Is Steve Jobs a saint or an exploiter? A wise life guru like Saint Ignatius of Loyola or an avaricious man, who could not have cared less about the poor - like the rich man in Luke’s Gospel? Despite being a Buddhist, Steve Jobs has become a central figure in Catholic debate, reports Vatican Insider.
He has even caused the Society of Jesus to “bicker” over him. Indeed it is mainly the Jesuits who are fighting over him.
On the one hand there is Fr Antonio Spadaro, director of the Italian Jesuit magazine Civiltà Cattolica, who poured praise on him in his funeral oration, describing the founder of Apple as a “visionary, a genius, a revolutionary,” comparing him to Saint Ignatius of Loyola: “His vision of life and death is very similar to that of the Society of Jesus’ founder.”
On the other hand, are the criticisms made by US Jesuits. Their opinion of Jobs is the complete opposite to Fr Spadaro’s. Through their America magazine, they contest Jobs’ “consumer legacy”, pointing out that Jobs’ technological gems are assembled in China, in plants that look like “prison camps, where child labour, epidemics and suicides are rife.”
A critical reading of “the world of Steve Jobs” has been given by Raymond Schroth in America magazine, which is not just any magazine: based in New York and produced by Jesuits, it is considered the reference point of neoliberal Catholicism. As such, it is influential worldwide, the Vatican included.
Mr Schroth expressed harsh opinions about Jobs: “Apple is wonderful for its clients and investors but it is also a factory of misery for subcontracted employees in China.” This is made very clear by the example of the “Foxconn plant in Shenzhen”: 420 thousand workers who produce computers for Apple and other companies.
“And what has Jobs done with the capital earned?” US Jesuits ask themselves. “He placed even the last slice of liquidity, amounting to US$76 million, in companies that were purposefully set up in fiscally advantageous states such as Nevada.”
FULL STORY Society of Jesus divided over Steve Jobs (Vatican Insider)