The Latin American Church is, in the end, a political Church.
It lives in a social context different from the European or generally Western one. In Latin America, institutions are considered oppressors, and the people are the oppressed. The claim of the right of the three Ts: (Tierra, Techo, Trabajo: land, shelter, work) is a response to oppression. Equal dignity for everyone is based on something very concrete; it cannot be ideal or based on abstract principles.
According to this perspective, the State must take care of the people, and the people must claim their rights. The market marginalizes the people, and the people cannot compete. In the latter, Pope Francis even justifies “the rage and powerlessness at the sight of persistent inequalities,” and shows appreciation for the movements that are keeping up their work.
The technocratic paradigm is mostly a socio-political problem for Pope Francis, one he sees from a very pragmatic perspective. It is not a general push to consider the human being as an object in a world where the technology rules. To Pope Francis, technocracy is just any ideology that puts the State or the market at the center.
Pope Francis writes, then, “Tthe technocratic paradigms (whether state-centered or market-driven) are not enough to address this crisis or the other great problems affecting humankind. Now more than ever, persons, communities, and peoples must be put at the center, united in healing, to care, and to share.”
From this perspective, it also becomes clear the Pope Francis' request “to consider a universal basic wage which would acknowledge and dignify the noble, essential tasks you carry out. It would ensure and concretely achieve the ideal, at once so human and so Christian, of no worker without rights.”
In the end, Pope Francis’s project for integral human development is driven by one desire or goal: the redemption of the people. The perspective must be reversed: the institution must be placed at the service of the people, and not the people at the service of the institutions.
Whatever that is, it is not a socialist perspective: Pope Francis tries to give pragmatic responses to practical issues; that’s the Latin American way.
Here lies a crucial key to understanding Francis’s pontificate. Pope Francis does not concern himself with doctrinal issues simply because those issues are far from the people. To Pope Francis, it is essential above all to approach people. The pragmatic solution comes first.
Pope Francis does not care about history because, to him, the urgent matters come first. History is not important. The reaction to issues is important. This is what the Pope means when he mocks the rhetoric of “we have always done it this way”.
Pope Francis is not a Pope that looks at the institutions because institutions have betrayed the people. In Latin America, the people and the great leaders shape the institutions and not vice-versa. For this reason, the institutional side will never be fully developed during this Pontificate, not even in Curial reform.
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This Pope will always be the one who shapes this institution, not vice versa.
Francis is not a Pope who looks at the problems of the world with the perspective of a long term ideal. He looks at the issues of the world with the view of the people. As a man of the people, he looks for concrete and fairly ready solutions. The marginalized ones must be re-included in society, and this must be the institution’s task at any cost.
For all of these reasons, we cannot expect revolutions on doctrinal issues.
Pope Francis applies a different point of view. Between the marginalized people and the institutions, he instinctively is on the side of the marginalized. Now that history is at the crossroads, Pope Francis thought it was time to grab the momentum for the redemption of the marginalized. Or at least, to try for it.
Pope Francis’s message to popular movements is, in the end, a message. However, the message was sent on Easter Sunday. That must carry some weight of meaning. Reading between the lines, Pope Francis is celebrating the resurrection of the people. That people that, according to Pope Francis, can never fail.
This is the reason why Pope Francis cannot look to any other way out of the coronavirus crisis but the Latin American way. Pope Francis universalizes, in fact, the sentiment of the Latin American continent. Following Simon Bolivar and Methol Ferré's ideas, Pope Francis aims at a Latin American continent united and strong, a new guiding light in the world. The letter to the popular movements provides another clue to the contents of this vision.