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Pope Francis' Expressed Solidarity with the World's Poor
by Dr. Emanuel Paparella
2013-10-02 13:12:13
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Pope Francis I in compassionate solidarity with the Poor

Introduction: A powerful and relevant challenge to the current global economic system was unfurled by Pope Francis I, the first Pope from the Global South, who recently has expressed a compassioned solidarity with the World’s Poor and has condemned the idolization of power and money, dehumanizing market forces and so called “entrepreneurial opportunism” which ultimately turns out to be the opportunity to impoverish the disadvantaged poor and the middle class and enrich the prosperous elites, urging a reform of the entire global economic system. I will here limit myself to simply quote some selected relevant statements of the Pope on economic justice (a theme that to be sure goes back to more than 100 year with the appearance of Rerum Novarum of Leo XIII), as uttered in Rome on the 7th of September 2013 at “Centesimus Annus,” the economic forum founded by John Paul II some 20 years ago. One would hope that this urgent message of solidarity is finally welcomed by the architects of the current less than fair economic system on both sides of the Atlantic and world-wide.


Pope Francis’ recent meeting with Angela Merkel

Pope Francis’ Economic Message: “We need to rethink solidarity with the poor, it should no longer be viewed as simple assistance, but as a global rethinking of the economic system, seeking ways to reform and correct it in a manner consistent with fundamental human rights, the rights of all men and women. Global unemployment is not only economic and financial in nature, but is also rooted in an anthropological and ethical crisis that puts the idols of power, profit, and money over and above the value of the human person.

‘Rethinking solidarity,’ means combining church teaching with socio-economic development, which, being constant and fast, always presents new aspects for discussion. The current economic and social crisis adds urgency to this rethinking and brings out the truth and relevance of the church’s social teaching even more. The lack and loss of employment is spreading like wildfire in large areas of the West, which is alarmingly spreading the confines of poverty. And there is no worse material poverty, I am compelled to emphasize, than that which does not allow people to earn their daily bread and deprives them of the dignity of work.

By now this 'something is wrong' no longer concerns only the South, but the entire planet. This is why there is an ever greater need to 'rethink solidarity' no longer as simple assistance to the poor, but as a global rethinking of the whole system, such as finding ways to reform it and correct it in a manner consistent with the fundamental human rights of all men.

The current crisis is not only economic and financial but is rooted in an anthropological and ethical crisis. The idols of power, profit, money, over and above the value of the human person, have become a basic mode of operation and decisive criterion in organization. It is forgotten that above the business logic and parameters of the marketplace, there is the human being and there is something which is due to man, by virtue of his profound dignity: the opportunity to live with dignity and participate actively in the common good” (Pope Francis I).


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