May 30, 2013
Analysis: In his candid speeches and sermons, the new pope "forges a moral vocabulary on economics" to remind church leaders — and followers — of their responsibility to the poor.
"The globalization that makes everything uniform is essentially imperialist and instrumentally liberal, but it is not human. In the end, it is a way to enslave nations."
Those blunt words from spoken by Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio in 2010 speak to the plight of millions who are jobless in Spain and Greece, their economies yoked to a European Union bank system meshed with globalized finance.
The statement appeared in On Heaven and Earth, a dialogue book with Buenos Aires Rabbi Abraham Skorka, which is now available in English.
In the two months since the cardinals’ conclave in Rome elected the little-known Argentine and the first Jesuit pope, Francis has taken to his pastoral role as Bishop of Rome. Refusing to live in the Apostolic Palace, he has made his home in a religious hotel in Vatican City, and he has replaced the pope’s golden throne with a wooden chair. He has dispensed with the ornate red stole with filigrees of gold that Pope Benedict wore, instead presenting himself in white, wearing a metal cross without the customary papal jewels and regalia. Benedict wore red shoes; Francis’s are black and workmanlike.
This pope has also fashioned a symbolic language of shaming, and the candor in his statements and sermons aim to remind the clerical establishment — accustomed to lordly status — of the church’s core commitment to the poor. He has yet to make major personnel changes in a Roman Curia whose scandals riveted media coverage at the conclave, yet his rhetoric is that of a world leader endorsing purgative change.