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  • Print publication year: 2017
  • Online publication date: April 2017

12 - “The Globalization of Indifference”: On Pope Francis, Migration and Global Acedia


The perfect life coincides with the legibility of the world, sin with the impossibility of reading it.

Giorgio Agamben

It was not enough to proclaim poverty to make Western capitalism's forms of living conditional on Christianity: it was necessary to practice poverty, to nourish it, as a revolution.

Toni Negri

In the long history of the papacy, Francis is the first pope from the Americas. On the night of his election, he referred to himself as the new bishop of Rome, wittily suggesting that “it seems my brother Cardinals have gone almost to the ends of the earth to get him.” Since the beginning of his papacy, Pope Francis has brought attention to the geographical margins of the Catholic Church in relation to the historical centrality of Rome's Catholic Curia. At the same time, his public rhetoric and actions seek to put those whom he sees as socially marginalized (undocumented immigrants, the poor, those living in the deprived peripheries of cities, those with disabilities and others) at the centre of an internal renewal of the Catholic Church. By envisioning an evangelization from the (geographical and social) fringes, he has sent a warning to the heart of the Roman Catholic Church and the Curia Romana: that a worldwide renewal of Catholicism can be engendered only by placing people who are marginal at the evangelical centre of the Church and by curbing the self-referentiality and thirst for power of the Roman Curia.

As the first non-European pope and standing for those, like himself, who are from the “ends of the earth”, he gives visibility to concerns about poverty and inequality, which have a long and controversial history in the Catholic Church. With the choice of his papal name, Francis has drawn inspiration not only from his own religious order, the Society (“Company”) of Jesus, but also from the strength of the theological stances and historical experiences of the cenobic orders (which, especially the Franciscans, stress communal monastic life) within the Catholic Church.

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Religion and the Morality of the Market
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