Stones In Place of Bread

Over lunch I got around to reading the latest Zadok installment on the Holy Father's book. People have already done a good job of mocking the headlines accompanying its release (notably here --you thought it was about Jesus?), but I did wonder if the Pope really spent any time denouncing the West for raping the Third World. Seemed out of character for him, and in contradiction to other things he's said regarding progressives and the poor (e.g. his discussion of liberation theology as an instance of Western imperialism in The Ratzinger Report). Zadok's discussion makes it clear that the headlines really do get it wrong --they read his words and miss his point. From Zadok's translation:
The aid of the West to developing countries based on purely technical-material principles, that doesn't only leave God to one side, but has also led men away from Him because of their pride in their own self-importance, has made the Third World into the Third World in the modern sense. This assistance has put to one side existing religious, moral and social structures and has introduced its own technicalist mentality into the vacuum. They think that they can change rocks into bread, but they have given stones in place of bread.
Perhaps there are other passages where the Pope also denounces companies for their trade in, for example, Africa, and Zadok's only at the beginning of the book, but this at least is clearly directed more at UN-style aid programs and our insufferable Western habit of tying aid to the poor to conformity with our progressive definitions of family. It doesn't seem to be an economic critique, in other words, but a spiritual one.

At any rate, his comment that the rich West has created the "third world" as such is remarkable. He seems to see the West --or I should say the elite West-- as a kind of collective society doyenne who fancies she knows the struggles of the poor because she volunteers at the local soup kitchen, but has yet to see the people she serves as persons. That's profound, and a point often made by the folks over at the Acton Institute, for example in this and a whole series of ads.