Vatican documents on matters of social justice, unlike their counterparts on sexual matters, generally land at the bottom of news budgets, marginalized as esoteric and idealistic with little hope of achieving relevance in the real world.
So it was good fortune, or misfortune, depending on one’s point of view, that the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace happened to release its call for reform of the global financial system at a time of intense anxiety over global economics and as the Occupy Wall Street movement was spreading from city to city (see story).
The Vatican, often woefully inept at achieving timeliness and relevance, was, intentionally or not, dead on the mark in this instance. This document had relevance on arrival and a made-to-order news hook. Who could resist a Vatican call for overturning the era’s financial order?
The reactions were immediate, with those disposed to view American capitalism as an adjunct to American Catholicism strongly opposed. In those quarters, the document was dismissed as an insignificant piece from an insignificant Vatican office.