Does the pope hate capitalism?

Observers are noting his increasingly tough language defending workers and lamenting the corporate drive for profit at all costs.

By Kim Peterson May 2, 2013 4:52PM
Newly elected Pope Francis I waves from St Peter's Basilica on March 13, 2013 in Vatican City, Vatican (© Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)Pope Francis had harsh words for the companies involved in the Bangladesh factory that collapsed last month, saying they were using "slave labor." Even worse, the unfair salaries and profit-at-all costs policies were "against God," he added.

The comments -- his toughest stance yet on workers' rights, according to Reuters -- comes as the total number of those who perished in the collapse hit 411.

Francis' words are in line with previous positions he took as the former Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio of Argentina. He often defended the poor, according to Reuters, and clashed with governments on economic policies. Now, however, his thoughts carry much more weight -- and may impact the way companies balance employee interests against profits.

"Work is fundamental to the dignity of a person," he told tens of thousands of people in a May Day speech. "I think of how many, and not just young people, are unemployed, many times due to a purely economic conception of society, which seeks selfish profit, beyond the parameters of social justice."

So society bears a responsibility for its poor, and selfish profit is immoral. It sounds an awful lot like Francis opposes Western notions of capitalism. He has written as much in the past, saying that capitalism promotes consumerism and hedonism, noted Cincinnati.com.

"People are less important than the things that give profit to those who have political, social, economic power," he said Wednesday. "What point have we come to?"

More on moneyNOW



71Comments
May 2, 2013 5:13PM
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About time someone in the clergy says something that makes sense.
May 2, 2013 5:54PM
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Capitalism- Good.

 

Generational indentured servitude dressed up under the guise of Capitalism- Not so Good...

May 2, 2013 7:03PM
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Defending workers isn't hating capitalism. The West doesn't have a capitalist system, that's a myth spread by overpaid CEOs.
May 2, 2013 7:52PM
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It's not capitalism that's at fault.  It's the abuse of capitalism.  Greed everywhere.
May 2, 2013 6:56PM
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AMEN! This pope could teach a LOT about humanity to the people in power here in the USA.  Our country has turned into nothing but a profit hounding, egotistical, tyrannical crap hole that has the widest wealth gap it ever has since its inception (and growing) I am not a catholic but i will say this man represents god in his ideals.  Jesus fed the needy NOT charge them for each piece of bread and fish!
May 2, 2013 7:24PM
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The Pope is a man of his environment. "El trabajo dignifica" was one of Peron's sayings. On the other hand, he is a product of his education and faith. While the Catholic Church no doubt approves of capitalism, it holds that worldly goods are held in trust by those who have them. And that is a sacred trust. Like any trustee, we are to use our wealth ethically and compassionately. Like Francis of Assisi, we are not to be borne down by material goods. After all, the ultimate truth is that we can't take them with us...
May 2, 2013 7:13PM
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When a person spends his time, his life, doing work in the service of another person, that work should be honored and respected, no matter the skill level or pay level. Unfortunately this is not the case for the most part in the USA and much of the world.
May 2, 2013 9:07PM
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Is somebody calling what is going on in America right now-- Capitalism? I respect a Pope who points out dopes destroying the world through greed. Greed isn't Capitalism.
May 2, 2013 6:50PM
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Just because you favor people acting ethically and generously does not mean you don't like the economics of capitalism. Socialism and communism don't have very good track records at solving the problems of poverty because wealth is confiscated for the common good but is inevitably squandered or misused. Individuals are better at making sure their own charity dollars go to just causes. I give to people who put my money to good use and not to charities that waste it. You should see how much further a dollar goes when given to a privately run food bank than it does when used in a food stamp program.
May 2, 2013 8:36PM
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Although I am an Atheist, I agree with him on this matter. Unchecked, unfettered capitalism is evil and any "Christian" who supports it that way is a hypocrite.

There needs to be a way to make capitalism more fair and more equitable, so people wouldn't hate it so much.

Bring back the middle class...

May 2, 2013 8:06PM
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Free market capitalism is the only path to prosperity - the market should take care of the greedy company in Bangladesh and take them out of business.  The company has done wrong and they need to take responsibility.  The Pope is absolutely right!
May 2, 2013 9:47PM
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God Bless the Pope! Maybe, someone among the greedy, and unfeeling, will hear, and maybe, it will change the terrible direction, that our societies are cascading down.
May 2, 2013 7:42PM
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Ca'mon MSN,  have a care, or at least some respect, and use a capital letter when you spell  'Pope'  in your introductory story line "Does pope hate capitalism?"   Since when do we not capitalize proper names???  Bad editting again!  Makes your creditability suspect.....Oh!...wait, it already is! 
May 3, 2013 4:19AM
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MSN and NBC, enough.  That headline was a complete joke.  Cincinnati.com?? Really.  And where did they snip the info from?  This kind of journalism people are slowly learning about.  Somewhere some strange information is plunked out onto the web, then another little higher up media source picks it up, then another picks it up quoting that quote, and so on up to NBC or such.  But by then no one can flop back to the original source.  That game is getting far too common in the media, and it is not fair to people who simply want accurate information.. or... reporting.  This Pope is speaking about worker safety, rights, and equitable pay (non slave labor or indentured servitude) all over the world.  That is a big part of his job... you know... helping the poor...

Hate is a big word.

May 3, 2013 8:45AM
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What the Pope is saying here is we have lost sight of what our purpose is as human beings for our dependence on money to function as a society. Our purpose here is to first and foremost, help each other . Next, take care of the earth so future generations of humans have somewhere to call home. We have lost our way in too many arenas of the world, and we need to remind ourselves constantly of what our calling is. Personal discipline in a capitalistic society is critical for the long term health of that economic system. We will never rise to our greatness as a species if business is not conducted morally, ethicly and fairly, and with the needs of other people at the forefront of that business. Instead of "what can I get by with to do business and make as much money as possible" attitude , try this instead... " what is the most that I can do to help you, no conditions".
May 3, 2013 7:56AM
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I'm more concerned about an American President that hates capitalism. 
May 5, 2013 1:37PM
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It has  been proved that Socialism is a gigantic failure around the world. Just look to what happens in Europe with the Socialist governments. All of them have been replaced by Conservatives in recent elections, not to mention the failure of Socialism in China and Cuba. What we have in USA and Europe is a mix of Capitalism and  Socialism, and it works. Abraham Lincoln said 150 years ago "You can't help the poor by destroying the rich". And this is as valid today as it was in Lincoln's time.. By the way, I have worked all my life and never depended on hangouts from the government as many young and healthy people do today. Instead of looking for jobs . Finally, you talk like a Marxist when you mention Fascism in your  comments. .Please ,don't tell me that you have embraced that big mistake in Philosophy. Did you get it yet?
May 3, 2013 10:09PM
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Pope Francis’ objections concerning profits decry profits that are sought or obtained purely for profits’ sake; rather than profits gained by mutually wholesome exchange of goods or labor for salubrious purposes. Pope Francis’ outcry is against the mechanized transformation of cultural designs that promote grotesqueries of greed (e.g. those based on a negative change at an inflection-point on a Bank’s or Manufacturing Corporation’s mathematically theorized S-Curve that charts potential rates of increased profits; without regard to natural cultural norms of human or ecological planetary needs); that instead thereby create or exacerbate poverty, pernicious lusts against innocents, wars of choice (e.g., for preponderant global geopolitical racial or genetic societal hegemony, or for oil from Iraq, rather than for mutually wholesome existence amongst human “persons” and other naturally born living species and their ecosystems in equipoise).

 

Simply put; Pope Francis is calling out (as would the Christ, Jesus or St. Peter) for everyone to abandon the diabolical path of self-destruction.

           
May 3, 2013 7:27PM
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I see no way that any of the major religions of the world can come to an understanding with Capitalism.  The reason is that Capitalism is about self interest whereas religion is about the other person's interest.   "When I look at the moon, my vision is extremely narrow but if I imagine I am the moon looking at me, my vision is broad.  It is not I that becomes you but rather you that becomes me".  This is not just about the Catholic Pope but all traditions of Chrisitianity, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism and Hinduism.    If you take a look at both the Mennonites and Hutterites you see idealic Christian societies.   "it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter heaven".  Some rightwingers have tried to qualify this but its message is pretty clear.  
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