Sanders Applauds Pope Francis’ Call to Rein in the “Tyranny” of Capitalism

BURLINGTON, Vt.,  Nov. 26, 2013 – Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) today applauded Pope Francis’ recent papal pronouncement, which condemns the “new tyranny” of unrestrained capitalism, causing income inequality and poverty, and calling on leaders to curb “the absolute autonomy of the marketplace and financial speculation,” and act “for the common good.”  

In his first independently written apostolic exhortation called “Evangelii Gaudium” (The Joy of the Gospel), Pope Francis calls for a rejection of the “new idolatry of money.”  He notes that “the earnings of a minority are growing exponentially, so too is the gap separating the majority from the prosperity enjoyed by those happy few.”  He calls for “more politicians who are genuinely disturbed by the state of society, the people, the lives of the poor,” and for the commitment of political and financial leaders to “ensure that all citizens have dignified work, education and healthcare.”

Sanders continues to welcome the Pope’s past passionate criticism of the global financial system, which has plunged more of the world into poverty while benefiting the wealthy few.  Sanders commended the Pope. “At a time when the gap between rich and everyone else is growing wider, at a time when Wall Street and large financial institutions are exerting extraordinary power over the American and world economy, I applaud the pope for continuing to speak out on these enormously important issues,” Sanders said.  “Pope Francis is reminding people of all walks of life, and all religious backgrounds,  that we can and must do better.”

Francis warns that our economic systems will “devour everything which stands in the way of increased profits, whatever is fragile, like the environment, is defenseless before the interests of a deified market.” 

Francis broadens the definition of the commandment “thou shalt not kill,” by saying, “today we also have to say ‘thou shalt not’ to an economy of exclusion and inequality. Such an economy kills.” In striking terms he asked “How can it be that it is not a news item when an elderly homeless person dies of exposure, but it is news when the stock market loses 2 points?”  He repeated his warning that “Money must serve, not rule.”