Pope Francis has made a major push for populism while calling for the renewal of the Roman Catholic Church in the first apostolic exhortation he has written alone since he became pontiff back in March.
Pope Francis’ 84-page document, Evangelii Gaudium (“The Joy of the Gospel”), attacked what he referred to as the “idolatry of money” and deemed today’s capitalistic culture as “a new tyranny.”
Pope Francis’ views on capitalism come as no surprise to most, as he has been pushing for populism and urging wealthy people to share their riches in most of his sermons and public remarks.
“Just as the commandment ‘Thou shalt not kill’ sets a clear limit in order to safeguard the value of human life, today we also have to say ‘thou shalt not’ to an economy of exclusion and inequality,” Pope Francis wrote in the document. “Such an economy kills.”
He went on to question a society that releases major reports regarding small changes in the stock market, but fails to examine other issues.
“How can it be that it is not a news item when an elderly homeless person dies of exposure, but it is news when the stock market loses 2 points,” he questioned.
In his push for populism, he is also urging politicians to extend the rights of citizens to include and guarantee access to “dignified work, education and healthcare.”
“I beg the Lord to grant us more politicians who are genuinely disturbed by the state of society, the people, the lives of the poor,” he wrote.
The Pope also hopes that “the fear of remaining shut up within structures which give us a false sense of security” will push people to help renew the Roman Catholic Church.
“I prefer a church which is bruised, hurting and dirty because it has been out on the streets rather than a church which is unhealthy from being confined and from clinging to its own security,” he wrote. “I do not want a church concerned with being at the center and then ends up by being caught up in a web of obsessions and procedures.”
The push for a greater focus on poverty wasn’t the only change that the pope promoted in the document. He also urged women to take on greater roles in making decisions in the church while still ruling out the idea of women’s ordination.
He claimed that the many in the church are just as powerful and equally as important to the church as the priests.
In about a year, participation of U.S. Catholics has decreased by one percent from the original 40 percent of Catholics that attended mass at least once a week last year.
While Evangelii Gaudium is the first authored work from Pope Francis alone, it is his second major issued teaching document. The encyclical “The Light of Faith” was issued in July but the majority of the work was written by Pope Benedict XVI before he resigned.