Pope Francis spoke against greed last week when he informed world leaders to take care of those who are hungry and poor in the world. He said failure to do so would lead to the destruction of the world. He was speaking at the 2nd International Conference on nutrition in Rome. The pope expressed disappointment to those who paid little attention to those in need.
The pope also spoke against the tendency for people in the world to put profits as a priority, overlooking those who needed help. He called on those who are able to provide dignity to those in need instead of charity. He praised the World Health Organization (WHO) and the UN Food Agency for developing programs aimed at eliminating hunger.
Pope Francis has been consistent in condemning greed. Last year he referred to financial speculation as a sin. In this week’s conference, he concluded his speech by asking those in attendance to save life on the planet and feed those who are hungry.
In another meeting on Saturday Pope Francis continued with his message of taking care of those who were in poverty by asking world business leaders to use their wealth to improve humanity. He was speaking at the World Economic Forum in Switzerland. He told the more than 2,500 attendees from all over the world that economic recovery needs to be pursued in tandem with growth of equality.
According to a report released by Oxfam International, the 85 richest people in the world hold as much wealth as half the number of people in the world. In a message read on Pope Francis’ behalf by Cardinal Peter Turkson at the opening ceremony, Pope Francis maintained his focus on speaking against greed. He said that wealth should serve humanity, and not to rule it. He noted that while business helped alleviate poverty, it also brought about exclusion.
The World Economic Forum released a report last week that indicated that the widening gap in wealth led to social unrest in the world, creating the biggest threat to world peace. The report linked recent unrest in developing countries to the difference in wealth among the groups of people in those regions.
The report listed Carlos Slim Helu as the richest man in the world who, according to Forbes magazine is worth $73 billion. Microsoft founder Bill Gates came in second at $67 billion.
Pope Francis also took his message against greed to the pulpit. According to a report in the Catholic News Agency, the Pope spoke against priests who turned their churches in to business entities where they charged for services such as blessings, baptisms and mass intentions. He called such actions scandalous. Speaking at Saint Martha guesthouse at the Vatican on Nov. 21, he said that the parishioners were willing to forgive priests when they erred in areas such as when they sin or are weak. He said God cannot forgive priests who mistreat people or who are focused on money. The Pope based his message on the Gospel of Luke, which says that Jesus overturned tables in the temple when he found people conducting business in the house of God.
By Benedicto Ateku
Photo image courtesy of Mazur/catholicnews.org.uk – Flickr License