Pope Francis took his condemnation of worldwide economic injustice several steps further on Tuesday, issuing a lengthy official statement that puts the markets, and its lovers, on notice. The 51,000-word outline of his vision for the Catholic Church's direction under his leadership is his first major publication since the papal elections this spring. The document is known as an apostolic exhortation, and it is basically the pope's official platform. This shouldn't really surprise anyone, but Pope Francis wants to do things a bit differently. The church, he writes, should "abandon the complacent attitude that says: ‘We have always done it this way,'” and instead become "bold and creative” in its work.
There's quite a lot on the document, which touches on a wide number of issues. Here are some of the more notable statements therein.
The Markets: "A New Tyranny"
This is the bit of Francis's apostolic exhortation that's getting the most attention, and for good reason. While Francis has made his stance against unfettered materialism clear in previous statements, he goes further here — the section is just filled to the brim with direct condemnations of what the Pope frames as market worship. The Pope makes a number of very strong statements against growing income inequality worldwide, and calls on the rich to share their wealth with the less fortunate. That statement explicitly goes beyond calling for Catholics to engage in run-of-the-mill charitable work, however. It's a call for systematic reform. Francis writes:
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. Such an economy kills.
To drive his point home, Francis condemns our current relationship to money as "idolatry," alluding to a brutal Old Testament story in which the Israelites create a golden calf to worship while waiting for Moses to return with the Ten Commandments. In that story, Moses melts down the statue and angrily forces the Israelites to drink it as punishment.