Friday, June 29, 2007

Pope's Book Accuses Rich Nations of Robbery

Pope's book accuses rich nations of robbery
Benedict hails Marx's analysis of modern man
Publication planned for 80th birthday
John Hooper in Rome
Thursday April 5, 2007
The Guardian

WHAT WE FILIPINOS SHOULD KNOW: (Note: Bold and/or underlined words are HTML links. Click on them to see the linked posting/article. Forwarding the postings to relatives and friends, especially in the homeland, is greatly appreciated).

"The rich swell up with pride, the poor from HUNGER." - Sholom Aleichem, 1859-1916, Ukraine-Born American Writer

“I helped the poor and they called me a saint, I asked why they were poor and they called me a Communist’ – Brazilian Bishop Helder Camara (1909-1999)

Pope's book accuses rich nations of robbery
Benedict hails Marx's analysis of modern manPublication planned for 80th birthday

Pope Benedict appeared to reach out to the anti-globalisation movement yesterday, attacking rich nations for having "plundered and sacked" Africa and other poor regions of the world.

An extract published from his first book since being elected pope highlighted the passionately anti-materialistic and anti-capitalist aspects of his thinking. Unexpectedly, the Pope also approvingly cited Karl Marx and his analysis of contemporary man as a victim of alienation.

The Pope's 400-page book, entitled Jesus of Nazareth, is to be published on April 16, his 80th birthday. Yesterday the newspaper Corriere della Sera, which is owned by the book's publishers, Rizzoli, presented a lengthy extract. It includes Benedict's thoughts on the parable of the Good Samaritan, who went to the aid of a traveller shunned by other passers-by after he had been stripped and beaten by robbers. While many commentators accuse the rich nations of not acting like the Samaritan, the Pope goes a big step further and compares them to the thieves.

"If we apply [the story] to the dimensions of globalised society we see how the peoples of Africa, who have been plundered and sacked, see us from close-up," he wrote. "Our style of life [and] the history in which we are involved has stripped them and continues to strip them."

The Pope wrote that the damage was not just material. "We have wounded them spiritually too," he said. "Instead of giving them God - and thereby welcoming in from their traditions all that is precious and great - we have brought them the cynicism of a world without God in which only power and profit count."

His judgment is bound to be seen as a condemnation of colonialism. But it could also be read as a confession of the failures of the Roman Catholic church's own missionary activity, which often followed in the wake of conquest and colonisation.

Pope Benedict went on to say that the poor of the developing world were not the only people who could be regarded as victims in need of help from a Good Samaritan. He said narcotics, people-trafficking and sex tourism had "stripped and tormented" many, leaving them "empty even in [a world of] material abundance".

Describing humanity's alienation, Marx had "provided a clear image of the man who has fallen victim to brigands". But the Pope said he had failed to get to the nub of the issue "because he only developed his thoughts in the material sphere".

The emptiness of modern life is a theme to which Benedict has warmed. He told a congregation at a Palm Sunday service that "earnings, success and career must not be the ultimate scope of life". He used the same sermon to warn of damnation for those who took backhanders in business or politics, saying that only those with hands not "soiled with corruption" could expect to reach God.

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