Pope Francis' Struggle Against Modernity

Austen Ivereigh, author of The Great Reformer: Francis and the Making of a Radical Pope, gave an interview in which he said, of Pope Francis:

He’s convinced, as I say in The Great Reformer, that the contemporary world’s greatest temptation is precisely the one presented by rapid technological development: to make idols of mechanisms, confusing ends and means. His focus on the poor derives from his perception that the poor (who have less access to technology, power, and autonomy) are less tempted in this respect and therefore more receptive to God’s mercy.


I have not read this book yet but I am reading another book which describes the economic inflection of the industrial revolution. Prior to the industrial revolution, humanity was trapped in a primitive economic state little different from animals in which any improvement in technology meant only an increase in population and a return to subsistence living conditions.

But after around 1800 in England, later in other countries, a new economic dynamic took hold in which people’s living standards rose while population also increased. The reasons for this are very complex but the Catholic Church has struggled with modernity ever since. Vatican II was supposed to address this but it’s success was very limited.

The author, Ivereigh, seems convinced that Pope Francis is taking on this struggle personally.

Is mankind being corrupted by technology?

That’s a very broad statement. Driving a car corrupts no one. Modernity is also a very broad concept that requires examples for discussion.


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