Does the pope do economics?


So we all know that the pope’s theological and social views are going to be the hardest of hardline. No way around that. But what about his economic views? Here’s a sample passage from the New York Times profile of Cardinal Ratzinger (now Pope Benedict XVI) from Sunday: “Based on Cardinal Ratzinger’s record and pronouncements, his agenda seems clear. Inside the church, he would like to impose more doctrinal discipline, reining in priests who experiment with liturgy or seminaries that permit a broad interpretation of doctrine. Outside, he would like the church to assert itself more forcefully against the trend he sees as most threatening: globalization leading eventually to global secularization.”

That last clause is a bit of a mystery. The church should “assert itself more forcefully against… globalization”? Does that mean that, like John Paul II, he’s worried that much of globalization is becoming a modern-day form of colonialism? Or does it mean that he’s less concerned with the economic aspects of globalization per se and more concerned with the spread of less-than-fundamentalist culture? The former could turn the new pope into a useful ally for many progressives on global economic issues. The latter, obviously, not so much.

UPDATE: Stephen Bainbridge claims the new pope won’t be quite so close-minded as all that. Well, there are lots of people who pay lip-service to “diversity of opinion” who don’t actually respect diversity of opinion. But I suppose we’ll see.

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate

Share your feedback: We’re planning to launch a new version of the comments section. Help us test it.