Skip to comments.Nobel nominee aims to 'Bergoglioize' Latin America (For the poor: "The Church, not the State")
Posted on 04/06/2013 11:41:46 AM PDT by Mrs. Don-o
Buenos Aires, Argentina When torrential rains and flooding hit Argentina, leaving thousands homeless, the Solidarity Network founded by a social entrepreneur and Catholic layman named Juan Carr sprang into action.
They positioned a large red truck in downtown Buenos Aires outside the Cathedral of Buenos Aires to collect food, clothes and other supplies for the flood victims, with a hand-painted banner reading: You are not alone the entire country embraces you!
This reflects the fact that the former occupant of the cathedral, now known to the world as Pope Francis, was a major supporter of Carr's concern for the poor .
The Solidarity Network is no fly-by-night operation. The movement has 800 volunteers and 38 offices up and down the country, and Carr was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2012. He functions like a humanitarian exchange broker, connecting people who want to serve with people who need the help.
Whats your relationship with the pope?
The Solidarity Network is a lay, secular initiative, but Im a Catholic. I was raised in a kind of Catholicism that was very spiritual on one side, praying and going to Mass and the sacraments, but on the other side it was also very socially minded, interested in helping the poor and meeting the concrete needs of the people. Here in Argentina, for this generation, Bergoglio has been the one who brought these two dimensions of the faith together the spiritual and the social.
Whats unique about Bergoglio?
During my years as a member of the Catholic church, Ive noticed a growing split between a church completely focused on the spiritual side and a church thats committed to the social issues, but without addressing the devotional needs of the people. Bergoglio is a rare figure who transcends that divide, embracing both.
In the 1970s, and throughout the 80s and 90s up to today, hes promoted the idea that the spiritual and the social components of the church have to go together. That was something new, because in Latin American Catholicism people tend to emphasize one or the other.
Can you talk about a special experience youve had of Bergoglio?
The most important for me was when I was invited to present the biography of Bergoglio, titled El Jesuita, here in Buenos Aires. That night, I said that I was honored to present Jorge Bergoglio to the audience, someone I believe will one day be a saint. The next day, Bergoglio called me to thank me for what I said about him. I told him Id like to trade in the speech to get him to help me achieve zero hunger in Latin America, because thats really my obsession. He agreed immediately: Of course, he said. A couple of months later he becomes the pope!
What are you hoping hell do?
Right away, what Id like to do is to hold a meeting in Rio de Janeiro this summer, at the same time the pope is there and with his support, to create a sort of Social Foreign Ministry for the poor. I want to bring together everyone in Latin America whos working to curb poverty, so we can start working together. It could be an amazing network of people who are extremely committed in all the different countries.
Beyond this summer, what do you hope this pope can achieve?
My main goal now is to Bergoglioize Latin America! We need to turn the message of this Jesuit, his ideas and his work, into a broad Latin American message. We need to figure out how to take what he did here in Buenos Aires and put it into practice in every single Latin American country.
He wanted to promote the idea of a missionary Church, a Church that gets out into the streets. He was especially concerned for those about whom society didnt seem to care, such as single mothers, the poor, the elderly, the unemployed. His main concern was how to get the Church, not the government, to move towards those who need it the most. He wanted the Church to make them a priority.
One of the biggest decisions Bergoglio made, was that everything financial would be handled through private banks, added Carr, who believes Pope Francis will close the Vatican Bank.
Nice news to ping.
The difference of communitarianism between Using the Church instead of the State to implement policy is that the Church does not use force.
This is just returning to the Church the way it was before the reformation and French revolution. In the middle ages, the state was much smaller than it is today. The Church handled everything of the “social safety net” that now has been taken over by government. This was deliberate, in order to reduce the Church’s power.
Well, not any more.
Thanks for the post and the ping.
I think this is a great direction and example for all.