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Vatican newspaper: sociologist sees need for conversion from consumerism

Catholic World News - October 21, 2013

Describing Zygmunt Bauman as “one of the most authoritative interpreters of the human condition in the present age,” L’Osservatore Romano has published a conversation with the Polish Jewish sociologist.

The newspaper--which does not distinguish Bauman’s thoughts from those of the interviewer--stated that the search for pleasure has given way to a hybrid, à la carte religion free from dogma and discipline. In this era of “liquid modernity,” consumer culture has invested travel purchases with religious significance.

The conversation concluded:

An increase in consumption has produced, in fact, a great quantity of material and spiritual misery, in addition to seriously undermining the natural resources of the planet: on the one hand, we have lived above our means, and on the other hand, we have discovered painfully that happiness cannot be bought. And so, all of us today are required to change radically the structure of our lives. To express the same idea, Pope Bergoglio probably would use an old term of the Christian tradition: conversion.

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  • Posted by: unum - Oct. 22, 2013 7:39 AM ET USA

    "... (W)e have lived above our means, and on the other hand, we have discovered painfully that happiness cannot be bought." It sounds like Bauman and Pope Francis are on the same page!

  • Posted by: FredC - Oct. 21, 2013 7:08 PM ET USA

    Switching to the Fair Tax (replacing all other taxes with a sales tax) is a good way to combat consumerism.

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