Pope Francis carefully chose this moment to capitalize on his internet popularity with an even more radical statement: that uninhibited capitalism represents "a new tyranny," and that global leaders are not doing enough to battle the growing income disparity.
Pope Francis' Twitter account, @pontifex, is the most talked-about thing on the internet, and Francis remains unafraid to discuss controversial issues in the spotlight. Reuters reports that Pope Francis' latest apostolic exhortation, an 84-page document, directly attacks "the idolatry of money" and importunes the leaders of the world to make "dignified work, education, and healthcare" available to all citizens.
His Twitter quote and reactions were popular, if not downright viral:
To live charitably means not looking out for our own interests, but carrying the burdens of the weakest and poorest among us.
— Pope Francis (@Pontifex) November 25, 2013
Only people who've never read the Gospels could be "stunned" by the pope's critique of capitalism. http://t.co/ET1ZB4HRGA
— Dan Savage (@fakedansavage) November 26, 2013
"Just as the commandment 'Thou shalt not kill' sets a clear limit in order to safeguard the value of human life, today we also have to say 'thou shalt not' to an economy of exclusion and inequality. Such an economy kills," Francis said in the document.
Francis did not stop there. "How can it be that it is not a news item when an elderly homeless person dies of exposure, but it is news when the stock market loses two points?" He questioned. "I prefer a church which is bruised, hurting and dirty because it has been out on the streets, rather than a church which is unhealthy from being confined and from clinging to its own security."
Continuing, Francis wrote that "As long as the problems of the poor are not radically resolved by rejecting the absolute autonomy of markets and financial speculation and by attacking the structural causes of inequality, no solution will be found for the world's problems or, for that matter, to any problems."
These comments are a radical step forward from the Pope's previous remarks; he had said in September that "Where there is no work, there is no dignity," adding that the root of the problem is "an economic system which has at its centre an idol called money."[Image via Wikimedia Commons]