“There is no worse material poverty than that of not being able to earn one’s daily bread,” said Pope Francis Tuesday morning. Unemployment is not inevitable; it is, rather, “the result of a prior social option and an economic system that values profits more than people,” he said.
“It is the effect of a culture of waste that considers human beings in themselves as consumer goods, that can be used and then thrown away.”
Pope Francis was addressing participants in the World Meeting of Popular Movements at a conference in Rome to discuss problems facing the poor, the unemployed, and those who have lost their land.
“I have a very concrete dream” for all people, said the pope: “land, shelter, and work.” And yet when he talks like that, “people say the Pope is a communist,” Francis said.
“Ours is a culture of waste,” he repeated. “This happens when the god of money is at the center of an economic system, and not the human person. The person, made in God’s image, has to be at the center of any social or economic system,” he stated.
“Not long ago, I said, and I now repeat, that we are in the midst of World War III, but by installments,” the Pope said. “There are economic systems that have to make war to survive. So they manufacture arms and sell them, and economies that sacrifice human beings to the idols of money stay in balance.”
“And no one thinks of the starving children in the refugee camps,” the Pope went on, “and no one thinks of the forced displacement in the destroyed homes and in so many lives cut short. How much suffering, how much destruction, how much sorrow!”
We have to change the world, said Pope Francis. “We have to do it with courage, but also with intelligence; with tenacity, but without fanaticism; with passion, but without violence; and all together, confronting conflicts, without being ensnared in them–striving to resolve tensions to reach a higher level of unity, peace, and justice,” he said.