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Pope Francis Slams Consumer Culture, Calls People to Serve Poor

Just days before Americans line up to snag bargains during the free-for-all sales of Black Friday, Pope Francis has issued an Apostolic Exhortation to the Bishops, clergy and laity calling for the world to abandon their consumer-frenzied ways.

The latest edict by the unconventional Pope slams the media culture that makes consumer-driven events headline events, but fails to report on the concerns of the poor.  “How can it be that it is not a news item when an elderly homeless person dies of exposure, but it is news when the stock market loses two points?,” Pope Francis asks in the 86 page Vatican-issued document which covers a range of issues, including his economic views.

“Today everything comes under the laws of competition and the survival of the fittest, where the powerful feed upon the powerless,” Francis continued, pointing to the lack of charity in today’s world.

Taking a direct stab at capitalism, Pope Francis further insisted that the current free market will never bring about a just world despite false claims.  “Some people continue to defend trickle-down theories which assume that economic growth, encouraged by a free market, will inevitably succeed in bringing about greater justice and inclusiveness in the world.”

Instead, Pope Francis countered, the current economic climate promotes inequality and encourages wealth accumulation mostly on the backs of the poor. “While the earnings of a minority are growing exponentially, so too is the gap separating the majority from the prosperity enjoyed by those happy few,” he wrote.

The Pope, who has himself abandoned many of the ostentatious trappings of his predecessors and called for his church leaders to lead a simpler life, concluded his remarks by stating that it is time to abandon the current consumer-driven economy that encourages us to spend, and instead embrace a worldview where those who are rich help those who are poor.

“The culture of prosperity deadens us; we are thrilled if the market offers us something new to purchase,” Pope Francis wrote. “In the meantime all those lives stunted for lack of opportunity seem a mere spectacle; they fail to move us.”

He added that his motivations for his economic exhortations come from a place of love and compassion. “The Pope loves everyone, rich and poor alike, but he is obliged in the name of Christ to remind all that the rich must help, respect and promote the poor,” he said.

Photo Credit: Agencia Brasil via Wikimedia Commons

About the author

Tamar is a New York based freelance writer and photographer whose work has appeared in over 15 publications. You can catch her work regularly on Issue Hawk, Latest, Jspace, and MediaGlobal.