For years now, I have been pointing to the likelihood of the have nots revolting against the haves if the wealth gap continues to widen. And, the way the system is rigged, the gap will widen; it is programmed to! The vision I had was of the haves living within gated communities with armed protection while the have nots continue to grow in numbers and restlessness.
The tension of this growing gap can only increase to the snapping point. I have not spent time envisioning what would be the trigger – the primary cause of this “snap.” As anyone who has stretched a rubber band to the breaking point would know, the snap is difficult to predict and almost always surprises the person holding the broken rubber band.
Pope Francis’s recent Encyclical Letter, published on May 24, 2015, could well be a trigger for this snap. In this historical document, he addresses what he terms the human roots of the ecological crisis, the principle of the common good, the harm we have inflicted on our sister – Mother Earth – our common home, the decline in the quality of human life and the breakdown of society. He calls for dialogue, transparency, new policies and, generally, a drastic change in how we relate to the environment and each other.
Just a couple of weeks ago, MarketWatch columnist Paul Farrell posted this piece in which he sees the Pope as “leading a rebellion… an uprising of the masses against the world’s superrich capitalists.” Farrell continues: “Pope Francis is not just leading a ’Second American Revolution,’ he is rallying people across the Earth, middle class as well as poor, inciting billions to rise up in a global economic revolution, one that could suddenly sweep the planet, like the 1789 French storming the Bastille.”
I suppose Farrell might be correct if enough people actually read the 40,600 word Encyclical. I must admit that I never thought the trigger for such a revolution would originate at the Vatican, although I didn’t give much thought as to where it could come from.
I applaud Pope Francis for his bold stand and his willingness to stand tall for social and environmental justice. He is clearly a man of principle and courage.
I encourage you to read the Encyclical to which this short editorial refers, and encourage others to read it too. Maybe, just maybe, we can start a revolution – a bloodless revolution of the spirit which could prevent a more violent rebellion in the future.