologian who holds an opposite point of view. So, I guess my question is: Has the pope suddenly become infallible? Has his words suddenly taken on an authority that they previously lacked?

    Just curious.

    Because if you can dissent from the Popes on matters of morality and dogmatic theology, then why can’t the capitalist disagree with Pope Francis?

    Again, just curious.

    Finally, we all agree, trickle down economics does not work. But trickle up economics works. The very fact that the expression “trickle down” is still used reveals that someone is very much out of touch with the basics of economics. Economics is a science, and no Pope, no Church council, can pronounce on the truth of a scientific claim. If you don’t know that, then you have no learned much from the Galileo affair. The Church can make her voice heard when it comes to the plight of the poor and economic injustices, but the Church cannot go near pronouncing on what economic system works best.

    But if you study carefully how businesses work, you see that it is a matter not of Trickle down, but trickle up. The owner has to pay his workers, and so he may have to take a loss for the first 10 years. That’s what the capital gains tax is all about.

    But I’d like to hear you answer my questions above. Come on, don’t be such a chicken. Get into the ring and let’s see what you got. Stop hiding from the world. It’s easy to pontificate and then retreat away from all conflict. The true man rolls up his sleeves and enters into the battle. Come on, Ted. Come out of hiding and let’s see how your mind works.

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