The world cannot wait for the current global economic system to fix poverty, Pope Francis has said.
“Markets and financial speculation cannot enjoy absolute autonomy,” he said. There must be “programmes, 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 on January 13, excerpts from the interview were published in the Italian newspaper, La Stampa on January 11.
While noting the positive outcomes of the current globalised economy in lifting many people from poverty, the pope said it also “condemned many others to die of hunger.”
While globalisation raised the level of global wealth, income disparity also increased and new forms of poverty have emerged, he said.
This globalised economy is supported “by a throwaway culture” where policies and social behaviours 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 characterised, 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 added.
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.