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Prevent money-centered economy from claiming more victims, Pope tells Focolare

February 06, 2017

Pope Francis met on February 4 with 1,100 members of the Focolare Movement who are part of the Economy of Communion, an anti-poverty initiative begun in São Paulo in 1991.

“It is very important that at the center of the economy of communion there be the communion of your profits,” the Pope said during the meeting, which took place in Paul VI Audience Hall. “We cannot understand the new Kingdom offered by Jesus if we do not free ourselves of idols, of which money is one of the most powerful.”

The Pope continued:

When capitalism makes the seeking of profit its only purpose, it runs the risk of becoming an idolatrous framework, a form of worship. The ‘goddess of fortune’ is increasingly the new divinity of a certain finance and of the whole system of gambling which is destroying millions of the world’s families, and which you rightly oppose.

This idolatrous worship is a surrogate for eternal life. Individual products (cars, telephones ...) get old and wear out, but if I have money or credit I can immediately buy others, deluding myself of conquering death … The best and most practical way to avoid making an idol of money is to share it with others, above all with the poor, or to enable young people to study and work, overcoming the idolatrous temptation with communion.

The Pope went on say that assisting those harmed by the economy is helpful but insufficient.

“Imitating the Good Samaritan of the Gospel is not enough,” the Pope said. “Of course, when an entrepreneur or any person happens upon a victim, he or she is called to take care of the victim and, perhaps like the Good Samaritan, also to enlist the fraternal action of the market (the innkeeper).”

“But it is important to act above all before the man comes across the robbers, by battling the frameworks of sin that produce robbers and victims,” he continued. “An entrepreneur who is only a Good Samaritan does half of his duty: he takes care of today’s victims, but does not curtail those of tomorrow.”

The Pope added:

The principal ethical dilemma of this capitalism is the creation of discarded people, then trying to hide them or make sure they are no longer seen. A serious form of poverty in a civilization is when it is no longer able to see its poor, who are first discarded and then hidden.

Aircraft pollute the atmosphere, but, with a small part of the cost of the ticket, they will plant trees to compensate for part of the damage created. Gambling companies finance campaigns to care for the pathological gamblers that they create. And the day that the weapons industry finances hospitals to care for the children mutilated by their bombs, the system will have reached its pinnacle. This is hypocrisy! …

Capitalism knows philanthropy, not communion. It is simple to give a part of the profits, without embracing and touching the people who receive those ‘crumbs.’ Instead, even just five loaves and two fishes can feed the multitude if they are the sharing of all our life. In the logic of the Gospel, if one does not give all of himself, he never gives enough of himself.


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  • Posted by: BlaiseA - Feb. 07, 2017 10:24 AM ET USA

    ....and Jesus said: The poor will be always with us.

  • Posted by: bernie4871 - Feb. 06, 2017 2:51 PM ET USA

    We owe deep respect for our Pope when he speaks to us as Pope and within his professional competence. I wouldn't ask my Ophthalmologist about the economy, though she may have her opinions. Our Pope clearly has no competence or even exposure to a successful economy. America does its best to discard no one. Argentina is a failed economy that seemingly can't save anyone. H'd do better getting his advice from the Italians. They've suffered under real guns and now depend on NATO's for their sucurity

  • Posted by: Randal Mandock - Feb. 06, 2017 7:35 AM ET USA

    "The day that the weapons industry finances hospitals to care for the children mutilated by their bombs..." This is the same fallacy as "guns kill." No, guns do not kill. People kill. The gun is sometimes the preferred tool, sort of like a truck or passenger airplane. In the Western republics it is not the weapons industry that is evil, but the weapons _traders_: malicious governments, drug and slave traffickers, political movements (such as Islamic terrorists), certain community organizers, etc