Page 9 - Reflexions of African Bishops and Priests
P. 9

It is Urgent to End

                         the Scandal of Poverty

           Correcting the Financial System

           is Society’s most Urgent Reform

                          by Alain Pilote                    “In the 40th Year”, May 15, 1931, n. 109.) That was
                                                             in 1931! We are in this audience hall named after
            No one can remain indifferent to the problems of   Paul VI, and it was Paul VI who, some fifty years
        poverty and hunger in the world today. Every day,    ago, denounced the “new and abusive form of eco-
        an estimated 40,000 children die from hunger and     nomic domination on the social, cultural and even
        disease simply because there is a lack of money.     political level.” (Octogesima Adveniens, “The 80th
        Over 1.7 billion people sort through garbage heaps   Anniversary”, May 14, 1971,  n. 44.)… The entire
        in order to survive. Over 100 million children have   social doctrine of the Church and the magisterium
        been abandoned to live on the streets because par-   of my predecessors rejects the idolatry of money
        ents could no longer support them.                                    that  reigns  rather  than  serves,
            The examples abound, but we                                       which tyrannizes and terrorizes
        need  not  go  far  to  see  poverty.                                 humanity.”
        The  problem  exists  in  developed                                      Pope Francis ended his speech
        countries and even  in our own                                        at  the  United  Nations  with  com-
        backyards. For example, in a large                                    ments taken from his 2013 apostol-
        city such as Montreal, Canada, one                                    ic exhortation, Evangelii Gaudium
        out of three children go to school                                    (“The Joy of the Gospel”, para-
        without having eaten breakfast.                                       graph 202): “As long as the prob-
            The  Church  is not  indifferent                                  lems of the poor are not radically
        to problems that  jeopardize  the                                     resolved by rejecting the absolute
        salvation  of souls, such as world                                    autonomy of markets and finan-
        hunger  and  indebtedness.  Espe-                                     cial speculation and by attacking
        cially since Pope Leo XIII, and his                                   the structural  causes of inequal-
        1891  encyclical,  Rerum Novarum                                      ity, no solution will be found for
        (“Of the New Things”), the Church            Pope Francis             the world’s problems or, for that
        has given us a set of principles we                                   matter, to any problems. Inequal-
        have come to know as The Social Doctrine of the      ity is the root of social ills.”
        Church. Among its many objectives, the Social Doc-       In June 2013, Pope Francis wrote to the president
        trine calls for reforms of the financial and economic   of the  G8 Summit, British Prime Minister, David
        systems, so that they serve the human person. Hap-   Cameron: “Every economic and political theory or
        piness in every nation would result from the appli-  action must set about providing each inhabitant of
        cation of these principles.                          the planet with the minimum wherewithal to live
            Successive pontiffs have drawn our attention     in dignity and freedom, with the possibility of sup-
        to similar concerns. Pope Francis condemned the      porting a family, educating children, praising God
        idolatry of money and the rule of the money-god.     and developing one’s own human potential. This
        In a speech at the third World Meeting of Popular    is the main thing; in the absence of such a vision,
        Movements, held at the Vatican on November 5,        all economic activity is meaningless.”
        2016, he said:                                           Other pontiffs wrote similarly concerning the
             “There is a basic terrorism that is born of the   present  economic order. For example,  in his first
        global  control of money on earth, and threatens     encyclical, Redemptor Hominis (“The Redeemer of
        the  entire  humanity…  Almost a  hundred  years     Man”, March 4, 1979), Pope St. John Paul II points
        ago, Pope Pius XI foresaw the rise of a global eco-  to:  “the  indispensable  transformations of the
        nomic dictatorship that he called the “internation-  structures  of economic life”,  to  “poverty  amidst
        al  imperialism  of money”.  (Quadragesimo  Anno,    plenty that brings into question the financial and
 Louis Even                                                                                 9
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