Eugene Robinson pauses to note the secular wisdom of Pope Francis, who unleashed an apostolic broadside this week against the golden calf of Reaganism:
[Trickle-down economics], which has never been confirmed by the facts, expresses a crude and naive trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power and in the sacralized workings of the prevailing economic system.
As harsh as that passage may read, Francis was actually being generous for the moment in allowing a collective "trust in the goodness" of our prevailing system--a generosity of spirit he soon and necessarily betrayed, for the reality of our willing omissions is unmistakable. To wit, in Francis' words:
To sustain a lifestyle which excludes others, or to sustain enthusiasm for that selfish ideal, a globalization of indifference has developed. Almost without being aware of it, we end up being incapable of feeling compassion at the outcry of the poor, weeping for other people’s pain, and feeling a need to help them, as though all this were someone else’s responsibility and not our own. The culture of prosperity deadens us.
Indifference is scarcely trust in the goodness of trickle-down rot. Indifference is tutored, learned, practiced, cultivated and refined; it's that indispensable, inhuman shield against an army of socioeconomic "facts." This, Pope Francis confirmed when he followed his indictment of our developed disregard with that most damning of adverbs: Almost. We are "almost without" awareness of our coldness--which, ethically, is far worse than being oblivious; indeed, obliviousness would be a pardon.
Francis had best watch himself. If he persists in counseling pure Christianity, which is approximate socialism, he'll find himself reigning over another Great Schism. And just as ironic is that this socialist agnostic would find himself a devoted Catholic.