The media are already gushing over the pope’s call for a redistribution of wealth, but they are downplaying his remarks on abortion and euthanasia. And what he said about the economic responsibilities of wealthy nations is, quite frankly, old stuff. Indeed, he cites his two predecessors as saying the same thing. To be specific, the pope did not call for economic equality: He twice called for economic equity. Equity means fairness; it does not mean sameness.
More important, the pope linked the rights of the unborn, and those who are ill, to the cause for justice. “Today, in concrete terms,” he said, “an awareness of the dignity of each of our brothers and sisters whose life is sacred and inviolable from conception to natural death must lead us to share with complete freedom the goods which God’s providence has placed in our hands, material goods but also intellectual and spiritual ones, and to give back generously and lavishly whatever we may have earlier unjustly refused to others.”
The pope also denounced our “throwaway culture” and the “culture of death.” He has used those terms before (the latter was coined by Saint John Paul II), so there is no ambiguity: He is clearly speaking about the disposal of unborn babies and the plight of the terminally ill.
Kudos to the pope for speaking to these issues with such force. We hope that the U.N. executives heed his advice.