Pope Francis appealed to world leaders on Saturday to seek a new economic model to help the poor, and to shun policies that “sacrifice human lives on the altar of money and profit.”
Quoting a fourth century bishop, he called the unfettered pursuit of money “the dung of the devil,” and said poor countries should not be reduced to being providers of raw material and cheap labor for developed countries.
He said he supported their efforts to obtain “so elementary and undeniably necessary a right as that of the three “L’s”: land, lodging and labor.”
“Let us not be afraid to say it: we want change, real change, structural change,” the pope said, decrying a system that “has imposed the mentality of profit at any price, with no concern for social exclusion or the destruction of nature.”
“This system is by now intolerable: farm workers find it intolerable, laborers find it intolerable, communities find it intolerable, peoples find it intolerable … The earth itself – our sister, Mother Earth, as Saint Francis would say – also finds it intolerable,” he said in an hour-long speech that was interrupted by applause and cheering dozens of times.
“No actual or established power has the right to deprive peoples of the full exercise of their sovereignty. Whenever they do so, we see the rise of new forms of colonialism which seriously prejudice the possibility of peace and justice,” he said.
“The new colonialism takes on different faces. At times it appears as the anonymous influence of mammon: corporations, loan agencies, certain ‘free trade’ treaties, and the imposition of measures of ‘austerity’ which always tighten the belt of workers and the poor,” he said.
Francis’ previous attacks on capitalism have prompted stiff criticism from politicians and commentators in the United States. Could it be because the United States is at the top of the heap when it comes to extreme capitalism and our worship at the altar of money and profit. The Pope’s visit to the United States in September should be very interesting.