Vincent Rougeau


Are all human beings of equal moral worth? If so, does this proposition generate moral obligations to others that transcend national and cultural boundaries? Cosmopolitans would answer yes to each of these questions, as would Pope Francis and Catholic Social Teaching (CST). Given our interconnected economic system, a global perspective on justice is not only pragmatic but also morally essential. In recent years, however, what had been an emerging consensus centered on a cosmopolitan view of the reciprocal responsibilities of nations has been stifled by a rising tide of nationalism and right-wing populism. As a right-wing populist leader of a major world power, President Trump stands in sharp, jarring contrast to the emergence of Pope Francis as one of the preeminent global moral leaders of our time. Pope Francis’s leadership of the Roman Catholic Church has drawn new attention to the philosophical commitments of CST and to the longstanding position of Catholicism as a global faith, at a time when globalism and pluralism have become suspect. Pope Francis’s theological and philosophical commitments embrace a cosmopolitan vision of the world’s future in direct opposition to the secular nationalism offered by President Trump and other rising right-wing nationalists, such as Nigel Farrage in the United Kingdom and Marine Le Pen in France, who have both embraced President Trump’s victory with enthusiasm.