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Pope denounces inequality, encourages work for dramatic political change

November 07, 2016

Pope Francis denounced the tyranny of a global system ruled by “the whip of fear, inequality, and violence,” in a November 5 address to the Third World Meeting of Popular Movements.

The Pope encouraged his activist audience to work for structural change, saying that an unjust system must be eliminated. “The entire social doctrine of the Church  and the magisterium of my predecessors rebels against the idol-money that reigns – tyrannizing and terrorizing humanity – instead of serving,” he said.

The Holy Father decried a global economic system in which, when a major bank faces insolvency, “immediately there appear outrageous sums to save it,” but funds are still not available to people living in chronic poverty. Billions are spent to bail out major investment banks, he observed. “But But when the bankruptcy of humanity arrives, not one-thousandth of that will be used to save our suffering brothers and sisters.”

Pope Francis said that the global system today is maintained by fear. “Because fear,” he explained, “as well as being a good deal for the merchants of arms and death, weakens and destabilizes us, destroys our psychological and spiritual defenses, numbs us to the suffering of others, and in the end it makes us cruel.” He contrasted fear, which leads to building walls, with love, which encourages building bridges.

In his address to the Third World Meeting of Popular Movements, the Pope recalled the previous meeting, which he had addressed in July. He listed with approvals the goals of the organization:

…dignified work for those who are excluded from the job market; land for peasant farmers and indigenous populations; dwellings for homeless families; urban integration for working-class neighbourhoods; elimination of discrimination, violence against women and new forms of slavery; the end of all wars, organised crime and repression; freedom of expression and democratic communication; and science and technology at the service of the people. We have also heard how you are engaged in embracing a project for life that rejects consumerism and recovers solidarity, love between us and respect for nature as essential values.

The Pope warned his audience that popular movements face two danger: the danger of being pigeonholed and the danger of being corrupted. Popular movements are pigeonholed, he said, when those in power tolerate their existence as long as they are confined to “social policy,” and do not challenge reigning political and economic systems. He encouraged the activists to raise larger questions, even when it means losing the tolerant attitude of those in power. As for corruption, he said, “there is no better remedy than austerity.”

 
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