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Sunday, July 12, 2015

Pope Francis on the World’s Economy Idolizing Profit

During his trip to South America in July 2015, Pope Francis appealed to world leaders to seek a new economic model to help the poor, and to shun policies that "sacrifice human lives on the altar of money and profit."[1] This line reminds me of the ancient Greco-Roman religious practice of sacrificing animals on altars just outside temples dedicated to particular deities. Doubtless no thought went into the animals’ suffering. In the Jewish Bible, God spares Isaac just before Abraham implements Yahweh’s command to sacrifice Isaac. Like the ancient Greeks and Romans, Abraham constructs an altar for the purpose. In Christianity, Jesus Christ is sacrificed on an altar, which typically doubles as a table given the institution of the Eucharist in the Last Supper. This sacrificed lamb personifies God as agape, or selfless divine love, which manifests as benevolentia universalis, or neighbor-love. Sacrificing the needs of others is antipodal to serving them; hence the Roman Catholic pope’s preachment. Missing, however, was the subtle bias within Christian theology ironically in favor of money.   

[1] Philip Pullella and Daniela Desantis, “Pope Francis Condemns Corruption and ‘Unbridled Capitalism,’ in South America,” Reuters, July 12, 2015.