Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and unto God the things that are God’s.
It is difficult not to be moved by Pope Francis. His spirit of acceptance and humility has touched hardened and damaged hearts. And he has been a powerful counterbalance to the rampant materialism and violence which continue to plague and overwhelm much of the world.
But there are critics who do indeed seem justified in questioning Francis’s economic creed. One might be able to argue we’re spiritually deficient compared to earlier times. But it would be impossible to argue that there was less poverty and hunger then. The driver of this progression has been capitalism.
It seems that in an ever-changing, complex world we nonetheless gravitate toward absolutes. Capitalism, left unchecked and revered as a religion, is dangerous. The profit motive is not sacred. But at the same time it is disingenuous to bemoan all the shortcomings of an industrialized society — and blame it for all the ills of humanity — as we drive our cars to our heated and air conditioned homes, where we watch HDTV, take our prescription drugs and end the day with a nice hot shower.