Friday, July 24, 2015
Results of Poverty
A priest, and seminary professor, in the Kyeongyang magazine begins with an indirect apology for being blunt in his questions. Does the Church live according to the Gospel for the poor? Is not the Church quite different from the original Gospel of the poor that it once preached? We are no longer able to harmonize the life style we live with the original teaching of the Gospel. The writer reminds the readers that poverty was the essence of Jesus' message (Philippians 2:5-11).
The writer uses the words of Pope Francis in the exhortation Joy of the Gospel to speak about poverty. In Korea the response to the pope's words on the economy had little opposition within the community of faith. Surprising is the failure to understand the pope's words in the West, many see it as Marxism, when in reality it is an attack on distortions of the new-liberalism and not the free market economic system with an ethical ethos. Pope Francis is only repeating the traditional teaching. Many refuse to see the problems within the present economic system.
"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? This is a case of exclusion. Can we continue to stand by when food is thrown away when people are starving? This is a case of inequality" (#53).
When the market and money are idolized we have exclusion and social problems. Neo-liberalism works often with the motivation that comes from greed, and persons are often used, and their dignity not respected. Pope Francis was not in favor of the trickle-down help for the poor.
Between 1997 and 2008 Korea had two economic crises as they were pushing for globalization--not only an economic issue but it affected all of society. In the OECD countries Korea had the largest number of irregular workers, largest number of suicides, and high in the unhappiness index for the citizens. He mentions the death of two well known people, one died of hunger and the other of a sickness, and his body was discovered 5 days later.
"The need to resolve the structural causes of poverty cannot be delayed, not only for the pragmatic reason of its urgency for the good order of society, but because society needs to be cured of a sickness which is weakening and frustrating it, and which can only lead to new crises. Welfare projects, which meet certain urgent needs, should be considered merely temporary responses. 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. Inequality is the root of social ills" (#202).