Yesterday, while speaking at the Synod in Rome, Pope Benedict denounced the “false divinities” that litter our culture, and he listed the usual suspects of terrorism, drug abuse and violence. But, he added a new false god to the list: “anonymous capital.” Here is the key part of the text: “…let us remember the anonymous capital that enslaves man, which is no longer in man’s possession, but is an anonymous power served by men, by which men are tormented and even killed. It is a destructive power, that threatens the world.”
I am dying to know what spin Michael Novak, George Weigel and Father Robert Sirico will put on that passage! They have been touting the creative, not the destructive, power of capitalism for decades but evidently Pope Benedict is – you will pardon the expression – not buying it. The Pope grasps what they refuse to grasp: The captains of capital in our day (it is used to be the captains of industry, but in America, the true captains of capital only make ponzi schemes) are indeed engaged in precisely the kind of morality-free analysis of economic-decision making, the kind of idoltry of the laws of the market, that enslaves the human person.
Why was the Pope so forceful in his denunciation of capital, devoting more words to it than to terrorism? I suspect it has to do with the fact that he has been meeting with the Brazilian bishops on their ad limina visits and they have spoken to him about the devastation of their country’s natural resources – and indigenous populations – by companies that are only interested in exploiting the land and its people. You see, this Pope not only teaches, he listens.
So, spin away Catholic neo-cons or, better yet, just admit that you “dissent.”