Pope Francis is presented with a gift of a hammer and sickle-shaped crucifix


In Fiery Speeches, Francis Excoriates Global Capitalism – The New York Times

ASUNCIÓN, Paraguay — His speeches can blend biblical fury with apocalyptic doom. Pope Francis does not just criticize the excesses of global capitalism. He compares them to the “dung of the devil.” He does not simply argue that systemic “greed for money” is a bad thing. He calls it a “subtle dictatorship” that “condemns and enslaves men and women.”

Having returned to his native Latin America, Francis has renewed his left-leaning critiques on the inequalities of capitalism, describing it as an underlying cause of global injustice, and a prime cause of climate change. Francis escalated that line last week when he made a historic apology for the crimes of the Roman Catholic Church during the period of Spanish colonialism — even as he called for a global movement against a “new colonialism” rooted in an inequitable economic order.

The Argentine pope seemed to be asking for a social revolution.

“This is not theology as usual; this is him shouting from the mountaintop,” said Stephen F. Schneck, the director of the Institute for Policy Research and Catholic studies at Catholic University of America in Washington.

The last pope who so boldly placed himself at the center of the global moment was John Paul II, who during the 1980s pushed the church to confront what many saw as the challenge of that era, communism. John Paul II’s anti-Communist messaging dovetailed with the agenda of political conservatives eager for a tougher line against the Soviets and, in turn, aligned part of the church hierarchy with the political right.

Francis has defined the economic challenge of this era as the failure of global capitalism to create fairness, equity and dignified livelihoods for the poor — a social and religious agenda that coincides with a resurgence of the leftist thinking marginalized in the days of John Paul II. Francis’ increasingly sharp critique comes as much of humanity has never been so wealthy or well fed — yet rising inequality and repeated financial crises have unsettled voters, policy makers and economists.

Left-wing populism is surging in countries immersed in economic turmoil, such as Spain, and, most notably, Greece. But even in the United States, where the economy has rebounded, widespread concern about inequality and corporate power are propelling the rise of liberals like Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, who, in turn, have pushed the Democratic Party presidential front-runner, Hillary Rodham Clinton, to the left.

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On the Road With the Pope

Our Vatican correspondent, Jim Yardley, is traveling with Pope Francis as he visits Ecuador, Bolivia and Paraguay. Follow along as he chronicles the trip.

Even some free-market champions are now reassessing the shortcomings of unfettered capitalism. George Soros, who made billions in the markets, and then spent a good part of it promoting the spread of free markets in Eastern Europe, now argues

Pope Francis’ encyclical on global warming calls for “enforceable international agreements” governing the climate and the world’s oceans to combat ecological challe“What is needed, in effect, is an agreement on systems of governance for talled ‘global commons,’” the pope wrote in his encyclical.

Francis released his final encyclical titled “Laudato Si” Thursday in which he lays out the theological case for combating global warming, pollution and general ecological collapse. The pope warns that human activity is warming the planet and harming the world’s poor.

To solve this, Francis calls for global governance over the world’s air and oceans because “the climate is a common good, belonging to all and meant for all.”

“Enforceable international agreements are urgently needed, since local authorities are not always capable of effective intervention,” Francis wrote in his encyclical, which is meant to galvanize support for a global climate treaty ahead of the United Nations meeting in Paris later this year.

“Global regulatory norms are needed to impose obligations and prevent unacceptable actions, for example, when powerful companies dump contaminated waste or offshore polluting industries in other countries
Read more: http://dailycaller.com/2015/06/18/pope-calls-for-global-governance-of-the-climate-and-oceans/#ixzz3ffgFnZeq

A crucifix sculpted in the shape of a hammer and sickle presented to Pope Francis in Bolivia has caused a stir among Catholic commentators.

The Pope was given the item, combining Catholic and communist symbols, by left-wing Bolivian President Evo Morales.

One Catholic bishop suggested that Mr Morales had sought to “manipulate God”.

But while some reports said the Pope was taken aback by the present, the Vatican has played down any row.

The crucifix was based on a design by Luis Espinal, a Jesuit Priest assassinated in 1980 by right-wing militia.

Bolivia’s communications minister, Marianela Paco, told Bolivian radio: “The sickle evokes the peasant, the hammer the carpenter, representing humble workers, God’s people,” adding there was “no other” motive behind the gift.

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Much has been read into the Pope’s expression on receiving the gift

There are differing interpretations of Pope Francis’ thoughts on it.

Some reports say the Pope was embarrassed, telling Mr Morales: This isn’t good”.

But the Vatican spokesman, Federico Lombardi, said it was more likely Pope Francis had expressed surprise at the origins of the gift.

“I don’t think I would put this symbol on an altar in a church however,” he added.

The Pope himself has been accused of having Marxist leanings, after mounting strong criticisms of capitalism and inequality.

One of the strongest reactions came from Spanish bishop Jose Ignacio Munilla, who tweeted: “The height of arrogance is to manipulate God for the service of atheist ideologies.”

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“This is a provocation, a joke” said Bolivian Bishop Gonzalo del Castillo, quoted by the AFP news agency.

There was also anger on the Facebook pages of the Catholic News Agency. “One cannot simply combine Communism and Christianity!” wrote one user.

But one comment read: “This is no insult to Pope Francis, this is in memory of the Jesuit Martyr, who died defending the poor and oppressed of Bolivia.”

Pope Francis is now in Paraguay, the third and final country on his tour of Latin America, which ends on Monday.

Read More at BBC

Blog Editors Comment:
Those who objected to the hammer sickle crucifix must be asleep when it comes to the Popes socialist agenda