The Vatican estimates that there are 1.2 billion Roman Catholics in the world—approximately 85 million in North America. As many of them attended houses of worship today, they heard for the first time about something called "Evangelii Gaudium"—translation, "The Joy of the Gospel"—a new startling new document from Pope Francis that speaks to citizens' duty to the poor and homeless, the globalization of indifference and, in particular, the negative impacts of trickle-down economics.
In Francis' just-published white paper he asks, "How can it be that it is not a news item when an elderly homeless person dies of exposure, but it is news when the stock market loses two points?"
More pointedly, Francis writes that the trickle-down theory "has never been confirmed by the facts," and it "expresses a crude and naive trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power."
The Argentinian-born pope also has some choice words for those who wield such power, including public servants:
"It is vital that government leaders and financial leaders take heed and broaden their horizons, working to ensure that all citizens have dignified work, education and health care."
And the world is taking notice. In this morning's Malta Today, editors call the document "an earthquake" and the National Catholic Reporter called Evangelii Gaudium, Francis' "I have a dream speech."