Pope Francis Unplugged!
Is The People’s Pope An Anti-Capitalist?
Pope Francis’ recent description of unbridled capitalism as a “new tyranny” that is crushing the lives of people around the world through an “economy of exclusion and inequality” has sent shock waves through many sectors of America. Could it be that the Pope, who eschews the formal trappings of the Papacy and walks in the world of the poor, is attacking capitalism and embracing a more socialist ideology? But hold on a minute, this is the same Pope who said, “We cannot respond with truth to the challenge of eradicating exclusion and poverty if the poor continue to be objects, targets of the action of the state and other organizations in a paternalistic and aid-based sense, instead of subjects, where the state and society create social conditions that promote and safeguard their rights and allow them to be builders of their own destiny.”
How can these two seemingly contradictory statements be reconciled within the context of the legacy of the Catholic Church?
Catholics@Work is proud to present Fr. Robert Sirico, the President of the Acton Institute, whose focus is Integrating Judeo-Christian Truths with Free Market Principles, as our guest speaker at the March 11, 2014 breakfast forum.
Who better to explain the apparent contradictions in the Pope’s statements than a man whose life might also be defined as a study in contrast? In the early 1970’s Fr. Sirico was an active promoter of left-wing politics, but after a time he began to realize he did not agree with the principles of socialism. In 1977 he returned to the Catholic Church and received a M.Div. from The Catholic University of America in 1987 and was ordained a Paulist priest in 1989. Frustrated by the wide spread lack of an understanding of economics among religious leaders Fr. Sirico founded the Acton Institute in Grand Rapids with the motto, “Connecting Good Intentions with Sound Economics”
As one who has promoted a free economy as a normative way to assisting people out of poverty Fr. Sirico does not believe that the Pope’s comments are contradictory and anti-capitalistic. “Context is critical to understanding what Pope Francis means”, Fr. Sirico says, “We need to be aware of his personal context from his experience in Argentina, the Jesuit experience, and his view of the operational priorities of the treasured traditions of the Catholic Church.”
Fr. Sirico will share with us his understanding of Pope Francis’ context and demonstrate that the Pope’s thinking is not radical although his means of expression and his personal style is far from traditional.
John Dunican, president of Catholics@Work says, “After listening to and reading articles by Fr. Sirico on this subject it seems to me that there are two dimensions we must put in balance as we listen to and observe this dynamic new Pope. They are compassion and self-reliance. When properly balanced compassion does not mean providing endless handouts and self-reliance does not mean letting people flounder on their own when they need a little help.” Continuing Dunican says, “If you have heard Fr. Sirico on radio or TV you know how exciting and dynamic this breakfast will be. If you have not heard him before this is a unique opportunity to get a more informed understanding of a man who is changing history -- Pope Francis.” Go online and register today.
Go to www.catholicsatwork.com to register for this breakfast forum. Click on the “Current Event” tab. Look to the left and you will see a new, "Register" button. When you click on this button you will have three choices
1. Pay online (member price) 2. Pay online (non-member price) 3. Reserve a seat and pay at the event
It doesn't matter whether you pay online or at the breakfast but it is important to register so we can prepare for the right number of people.