Compassion should be heart of financial, political decisions, Pope says

Compassion should be heart of financial, political decisions, Pope says

Pope Francis greets pilgrims in St. Peter’s Square during the Wednesday General Audience May 28, 2014. (Daniel Ibáñez/CNA)

VATICAN– Pope Francis Saturday warned of growing harmful trends throughout political and financial realms, pinning them on the negative effects of globalization and insisting that authentic compassion is the only thing that can really overcome indifference.

Francis opened his speech with a bang, saying “a world economic system that discards men, women and children because they are no longer considered useful or productive according to criteria drawn from the world of business or other organizations, is unacceptable, because it is inhumane.”

This lack of concern for people is a sign of “regression and dehumanization in any political or economic system,” he said, explaining that those who either cause or allow others to be discarded – whether they be migrants, exploited children or poor who die on the streets – become like “soulless machines.”

“We need to learn ‘com-passion’ for those suffering from persecution, loneliness, forced displacement or separation from their families,” and how to suffer alongside “those who lack access to health care, or who endure hunger, cold or heat,” he said.

Having this type of compassion, the Pope continued, will enable financial and political powers “to use their intelligence and their resources” not only to monitor the effects of globalization, but to help leaders at all political levels “to correct its orientation whenever necessary.”

Pope Francis spoke to members of a delegation from the “Round Table” of the Global Foundation, an Australian organization dedicated to not only providing a platform to address modern problems such as the environment, hunger and conflict, but also partnering with leaders in ensuring progress is being made.

In his speech, the Pope noted how in 1991 when St. John Paul II was responding to the fall of various oppressive political systems at the time as well as the “progressive integration of markets” more commonly known as globalization, the Polish Pope “warned of the risk that an ideology of capitalism would become widespread.”

This ideology would entail “little or no interest for the realities of marginalization, exploitation and human alienation, a lack of concern for the great numbers of people still living in conditions of grave material and moral poverty, and a blind faith in the unbridled development of market forces alone,” he said.

John Paul II, he recalled, asked if an economic system such as this would eventually become the model proposed to those seeking economic and social progress. In giving his own answer to the question, Francis noted, John Paul “offered a clearly negative response. This is not the way.”

“Sadly, the dangers that troubled Saint John Paul II have largely come to pass,” he said. However, at the same time real efforts are being made by both individuals and institutions to reverse the unhealthy trends that are developing, he said, citing Mother Teresa as one of them.

Calling her “a symbol and icon of our time,” Francis pointed to how the newly canonized Saint “bent down to comfort the poorest of the poor, left to die on the streets, recognizing in each of them their God-given dignity.”

“She was accepting of every human life, whether unborn or abandoned and discarded, and she made her voice heard by the powers of this world,” he said, explaining that this must be “the first attitude leading to fraternal and cooperative globalization.”

The Pope stressed that if we want to follow on this path, each of us must first of all personally “overcome our indifference to the needs of the poor.”

Francis closed his address ensuring the Church’s awareness of the “immense potential of the human mind” when it lets itself be both helped and guided by God, as well as the good will of people from all states and situations in life.

He encouraged attendees to “draw constant inspiration from the Church’s social teaching” as move forward in promoting “a cooperative globalization, working with civil society, governments, international bodies, academic and scientific communities, and all other interested parties.”