In his first encyclical released on Tuesday, Pope Francis laid out a broad mission statement which restated the church’s opposition to abortion but also emphasized what it can do for the poor and oppressed trapped in a world of growing income inequality.
“It is no longer simply about exploitation and oppression, but something new,” the pontiff wrote in the 85-page document. “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’.
The pope also denounced “trickle-down” theories of economics promoted by many conservatives and politicians who espouse an unregulated free market.
“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,” he said. “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.”
Igor Bobic is the assistant editor of Talking Points Memo, helping oversee the site’s coverage of politics and policy in Washington. While originally from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Igor feels best at home on the beaches of Southern California. He can be reached at email@example.com.