Cardinal defends Pope’s criticism of capitalism

16 January 2014 | by Christa Pongratz-Lippitt

Cardinal Reinhard Marx of Munich, who is a member of the Council of Cardinals (C8) that advises the Pope, has come out strongly in defence of Pope Francis’s criticism of global capitalism made in his recent apostolic exhortation Evangelii Gaudium.

In a guest contribution in the Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano, Cardinal Marx calls Evangelii Gaudium a “spiritual government policy statement” which has triggered a debate on the future of the world.

The Church does not reject the market economy, but as capitalism today has little regard for individual destinies or for the weak and the poor, it cannot and must not be held up as a model for society, Cardinal Marx says. The Pope’s short, “pithy” sentence, “This economy kills”, in the exhortation had triggered a worldwide debate on the issue of economic justice, the cardinal said.

Francis had been openly and often harshly criticised, “which is a good thing, as Christianity is a public concern.”

But this carries responsibilities, the cardinal pointed out: “[Christianity] must face up to the controversies that ensue and take on disputes rather than withdraw from the harsh wind of criticism and contradiction into a sort of separate religious world.”

Explaining Francis’s thinking, he said the Pope was concerned with a “holistic evangelisation which includes culture, society, politics and economy” and not one that only concentrated on the catechism and the sacraments.

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