VATICAN CITY (CNS) — The world cannot wait for an economic system that will cause poverty to fix itself, Pope Francis said.
“Markets and financial speculation cannot enjoy absolute autonomy,” he said. There must be “programs, mechanisms and procedures aimed at a better distribution of resources, job creation and the integral advancement of those who are excluded,” he said in a recently published interview.
“We cannot wait any longer to fix the structural causes of poverty, to cure our society from a disease that can only bring on new crises,” he said.
The latest interview, conducted in October 2014, was published in a new book, “Pope Francis: This Economy Kills” by Italian journalist Andrea Tornielli. While the book was released Jan. 13, excerpts from the interview were published in the Italian newspaper La Stampa Jan. 11.
While noting the positive outcomes of the current globalized economy in lifting many people from poverty, the pope said it also “condemned many others to die of hunger.”
While globalization raised the level of global wealth, income disparity also increased and new forms of poverty have emerged, he said.
This globalized economy is supported “by a throwaway culture” where policies and social behaviors have made money, not people, the focus.
“Money becomes an idol, and men and women are reduced to simple tools of a social and economic system characterized, no, dominated by deep imbalances,” he said.
Abortion and the abandonment of the elderly are also consequences of this throwaway mentality, he said.
“I often ask myself, Who will be the next to be thrown away? We have to stop ourselves in time. Let us stop this, please” he said, adding that people must not give up trying to build a world where all people and their well-being are at the core, not money.
Pope Francis said the earliest Fathers of the Church highlighted the importance of helping the poor and the fact that the earth and its resources belong to everyone, not just the wealthy.
He said if he were to use the same phrases from the homilies of these early church fathers “on how to treat the poor, there would be someone accusing my homily of being Marxist.”
“This attention to the poor is in the Gospel and is in the tradition of the church, it is not an invention of communism, and there is no need to turn it into an ideology, as has sometimes been the case throughout history,” he said.
The Gospel message of helping the poor is meant for everyone, he said.
“The Gospel does not condemn the rich but the idolatry of wealth, that idolatry that makes people insensitive to the cry of the poor,” he said.
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Pope Francis is a man of God who means well. No question about that. The Pope’s economic theories however, seem very South American leftist and anti free enterprise. They seem simplistic, biased, and unfounded based on truth and the reality of the world. Yes a case can be made against greed and economic corruption such as crony capitalism. Also unfettered and cut-throat competition that does not consider the welfare of workers put out of work because of competitive business closings. That is what government assistance and safety nets are for however, what religious charity is for, what good old American neighborly love and help is for.
Hopefully this is what the Pope means and he is not attacking America and its free enterprise system. If he is attacking capitalism Pope Francis needs to rethink and revalidate his thesis. He needs to start at the beginning. With the facts, which will then lead to truth, confirm reality, and expose false impressions, deception, and incorrect conclusions. The facts as I see them are:
1. The United States is the most charitable country.
2. The United States provides more assistance directed specifically to help the poor and needy as any country and any form of government.
3. Communist and dictator run countries have perpetuated poverty and misery and are failed states when it comes to social and economic justice.
4. Socialism is the same as Communism. This includes every South and Latin American state run government, including the Pope’s Argentina which is corrupt.
5. State mandated wealth distribution has never worked and always fails due to government bureaucracy and corruption; it always creates a stagnant two class society of haves and have-nots.
6. The social democratic European model is seriously flawed. First it completely ignores and is incapable of fixing the horrible conditions that continue to grow and worsen for their poor and needy. The multicultural immigrants. Secondly their government mandated cradle to grave welfare programs are unsustainable and failing. The European Union is unraveling before our eyes and creating conditions for the rise of left and right wing totalitarianism that will cause social and economic chaos and hardship and a new militarism likely to lead to warlike conflicts.