PopeWatch: Inequality


The Pope has a twitter account and uses it most days.  On April 27 he issued this tweet:

Inequality is the root of all social evil.



Hmmm.  Tweets are especially unsuitable for papal pronouncements since they have no room for context, nuance, explanation, citation, etc, all the hallmarks of most papal statements prior to the current papacy.

Taken by itself PopeWatch thinks the tweet is not accurate.  If the Pope said that sin is the root of all social evil, or Original Sin is the root of all social evil, PopeWatch would readily agree with him, but inequality?

Inequality among humans is inevitable.  Governments may attempt to lessen the natural inequalities that exist from birth among all the Sons of Adam and the Daughters of Eve, although then new fields for inequality are created between those with enough guile, or votes, to manipulate government power to their advantage, and those who lack such resources, since a government capable of lessening inequality is usually able to increase inequality for those it deems “more equal than others” in Orwell’s phrase.

When it comes to inequality, PopeWatch prefers this statement by Mr. Lincoln, during the Lincoln-Douglas debates, about the phrase “all men are created equal” in the Declaration:

“I think the authors of that notable instrument intended to include all men, but they did not intend to declare all men equal in all respects. They did not mean to say all were equal in color, size, intellect, moral development, or social capacity. They defined with tolerable distinctness in what respect they did consider all men created equal – equal with “certain inalienable rights, among which are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” This they said and this they meant. They did not mean to assert the obvious untruth that all were then actually enjoying that equality, nor yet that they were about to confer it immediately upon them. In fact, they had no power to confer such a boon. They simply meant to declare the right, so that enforcement of it might follow as fast as circumstances should permit.”

True equality means that we stand equal before the law, just as we are all assuredly equal before the eyes of God.  To vest in a government the power to go beyond that is to create a new master for all, rather than to create absolute equality for all.

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Donald R. McClarey

Cradle Catholic. Active in the pro-life movement since 1973. Father of three and happily married for 35 years. Small town lawyer and amateur historian. Former president of the board of directors of the local crisis pregnancy center for a decade.


  1. “True equality means that we stand equal before the law, just as we are all assuredly equal before the eyes of God. To vest in a government the power to go beyond that is to create a new master for all, rather than to create absolute equality for all.”
    Well said. It is the duty of man to live according to the law to attain Justice for himself and for all.

  2. Pope Francis would also deny Catholic Social Teaching if he posits a society without any inequalities. From that foundational document Rerum Novarum

    “34. But although all citizens, without exception, can and ought to contribute to that common good in which individuals share so advantageously to themselves, yet it should not be supposed that all can contribute in the like way and to the same extent. No matter what changes may occur in forms of government, there will ever be differences and inequalities of condition in the State. Society cannot exist or be conceived of without them.

  3. Good point Phillip
    We wiil always have the poor with us. We can’t perfect a system that will create heaven on earth.

  4. 1st Timothy 6:10

    For the love of money is the root of all evils; it is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced their hearts with many pangs.

    Note that the Apostle Paul did NOT say inequality. Further, I would submit that the love of world-wide acclaim that comes with being noticed in all the news media as ever so pious and concerned about inequality is little different from the love of money. The first is love of self (how much recognition and praise can I get for myself), and the second is, well, love of self (how much money can I get for myself). Narcissism is as disgusting as greed. Actually, they are intimately tied together.

    I am disgusted. We got Mr “I fight against inequality” Obama and Pope “I fight against inequality” Francis. Whatever happened to saving souls from sin, death and hell?

  5. Paul:


    I’d faint if he tweeted on the glory of God or the salvation of souls.

    He is infallible in matters of faith and morals; not in matters of social evil or centralized, statist misallocations of economic/financial resources.

    The problem isn’t unequal distributions of material goods. The crisis is in the equal, universal distributions of sin.

    Post modern pope? Is the answer to all evil class, gender, race, or sexual orientation?

    The Pope is from Argentina where “capitalism” means “state-enabled vampire cronyism.” So, he mistakes that for free markets.

  6. you mean you’d faint if he sent a tweet like: “Each encounter with Jesus fills us with joy, with that deep joy which only God can give.” or “Christ is risen, Alleluia!”
    2 things here folks…
    1.If we’re going to talk about reading this in context let’s consider it was likely not first written in English, but possibly Italian, Spanish or …Latin which Iniquitas radix malorum could translate to “injustice (or inequity) is the root of evil”
    2. Let’s look at the whole of body of papal tweets https://twitter.com/Pontifex

    This idea of Pope Francis the oblivious pseudo liberal is just silly. That is not who he is.

  7. jmalc: ““injustice (or inequity) is the root of evil”” It is not injustice to keep what one has earned to support the survival of one’s own family and share with others through the virtue of voluntary charity. Involuntary charity, is not the imposition of virtue. It is extortion.
    “Inequality (or injustice) is the root of all social evil.” You left out the word : “social” to describe evil. The United Socialist States of America comes to mind.

  8. I wish he would tweet, “Pray the Rosary.”

    A comment like that is just what wealth redistributionists like the Democrat Party love to hear.

    Pope Francis should not have a twitter account or a phone for that matter.

  9. That tweet of his doesn’t surprise me at all, unfortunately. This is coming from the man that said that the greatest evils in our day are youth unemployment and the loneliness of the elderly. Speechless.

  10. For historical reasons, equality has been regarded very differently by the Latin and the Teutonic nations of Europe and one would assume by their descendents in the New World

    The great Catholic historian, Lord Acton expresses this rather well. “The Cæsarean system gave an unprecedented freedom to the dependencies, and raised them to a civil equality which put an end to the dominion of race over race and of class over class. The monarchy was hailed as a refuge from the pride and cupidity of the Roman people; and the love of equality, the hatred of nobility, and the tolerance of despotism implanted by Rome became, at least in Gaul, the chief feature of the national character.” Speaking of the Revolution, he notes, “The hatred of royalty was less than the hatred of aristocracy; privileges were more detested than tyranny; and the king perished because of the origin of his authority rather than because of its abuse. Monarchy unconnected with aristocracy became popular in France, even when most uncontrolled; whilst the attempt to reconstitute the throne, and to limit and fence it with its peers, broke down, because the old Teutonic elements on which it relied – hereditary nobility, primogeniture, and privilege — were no longer tolerated. The substance of the ideas of 1789 is not the limitation of the sovereign power, but the abrogation of intermediate powers.”
    Hilaire Belloc grasped this, too. “The scorn which was in those days universally felt for that pride which associates itself with things not inherent to a man (notably and most absurdly with capricious differences of wealth) never ran higher; and the passionate sense of justice which springs from this profound and fundamental social dogma of equality, as it moved France during the Revolution to frenzy, so also moved it to creation. Those who ask how it was that a group of men sustaining all the weight of civil conflict within and of universal war without, yet made time enough in twenty years to frame the codes which govern modern Europe, to lay down the foundations of universal education, of a strictly impersonal scheme of administration, and even in detail to remodel the material face of society—in a word, to make modern Europe—must be content for their reply to learn that the republican energy had for its flame and excitant this vision: a sense almost physical of the equality of man.”
    Now, the Holy Father is a Latin of the Latins.

  11. Michael Paterson-Seymour: The two superb quotes (especially the one from Hilaire Belloc) crystallizes why Pope Francis tweeted what he did. BUT: how are we, non-Latins, especially living in Obama’s America with Obama’s notion of inequality, to deal with the approving hooting and hollering of the know-nothing liberals?

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