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In his latest encyclical–an authoritative papal document–Pope Francis has laid out his ideas of what he believes the world needs to become post-pandemic.
The document, entitled Fratelli Tutti (which means “Brothers All” in Italian), is an ode to a more communal, fraternal society, one in which we aren’t as divided by borders and differences, but united in our shared humanity. However, the document is making headlines for a different reason.
In it, the Pope laments the failures of free-market capitalism which he believes has failed the poor and weak during this global “calamity”.
“The marketplace by itself cannot resolve every problem, however much we are asked to believe this dogma of neoliberal faith,” he said in the encyclical.
He continued: “Neoliberalism simply reproduces itself by resorting to the magic theories of “spillover” or “trickle” – without using the name – as the only solution to societal problems. There is little appreciation of the fact that the alleged “spillover” does not resolve the inequality that gives rise to new forms of violence threatening the fabric of society. It is imperative to have a proactive economic policy directed at ‘promoting an economy that favors productive diversity and business creativity.'”
Pope Francis even touches on the topic of privilege, which he explains prevents everyone from benefiting equally from a free market.
“Some people are born into economically stable families, receive a fine education, grow up well nourished, or naturally possess great talent,” he said. “Yet the same rule clearly does not apply to a disabled person, to someone born in dire poverty, to those lacking a good education and with little access to adequate health care.”
This isn’t the first time Pope Francis has voiced his opinion on contemporary socio-economic issues. The Argentinian Jesuit has largely been considered progressive due to his comparatively open-minded takes on controversial topics like divorce, climate change, and LGBT issues.
According to Pope Francis, he began writing the encyclical at the beginning of the year, but the document’s message took a very different turn when COVID-19 “unexpectedly erupted” across the globe, “exposing our false securities.”
“Fratelli Tutti” is surprising to people because of how progressive it is. Especially coming from an authority figure that is head of a traditionally conservative institution.
Among his thought-provoking ideas, he shares such gems as: “Racism is a virus that quickly mutates and, instead of disappearing, goes into hiding, and lurks in waiting.”
He also explains that the term “populism” is being co-opted by powerful people who want nothing more than to exploit a country’s people for their own personal interests.
Pope Francis ended the encyclical with an universal call for “peace, justice and fraternity” among everyone.
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