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#TFImoments: Sr. Simone Campbell and the pope’s critique of trickle-down economics

August 30, 2018
Pope Francis’ words and actions have had a profound impact on countless people of various backgrounds, interests, and beliefs. In the interviews for my upcoming documentary, The Francis Impact, I’ve heard some beautiful and concrete testimonies of this. So I created #TFIMOMENTS, a web series to share some of these profound and personal moments of connection with the pope.
When Pope Francis flew to the United States from Santiago de Cuba in September of 2015, a journalist asked about his strong critique of the global capitalist economic system, decrying “trickle-down theories” and the idolization of money.
“There has been talk about a ‘communist pope’,” the journalist said, “Now people are asking: ‘Is the pope Catholic?’ What do you have to say about this?”
The pope’s response was one of his most memorable:
“My teaching, on all of this, in Laudato Si’, on economic imperialism and all these things, is that of the Church’s social teaching. And if I need to recite the Creed, I am ready to do it!”
For countless Catholics like Sr. Simone Campbell of the Sisters of Social Service, the pope has re-engaged the Church’s long tradition of social reflection and activism. She is the Executive Director of NETWORK, a lobby for Catholic social justice founded by 47 Catholic sisters in 1971.
Their lobby work on behalf of millions of poor and voiceless Americans can be gruelling and at times feel inconsequential. But their tireless efforts are grounded in Jesus’ life and teachings and the long tradition of the Church.
And they are not alone. Around the world socially-active Catholics have been inspired by Pope Francis’ bold and honest teachings on the true purpose of economics and the necessity of including everyone. For them, the pope is not inventing anything new but only highlighting a part of the tradition that had been a bit forgotten in our times.
To those who do not know the Church’s authentic tradition, the pope’s critique of global capitalism can seem “anti-Catholic,” or even “communist”. But a more complete reading of the Church’s social teachings confirms the pope’s words to the journalist. He, like Sr. Simone and countless other socially-active Catholics, is ready to cite the Creed if necessary.
For more information about The Francis Impact visit the official webpage.
Next #TFImoment: Fr. Frank Morrisey, OMI, distinguished Canon Lawyer from Saint Paul University, Ottawa
The Francis Impact poster

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