Insights from the dashboard: Economic inequality and spirituality in Europe

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Insights from the dashboard: Economic inequality and spirituality in Europe

The EARS dashboard highlights how spirituality has responded to rising economic inequality in Europe. Read more in today’s article.

The EARS dashboard is a collection of summaries from European media articles on religion and society. During the six months of 24 May to 23 November 2022, 11 article summaries were added that covered both economic inequality and spirituality in Europe. We were able to discover several insights into how spirituality has responded to rising economic inequality in Europe and how this has been reported in the news.

Media coverage on economic inequality and spirituality in Europe

Media coverage looking at economic inequality and spirituality together has steadily increased during the previous six months. This media coverage largely reports how Christian leaders and institutions are helping people falling into poverty in the current inflation and cost-of-living crisis in Europe.

The word cloud below shows that it is mainly Catholic leaders and institutions that are offering people help. This help consists of organised charity and advocacy for better social welfare and development assistance. Pope Francis of the Roman Catholic Church drove a lot of this media coverage.

This is further corroborated by how different topics overlap in media coverage. Topics of leadership and religious institutions significantly overlap with inequality.

A deep dive into media coverage confirms the picture highlighted by the dashboard. For example, in October 2022 Pope Francis called for the UN to better protect the poor,[1] and on 13 November 2022 – the World Day for the Poor – he attended a lunch with 1,300 poor people.[2] There is clear recognition across Catholic leaders and institutions of the need to urgently respond to the growing economic crisis in Europe.Moreover, the deep dive into media coverage also confirms that this economic crisis has been going on for some time.In June 2022, the charity Caritas Spain reported that it had to support 2.6 million people during 2021, 20% higher than the year before. Caritas Spain provided a record €403 million in assistance, primarily to help the unemployed, the elderly and the homeless.[3]

How Europeans will spiritually respond to economic crisis in the future

A closer look at the content of media coverage helps understand how spiritual leaders and institutions in Europe will continue to respond to the ongoing economic crisis. Firstly, based on the content in the dashboard, we can assume that Catholic institutions will remain on the frontline of this response. Secondly, their response is expected to continue to consist of organised charity, and also advocacy to European countries and development organisations to take better care of their populations.

In many ways, the response of Catholic leaders and institutions is especially characterised by ethical reflection and public discourse. In addition to highlighting the problems, these leaders and institutions offer spiritual guidance. For example, Spanish clergyman Juan Antonio Guerrero stated that Pope Francis is spiritually “very conscious” of the corrupting nature of money and how the Church should not only evangelise but also be generous with the money that it has.[4] The same spiritual awareness about the harms and benefits of money was directly used by Pope Francis during his recent advocacy to European governments and the UN.[5]

It can, therefore, be concluded that how Europeans will spiritually respond to economic crises in the future will be shaped by Catholic leaders and institutions, and their ethical discourse on how we should help people facing the harms of economic inequality.

Learn more on the EARS dashboard

The EARS dashboard allows you to gain insight into a large number of topics, including economic inequality and spirituality. It is a free tool that allows you to make connections like those described above, and to find out about relationships between interesting subjects across Europe. Please visit the dashboard to learn more.

Muhammad Faisal Khalil

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[1] Папата бара реформи во ООН

[2] Paus luncht met 1.300 armen en daklozen | Kerknet

[3] Cáritas reclama al Gobierno “respuestas valientes” ante el desborde de la inflación

[4] Juan Antonio Guerrero: “Al Papa le preocupa que el dinero pueda corrompernos”

[5] Папата бара реформи во ООН