Pope: Fighting for the poor doesn't make me Communist – it makes me Catholic [CNA]

http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/images/size340/Pope_Francis_greets_pilgrims_in_St_Peters_Square_during_the_Wednesday_general_audience_on_June_4_2014_Credit_Daniel_Ibez_CNA_10_CNA_6_4_14.jpgVatican City, Oct 29, 2014 / 12:21 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Pope Francis spoke out against oppression of the poor due to greed and warned again of the growing presence of a “globalization of indifference” – a warning, he said, which has wrongly type-casted him.

“It is not possible to tackle poverty by promoting containment strategies to merely reassure, rendering the poor ‘domesticated,’ harmless and passive,” the Pope told those gathered for his Oct. 28 encounter with leaders of various Church movements.

He called the basic needs for land, housing and work an “aspiration that should be within the reach of all but which we sadly see is increasingly unavailable to the majority.”

“It’s strange, but if I talk about this, there are those who think that the Pope is Communist,” he said.

“The fact that the love for the poor is in the center of the gospel is misunderstood,” the Pope added. “Those (values) for which you’re fighting for are sacred rights. It’s the Church’s social doctrine.”

Held in the Vatican’s Old Synod Hall, where previous synods took place before the construction of the Paul VI Hall, the meeting was organized by the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace in collaboration with the Pontifical Academy for Social Sciences, along with the leaders of various movements.

Solidarity, the Pope observed in his speech, is a word that is often forgotten in today’s society, and which extends far beyond sporadic acts of generosity.

Instead it requires thinking in communal terms, and includes fighting structural causes of poverty such as inequality, unemployment, lack of land and housing, and the denial of social and labor rights, he said. It also requires facing the destructive effects of the “empire of money” such as forced displacement, painful migration, human trafficking, drugs, war and violence.

“Today the phenomenon of exploitation and oppression assumes a new dimension, a graphical and hard edge of social injustice,” the Pope noted, explaining that this “throwaway culture” makes it so that those who are unable to integrate are marginalized and discarded as “cast-offs.”

Situations such as this arise when economic systems make money their god and put it at the heart of their work rather than centering on the human person, created in the image of God, the pontiff continued.

He then turned his attention to the phenomenon of unemployment, saying that each person who works, whether part of the formal system of paid work or not, “has the right to fair remuneration, social security and a pension.”

These people, the pontiff noted, include those who recycle waste, street vendors, garment makers, craftsmen, fishermen, farmers, builders, miners, workers in companies in receivership, cooperatives and common trades which are often excluded from employment rights and denied the option of forming trades unions, as well as those who don’t receive a stable or sufficient income.

“I wish to unite my voice to theirs and to accompany them in their struggle,” Pope Francis said.

On the theme of peace and ecology, the Pope said that it is not possible to pursue land, housing or work if we can’t maintain the planet, or if we destroy it.

“Creation is not our property which we may exploit as we please, (and) even less so the property of the few,” he explained, saying that instead creation is a gift from God that we must care for and use for the good of all humanity with respect and gratitude.

Pope Francis went on to question those present in the audience, asking why, instead of viewing the world as our gift and fighting for justice, do we instead see work taken away, families evicted, peasants expelled from their land, war and harm done to nature.

“Because this system has removed humanity from the center and replaced it with something else! Because of the idolatrous worship of money! Because of the globalization of indifference – ‘what does it matter to me what happens to others, I’ll defend myself,’” the Pope explained.

The world, said the pontiff, has forgotten God and so become “an orphan” because it has turned away from him.

However, Christians have been given a strong guide and “revolutionary program” for how to act, which can be found in the Beatitudes, the Bishop of Rome noted, and encouraged all to read them.

Pope Francis emphasized the importance of walking together, saying that popular movements express urgent need of revitalizing our democracies, which “so often (are) hijacked by many factors.”

“It is impossible to imagine a future for society without the active participation of the majority, and this role extends beyond the logical procedures of formal democracy,” he said.

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  1. Anyone who thinks the Pope is a Communist needs to read the Catechism and

  2. Over-taxing the so-called rich will not help the poor.

Glad I could clear these things up! :thumbsup:

Yeah, over-taxing the rich just leads to the very rich doing all that is necessary to avoid tax via tax havens and stuff(and thus leading the government to earn less, not more from them) and the people who aren’t really that rich to suffer. Overall it just leads to grief and barely any more tax.

Exactly. We’d be much better off with a simple tax code. The real issue is not the base rate the very rich pay. It’s the games they can play to gain some highly favorable tax rates that the normal person doesn’t have the financial leeway to play.

The only label one can adequately ascribe to Pope Francis is “Jesus Christ personified”. Thank God this Pope has been chosen to guide us.
God bless and protect him.

That’s why there should be some international laws to stop tax havens by enforcing a certain tax rate. Ireland, for example, has a really low corporate tax that rich company owners abuse along with some loopholes in EU law to avoid tax altogether. If Ireland and the Carribean tax havens, etc. were forced to fix their laws then nations the richest of the rich wouldn’t be able to cheat the system so easily.

Perhaps the reason people flee to tax havens is they are overtaxed?

Fighting for the poor has absolutely nothing to do with taxation or the govt. You can not fulfill your personal obligation to help the poor by voting for someone who promises to take someone else’s money and do it for you

I would add to the list of workers the pontiff mentions, who “(have) the right to fair remuneration, social security and a pension,” adjunct or part-time professors in the U.S. They must often teach at two or more universities just to make ends meet. This is an absolute higher-education SCANDAL, besides being detrimental to both teachers and students, and it deserves to be brought to the attention of all Americans. At least 60% of the college faculty workforce today is comprised of part-timers, who constitute in many instances the working poor.

I also wish to point out that fighting for the rights and a better life for both the working and the non-working poor stands at the core of Judaism’s moral values as well.

I would suggest they find a job someplace that pays them what they believe they are worth.

Or fight for their rights while attempting to change the system, both of which they have been doing. There is something inherently wrong (even evil) with a university administrative system that treats its employees as little more than cheap-labor commodities and does not adequately reward them for their essential service. If all part-time teachers in higher education across the country would go on strike, the educational system would, at least for the short run before they are replaced, come to a grinding halt. No doubt similar scenarios might occur in other service jobs as well. I’m not saying striking is the ultimate solution to the maltreatment of workers, but it surely would at the very least get the attention of employers.

I think the Government should subsidize independent CPAs. Many, like myself, don’t get sick leave or paid vacations and often during tax season work long hours without any overtime pay!

With respect, I understood our Pope to mean those who are in desperate poverty. There are so many areas of this world where people haven’t even the basic essentials for life - clean water, food, shelter, etc.
Did I misunderstand his words?

I was revolting to Metzers post about adjunct professors being taken advantage of. I agree with you about what the Pope was addressing.

He’s right.

Umm let me think, :rolleyes:with all the negativity about what the Pope says & doesn’t say, I’d say the press headlines will say " POPE SAYS HE’S A COMMUNIST" :banghead: even though he never said it.

The Vatican must address issues but as for government that people in different countries need, I don’t think it is a “one size fits all”.

Coming from Argentina like the Pontiff, I can see that someone growing up in Latin America, even different parts, might have a much different concept economics-wise in comparison to the USA.

This is a bit of a problem because I can see how some might wonder about some ideas but we do need to think of the poor first.

Some places in Latin America have had economic problems forever and yes, at times, the USA has not been helpful, maybe the opposite.

“Jesus does not ask Zacchaeus to change jobs nor does he condemn his financial activity; he simply inspires him to put everything, freely yet immediately and indisputably, at the service of others. Consequently, I do not hesitate to state, as did my predecessors (cf. JOHN PAUL II, Sollicitudo Rei Socialis, 42-43; Centesimus Annus, 43; BENEDICT XVI, Caritas in Veritate, 6; 24-40), that equitable economic and social progress can only be attained by joining scientific and technical abilities with an unfailing commitment to solidarity accompanied by a generous and disinterested spirit of gratuitousness at every level. A contribution to this equitable development will also be made both by international activity aimed at the integral human development of all the world’s peoples and by the legitimate redistribution of economic benefits by the State, as well as indispensable cooperation between the private sector and civil society.”

  • Pope Francis, in his 09 May 2014 address to the United Nations

The U.S. is not exactly in the best position to help, being trillions in debt themselves. Individuals and corporations, however, can and do give plenty. They may not give where you want them to, but they do give.

That highlighted phrase does sound like a socialist theme (which, for me, is not necessarily a bad thing), but perhaps the prior word “legitimate” should also be emphasized.

Taking the fruit of another’s labor by threat of force is wrong, whether legitimate (lawful) or not.

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