Pope Francis Denounces Exploitative ‘Sirens of Populism’

Pope Francis

ROME — Pope Francis condemned conservative populists Sunday, accusing them of exploiting people’s real needs with “facile and hasty solutions.”

“Let us not listen to prophets of doom,” the pontiff said in his homily for the World Day of the Poor. “Let us not be enchanted by the sirens of populism, which exploit people’s real needs by facile and hasty solutions.”

“Let us not follow the false ‘messiahs’ who, in the name of profit, proclaim recipes useful only for increasing the wealth of a few, while condemning the poor to the margins of society,” he urged.

Populists exploit people’s fears, the pope suggested, by peddling conspiratorial theories.

“If we think in this way, we let ourselves be guided by fear, and we may end up looking for answers with morbid curiosity in the ever-present chicanery of magic or horoscopes – today many Christians go visit magicians; they consult horoscopes as if they were the voice of God,” he lamented.

“Or again, we rely on some last-minute ‘messiah’ who peddles wild theories, usually conspiratorial and full of doom and gloom – conspiratorial theories are bad, they cause us a lot of harm,” he continued.

Francis went on to insist that God is not to be found in conspiracy theories.

“The Spirit of the Lord is not to be found in such approaches: nor is he found by going to a ‘guru’ or in the conspiratorial spirit; the Lord is not there,” he said. “Jesus warns us: ‘Beware that you are not led astray.’ Do not be gullible or fearful, but learn how to interpret events with the eyes of faith.”

“Instead, let us bear witness,” the pope urged. “Let us commit ourselves courageously to justice, the rule of law and peace, and stand always at the side of the weakest.”


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