Inequality: “The richest 1 percent appropriated 60 percent of the increase in US national income between 1977 and 2007.” WTF!
By David Mc Williams
The other day, I went for a coffee with one of the local priests here in Dalkey. Father Declan was chatting about all sorts of stuff, and we touched on the first year of Pope Francis and what it has meant. For millions of Catholics all over the world – whether practising or not – the image of a truly humble man, who says the right things and seems honestly interested in the poor, is a relief.
He has had quite a remarkable effect on the brand and image of the church.
An overwhelming proportion of Catholics in the rich world (America and Europe) are impressed by him. Mass attendance, which had been falling all over the world, has stopped falling. In Latin America, the growth of evangelical Christianity has been stopped in its tracks. The evangelicals had been eating into the Catholic market share for the past decade.
Even The Economist magazine, heralding Francis as the “turnaround CEO of the year”, commends him for grabbing a huge corporate entity like the world’s biggest institutional religion and shaking it up, with immediate positive results.
Some may argue that it is all style over substance. He may now live in a boarding house instead of the traditional Papal palace, he may go out at night and talk to the poor, he may even wash the feet of the downtrodden, but what, the cynics argue, about women priests? Others will point out that he may have swapped the faintly ridiculous and outrageously camp dainty red shoes of his predecessor for normal brogues, but what about gay rights?
But this narrow assessment misses the point. He is the boss of the Catholic Church not the rotating chairperson of a civil liberties lobby group.
Change takes time and the Catholic Church, like any enormous institution, is extremely difficult to change fundamentally; it is also important to understand that in leading, you must take your constituency with you……