Pope Francis is not letting go of this issue. Once again, in his message for the Roman Catholic Church's World Day of Peace, marked around the world on January 1, he called on Governments to lessen economic inequality and to help the poor, people he described as only getting "crumbs" now.
VATICAN CITY -nbcnews
Pope Francis said in the first peace message of his pontificate that huge salaries and bonuses are symptoms of an economy based on greed and inequality and called again for nations to narrow the wealth gap.
In his message for the Roman Catholic Church's World Day of Peace, marked around the world on January 1, he also called for sharing of wealth and for nations to shrink the gap between rich and poor, more of whom are getting only "crumbs."
"The succession of economic crises should lead to a timely rethinking of our models of economic development and to a change in lifestyles," he said.
He attacked the "widening gap between those who have more and those who must be content with the crumbs," calling on governments to implement "effective policies" to guarantee people's fundamental rights, including access to capital, services, educational resources, health care and technology.
The entire message is here on the Vatican Radio website
Here are some other highlights:
Globalization, as Benedict XVI pointed out, makes us neighbors, but does not make us brothers. The many situations of inequality, poverty and injustice, are signs not only of a profound lack of fraternity, but also of the absence of a culture of solidarity. New ideologies, characterized by rampant individualism, egocentrism and materialistic consumerism, weaken social bonds, fueling that “throw away” mentality which leads to contempt for, and the abandonment of, the weakest and those considered “useless”. In this way human coexistence increasingly tends to resemble a mere do ut des which is both pragmatic and selfish.The Pope, of course, is the head of a branch of Christianity, and there is much in his message, as one would expect, that is religious and based on the Catholic Church's views of the teachings of Christ.
Moreover, if on the one hand we are seeing a reduction in absolute poverty, on the other hand we cannot fail to recognize that there is a serious rise in relative poverty, that is, instances of inequality between people and groups who live together in particular regions or in a determined historical-cultural context. In this sense, effective policies are needed to promote the principle of fraternity, securing for people – who are equal in dignity and in fundamental rights – access to capital, services, educational resources, healthcare and technology so that every person has the opportunity to express and realize his or her life project and can develop fully as a person.
One also sees the need for policies which can lighten an excessive imbalance between incomes. We must not forget the Church’s teaching on the so-called social mortgage, which holds that although it is lawful, as Saint Thomas Aquinas says, and indeed necessary “that people have ownership of goods”, insofar as their use is concerned, “they possess them as not just their own, but common to others as well, in the sense that they can benefit others as well as themselves”.
Finally, there is yet another form of promoting fraternity – and thus defeating poverty – which must be at the basis of all the others. It is the detachment of those who choose to live a sober and essential lifestyle, of those who, by sharing their own wealth, thus manage to experience fraternal communion with others. This is fundamental for following Jesus Christ and being truly Christian. It is not only the case of consecrated persons who profess the vow of poverty, but also of the many families and responsible citizens who firmly believe that it is their fraternal relationship with their neighbours which constitutes their most precious good.
Not everyone is Christian and not everyone is religious. Moreover, while not the focus, he does mention "life" issues, which means anti-abortion to the Church.
I am not Catholic (but was as a child) and do not seek to promote or disparage any religion. The Pope's elevation of economic inequality, a world-wide issue, matters. He is not a Marxist and comes to it from a different approach entirely. I think many people, however, can find common ground on this issue.
Bluntly put, gross economic inequality ain't right. However one gets to that position, through belief in Christ, Allah, understanding God's law as expressed in the Torah, through Buddha, Hindu, Zoroastrianism, pagan beliefs, atheistic ethics, Marxism, anarchism, liberal capitalists, social democracy, socialism, whatever, this is something that many people can find common ground on.
In the US, it means don't end unemployment insurance, raise the minimum wage, grow unions. In the world, it means much more
I'm glad Pope Francis keeps bringing this up.