“Francis, the first Hispanic pope, signals a twenty-first century popular social Catholicism from the people of God in the global South to creatively resist the new empire of Mammon by reclaiming the earth and the poor as the Lord’s own. ”
The Earth is the Lord’s presents a salutary popular social Catholicism to revitalize democratic participation, rectify wealth disparity, and promote ecological well-being in the US church and wider society. With Hispanic peoples in the Americas as the populous source of the Catholic Church worldwide, social Catholicism must have a new optic to address the intersecting crises of the twenty-first century in this populist moment. Marshaling a social Catholicism from the global South, the first Hispanic pope, Francis, identifies the international imperialism of money (or the new idolatry of Mammon) as the greatest challenge today. This interdisciplinary project presents a historical and constructive account of an alternative Hispanic praxis of human rights authentically rooted in the church of the poor and popular movements in the last half century to resist the reign of Mammon under neoliberal globalization. From St. Óscar Romero to César Chávez, and Sr. Dorothy Stang to Moema Miranda, a Hispanic social Catholicism of the people is based on the belief in the social mortgage of all private property, which rejects claims of absolute ownership over the earth and its goods. Popular social Catholicism goes beyond a liberal social activism focused on civil-political rights and Catholic-right identity movements to construct a more comprehensive vision of justice from the people that includes socioeconomic, cultural, and environmental rights for the dispossessed. It also involves a renewed solidarity ethic of globalization from local and transnational popular movements opposing aggressive corporate globalization through ecological conversion, socioeconomic virtues, and an alternative politics of human flourishing.