Pope Francis criticizes global “cult of money”

I sometimes find myself at odds with my church, but Pope Francis is exactly right when it comes to poverty and the “cult of money.”

Pope Francis said life had become worse for people in both rich and poor countries, the BBC’s David Willey in Rome reports.

In a biblical reference, the pontiff said the “worship of the golden calf” of old had found a new and heartless image in the current cult of money.

He added that reforms were urgently needed as poverty was becoming more and more evident.

People struggled to live, and frequently in an undignified way, under the dictatorship of an economy which lacked any real human goal, Pope Francis said.


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40 thoughts on “Pope Francis criticizes global “cult of money”

  1. Thanks Zach.

    Francis needs to get a lot more specific. Would like him to talk about higher tax rates for the 1%, the dangers of monopolies and oligopolies, and collective bargaining. Won’t hold my breath, but this is at least something.

    1. Hey John, he’s talking to you (and me, and all of us). On a global scale, you ARE the 1%. But before you clamor for higher tax rates (what would be the point of that anyway unless we were sending those funds to the world’s poorest?), look around at what you have. Perhaps the pope should have also included this verse “Why do you look at the spot of dust in your brother’s eye? But you do not see a big stick in your own eye!”

      When he speaks of “worshiping the golden calf” he is reminding us all not to let materialism get in the way of our salvation, which should be the most important.

      1. fms,

        I’m thrilled that you finally understand that education and economic mobility are the best birth control.

        What’s next? Are you now supporting individual liberty, a woman’s right to choose?

        1. Hey John, I always support individual liberty as long as it doesn’t involve the murder of innocent life. I wonder if you support individual liberty in any situation other than destroying human life. You know, such as school choice, property rights, a limited central government with limited taxation, etc.

          1. fms, “human life” begins before conception. I’m just thrilled you’re fighting to put the real abortionists, masturbators, behind bars.

            Will you let us know when you’ve apprehended “five-finger Mary,” and “Rosy Palm?”



            1. Oh John, surely you know better. I’ll excuse your vulgarity and expect you do realize how babies are made. When those two elements come together a life is formed. If it’s not, then you tell me what it is. Please don’t ignore documented science. Don’t ignore Gosnell and his ilk to defend some mythical right to kill innocent babies.

              1. Last I checked, according to the Catechism of the Holy Roman Catholic Church, jack’noff (hope that’s not too vulgar for you) is still a mortal sin. If it’s not mass abortions, why is it still a mortal sin?

                1. I’m not Catholic, so I can’t comment to that. But there are many sins that are not against the law: coveting, lust, adultery, disrespect, being vulgar, etc. That would be my guess as to why that church body considers such a practice to be a sin. Your question makes little sense. It can still be a sin, without it being an abortion.

                  1. Of course you’re not a Christian. If you were, you’d know that “adultery” is prohibited by the Ten Commandments.

                    1. Who said I’m not a Christian? I said I wasn’t Catholic. There’s a difference. In fact all of the things I mentioned (coveting, lust, adultery, disrespect, being vulgar) are prohibited by the Ten Commandments. That being said, what does that have to do with your previous comment?

                  2. Hey, forgot. You’re out of your element here. That’s why I haven’t replied to your comments. Casper’s speaking to two thousand years of RC thought, and you’re barely out of the Pat Robertson school. I hate to sound elitist but it is what it is.

                    1. I have studied plenty of RC thought and I hardly think Casper is sharing anything profound about it. In fact he changes the subject so fast who knows what he is talking about, but he started off with individuality re: abortion, marijuana, and masturbation.

                  3. fmsn, since you claim to be a Christian, when was the last time you visited someone in prison?

                    Matthew 25:

                    37 Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? 38 And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? 39 And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ 40 And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’

          2. fms, “school choice, do you mean using tax dollars to support Jihadists?

            “Property rights,” you mean like the eminent domain that Scott Walker opposes?

            “Limited Central government,” wraf. You support the County Board against the County Executive. Yippeee!!!

            “Limited taxation????” Only “little people,” and the “poors” pay taxes. Monopolies, oligopolies, and the 1% do not pay any net tax.

          3. fms, does “limited central government,” mean Obama can get pot from offshore producers, (Trans Pacific Partnership) sell it exclusively through the Post Office, thereby cutting off the states from receiving any tax revenue?


            1. It might destroy your life if you lose your job and family in favor of mindlessly getting high on the couch. But I would tend to lean towards personal choice on that. But if you make that personal choice and it turns you into a dreg on society, don’t expect me to pay for your twinkies.

              Thanks for the ‘serious’ discussion and have a good day, making whatever personal choices that you see fit!

                1. It’s a good thing there aren’t any liberal nannies that want to tell me how to live! They also like taking my money. The amount I am allowed to keep they will tell me how to spend.

                    1. I didn’t equate liberal nanny with coveting, etc. You are combining two different posts. And you are all over the place on topics. It’s been fun, but I’m done. Throw in a personal attack now, I’m curious to see if Zach will LOL again.

      2. FMSN,

        Actually, I should think our own personal salvation shouldn’t be the most important, but rather uplifting others instead of ourselves should be the most important.

        Pope Francis correctly located world tyranny in “free” market capitalism. I hope he continues to speak on this point. His goal for the Church is most laudable: “I would like a Church that is poor and is for the poor.”

        But really, I think the most extraordinary aspect of this piece is that the Vatican Bank will publish its first ever annual report. That’s hugely huge. Lots of resistance and controversy surrounding it. I applaud him.

        And about those Liberal Nannies – why is it that you only object to Liberal Nannies, but you continually ignore the Conservative-Libertarian Nannies that literally shape and steal every meaningful choice you might ever make? Perhaps you might consider what transfixed by the cult of money looks like. You look pretty transfixed.

        And, just a reminder, genuine liberty and genuine individual choice doesn’t occur at anyone else’s expense, nor does it ever sacrifice the public good. Your disparaging “twinkie” comment belies a deeper verity – individual choice is not something you truly value. As to your other examples of false-choice – these serve only to empower the ruling elite, not individuals. Quite frankly, all are patently antithetical to the founding ideals of individual liberty, with the exception of property rights depending on what you mean by it.

        And by the way, I didn’t ignore Gosnell. His case and conviction speak directly to the damage caused by privateering, the harm caused by the right wing’s efforts to render abortion illegal, and to deregulation. Gosnell’s practice speaks most firmly for safe, affordable, and well regulated abortion care. His atrocious practice occurred because of a climate created by Anti-Choice legislation. It is the Gosnells that you get when you restrict women’s access, you get Gosnells when you have:

        781 laws attacking abortion rights since 1995
        26 new laws this year alone
        33 states restricting low-income women’s access to abortion
        33 states requiring a delay for abortion, and
        Innumerable squads of intimidating protestors harassing women at abortion clinics

        If you don’t like Gosnell, keep abortion safe and legal. If you value individual liberty and individual choice then allow women to make up their own minds about abortion. Legal abortion that is well-regulated, safe, accessible, and affordable shouldn’t be a threat to your belief that abortion is murder. Allowing others their own beliefs doesn’t diminish your own.

        1. Wow, you don’t ignore Gosnell but you put all the blame on others. Do you blame the Jews for Hitler? Sickening.

          1. No, fms, as usual you’re wrong. Gosnell is 100% on you “forced birthers,” taking away individual liberty.

          2. FMSN,

            In another post, “Wisconsin loses over 22,0000 Private Sector jobs in April” you wrote this:

            “People don’t just create jobs because they have the bucks or out of the goodness of their hearts. There has to be a demand for something to be created or produced.”

            There is truth to your statement, but what is extraordinary is how fervently you deny your own truth. Anti-Choice legislation created the demand for Gosnell’s clinic. I shouldn’t need to remind you, but I shall… before Roe v. Wade was the law of the land, the Gosnells were the law of the land. Gosnells and privateers worse than Gosnell were the status quo. Illegal abortion created the demand for many more privateering monsters than Gosnell’s single rogue clinic. That Gosnell’s clinic has surfaced should serve as a warning call to all who seek to restrict abortion care and overturn Roe v. Wade. The Gosnells will always occupy that niche created by restricted or illegal abortion. And the women who will die at those clinics, FMSN, will be poor women.

            Make no mistake, illegal abortion creates the demand for illegal practitioners to serve wealthy women too. As occurred between the 1880s and 1973, a niche for abortion privateers serving the well-to-do will emerge just as the Gosnells will emerge if abortion is illegal. Prior to Roe v. Wade, wealthy women received more expensive, relatively safer abortions. But the vast majority of abortions were performed by the Gosnells and those worse than Gosnell.

            But it isn’t just on back-alley abortion slabs where women die when abortion is illegal. It is in hospitals too. Perhaps you’re unfamiliar with Savita Halappanavar? If so: Jury Cites Poor Medical Care in Death of Indian Woman in Ireland – http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/20/world/europe/jury-cites-poor-medical-care-in-death-of-indian-woman-in-ireland.html?_r=0. If abortion is restricted or illegal, the medical profession cannot function in its own capacity. Belief has no place in hospitals. Only qualified medical professions should determine the appropriate care for a pregnant woman. It isn’t your place, FMSN, to make those decisions for women or for doctors. You don’t have the authority to excuse or not to excuse anyone from choosing an abortion from a well-regulated, safe, accessible clinic. You and all Anti-Choice supporters who unjustly assume that authority for yourselves usurp the individual rights of women and subvert the medical profession in the process.

        2. “Legal abortion shouldn’t be a threat to your belief that abortion is murder.” How do you type this with a straight face? It’s not a belief, it is a fact. You might as well say the neighbor who beats his wife and children have no bearing on your belief that it is inhumane.

          I will allow anyone any belief they wish, but I’m not about to excuse actions that involve someone from committing the crime of murder. You might be content to look the other and pretend it’s fine, but I am not. Good day.

          1. I didn’t blame others for Gosnell. I pointed out the conditions created by Anti-Choice legislation which allowed Gosnell’s practice to exist. All the points I mention bear directly upon his victims, literally forcing them out of well regulated care and into the hands of an unregulated, privateering monster. “Abortion is murder” is a belief. You are free to believe it. It is not your place to excuse any individual’s actions should those individuals choose abortion. By supporting Anti-Choice legislation you are not allowing anyone to believe as they wish; you are choosing for them. I don’t look the other way. I accept that it isn’t my place to tell other people what to believe and how to act.

          2. fms, God “aborts” fetuses all the time, frequently before the Mother ever knows. They’re called “mis-carriages.”

            If you want to delude yourself into thinking God is murdering little babies, call a physician to issue a death certificate. Than bury the remains as you would any human life. Among the many problems with you “forced birthers,” you’re incredibly lazy.

            100% of Medicaid should be paid by you “forced birthers.” Americans who believe in individual liberty shouldn’t have to pay for the mess you created.

  2. The Jesuits have always had a more cerebral and practical view of Jesus Christ. Maybe some real progression is possible. It would help if the left quit thinking of all religion as anathema.

    1. Cat, I agree with your points, but I do take issue with your statement that “the left” thinks of all religion as anathema. There are plenty of us on the left who don’t hold that view.

      1. If Vatican II hadn’t happened and my parish pastor hadn’t marched with Martin Luther King and ushered in the first fully integrated Memphis parochial school, my children would have gone to public schools. I’ve lived the reformed Church and witnessed it’s counter reformation based ostensibly on the issue of abortion. I have good friends and family in both camps–as well as Judaic and Protestant faiths. I look forward, as Zach, to better things with Pope Francis, but would not want the Church to abandon all the beautiful culture accumulated and preserved throughout the centuries.

        1. IMHO most Protestant (Reformed) ministers would agree with you. They would say that one thing got Luther/Calvin got slightly wrong was his under-appreciation for the importance of rituals in liturgy. If you go to an eastern-rite Catholic Church, you see what he was dealing with in the 16th Century. It’s basically paganism. The walls are covered with saints/icons. Three-hour liturgies are filled with old rituals, that smack of superstition.

          Liturgically speaking, the Western rite, Roman Catholic Church, cut a middle path between the extreme iconography/ritual of the Tridentine Church and the minimalism of Luther, Calvin and other reformers.

          The problem is the Opus Dei crowd, who are nominally Roman Catholic, in that they claim allegiance to the Pope (Eastern rites do not), but they are church mice. They completely leave out the “social gospel.” For them salvation is “private,” it’s disconnected from how they make a living.

  3. The Pope’s concern for the “cult of money” should start with the Vatican itself.

    For centuries, the Catholic Church has bilked billions and billions from the poor all over the world. Vast riches flowed from the New World to the church and its royal partners. The hoard of gold and silver from Mexico alone is worth billions. The “cult of money” is an apt description for this evil empire which used torture and death during the Inquisitions as part of its greed for wealth and power.

    After the death of my uncle, my poor aunt in Kenosha was visited by the priest from the nearby Catholic Church on Washington Road. He demanded $500 for masses so that her deceased husband, my uncle, could go “…from purgatory to heaven…”.

    The “cult of money”, indeed.

    1. And why is that the poor of the world continues to give from their meager goods to the world wide Church? And why is that that the most intelligent and compassionate among them join the church and continue to “bilk” as you say, Edward? For two millennia the Church has continued to save the thoughts and relics of the past, and tell the story of God’s dialogue with man. She has existed longer than any other institution, country or organization in one place, under one management, despite no weapons or standing army. All this, having committed, according to most of the world’s literati, unspeakable acts. Why is this? Why do I, after a lifetime of sin, continue to defend her from malcontents like you? If you’re ever given the gift of faith, you’ll know.

      1. Cat, “no weapons, no standing army,” you have an active imagination.


        If not the Pope, who did the Italians revolt against?


        Are you a monarchist? Of course not, but that’s whose water you’re ignorantly carrying.

        Have you heard of Sharia law? Before the Italian revolution, Pius IX kidnapped a 6-year-old, because the Roman Catholic maid who worked for the family claimed she had baptized him. His Jewish parents never got over the loss of their son.


        The Italian police took arrest orders from priests and bishops.

        Here’s a wing nut toasting Roman Catholics who fought with the Confederacy to preserve slavery http://www.thecatholicthing.org/columns/2011/catholics-and-the-civil-war.html

        Unfortunately, he’s right. Pope Pius IX was officially NEUTRAL during the U.S. Civil war. Poor Irish immigrants in the U.S. were free to fight for or against slavery.

        Lots of rich slave owners in New Orleans were Roman Catholic. They gave a lot of money to the Vatican to keep it from speaking out against buying and selling human beings.

        Hitler could not have waged WWII with the Reichskonkordat.

        It told Roman Catholics in Germany that it was “ok” to follow Hitler and his anti-semitism. How and why Pius XII stayed silent when Hitler murdered a million Roman Catholic Poles http://www.catholicculture.org/culture/library/view.cfm?recnum=472 ?

        Do you understand now why Kennedy’s election was so difficult? People were afraid he (and America’s military) would be controlled by the Pope.

        Pope John XXIII and a helluva lot of martyrs throughout the Church’s history have fought for democratic capitalism and human rights. They deserve loyalty.

        OT, RC is one denomination within Christianity. Once you are BAPTIZED as a Christian, you announce Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, the “bringer of God’s salvation. ” Back-yard squabbles about the proper role of scripture, how many sacraments, transubstantiation v. consubstantiation …. don’t matter.

      2. Catkin,
        Actually, the Vatican does have its own standing army composed of the Pontifical Swiss Guards (today a smaller force than in the past; with a diminished role: papal security) and The Vatican’s Corps of Gendarmerie. In the not too distant past the papal military was larger consisting of the Palatine Guard, Noble Guard, the Zouaves, and the Corsican Guard. The Papal States created one of the largest armies in Europe. The Catholic states loyal to the Pope also pledged their armies to the Church. It isn’t quite accurate to say that the Catholic Church didn’t have a “standing army” – it had a pretty formidable military at its disposal for much of its history. That’s not a comment on the merits of Catholicism. I agree with you, there is much to admire in the history of the Catholic Church.

        1. Of course, PJ. But the armies protecting the Papal States were mostly commanded by secular monarchs or emperors–which may be why Rome outlasted Byzantium. Somewhat inaccurate in my burning retort, as usual.

    2. Edward, my hope with Pope Francis is that he’s going to start to right some of the wrongs you mentioned in your comment. From all accounts that I’ve read, he’s not a man caught up in the trappings of his office, and it’s my hope that his humility and lack of interest in the material trappings of his office will serve as a powerful example to others. It’s also my hope that he’ll work to implement meaningful changes within the church that are reflective of his views on money and all things material.

  4. John Casper, the best quality of life for the average citizen is today purported to be in several of the world’s monarchies. Nobles are bred to rule from birth, and most are ingrained with a real commitment to their country and its people. Of course the rule is, “where there is the ability for the most good, there is the occasion for the most evil.”

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