Pope Francis denounces ‘trickle-down’ economics

Pope Francis denounces ‘trickle-down’ economics

Pope Francis delivers  a speech March 15, 2013, during a meeting of the world’s cardinals. (Osservatore Romano/EPA)Pope Francis delivers a speech March 15, 2013, during a meeting of the world’s cardinals. (Osservatore Romano/EPA)

Pope Francis has released a sharply worded take on capitalism and the world’s treatment of its poor, criticizing “trickle-down” economic policies in no uncertain terms.

In the first lengthy writing of his papacy — also known as an “apostolic exhortation” — Francis says such economic theories naively rely on the goodness of those in charge and create a “tyranny” of the markets.

“In this context, some people continue to defend trickle-down theories which assume that economic growth, encouraged by a free market, will inevitably succeed in bringing about greater justice and inclusiveness in the world,” the pope wrote. “This opinion, which has never been confirmed by the facts, expresses a crude and naïve trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power and in the sacralized workings of the prevailing economic system. Meanwhile, the excluded are still waiting.” Read more

Justice and Peace Council holds conference on faith and politics

Vatican Radio

Justice and Peace Council holds conference on faith and politics

(Vatican Radio) A first international meeting of chaplains serving in Parliaments is taking place at the Pontifical Justice and Peace Council this week, reflecting on ways of supporting Catholics engaged in political life.
The encounter, entitled ‘Pastoral Care of Politicians: Spiritual Companionship and Promotion of the Common Good’, was opened on Thursday by Council President, Cardinal Peter Turkson, who spoke of “new and serious issues” facing those searching for a right relationship between Christian faith and political decision making.
During a break in the meeting, Philippa Hitchen caught up with Cardinal Turkson to find out more about the goals of the two day conference:

Listen: RealAudioMP3

Please find below the text of Cardinal Turkson’s introduction to the meeting:

Your Excellencies, Rev. Fathers, Distinguished Speakers and Participants, dear friends:

1. It is a joy for me to welcome you to the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace for this first meeting of chaplains serving parliaments. Thank you for making yourselves available for these two days of discussion and labour. Let me especially thank the speakers who have agreed to enrich our reflections.

2. We are gathered here to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of Vatican II. As we begin our deliberations, we cannot avoid thinking of the emphasis in Gaudium et Spes on participation in the political sphere: “There is no better way to establish political life on a truly human basis than by fostering an inward sense of justice and kindliness, and of service to the common good, and by strengthening basic convictions as to the true nature of the political community and the aim, right exercise, and sphere of action of public authority.” The mission of priests involved in various ways with political figures fits into this desire of Vatican II. This mission is not only one of defending particular positions, even if it is sometimes necessary to do so. Above all, it is imperative to assist those in public life to give their political engagement proper foundations and direction in an interiorized manner, through reflection and prayer, rather than leaving it merely to formal conventions. Read more

Ending Million-Dollar Pay Packages, Papal-Style

Ending Million-Dollar Pay Packages, Papal-Style

Let the Pope’s suspension of a bishop for spending millions on lavish renovations be a lesson to America’s CEOs.

BY Leo Gerard, United Steelworkers President

Corporate boards should behave more like Pope Francis, banishing imperial CEOs and rejecting royal pay package demands. If they did, they wouldn’t have to fear embarrassment when those pay ratio numbers get released.

Pope Francis has the antidote for what ails the United States. He gave the Catholic Church’s 1.2 billion followers a dose last week when he suspended the Bishop of Bling.

The German bishop, Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst, bought himself a $20,000 bathtub while spending $42 million renovating his residence. It’s an echo of John Thain, the Merrill Lynch chief executive who bought a $35,000 toilet while spending $1.2 million on office renovations just months before confessing to $56 billion in losses. Read more

Labor Movement to Rs: Let’s Talk – About Workers’ Rights

Labor Movement to Rs: Let’s Talk – About Workers’ Rights

Clayton Sinyai | Sep 13 2013 – 5:05pm | 0 comments


As I discussed yesterday, the AFL-CIO’s Constitutional Convention in LA this week began with a lot of buzz about proposals that progressive groups that were not labor organizations might be invited to affiliate with the AFL-CIO.  A number of union leaders expressed both practical and principled objections to such a tie-up. Practical, because there were times when their interests diverged – as when the Sierra Club and the construction unions clashed over the XL pipeline. Principled, because some felt workers needed a voice entirely of their own, and that would be lost in such a conglomerate. Plenty of progressive think tanks, coalitions, and pressure groups already existed, and they could always create new ones if the current ones were inadequate.  The labor movement, they contended, should remain a movement of workers, for workers, and by workers. Read more

AFL = American Federation of Liberal Organizations?

AFL = American Federation of Liberal Organizations?

Clayton Sinyai | Sep 12 2013 – 5:57pm | 3 comments


Along with the outreach to alt-labor groups I discussed yesterday, the AFL-CIO Convention delegates have been weighing ways to form tighter associations with progressive groups like the NAACP, La Raza, the Sierra Club, the National Organization of Women, and others. In politics, these organizations frequently find themselves confronting the same movement conservatives. Some labor leaders even floated proposals to invite such organizations to affiliate with the AFL-CIO, even though they were not labor organizations. The construction unions, among others, expressed skepticism, and the resolution delegates in fact passed was fairly modest.  AFL-CIO Building and Construction Trades Department President Sean McGarvey explained, “Giving people a seat where they have governance, and they don’t represent workers, that was a bridge too far for lots of folks.” Read more

The AFL-CIO and “Alt-Labor”

The AFL-CIO and “Alt-Labor”

Clayton Sinyai | Sep 11 2013 – 5:44pm | 0 comments


This week witnesses thousands of trade unionists and labor activists assembling in Los Angeles for the 27th Constitutional Convention of the AFL-CIO.  With union membership continuing to decline, the federation has been seeking new approaches to advocate for American workers.

The labor movement’s reach peaked in the early 1950s, when some one-third of US workers belonged to a trade union. This pinnacle was achieved under labor relations system created by the Wagner Act in 1935: workers voted in government-supervised election campaigns to decide whether they wanted collective bargaining and if so, which union would represent them. Labor and management would then negotiate a contract; the workers, now union members, would enjoy improved wages and benefits and pay dues to support their union in return. Read more

Take Action, But Not Military Action, in Syria Advocate, Pray, and Fast for Peace

Take Action, But Not Military Action, in Syria
Advocate, Pray, and Fast for Peace

With Pope Francis, the Bishops, other faith leaders, and the world community, we at NETWORK deplore ongoing violence in Syria, including the use of chemical weapons on the Syrian people. We are gravely concerned with the suffering of millions of refugees and displaced people. We have issued a statement calling on political leaders to:

-Intensify U.S. diplomatic engagement with other nations in calling for a ceasefire and peace negotiations

-Ensure immediate, unrestricted access by humanitarian organizations to the people of Syria

-Provide humanitarian aid to all those affected by the ongoing violence in Syria and among Syrian refugee communities

NETWORK strongly encourages you to call your Representative, who may be one of many undecided on military action in Syria, and convey the above messages. The number for the Capitol Switchboard is: (202) 224-3121. If you do not know who your representative is, click here.

Coming to a position about how NETWORK should advise decision-makers to proceed was difficult. As we call our political leaders to peaceful action, we also encourage you to mobilize the power of prayer and spiritual community. NETWORK joins Catholic Sisters, including and especially the Sisters of the Good Shepherd in Lebanon and Syria, and all who suffer violence and insecurity, in prayer. Join us and respond to the call of Pope Francis:  “We want a peaceful world, we want to be men and women of peace, and we want in our society, torn apart by divisions and conflict, that peace break out! War never again! Never again war! Peace is a precious gift, which must be promoted and protected.”

NETWORK invites you to accept Pope Francis’ invitation to all faithful, peace-seeking people to participate in a day of fasting and prayer tomorrow (Saturday), “invoking God’s great gift of peace upon the beloved nation of Syria and upon each situation of conflict and violence around the world.” See the full text of the Pope’s appeal for peace here.  For more information on Saturday’s day of fasting and prayer visit Find the Vatican liturgy and livestream here. To connect on social media, use the hashtags #Fast4Syria and #PrayforPeace, and share reflections with others on NETWORK’s Facebook page

Invoking God’s great gift of peace, 

Claire Markham

Field Associate


P.S. You can also read statements on the ongoing conflict in Syria from these other Catholic communities: Maryknoll Office of Global ConcernsPax Christi InternationalSisters of Mercy, and Franciscan Action Network.


Labor Day Statement 2013


Labor Day Statement 2013

Bishop Stephen E. Blaire, Bishop of Stockton
Chairman, Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
September 2, 2013

Every human being enjoys a basic right to be respected, not because of any title, position, prestige, or accomplishment but first of all because we are created in the image and likeness of God. From an ethical and moral perspective we embrace the exhortation of St. Paul “to anticipate one another in showing honor” (Rom 12:10). Today’s competitive culture challenges us to strive for victory and advantage, but for St. Paul the challenge is to build each other up and honor one another’s innate dignity.

Labor Day is an opportunity to take stock of the ways workers are honored and respected. Earlier this year, Pope Francis pointed out, “Work is fundamental to the dignity of a person. . . . It gives one the ability to maintain oneself, one’s family, to contribute to the growth of one’s own nation.” Unfortunately, millions of workers today are denied this honor and respect as a result of unemployment, underemployment, unjust wages, wage theft, abuse, and exploitation. Read more

Work, decent wages give people dignity, help families, says bishop

Work, decent wages give people dignity, help families, says bishop

By Zoey Di Mauro
Catholic News Service

WASHINGTON (CNS) — On the 75th anniversary of the creation of a federal minimum wage, Bishop Stephen E. Blaire of Stockton, Calif., addressed a Senate hearing June 25 about the importance of fair wages and the dignity of work.

He said, “The new bishop of Rome, Pope Francis, recently remarked that work ‘fills us with dignity (and) makes us similar to God, who has worked and still works, who always acts; it gives one the ability to maintain oneself, one’s family, to contribute to the growth of one’s own nation.'”

On June 25, 1938, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Fair Labor Standards Act, which enacted a minimum wage, initiated worker protections and all but ended child labor. Today the federal minimum wage stands at $7.25 an hour and $2.13 for tipped labor. The minimum wage was last raised in 2009 and tipped wages, in 1991. Read more