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St. John Paul’s warnings about capitalism have come to pass, Pope Francis tells business leaders

January 16, 2017

Pope Francis received members of the Global Foundation on January 14 and called upon business leaders to imitate St. Teresa of Calcutta by overcoming indifference to the poor.

The Global Foundation is an Australian organization founded in 1998 by Prime Minister John Howard and Michael Camdessus of the International Monetary Fund. It conducts conferences devoted to global economic issues.

Mother Teresa “was accepting of every human life, whether unborn or abandoned and discarded, and she made her voice heard by the powers of this world, calling them to acknowledge the crimes of poverty that they themselves were responsible for,” the Pope said in the Clementine Hall of the Apostolic Palace. “This is the first attitude leading to fraternal and cooperative globalization.”

Calling upon financial and political leaders “not merely to control and monitor the effects of globalization,” but even more “to correct its orientation whenever necessary,” the Pope said that St. John Paul II’s warnings about capitalism in his encyclical letter Centesimus Annus have “largely come to pass.”

Pope Francis stated:

In 1991, Saint John Paul II, responding to the fall of oppressive political systems and the progressive integration of markets that we have come to call globalization, warned of the risk that an ideology of capitalism would become widespread.

This would entail little or no interest for the realities of marginalization, exploitation and human alienation, a lack of concern for the great numbers of people still living in conditions of grave material and moral poverty, and a blind faith in the unbridled development of market forces alone. My predecessor asked if such an economic system would be the model to propose to those seeking the road to genuine economic and social progress, and offered a clearly negative response.


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  • Posted by: bernie4871 - Jan. 17, 2017 9:54 AM ET USA

    The US economy has done more to lift people out of poverty than any economic instrument in the history of man. P.Francis' vision seems to be a mysterious world of oppression that comes from the "colonialist" model he seems to have experienced. Ours became so successful because it respected private property, individual initiative, responsibility for the less fortunate and respect for law. All are tenets of a Christian life.

  • Posted by: FredC - Jan. 16, 2017 9:46 PM ET USA

    I wish that all forms of capitalism were not lumped into a single category. Laissez Faire capitalism is clearly bad. Capitalism must be capped. Crony capitalism, fostered by the government, is bad. Capitalism that makes companies too big to fail is bad. Anti-trust laws must be enforced. But, as Bishop Sheen has written, ownership of private property is a form of capitalism. Ownership of private property is necessary for individual liberty.

  • Posted by: Ken - Jan. 16, 2017 8:34 PM ET USA

    To say nothing of the hundreds of millions of dollars the US sends to third world nations every year - all revenue from those evil capitalistic businesses!!