Excerpts from the interview were released by the Italian newspaper, La Stampa, and is part of a new book titled “Papa Francesco - Questa Economia Uccide” (Pope Francis - This Economy Kills).
The book, which profiles the social teaching of the Church “under the direction of Pope Francis”, was released today in Italian.
Among the issues discussed by the Holy Father was the current state of capitalism and globalization. While saying that globalization has helped many out of poverty, the Pope noted that inequalities have arisen.
“When money, instead of man, is at the center of the system, when money becomes an idol, men and women are reduced to simple instruments of a social and economic system, which is characterized, better yet dominated, by profound inequalities,” he said.
“So we discard whatever is not useful to this logic; it is this attitude that discards children and older people, and is now affecting the young.”
The Holy Father echoed his thoughts on youth unemployment, which he said is a consequence of “a culture of waste”. It is that same culture, he said, that “leads people to discard babies through abortion.”
“I am shocked by the low birth rates here in Italy; this is how we lose our link to the future,” he said. “The culture of waste also leads to a hidden euthanasia of older people, who are abandoned.”
The Pope went on to call for a society and an economy where “man and woman are at the center, instead of money.”
The Gospel, the Economy and the Poor
Pope Francis also stressed the need for an ethical approach to the economy and politics. Various leaders and heads of State who have visited him, he said, have called for religious leaders to help give them “ethical indications.”
Recalling Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI’s encyclical Caritas in Veritate, the Pope said that the world is in need of “men and women with their arms raised in prayer to God” that “engender genuine development.”
“At the same time I am convinced that we need these men and women to commit themselves on every level, in society, politics, institutions and the economy, to work for the common good,” he said. “We cannot wait any longer to deal with the structural causes of poverty, in order to heal our society from an illness that can only lead to new crises.”
He also highlighted the Church’s tradition of concern for the poor, saying that it stems from the Gospel and the first centuries of Christianity. However, he said that today many misinterpret that same teaching.
“If I repeated some passages from the homilies of the Church Fathers, in the second or third century, about how we must treat the poor, some would accuse me of giving a Marxist homily,” he lamented.
Citing the teachings of St. Ambrose, St. John Chrysostom and Blessed Paul VI, the Pope said that the sharing of goods and care for the needy is rooted in the Gospel.
“As we can see, this concern for the poor is in the Gospel, it is within the tradition of the Church, it is not an invention of communism and it must not be turned into an ideology, as has sometimes happened before in the course of history,” he said.
The Church, when it invites us to overcome what I have called ‘the globalization of indifference’, is free from any political interest and any ideology.