Catholic World News

Balance economic and spiritual needs of people, Pope urges national leaders

May 04, 2012

“Even without great material resources, it is possible to be happy,” Pope Benedict XVI told a group of new ambassadors to the Holy See.

Meeting on May 4 with new envoys from Armenia, Ethiopia, Fiji, Ireland, and Malaysia, the Pope called for a “new mobilization” to ease the suffering of those who are in need throughout the world. “Urban migration, armed conflict, famine and pandemics,” among other problems, aggravate the plight of the poor, the Pontiff said. He mentioned the worldwide economic crisis as a factor, as well as the consumerism that has “led people to believe in the possibility of unlimited enjoyment and consumption.” The Pope also spoke of the loneliness that often comes from marginalization, and the frustration that arises when poor people perceive that the economic and legal system favors the rich. He said that it is “therefore appropriate that states ensure that the social laws do not increase inequalities and enable people to live decently.”

Pope Benedict called for government policies that help people to overcome their difficulties, “enabling them to take charge of their own future.” He gave special mention to microcredit programs and “initiatives to create equitable partnerships” as means of helping people break out of poverty.

However, the Pope cautioned, material poverty is not the only problem that society faces. He urged government official to recognize “another kind of poverty: that of the loss reference to spiritual values, to God.” The absence of religious faith leaves people vulnerable, he said:

It makes it easier to adhere to ideals currently in fashion and avoid the necessary effort of reflection and criticism. And many young people in search of an ideal, turn to artificial paradises which destroy them.

Materialism cannot satisfy human needs, the Pope said, “for the greatest poverty is the lack of love.” He said that government should leave ample room for religious belief and practice, and set policies that promote healthy family life, to answer the deepest needs of their people.

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  • Posted by: impossible - May. 05, 2012 12:48 PM ET USA

    What a wonderful Pope we have. Let's hope and pray that our American Bishops will come to understand and accept his definition of "the dignity of the human person" and the Magisterium's teachings on how to protect, enhance and advance that dignity. Our Bishops need to understand and accept the proper roles of Bishops, the laity, politics and religion. They need to clean house in the USCCB by becoming non-partisan - removing left-wing ideologues from staff and reigning in left-wing Bishops.