Pope Benedict Urges Politicians to Overcome ‘Anti-Social’ Wealth Gap, Work Towards ‘Just Society’
Aboard Shepherd One last Thursday en route to Mexico, Pope Benedict was asked to comment on the growing economic inequality in the Americas and the Church’s response to it.
In reply, Benedict offered a stunning critique of politicians who refuse to stand up for Catholic social teaching on economic justice.
He remarked that such politicians are practicing a certain “schizophrenia between individual and public morality.” Some Catholic politicians, Benedict notes, may claim to practice their religion in the private sphere, but “in public life they follow other paths that don’t correspond to the great values of the Gospel which are necessary for the foundation of a just society.”
Benedict argued that the Church must liberate politics “from false interests and the obscurity imposed by those interests” and work to create a “social doctrine [that] overcome[es] this social division [between rich and poor]—which is truly anti-social.”
National Catholic Reporter’s John Allen explains how Benedict’s response shows that he is using faith to advance the many facets of social justice:
“Benedict took a staple of Western pro-life rhetoric, which is the need for coherence between a Catholic’s private beliefs and public positions, and gave it a far broader spin. The need for coherence, the pope suggested, doesn’t end with the culture wars, but also applies to other questions of social justice – including, in the first instance, solidarity with the poor and efforts to overcome glaring inequalities.”