There’s something deeply … ironic? Disturbing? … about a man sitting on a throne made of solid gold complaining about the gap between rich and poor, especially while surrounded by accusations of money-laundering, but Pope Benedict XVI is no stranger to controversy or irony (or the Hitler Youth, as it turns out.)
Earlier today, the Pope made his annual New Year’s speech, as reported by the AP, at the Vatican to urge world leaders, particularly those in Europe, to make long-range plans to encourage economic growth and lessen the gap between the world’s rich and poor. Amazingly, he didn’t blame gays for this problem (don’t hold your breath. It’ll probably come soon). During the speech, Benedict said the financial crisis that has rocked the world in recent years came about “because profit was all too often made absolute, to the detriment of labor, and because of unrestrained ventures in the financial areas of the economy, rather than attending to the real economy.”
One can hardly be surprised that the Pope would be upset about the love of the almighty dollar above all else – he hates the competition. To hear him complain about the world’s poor after actively working to prevent the Catholic Church from addressing their needs, in favor of targeting homosexuals, makes this call seem disingenuous at best.
The truth of the matter is that while America in particular suffers from income inequality, it remains a problem around the globe. It will take long-term, systemic policy changes around the globe to have a true impact on this problem, which one would hope would be the true crux of what the Pope is asking. However, as the head of one of the wealthiest institutions in the history of the world, perhaps Pope Benedict could manage to get by with a little less gold and a little more “helping the needy.” Just a thought.