10 thoughts on “Financial Reform”

  1. The message of the pope is strong, poignant, and while it is true that he sounds radical, this is simply because it is only radical re-thinking of why and how we do things will protect our society and our environment from becoming un-liveable.

    And no, this message is not ‘to the left’. It is as much in the centre as one can get.

    Unfortunately, an old man representing an old institution that is considered thoroughly uncool by the Liberated and Enlightened Modern Masses is unlikely to be listened to (as a tangent: who said that ‘Atheism is the Opium of the Chattering Classes’? -tangent closed.)

    . I hate to say this, but if you put the Dalai Lama on a podium and make him read the Pope’s text, the world (and all those cool, thoroughly enlightened, thoroughly ‘liberated’ people) would listen in a rapture, and the next day it would be all over the media, both online and off.

    Unfortunately (?), Pope Benedict is no poster boy. Still, this is a chance to re-shape our Catholic identity. If we live B XVI’s message, in our daily lives, in our work etc, then maybe we can, slowly but surely, convey the liberating power of a life lived according to the Gospels. Contrarily to what many people think, there’s nothing stifling, musty, or uncool to such a life. Au contraire.
    This crisis is a chance for the catholic message and especially for the powerful message of Caritas in Veritate and Catholic Social Thought.

    We must all become poster boys and -girls, for ours is a very attractive message: it is subversive and intelligent at the same time.

    • Birgit, just to be clear: the text hasn’t been released yet. Fr Reese was quoting from previous texts and for American consumption, which is why he seems to have bumped up the ‘to the left’ idea. I’m very hopeful that the document will be well worth studying and, like you, hope that it will be heard despite the pope’s perceived lack of ‘charisma’. (I don’t subscribe to the ‘old man out of touch’ idea that so many assume.)

  2. An astute observation, Birgit. I confess to being one of your masses. Without these promptings, I doubt I would pay attention to an encyclical. Indeed what exactly is an encyclical? What standing has it ? Is there a duty for the church to read and follow through at the local level?

    To be fair to the Dalai Lama, one of his maxims is for us all to look within our own traditions. His advice sent me back to examine my spiritual roots.

    On a different note, I first read ‘release a text’ as text message – it would be a long one. Releasing a text, sending one, texting – some good vocab for my EFL students.

  3. Thank you, Patricia. I’m wondering if you have found the Catechism of the Catholic Church. There is an online version here: http://www.vatican.va/archive/ENG0015/_INDEX.HTM. It would answer many of your questions (and prompt many more!)

    A papal encyclical is a letter (often a very long letter), dealing with some aspect of Catholic teaching, sent by the pope and addressed either to the bishops of a particular area or, more usually, the bishops of the whole Catholic world. The form of the address can vary, and often mentions a wider audience. The encyclical is named for its opening words and is regarded as authoritative (not the same thing as infallible, but we won’t go there just now, please.)

  4. Thank you for this link. I really am a newcomer to these matters and had no idea such a document existed. I thought the catechism a Q&A text for children. This ‘penny catechism’ often turns up in novels.
    Now I realise why converts to catholicism have to undergo a period of instruction.

  5. Ah, this is fabulous news. Thank you for the link.
    I love the Catholic Social Teaching and wish that we would focus on it rather than on other topics. It is one point where I feel in harmony with Rome…
    Now let’s see if all the US bishops will focus with such gusto on those teachings…
    It is not easy to stand against the overwhelming leaning of one’s national establishment…

  6. Can’t help but wonder if the Pope feels the same about the Vatican Bank. We always have to begin with our own house, especially if we are going to call the world to task. Still, I am pleased he is calling the world on the carpet.

  7. And your charge against the Vatican Bank is? I think I know what you mean, Ron, but there is quite a lot of rubbish talked about the Vatican Bank. I have the impression that the Vatican document will be more of an analysis of the ethical bases on which we make decisions about the economy, etc. For some people there are no ethical bases except those nugatory ‘market forces’.

  8. No specific charge against the Vatican Bank save that judgment begins with one’s own house. If the bank is fine then I rest my case. If not, then I trust that what is said is meant for everyone. Again, I commend the Pope for shining a light where it is needed.

    Bottom line, I am grateful for your blog and the opportunity to dialogue.

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