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Francis denounces globalisation and unemployment

By on Monday, 23 September 2013

Pope Francis, flanked by Cagliari Archbishop Arrigo Miglio, wears a coal miner's helmet he was given by a miner in Sardinia  (AP Photo/Str)

Pope Francis, flanked by Cagliari Archbishop Arrigo Miglio, wears a coal miner's helmet he was given by a miner in Sardinia (AP Photo/Str)

Visiting an Italian region especially hard hit by the European economic crisis, Pope Francis blamed high unemployment on globalisation driven by greed and said those who give charitable aid to the poor must treat their beneficiaries with dignity.

“We want a just system, a system that lets all of us get ahead,” the Pppe said yesterday, in his first address during a full day on the island of Sardinia. “We don’t want this globalised economic system that does us so much harm. At its center there should be man and woman, as God wants, and not money.”

Sardinia has an overall unemployment rate of nearly 20 percent, rising to nearly 50 percent among young adults.

Before speaking to a crowd of about 20,000 near the city port of Cagliari, Pope Francis heard a series of speeches in greeting, including one from an unemployed father of three, who spoke of how joblessness “wears you out to the depths of your soul.”

In response, the Pope discarded his prepared remarks and told his audience what he said “comes to me in my heart seeing you in this moment”.

He recalled the struggles of his immigrant Italian father in 1930s Argentina.

“They lost everything. There was no work,” he said. “I was not born yet, but I heard them speak about this suffering at home. I know this well. But I must tell you: courage.”

The Pope said he knew that his preaching alone would mean little to those in difficulty.

“I must do everything I can so that this word ‘courage’ is not a pretty fleeting word, not only the smile of (a) cordial church employee,” he said. “I want this courage to come out from inside and push me to do all I can as a pastor, as a man. We must all face this historic challenge with solidarity and intelligence.”

Pope Francis said that the current economic crisis was the “consequence of a global choice, of an economic system that led to this tragedy, an economic system centered on an idol, which is called money.”

In his undelivered remarks, which the pope said should be considered “as if they had been spoken,” he thanked those entrepreneurs who, “in spite of everything, have not ceased to commit themselves, to invest and take risks to guarantee employment.”

The pope emphasized the need for “dignified work,” lamenting that that crisis had led to an increase in “inhumane work, slave labor, work without fitting security or without respect for creation.”

Pope Francis said that a commitment to the natural environment could actually stimulate job creation in fields such as energy, environmental protection and forestry.

He celebrated Sunday Mass in a square outside the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Bonaria, the namesake of his native city of Buenos Aires. Pope Francis originally announced his trip to Sardinia to venerate the statue of Mary there.

Calling for solidarity with the neediest in society, the Pope concluded his homily by urging his listeners to “see our brothers and sisters with the gaze of the Madonna, she who invites us to be true brothers.”

At an afternoon gathering with poor people and prisoners who had been taken to the Cagliari cathedral, Pope Francis had strong words for those who practice charity in the wrong spirit.

“Charity is not simply welfare, much less welfare to soothe one’s conscience,” he said. “That’s not love, right? It’s business, a transaction. Love is free.

“Sometimes one finds arrogance, too, in those who serve the poor,” the pope said. “Some make themselves pretty, they fill their mouths with the poor; some exploit the poor in their own interests or those of their group.

“This is a grave sin, because it means using the needy, those in need, who are the flesh of Jesus, for my vanity,” the pope said. “It would be better for these people to stay home.”

  • NatOns

    ‘“Charity is not simply welfare, much less welfare to soothe one’s conscience,” he said. “That’s not love, right? It’s business, a transaction. Love is free.
    “Sometimes one finds arrogance, too, in those who serve the poor,” the pope said. “Some make themselves pretty, they fill their mouths with the poor; some exploit the poor in their own interests or those of their group.
    “This is a grave sin, because it means using the needy, those in need, who are the flesh of Jesus, for my vanity,” the pope said. “It would be better for these people to stay home.”’

    An insightful reiteration of a commonplace in Catholic moral theology this may well be, yet it is an insight. Using ‘the poor’ merely to advance an ideology or political policy or a sentimental religious piety is to abuse those of us who are indeed poor in material wealth – if not those who are poorer still in spiritual satisfaction. This abuse of the material riches that abound among men and which tightens harder and ever harder around already hardened hearts is seen amply in Liberation Theology and philosophical pessimism, however it is just as sinful in any Bob-The-Builder pastor who is sincerely well intended but also condescending toward the object of his care .. in building upon Christ.

    http://www.asspconvent.org/images.htm/photos/history.jpg

    True charity does not involve the pretences of appearing to be ‘poor’ among the poor but of letting go of material goods to bring their wealth among those deprived of them. Hence we build up Christ by building upon Him, not by preaching a gospel of personal wealth or a ministry of penny-pinching Judas-like meanness, rather in setting such wealth to work .. even at our own doorstep. Sitting in a pretentiously modest vehicle is spiritual pride while riding upon a gilded chair lifted up by the eager service of others is not; the poor, after all, do not need to be reminded of what poverty is, it is the rich who need this gift of grace; it is the poor, then, who stand in greatest need of wealth, riches and triumph shared in their midst without fleshly reward .. even by humble service.

    God Bless Our Pope!

  • Laurence

    “We don’t want this globalised economic system that does us so much harm. At its center there should be man and woman, as God wants, and not money.”
    What the Pontiff is discussing here is the fractional reserve system for you and me. As ‘generous’ and utterly unsustainable as this system is, it pales in comparison to the absolute, unadulterated insanity that are leveraged buyouts. You thought the fractional reserve system was looking for trouble? You ain’t seen nothin’ yet!

  • Guest

    When critics ask why the Bible is not also a scientific textbook, a common response by Catholics is to say: Scripture teaches how to go to Heaven, not how the heavens go. Equally, I do not think anyone expects the Bible to contain an exposition of the perfect economic system.

    As someone struggling in the present European economy I would be comforted by a Pope who could address us as Spanish Archbishop Julia Barrio did on the occasion of the fatal train crash earlier this year near Santiago de Compostela:
    “Everything has meaning in our lives…. Suffering and death seem to contradict the good news of the love of God and to shake our faith. But the faith tells us that our pain and suffering united to Christ on the cross brings salvation.”

    And my comfort in these words would derive from the fact that that Pope was prepared to defend their absolute truth against an atheist.

  • Guest

    When critics ask why the Bible is not also a scientific textbook, a common response by Catholics is to say: Scripture teaches how to go to Heaven, not how the heavens go. Equally, I do not think anyone expects the Bible to contain an exposition of the perfect economic system.

    As someone struggling in the present European economy I would be comforted by a Pope who could address us as Spanish Archbishop Julia Barrio did on the occasion of the fatal train crash earlier this year near Santiago de Compostela:
    “Everything has meaning in our lives…. Suffering and death seem to contradict the good news of the love of God and to shake our faith. But the faith tells us that our pain and suffering united to Christ on the cross brings salvation.”

    And my comfort in these words would derive from the fact that that Pope was prepared to defend their absolute truth against an atheist.

  • johnhenry

    Globalisation has clearly led to negative consequences in First World countries – although they may be temporary ones that will be ameliorated when we figure out how to re-employ low skill workers. On the other hand, globalisation has given a leg up to impoverished inhabitants of Third World countries. Whereas they used to starve, they now lead meagre lives, but they survive. Obviously, there are still many who die from starvation, lack of medical care, etc., but nowhere near as many as was the case before globalisation.

    I would say to those who condemn globalisation as an unmitigated disaster (which I don’t think Pope Francis has), if you had three choices: (a) to be unemployed in Bangladesh (b) to work in a Benetton clothing factory in Bangladesh or (c) to be unemployed in Sardinia, which would you choose? I suggest most of us would choose option (c). If unemployment in Sardinia is because unskilled jobs have moved to Bangladesh, the problem is not globalisation, the problem is lack of skills on the part of individual workers, and imagination on the part of entrepeneurs.The Bangladeshi’s life and survival are no less important than the Sardinian’s. If the Bangladeshi’s job was gained by the closing of a Sardinian factory, where is the injustice?

    People – individual workers and individual entrepeneurs that is – have to rethink their economic strategies. Trouble is, too many of us are set in our ways or too lazy or too complacently confident that welfare will see us through to engage in that exercise. We’d rather rely on the government to solve our woes than pull up our own bootstraps.

    Here endeth the lesson.

  • http://jabbapapa.wordpress.com/ Julian Lord

    100% politics — 0% Faith

    (yawn)

  • Yokai Maomoling

    Do you understand that you are speaking about two complete different worlds?

    1) Sardinia = EU region, where workers have rights, unions, social security, stringent environmental policies, and a cost of living at the western europe standards, highest costs of electric power in Europe.

    2) Bangladesh= third world country, child labor, exploitation of labor, no attention to the environment, no safety at work, no rules.

  • johnhenry

    Yes sir (or madam), I understand that Sardinia and Bangladesh are two completely different worlds. How does that detract from my argument? As you seem to admit, things are still pretty good in Sardinia, and things are still very grim in Bangladesh. My point is that things in Bangladesh are better, in terms of overall standards of living, than they ever were before, thanks to globalisation, whereas standards of living in Sardinia are still far better than in Bangladesh, despite globalisation. So, who are we to say that globalisation is an entirely bad thing? I don’t think Pope Francis is saying that, but if he is, I respectfully beg to differ, and despite the criticism levelled at me by my fellow traveller, Julian Lord (see below), I’m entitled to do so because what His Holiness is talking about (principally) is a matter of economics, not faith. Why Julian says I’m talking “politics” is a riddle.

  • johnhenry

    “Scripture teaches how to go to Heaven, not how the heavens go.”
    Kudos. I have added that to my commonplace book for future use.

  • johnhenry

    Not completely sure where you are coming from, Julian, but let me ask you this: If, due to globalisation, barefooted Bangladeshis are now able to afford plastic flip flops, whilst, also due to globalisation, Sardinians must give up leather shoes for canvas trainers, where is the injustice? Please don’t quibble if my example is not rigorously correct, because, in broad brushstrokes, it clearly is. First Worlders have lost a fair amount, but Third Worlders have gained a huge amount (though they still have a long way to go) thanks to globalisation. Which is more important: one meal per day for every Bangladeshi, or two (or three) meals per day for every Sardinian?

  • PaulF

    The purpose of V2, and its most positive outcome in my opinion, was the globalization of the Catholic Church. I am not sure why popes have been using globalization as a stick with which to beat those who practice various forms of advantage taking. For me, in spite of the obstacles that remain to be dealt with, the opening up of all parts of the world for economic interaction is basically a wonderful thing, with the potential to promote a far more even spreading of wealth across the world’s peoples, and a far greater range of opportunities for all of us. I thank God for it.

  • johnhenry

    I cannot but agree. Free markets, like rising tides, lift all boats. One thing I think is wrong about the EU, although I don’t live there, are the protectionist policies that deny African farmers the chance to compete on a level playing field with politically connected agri-business. If Africans were given more freedom to export their goods to Europe, fewer of them might get on boats trying to come there.

  • PaulF

    The large trading blocks are/were a stage in the process I guess. What you are saying is that the real injustices are caused by the lack of globalization, and I think that is right.

  • http://jabbapapa.wordpress.com/ Julian Lord

    Hardly the best response to my point that you confuse political issues for religious ones, is it.

    Besides, it’s NOT “due to globalisation“, it’s due to greater technological and manufacturing efficiency.

  • johnhenny

    Capitalism is the greatest good on earth. If you can’t cope with the competition you exit quickly!

  • johnhenry

    Very funny “johnhenny“. It’s a hanging offence in blogdom to try to pass yourself off as someone else. There is one lost soul who used to do that all the time on the Damian Thompson (Telegraph) blog. He was eventually committed, I’d hoped. Failing that, I’ve been compelled to flag your comment for abuse.

  • Jacqueleen

    Relative to the United States of America, when we are down, who in the world picks us up?

    What has the Pope to say about the 30+ millions of unemployed Americans including those who dropped out of the job seeking market, consultants who cannot find contracts and independent contractors in the real estate industry who technically have been out of work due to a downturn in the market for about 7 years (not entitled to unemployment insurance) and those who have lost everything, home, retirement, savings, their futures, etc? Many are living in tents in the west with nothing. Many are not getting any kind of help from the Government, our worst enemy. This is not reported in the liberal media.

    Globalization has done a number on this country and the 30+ million unemployed Americans. I fail to see the church helping Americans or even sympathizing with American families that are forced to split up living with other family members. Then, there are the elderly parents losing their savings helping their adult children survive! This compounds the dangers of so many unemployed, impoverished Americans.

    Furthermore, I find it difficult to accept the American Bishops stance on Amnesty for the 25+ million illegals who are working while Americans are falling into despair. This is not humanitarian but rather it is a politically arranged invasion of illegals at our southern borders who disregard our Immigration Laws and come here with arrogance and rebellious attitudes. Our jails are full of illegal criminals. This BTW is a distraction allowing terrorists to wander over the border unknown to authorities.

    It is discouraging when an American receives a job rejection letter signed by a name ending in a “Z:” The invasion is not limited to farmers, landscapers, house cleaners, car washers, retail store stocking, etc. The invaders are taking jobs in all walks of life. Now, I ask you, ” Are all of the professional illegals here because they can’t find a job at home or did they leave a job to come here for more money???”

    Relative to Globalization, Americans, BUY American made products and produce only and say “NO” to AMNESTY. If the illegals are forced to return to their home countries, there would be no need for Americans to pay triple for inadequate healthcare and no healthcare to the elderly, so that the illegals will stop running to the expensive, ER for care.

    Even the church gloats at Americans having extremely difficult times. I wonder who is more charitable, an American or an illegal?

  • http://jabbapapa.wordpress.com/ Julian Lord

    Furthermore — thanks to globalisation, they get plastic flip-flops ; we get a vast choice of consumer goods at cheap prices thanks to the exploitation of their slave-labour.

  • johnhenny

    Pardon? I am not trying to pass as somebody else. My name is John Henny Richter. I do not know you but I have as of now flagged your reply.

  • johnhenry

    Well then, I owe you an apology for jumping to the wrong conclusion. It was an easy enough one to make, given the almost identical names (and all in lower case with no spacing) – a common sockpuppet ploy – and given that your opinion regarding capitalism, which I don’t share with the same degree of enthusiasm you evince, seemed, at first reading, to be have written satirically, not seriously. But again, apologies.

  • Romanus

    He doesn’t like globalization… I don’t think he’d know the first thing about it. One of the reasons why Third World nations remain poor, is closed markets… they can’t sell their products to richer nations because of protectionist policies lobbied by big labour and other powerfull lobbies. One of the best examples is agriculture. (I learned this in university in the 70s!).

    … but he means well…

  • johnhenny

    Satirically? Well I don’t know about you, but I have a great fortune thanks to capitalism. Some guys had to bite the dust in my getting it. So what? But don’t you worry John. I will leave the commenting on this site to you, since you came here first. Sayonara fellow capitalist!

  • ostrava

    Globalisation is just a modern denigratory word for what we used to call free trade, the benefits of which have been proved, in theory and by experience, time and time again.

    Fifteen years ago if you opened a magazine on any leisure-related subject an envelope would fall out addressed to a photo-processing lab; and scores of thousands of people, mostly women, worked in those labs, not brilliantly paid but in work. Then along came the digital camera and where are those labs now?

    How is that relevant? Because we globalised the work; we moved it from the First World to the Fourth World – our own computers where we work for nothing transferring our photos from camera or phone to hard disc or Cloud, and probably tinkering with them in software first.

    We got better photos for negligible marginal cost; the labs shut; the women lost their jobs. But even when it was clear that that was going to happen nobody said that digital cameras should be forbidden to protect the labs or their workers.

  • ostrava

    The name ending with Z may belong to a Hispanic-American US citizen whose forebears went to the New World when much of it was Spanish territory and were there when the United States muscled its way in in 1848/49 – when the forebears of many other Americans were still in Europe or Asia – and don’t you forget it. Why do you think there are so many Spanish place names in the South-Western States?

  • Jacqueleen

    Can’t eat photos. Can’t pay rent with photos. Can’t buy gas for the car with photos. Get real. You are biased.

  • Jacqueleen

    If you think that the Europeans muscled their way into the land now known as the United States of America. Let me remind you that the Spaniards muscled their way into Mexico and took it over from the Aztecs. Now, if you are insinuating that this land belongs to the Spaniards, I will challenge you that the land belongs to the Aztecs/Mexico and the multiple Indian tribes here in the States. Get the record straight and pull out the history books on “Explorers”…….At the present time, many Hispanics are pouring over our border or coming here on a temporary visa and letting it expire. When it comes to approximately 20-25 million illegals, you would have to agree that this is an invasion and not an opportunity to find a job. Statistics prove that Hispanics have left a job to come here to make MORE MONEY. For all practical purposes, this does not call for compassion falling under humanitarianism but rather it is a criminal offense, called BREAKING OUR IMMIGRATION LAWS. If it were up to me, the illegals would be given 60 days to pack up and go back home the way they got here or suffer the consequences, their employers would receive a hefty fine for employing them, implement E-verify, build the border fence with American Workers and Contractors, follow up on expired visas and ENFORCE OUR GOOD IMMIGRATION LAWS THAT DON’T NEED REFORM only ENFORCEMENT. This would remove the need for Obamacare to stop the abuse in expensive ER rooms and would open up jobs for the 30 million unemployed American workers who have lost everything including their parents who have used their savings to help their adult children. When you lose your job, you will think differently.

  • ostrava

    So what? Our cheap photos is somebody else’s lost job.

    If somebody finds a cheaper way of producing anything others will take the cheaper product and not worry about lost jobs: that is my point and I stand by it.

    I am biased to free trade and not ashamed of it.

  • ostrava

    Fine, Jacqueleen. I meant no more than that your assumption that everyone in America whose surname ends in Z is an illegal is an absurd stereotype.

  • Jacqueleen

    Free trade? When I pick up an object made in China…I replace it on the shelf and say out loud, “Sell it to the Chinese!” I am loyal to this country and American made products, produce and services and want to see Americans working. You obviously would rather see the Chinese working! Hows that for free trade and loyalty?

  • ostrava

    This is the website of a newspaper published in Britain and your assumption that the English-speaking world is American is mistaken. Never mind, a lot of British people make the same mistake the other way round.

    This is not the place to explain at length how free trade works: buy yourself an elementary textbook on economics. But think: when I buy a Chinese-made product for £100 (that’s pounds, Jacqueleen) instead of a British product for £110, I save ten pounds which I can spend on a meal out here in London. That creates work here.

    And if you say “Buy American” why not say “Buy East Dakota” – or “Buy Oshkosh, East Dakota”? If you think you should buy an American-made car, fine, that’s your privilege, but why should Detroit or Michigan get your money if you live in Richmond, Virginia?

    And if you want your manufacturers to be able to sell abroad – and they want to, that’s jobs – don’t kid yourself that you can set up tariffs and barriers and not meet the same problems yourselves.

    It’s all very elementary, and it’s a pity that the Pope and some other religious leaders have mixed in. He and the College of Cardinals understand many things and economics is not one of them.

  • Jacqueleen

    You are from England and are not fully aware of what is happening here in the USA. We, the American People are not willing to go the way of Great Britain and the European Union. If that makes you happy, so be it. Some people are meant to be the pee-ons and some people are meant to pee-on. Which one are you?

  • ostrava

    Do as you wish: but free trade means that neither gets peed on.

  • Jacqueleen

    When your daughter (PhD) is out of work for 5 years, tell me that with so called free trade (globalization) no one gets pee’d on. You are in never never land.

  • ostrava

    Sorry to hear it, but what makes you so sure she’d be in a job if the barriers were up? And what about the people paying more for less because of protection? And the American businesses who can’t sell abroad to countries where they meet barriers with barriers?