Pope Benedict: Occupy Wall Street Rocks!

NPR called Benedict and “unlikely” supporter of economic reform. Shows that the image of the Catholic Church is misconstrued as a solely right-wing organization because they are against abortion and gay marriage.

Here’s more from NPR on the Pope’s take on redistribution of wealth. NPR acts as if this is a “Who knew?” kind of situation.

The Vatican released a document on the world economy on Monday that will cause heartburn in the Tea Party, but will be cheered by the folks occupying Wall Street.

This will surprise most Americans who think the pope is a Republican because he opposes abortion and gay marriage. But when it comes to economic justice, Pope Benedict XVI is to the left of President Obama. Heck, he is even to the left of Nancy Pelosi.

Those who read the pope’s 2009 encyclical “Caritas in Veritate (Charity in Truth)” will not be surprised by this new document. In that encyclical, the pope decried “corruption and illegality” among economic and political elites in both rich and poor countries. He told financiers they must rediscover the ethical foundation of their activity and stop abusing savers. He wants a radical rethinking of economics so that it is guided not simply by profits but by “an ethics which is people-centered.”

Benedict notes that economic “inequalities are on the increase” across the globe. He does not accept the trickle-down theory, which says that all boats will rise with the economic tide. Benedict condemns the “scandal of glaring inequalities” and sees a role for government in the redistribution of wealth.

Yes, you heard that right. The pope favors the redistribution of wealth. When was the last time you heard a liberal Democrat use those words?

For the uninformed, Catholics are economic liberals with a strong record on protecting the environment as well. They are also moral conservatives, basing much of those arguments on natural law, simply put, there’s objective truth in the world that we can know and should base our decisions on.

Most people are the opposites. They’re economic conservatives (I take care of my family first and give what’s leftover to charity, etc. They don’t want taxes and look for loopholes to protect their money) and liberal on the socially moral questions (do what you want, everything is relative…just don’t hurt someone else).

We have much to consider here. One is the image of the church as being aligned with the Republicans. True probably only on issues like abortion and gay marriage. Catholics are against capital punishment for the same reasons as they are against abortion. All life is sacred.

But what of our more liberal positions? Seems that Catholic Social Teaching is still the best kept secret out there! But perhaps Pope Benedict is looking to open the window a bit wider here? We stand with those who are vulnerable economically, as well as, those in harm’s way in war torn parts of the world, the unborn, the prisoner on death row.

Now that being said, because I am the king of fairness, there are people who fall heavy on one side or the other. When I go to conferences about social justice, I don’t hear much about the unborn and sometimes they don’t spend a lot of time praying together or even providing time for reflection privately. On the other hand, at a conference on family life there seems to be too much self-concern and while prayer is filled with personal piety, we don’t hear much about working as families for the needs of the poor, prisoners, or even single mothers!

That friends, needs to change. If we’re not consistent then we are sending mixed messages to the world. And then entities like NPR (who should know better) are surprised when they hear the truth of what we believe.

We now live in a world where young people don’t have time to guess at who we are and what we stand for. We need to be better at proclaiming who we are and what we believe publicly.

If we don’t, all we do is confuse people. And that friends, doesn’t help. It makes us look like the right-wing fringe most of the time and the left-wing disorganized the rest of the time.

We’re more than that and need to rise about mere factions to express the tenderness of the Catholic heart which encompasses everyone.