Monday, December 23, 2013

Sarah Posner in Al Jazeera America: "As Lindsey Pointed Out, There Are Other Types of Inequality and Exclusion Some Catholics Say the Pope Has not Adequately Addressed"

Sarah Posner, Al Jazeera America, "Pope Francis a Rock Star Among Catholics on Inequality, But . . .":

When William Lindsey was a theology professor at a Catholic college in the 1980s, he taught about a 1986 pastoral letter written by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, “Economic Justice for All.” In it, the bishops called on Catholics to address economic inequality, noting “recent Catholic social thought regards the task of overcoming these patterns of exclusion and powerlessness as a most basic demand of justice.” 
Since then, though, “they’ve acted for almost two decades like none of that was said in 1986,” Lindsey recently told Al Jazeera. “It’s as though the document stopped existing.” 
Economic justice, Lindsey said, was “taken off the table” by Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI. 
Pope Francis, though, “seems to be resurrecting a lot of this discourse.” 
Francis’ apostolic exhortation Evangelii Gaudium, or “The Joy of the Gospel,” published on Nov. 24, sparked worldwide attention largely because of its critique of “trickle-down theories” of economics. Francis contended these ideologies amount to “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.” 
Lindsey has experienced another kind of exclusion, having been “shoved to the margins,” he said, when his committed relationship with another man became known. While he and his partner are still waiting for his church to “afford us space and respect as a Catholic gay couple,” Lindsey is nonetheless hailing Pope Francis’ reemphasis of economic inequality in Evangelii Gaudium.

It's rather strange feeling to see this article while we're in Rome, on the afternoon after we've toured the Vatican museum, Sistine chapel, and St. Peter's. Still, there it is, the message I'd be bringing to the pope himself, if I happened to be meeting him on this trip. I'm grateful to Sarah Posner for this good article, which gets my surname slightly wrong. (Later: I see Sarah's now corrected the misspelling of my name.)

The photo is another we took two days ago in Assisi, as the sun tried to break through the deep fog enshrouding the community during the time we were there.

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