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Pope Francis is the first Jesuit pope and has made economic inequality a theme of his pontificate. This article shows that Pope Francis diagnoses economic inequality as both a structural problem and a problem of virtue, and that the virtue he calls for in response is what James F. Keenan, SJ has called Jesuit hospitality. Reviewing contemporary theological work on hospitality, I show that Francis’ Jesuit hospitality shares many features with hospitality as described by feminist theologians. Namely, it is risky, takes place across difference, acknowledges the marginality of both host and guest, and promises mutual benefit to each party. Francis’ account of the spiritual practice of encounter provides a concrete vision of Jesuit hospitality in action. This article contributes to existing literature on the uniquely Jesuit nature of Francis’ theology and to work showing the resonance of his intellectual standpoint with feminist approaches. It proposes a Christian virtue response to the pressing contemporary problem of economic inequality.


Published version. Religions, Vol. 8, No. 4 (April 19, 2017). DOI. © 2017 MDPI . Used with permission.

This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.