Martin E. Marty is the Fairfax M. Cone Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus at The University of Chicago and one of the most prominent interpreters of religion and culture today.
By Martin E. Marty
As Pope Francis was an exhorter bidding for attention last month, not only Roman Catholics were his exhortees. Count us in. The dictionary tells us that adding “-ee” to a word turns it into one which means a person or thing that is the object of that verb. The pontiff issued an “apostolic exhortation,” Evangelii Gaudium (The Joy of the Gospel), whose 85 pages have inspired uncommon attention in the media. It was clear that he focused on Catholics, but he probably wouldn’t mind if the rest of us joined his faithful in heeding the exhortation. The document concerned “economic inequality,” “unequal wealth,” and in it he denounced the current economic system as “unjust at its roots” because it defends “the absolute autonomy of the marketplace and financial speculation.” He calls the result “a new tyranny,” which “unilaterally and relentlessly imposes its own laws and rules.”