Pope Francis, speaking to the Spanish newspaper La Vanguardia, issued a blistering assault on “the god of money,” asserting that it is the root of problems facing the young people of the world. He also said that the world economy thrives on the profits of war, saying it had “fallen into a sin of idolatry, the idolatry of money.”
Our world cannot take it anymore. Our global economic system can’t take any more.
We discard a whole generation to maintain an economic system that no longer endures – a system that to survive has to make war, as the big empires have always done. The economy is moved by the ambition of having more and, paradoxically, it feeds a throwaway culture.
Turning to young people, Francis continued:
The rate of unemployment is very worrisome to me, which in some countries is over 50 percent. That is an atrocity. Young people are thrown away when their natality is limited. The elderly are also discarded because they don’t serve any use anymore. In throwing away the kids and elderly, the future of a people is thrown away because the young people are going to push forcefully forward and because the elderly give us wisdom.’
Blaming those profiting from war for the lack of dialogue between enemies, Francis said:
Since we cannot wage the Third World War, we make regional wars. And what does that mean? That we make and sell arms. And with that the balance sheets of the idolatrous economies — the big world economies that sacrifice man at the feet of the idol of money — are obviously sorted. This unique thought takes away the wealth of diversity of thought and therefore the wealth of a dialogue between peoples.
Francis had his own ideas of what would be the best way for the world to act:
At the centre of all economic systems must be man, man and woman, and everything else must be in service of this man. But we have put money at the centre, the god of money. We have fallen into a sin of idolatry, the idolatry of money.
Last November, Francis made a public statement in which he denounced ‘the new idolatry of money.”
According to one source in 1983, “The Vatican’s treasure of solid gold has been estimated by the United Nations World Magazine to amount to several billion dollars. A large bulk of this is stored in gold ingots with the U.S. Federal Reserve Bank, while banks in England and Switzerland hold the rest. But this is just a small portion of the wealth of the Vatican, which in the U.S. alone, is greater than that of the five wealthiest giant corporations of the country. When to that is added all the real estate, property, stocks and shares abroad, then the staggering accumulation of the wealth of the Catholic Church becomes so formidable as to defy any rational assessment . . .
Slate reported in 2013 that the Economist estimated spending by the American wing of the Roman Catholic church at $170 billion in annual spending; Apple and General Motors each had revenue of about $150 billion worldwide over the same period.