Globalizations and the Church of the Poor

(2015/3) Editor(s): Daniel Franklin Pilario (c), Lisa Cahill, Sarojini Nadar, Maria Clara Bingemer
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Articles of the issue

GLOBALIZATION AND THE CHURCH OF THE POOR

         Editorial

Editors: Daniel Franklin Pilario, Lisa Sowle Cahill, Maria Clara Bingemer and Sarojini Nadar

GLOBALIZATION AND THE CHURCH OF THE POOR

            “The poor… the poor are at the center of the Gospel, are at heart of the Gospel, if we take away the poor from the Gospel we can’t understand the whole message of Jesus Christ,” emphasized Pope Francis in his spontaneous faltering English at a Mass for the clergy and religious at the Manila Cathedral on 16 January 2015. As if to prove his point, the next day he decided to fly to the island of Leyte – the so-called “Ground Zero” of the typhoon Haiyan – despite a raging storm. And on the makeshift stage battered by strong winds and dripping with rain, he celebrated the Eucharist in front of more than two hundred thousand people already drenched in the previous night’s stormy weather as they had prepared to meet him.  Despite the thin yellow raincoat which he wore like the rest of the crowd, he was also wet together with them. Deciding not to read his English homily, he spoke from his heart in Spanish with the help of his translator:  “Permítanme esta confidencia – cuando yo vi desde Roma esta catástrofe, sentí que tenía que estar aquí. Esos días decidí hacer el viaje aquí. Quise venir para estar con ustedes, un poco tarde me dirán, es verdad, pero estoy.” This dramatic gesture of solidarity warmed the hearts of all who gathered – most of whom were survivors and had lost families and property a little more than a year ago during the strongest typhoon recorded in recent history.

If there is anything that characterizes Pope Francis’s pastoral approach, it is these dramatic gestures that concretize solidarity in and with the Church of the poor, among others, his apparently spontaneous choice of the name “Francis” when  Cardinal Hummes of São Paulo reminded him to “remember the poor”; the unprecedented act of washing the feet of young juvenile convicts, a Muslim woman included, in a traditional Holy Thursday ritual in Casal del Marmo; his visit to Lampeduza where a banner read: “Welcome among the ultimi!” (an Italian word meaning ‘the furthest and the least’). And the list continues.      

            These daring gestures are also matched with powerful words. Phrases hinting at some decisive social analysis have become popular catchwords much to the disappointment of the economic and political right: economy of exclusion, globalization of indifference, throw-away culture, economy that kills, scandal of poverty, idolatry of money, culture of waste, and so on. Condemnations of self-referential attitudes have become media favorites as they also keep the “Eminences” on their toes: spiritual worldliness, feeling immortal and indispensable, mental and spiritual petrification, existential schizophrenia, sterile pessimism, spiritual desertification, rivalry, gossip and vainglory. And with those words also came some initial decisive action: the restructuring of the Vatican bank, reform of the Roman curia, decentralization of power, etc. Is the so-called “Pope Francis effect” more style than substance? It will require time to ascertain the answer, as the pope implements his vision at the practical level. But his vision of the Church is decisively clear and popular: “I would like to see a church that is poor and for the poor”; “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.” And his challenge is as direct and simple: “Go to the peripheries”… “Go, and make a mess!”     

The “Church of the Poor” discourse is not new; it has a long history. What makes the present Francis revival seemingly novel is the fact that the “option for the poor” has been eclipsed, domesticated and disciplined in the previous decades. The efforts of Cardinal Ratzinger, then the Prefect of the CDF, to censure Gustavo Gutierrez through a letter sent to the Peruvian bishops in 1983 is widely known………

Table of Contents 2015/3

                          Title of the Articles                   

                 Author

  Putting People before Profits: Globalization and Poverty

    Mary Ann Cusimano Love

  The ‘Option for the Poor’ in the Magisterium: Catholic Social Thought from Vatican II to the Aparecida Confernece

    Paulo Fernando Carneiro de Andrade

  The Way Ahead

   Carlos Mesters and Francisco Orofino

  The Dignity the Poor Demand after Liberation in South Africa

   Gerard O. West

  The Fruits of a Friends with Those who are Marginalized

    Etienne Grieu

  The Poor after Liberation Theology

   Jung Mo Sung

  Migrants and the Church in the Age of Globalization: An Asian Perspective

   Gemma Tulud Cruz

  Urgent: The War on Drugs Has Failed

   Ronilso Pacheco

  Ecological and Ethical Implications of Pirating the Resources of Africa

   Peter Kanyandago

  Unemployment in the First World: The US Experience

   Kenneth Himes

  The Pope at the Border

   Dennis Kim

 Ukrainian Maiden: The Civil Mobilization for Dignity and the Religious Situation in Ukraine

   José Casanova

 An Extraordinary Synod on the Family – but where were the women?

   Tina Beattie

Putting People before Profits: Globalization and Poverty

Maryann Cusimano Love - Abstract

Pope Francis urges us all to put people before profits. This article examines debates about the relationship between globalization and poverty: Is globalization good for the poor, is it fair, and how can we manage globalization consistent with Christian ethics? Globalization has grown wealth for some (India, China), while excluding others (Sub Saharan Africa, women), and not attending to wealth distribution. Capital flows are protected; people are not. More ethical means of managing globalization requires new institutional pluralism which includes old, prestate actors. Jesus of Nazareth was an institutional pluralist. We follow in a faster, more tightly connected world.

The ‘Option for the Poor’ in the Magisterium: Catholic Social Thought from Vatican II to the Apa

Paulo Fernando Carneiro de Andrade

Abstract

Since the historic radio broadcast of John XXIII, in which he affirmed, one month prior to the opening of the Council, that ‘In relation to underdeveloped countries, the Church presents itself as it is and as it wishes to be, that is, as the Church for everyone, and more particularly as the Church of the poor’, the question of a Church of the Poor and for the Poor has been greatly developed. In this article, the contribution of the ‘Church of the Poor’Group and of Cardinal Lercaro during the Council, the development of the theme in Latin America from Medellin to Aparecida, and the impact of the so-called ‘Option for the Poor’ by John Paul II will be analysed.

The Way Ahead

Carlos Mesters Francisco Orofino - Abstract

This article seeks to outline the new paradigms for the popular reading of the Bible in Latin America, starting from an analysis of what has been done in the last 50 years. It highlights the various challenges presented by the situation in Latin America and the way these influence this approach to the Bible.

The Dignity the Poor Demand after Liberation in South Africa

Gerald West - Abstract

This article addresses the place of dignity in South Africa twenty years after political liberation through a close examination of the Abahlali baseMjondolo movement, a homeless peoples’ movement. He explores “the socio-economic and theological dimensions of dignity, as well the role of the socially engaged biblical scholar in offering critical resources to recover the prophetic trajectory of dignity’s revolt in the Bible.” The author concludes that what “connected the Jesus community was not an ethnic ethic, but a socio-economic ethic,” and offers this insight as a critical component for the struggle of the poor in South Africa.

The Fruits of a Friends with Those who are Marginalized

Etienne Grieu SJ - Abstract

When the churches allow themselves to be touched by those who are ‘outsiders’, they experience the essence of what it is to be spiritual and human. This opens the way for an involvement in the public sphere which does not think first of defending set positions, but is disturbed out of complacency by those who are usually ignored. The churches speak, act, and make themselves vulnerable, because the message they carry calls them to this work. It is in fact a very vigorous way in which to contribute to the common good.

The Poor after Liberation Theology

Jung Mo Sung - Abstract

In Evangelii gaudium Pope Francis says that we live in a world marked by exclusion, social inequality and the globalization of indifference in the face of these grave social problems. He places these problems at the centre of theological reflection and evangelization by saying that this culture is a product of the ‘idolatry of money’, a new version of the adoration of the golden calf. This article shows how this theological critique came to birth within liberation theology and the importance of a theological critique of economics as a path to living a non-idolatrous faith.

Migrants and the Church in the Age of Globalization: An Asian Perspective

Gemma Tulud Cruz – Abstract

Human mobility has always been a part of Asia’s story. The age of globalization, however, has contributed to massive movements of Asians whose experience presents a rich and compelling locus for theological consideration. This essay explores the experience of vulnerable migrants in Asia, particularly the unskilled workers, and the Asian Church’s response to their plight. The essay argues that the Church becomes a true Church of the poor in the context of migration when words are complemented by deeds and the mission for transformation is shared with/by migrants themselves.

Urgent: The War on Drugs Has Failed

Ronilso Pacheco – Abstract

This paper discusses an extremely disturbing theme in Latin America: the limits of the War on Drugs policy as the main instrument of public policy in the region to solve the problem of production, consumption and trafficking of drugs, and how it leads to the trail of corruption, violence and criminalization of the poorest of society. The article will seek to broaden the discussion of the topic, from a brief analysis of the problem to its complex repercussions in the context of a continent marked by poverty, inequality and popular resistance.

Ecological and Ethical Implications of Pirating the Resources of Africa

Peter Kanyadago – Abstract

The taking of the resources of other people without their consent, which I would like to call “poroipiracy”, is almost as old as the history of humanity.  However, systematic and justified poroipiracy involving people from different countries and continents can be said to be associated with Europe’s spirit of discovery and conquest which involved a violent plundering of resources and enslavement of peoples justified on religious grounds. Later, poroipiracy also involves nationals and destruction of the environment and livelihoods of the affected people.

Unemployment in the First World: The US Experience

Kenneth Himes - Abstract

Our religious tradition affirms the importance of work and the tragedy of unemployment. In the U.S.A. there has been a growing percentage of the general population that is unemployed and underemployed. The number significantly increased during the Great Recession beginning with the 2007 financial crisis. Today we are far from the goal of full employment that the American Catholic bishops called for in their 1985 pastoral letter. Three particular harms of unemployment are noted: the long-term unemployed, the suppression of wage increases, and the growth in inequality. The church must speak and act on behalf of the unemployed.

The Pope at the Border

Denis Kim SJ - Abstract

Pope Francis visited Lampedusa on 8 July 2013. I first saw the event on TV in the evening. It was surprising news. I never expected that the Pope would choose Lampedusa as the site for his first official visit outside of Rome. After all, who cares about Lampedusa, a tiny island in Southern Italy, where people, undocumented, from Africa try to enter Europe but where many drown to death? As a Jesuit and a student of international migration, I was glad to see the Pope urge the world to pay attention to the plight of immigrants, as well as show his solidarity with the victims of sea crossing. More than a year has passed since his visit. I am now able to see more clearly what his visit means to us, Christians or not.

Ukrainian Maiden: The Civil Mobilization for Dignity and the Religious Situation in Ukraine

Author: José Casanova

An Extraordinary Synod on the Family – but where were the women?

Author: Tina Beattie