Catholic World News

Pope lashes out at ‘corrupt’ global system, intolerance of foreigners

February 17, 2017

Pope Francis said that “no people is criminal and no religion is terrorist,” in a message to a California conference of popular movements.

“Christian terrorism does not exist, Jewish terrorism does not exist, and Muslim terrorism does not exist,” the Pope said. He explained his point: “There are fundamentalist and violent individuals in all peoples and religions—and with intolerant generalizations they become stronger because they feed on hate and xenophobia.”

In his address the Pope strongly endorsed the efforts by grassroots organizations to bring fundamental change to the world’s political and economic systems. He said that the global system today is “brutal” in its single-minded question for financial gain, and leaves many people by the wayside. The injustices of this system cannot continue, he said; “the system’s gangrene cannot be whitewashed forever because sooner or later the stench becomes too strong.”

The Pontiff charged that powerful interests preserve their status by encouraging fear of foreigners. Commenting on the parable of the Good Samaritan, he suggested that entrenched powers today are anxious to classify people as “neighbor” and “non-neighbor,” absolving themselves of their moral obligations toward those who are in need. He also said that corruption is widespread, and “the gutting of democracies is real.”

Pope Francis made these comments to a conference organizes by the Vatican’s dicastery for Integral Human Development and by the US bishops’ Catholic Campaign for Human Development, in association with an activist group, the National Network of People Improving Communities through Organizing (PICO).


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  • Posted by: rickt26170 - Feb. 20, 2017 7:44 PM ET USA

    I think we all know that Jesus was not a fan of excessive materialism. The Church has a long and justified opposition against making wealth a false idol. But when Francis starts dealings in particulars, he seems clueless concerning alternatives - always a part of the problem. I can think of several "new order" grass root organizations that peddle utopian eyewash. One thing the last 100 years has shown is that economies without a market sector fail and bring misery. Ask Venezuela.

  • Posted by: Randal Mandock - Feb. 18, 2017 1:52 PM ET USA

    Wikipedia says that the Jesuit who started PICO was a follower of Saul Alinsky and that PICO operates according to a model developed by Alinsky's Industrial Areas Foundation. An organization that may have been similar to PICO, called ABLE, infiltrated my diocese about 30 years ago and tried to organize Catholic parishes to disrupt local businesses using a technique they referred to as "Push." They would assign the targets. Catholic charitable activities were not part of the "Push" framework.

  • Posted by: WBSM - Feb. 18, 2017 2:31 AM ET USA

    A Christian who is a terrorist, acts against the tenets of his religion, the same with a Jew. A Muslim, however, follows the many dictates of the Quran if he/she uses violence to spread Islam. The Holy Father might not consider this sort of Islam a religion. It would be nice, though, to hear from peaceful Muslims that they reject the calls for violence in their scriptures and condemn acts of violence committed in obedience to them. Instead you hear that such calls for violence are non existent.

  • Posted by: jalsardl5053 - Feb. 17, 2017 9:45 PM ET USA

    Sigh and sigh again and again! Another wonderful opportunity squandered amid more complaining and only hinting at what? Social structures far worse than capitalism? Hey, Pope! How about being positive while being critical of shortcomings of the only economic system that accounts for legitimate, positive human behavior (legitimate because self-interest trumps dictatorial power). Quick quiz: how to tell the Pope is leftist? Because he complains about everything.

  • Posted by: hartwood01 - Feb. 17, 2017 7:46 PM ET USA

    "He who has ears let him hear".

  • Posted by: feedback - Feb. 17, 2017 7:36 PM ET USA

    It's hard to comment on this while maintaining due respect.

  • Posted by: ALC - Feb. 17, 2017 5:51 PM ET USA

    With all due respect, Christians and Jews are not the cause of terrorism in the world today. Suicide bombers and terrorists attacks are being done in the name of Allah, not in the name of the Trinity or Yahweh. The Pope is in denial if he thinks otherwise. These are no generalizations. They are statistics. It's not fear of foreigners so much as it's fear of radicals who want to destroy Christians and Western civilization. And, those radicals are not Christians or Jews.