VATICAN CITY (Reuters) – Pope Francis said in the first peace message of his pontificate that huge salaries and bonuses are symptoms of an economy based on greed and inequality and called again for nations to narrow the wealth gap. In his message for the Roman Catholic Church’s World Day of Peace, marked around the world on January 1, he also called for sharing of wealth and for nations to shrink the gap between rich and poor, more of whom are getting only “crumbs”.
“The grave financial and economic crises of the present time … have pushed man to seek satisfaction, happiness and security in consumption and earnings out of all proportion to the principles of a sound economy” he said. “The succession of economic crises should lead to a timely rethinking of our models of economic development and to a change in lifestyles,” he said….
Since his election in March as the first non-European pope in 1,300 years, the Argentinian has several times condemned the “idolatry of money” and said it was a depressing sign of the times that a homeless person dying of exposure on the street was no longer news but a slight fall in the stock market is.
I was pleasantly surprised to see that Time Magazine had chosen Pope Francis as its person of the year. I dreaded the idea that Senator Cruz, who was in the top ten list might be chosen! Time has a way of sometimes wanting to shock its readers with their unpredictability. I am glad that saner minds ruled this year.
Anyway, getting back to the story and quote above, I was truly inspired by his words about the wealth gap. He does indeed seem to be a Pope for the people and not just an administrator as the previous pope was often cited to be. The wealth gap, in the whole world not just the U.S., is becoming so extreme as to threaten our very humanity. With the increase in riches by a very small minority also comes the increase in power to perpetuate the suppression of the majority.
Pope Francis gets it and is not afraid to let the world know what he thinks. Narrowing the wealth gap as the pope suggests means taking the power back to the people and away from the privileged few. That is no small task! One great thing about this country is that our elected officials who make up most of the rules are still elected by the majority of its citizens. Now, if only we could get the ignorant, or at least misinformed, voters to realize that fact things might change in our country and the world.
Here is to you Pope Francis. Keep your voice loud and clear in this area and all the fellow Catholics in your clan take to heart your words and actually try to put them in action. Wouldn’t the world then be a better place??