‘Civilize the market’ for common good, care of creation, pope says

Cindy Wooden

Pope Francis said on Friday that in societies where profit is allowed to be the only concern, “democracy tends to become a plutocracy, where inequality and the exploitation of the planet grows.” The pontiff said political action “must be placed truly at the service of the human person, the common good and respect for nature.”

Greater inequality and a more rapid destruction of the environment “are not destiny nor even a historic constancy,” the pope told members of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences. “There have been periods in which, in some countries, inequalities diminished and the environment was better protected.”

Francis addressed academy members Oct. 20 during a three-day meeting devoted to the study of “changing relations among market, state and civil society.” The meeting topic was inspired particularly by retired Pope Benedict XVI’s 2009 encyclical letter, “Caritas in Veritate” (“Charity in Truth”), which upheld the right and obligation of governments and groups to intervene with policies to ensure the market economy leads not only to the creation of goods and services, but that it benefits all members of society.

The discussion was particularly timely, Francis said, given “the widespread and systemic increase of inequality and of exploitation of the planet, which is greater than the increase in income and wealth.”

The process is not automatic, the pope said. It depends on individual actions and also on the economic regulations that states impose.

Individuals and governments make all sorts of interventions in the economy through choices about energy, labor policies, the banking system, taxes, social welfare programs and education, he said. “Depending on how these sectors are programmed, there are different consequences in the way income and wealth are distributed among those who helped produce them.”

In societies where profit is allowed to be the only concern, he said, “democracy tends to become a plutocracy, where inequality and the exploitation of the planet grows.

“The development of clean energy to resolve the challenge of climate change” is one area where both workers and the planet would benefit, the pope said. But that cannot happen unless governments “liberate” themselves from lobbies that continue to promote the fossil-fuels industry.

Political action must be placed truly at the service of the human person, the common good and respect for nature,” he said. “Basically, we must aim at civilizing the market, working for an ethic that is friendly toward the person and his environment.”


Pope: Market, State, Society Should Cooperate


Address to Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences

Pope Francis said there is “a need of great current relevance, such as that of developing new models of cooperation between the market, the State and civil society, in relation to the challenges of our time.”

His comments came October 20, 2017, in the Clementine Hall of the Apostolic Palace, where he received the participants in the meeting organized by the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences.

The Holy Father focused on two key points:

  • The endemic and systemic increase of inequality and the exploitation of the planet, which is greater than the increase in income and wealth.
  • The other cause of exclusion is work that is not worthy of the human person.

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Cardinal Auza at UN: More Inclusive Economy

Developed Nations Must Lower Protective Tariffs


His remarks came at the UN in New York during the Second Committee debates on Agenda Item 17, dedicated to Macroeconomic policy questions and on Agenda Item 18, dedicated to the follow-up and implementation of the outcomes of the International Conferences on Financing for Development.

He also highlighted the importance of increasing official development assistance for LDCs, while expressing concern about debt sustainability for developing countries. He said that increasing debt relief, humanitarian aid, and donor commitments for the growing burden of global refugee costs will help make possible the achievement of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.


Here is Archbishop Auza’s Statement


Statement by H.E. Archbishop Bernardito Auza
Apostolic Nuncio and Permanent Observer of the Holy See
Seventy-second Session of the United Nations General Assembly, Second Committee
Agenda Item 17: Macroeconomic policy questions
and Agenda Item 18: Follow-up to and implementation of the outcomes of the International Conferences on Financing for Development
New York, 5-6 October 2017

Mr. Chair,

My Delegation takes serious note of the Secretary-General’s recent reports on a number of different macroeconomic policy issues, including his report on progress made in implementing the outcomes of the international conference on Financing for Development, held in Addis Ababa in July 2015. Continue reading

Pope Francis commits the church to protect children from abuse in the digital world

Gerard O’Connell
America Magazine (Jesuit Owned)

Pope Francis today committed the Catholic Church to work “effectively and with genuine passion,” in close association with lawmakers, police authorities, technological giants in the field of social communications and other actors in civil society, for “the effective protection of the dignity of minors in the digital world.”

He offered this commitment in the Vatican’s Clementine Hall when he addressed the 140 participants from the first world congress on “Child Dignity in the Digital World” that was held at the Jesuit-run Pontifical Gregorian University, Oct. 3 to 6.

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Pope denounces porn and corruption of kids’ minds, bodies


VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis on Friday denounced the proliferation of adult and child pornography on the internet and demanded better protections for children online — even as the Vatican confronts its own cross-border child porn investigation involving a top papal envoy.

Francis met with participants of a Catholic Church-backed international conference on fighting child pornography and protecting children in the digital age. He fully backed their proposals to toughen sanctions against those who abuse and exploit children online and improve technological filters to prevent young people from accessing porn online.

Francis said the Catholic Church knew well the “grave error” of trying to conceal the problem of sexual abuse — a reference to the church’s long history of having priests who rape and molest children and bishops who cover up for them. Several well-known cases have involved priests having child porn, or photographing their victims.

Francis said an international, cross-disciplinary approach was needed to protect children from the dark net and the “corruption of their minds and violence against their bodies.”

Using terms that are certainly new to papal lexicon, Francis denounced “extreme pornography” on the web that adults, and increasingly children consume, and the increasing use of “sexting” and “sextortion” among the estimated 800 million minors who navigate the internet.

“We would be seriously deluding ourselves were we to think that a society where an abnormal consumption of internet sex is rampant among adults could be capable of effectively protecting minors,” he said.

The conference was planned some two years ago, but it unfolded precisely at the time when the Vatican is facing back-to-back child sex scandals: One of Francis’ top advisers, Cardinal George Pell, recently took leave to face old abuse charges in his native Australia, while in August the Vatican recalled a senior diplomat from its embassy in Washington who got embroiled in a child porn investigation.

Canadian police have issued an arrest warrant for Monsignor Carlo Capella, accusing him of accessing, possessing and distributing child pornography during a visit to an Ontario church over Christmas. He is now in the Vatican, where prosecutors have opened an investigation.

The Vatican in 2013 criminalized child porn possession, distribution and production, with sanctions varying from up to two years and a 10,000-euro fine ($11,170) to 12 years and a 250,000-euro fine.

Some U.S. church officials and critics balked at the recall, saying the Vatican should have waived diplomatic immunity and let Capella face charges in the U.S. or Canada. Vatican officials have defended the recall as consistent with common diplomatic practice and suggested that Capella will face a criminal trial in the Vatican if the evidence warrants it.

Participants at the congress offered sobering statistics about the problem: Last year, Interpol identified five child victims of online abuse every day, while the Internet Watch Foundation identified more than 57,000 websites containing child sexual abuse images.

The conference, which drew leading researchers in public health, Interpol, the U.N., government representatives as well as executives from Facebook and Microsoft, issued a 13-point call to action that it presented to Francis on Friday. Their declaration demands that:

—Lawmakers and governments improve laws to protect children online and punish perpetrators of child porn production

—Technology companies develop better ways to block redistribution of porn and attack the proliferation of child porn images already on the web

—Law enforcement agencies improve information sharing and ensure help for young victims of online exploitation

—Health professionals enhance training to recognize signs of abuse and increase research into the effects of viewing porn on young minds

—Faith leaders, governments and civil society to increase awareness about the problem.

Francis said he wanted each of them to remember that children look to adults, with light in their eyes and trust in their heart, to protect them.

“What are we doing to make sure they are not robbed of this light, to ensure that those eyes will not be darkened and corrupted by what they will find on the internet?”

The Pontifical Gregorian University drew plaudits for hosting the conference and bringing together a remarkable spectrum of specialists to discuss a little-reported issue. Victims’ advocates and other groups nevertheless pointed to the church’s many cases of priests convicted of having child porn, and church authorities who covered up for them.

“It is astonishing that those problems were not only swept under the rug at this conference, but treated as qualifications for sponsoring the event,” said Terence McKiernan of BishopAccountability, an online resource of the abuse scandal.

The victims group SNAP concurred: “The Vatican should not be leading this summit. They should be the target of this summit.”

Pope Francis tells Korean religious leaders to oppose “rhetoric of hatred”


Amidst rising tensions between North Korea and the United States, Pope Francis told an interfaith gathering of religious leaders from South Korea that they are called to be “heralds of peace, proclaiming and embodying a nonviolent style, a style of peace, with words clearly different from the narrative of fear, and with gestures opposed to the rhetoric of hatred.”

Pope Francis told religious leaders from South Korea that they are called upon to initiate, promote and accompany processes for the reconciliation of all people.

Representatives from the seven main religious groups on the peninsula are in Rome for an interfaith pilgrimage, amid growing tensions between North Korea and the United States.

President Donald Trump this week said “all options are on the table” after nuclear-armed Pyongyang fired a Hwasong-12 medium range missile over Japan which landed in the Pacific Ocean.

North Korea state media said the missile launch was “the first step of the military operation of the [North Korean military] in the Pacific and a meaningful prelude to containing Guam.” North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has repeatedly threatened to attack the U.S. Pacific territory, which has a population of 162,000 people.

Amidst the heated rhetoric, Archbishop Igino Kim Hee-joong, the president of the Korean Bishops’ Conference, said ahead of the audience they would ask the pope to pray for peace and to help the Korean people.

The archbishop told the SIR news agency – which is an arm of the Italian bishops’ conference – the religious leaders were appealing to “seek peace not with weapons or sanctions but through dialogue, negotiation and mutual respect at all costs.”

Francis told the leader the world is looking to them to set an example.

“It looks to us for answers and a shared commitment to various issues: The sacred dignity of the human person, the hunger and poverty which still afflict too many peoples, the rejection of violence, in particular that violence which profanes the name of God and desecrates religion, the corruption that gives rise to injustice, moral decay, and the crisis of the family, of the economy and, not least of all, the crisis of hope,” he said.


“We are called to be heralds of peace, proclaiming and embodying a nonviolent style, a style of peace, with words clearly different from the narrative of fear, and with gestures opposed to the rhetoric of hatred,” the pope said.

Although not mentioning the North Korean threat specifically, the pope said interreligious dialogue is directed to the common good and peace, and must always be open and respectful.

“Open, that is to say warm and sincere, carried forward by persons willing to walk together with esteem and honesty,” Francis explained. “Respectful, because mutual respect is at once the condition and the goal of interreligious dialogue: Indeed, it is in respecting the right to life, physical integrity and fundamental freedoms, such as those of conscience, religion, thought and expression, that the foundations are laid for building peace, for which each of us is called to pray and work.”

Francis did speak about the North Korean nuclear crisis during his flight back from Egypt last April.

At the time, the pope called on Trump and other world leaders to reinforce the push for a diplomatic solution to the mounting crisis, and asked the United Nations to “resume its leadership” to help diffuse the situation, saying the UN’s role “has been a bit watered down.”

“I’ve called on [world leaders], and I will call on them, to work towards resolving the problems through the path of diplomacy,” Francis said, asked by journalists about the prospect raised by Trump at the time of a “major conflict.”

In his interview with SIR, Igino Kim said the Catholic Church in Korea is focused on advancing denuclearization and peace-building on the Korean peninsula.

“A nuclear war would have devastating consequences on the whole of humanity,” the archbishop said.


Members of the Daegu “Pueri Cantores” choir from South Korea play bells as Pope Francis greets the crowd during his general audience in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican May 20, 2015. (Credit: Paul Haring/CNS.)

Pope Francis’ Message to Rabbis: A Fruitful Dialogue


“A moment of fruitful dialogue,” is how Pope Francis welcomed the ever growing “friendly and fraternal “ relations that link the Catholic Church and the Jewish world. Since the Conciliar Declaration Nostra Aetate, he said “we have deepened our mutual knowledge and intensified our bonds of friendship.”

The Holy Father received in audience the representatives of the Conference of European Rabbis, of the Rabbinical Council of America and of the Commission of the Grand Rabbinate of Israel, in dialogue with the Holy See’s Commission for Religious Relations with Judaism, with professor Riccardo di Segni, Chief Rabbi of Rome, on Thursday, August 31, 2017.

On this occasion, the delegation handed the Pontiff a document it elaborated entitled “Between Jerusalem and Rome,” a text addressed to Catholics that, ”if it doesn’t hide the theological differences of our faith traditions” it “expresses, nevertheless, the firm will to collaborate more closely today and in the future.”

After the words of greeting of Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt, the Pope pronounced the following discourse.


Pope Francis’ Address

Dear Brothers and Sisters, I offer a cordial welcome to all of you, and in a special way to the representatives of the Conference of European Rabbis, the Rabbinical Council of America, and the Commission of the Chief Rabbinate of Israel in dialogue with the Holy See’s Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews.

I thank Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt for his kind greeting in your name. In our shared journey, by the graciousness of the Most High, we are presently experiencing a fruitful moment of dialogue. This is reflected in the Statement Between Jerusalem and Rome which you have issued and which you present to me today.

This document pays particular tribute to the Second Vatican Council’s Declaration Nostra Aetate, whose fourth chapter represents the “Magna Charta” of our dialogue with the Jewish world. Indeed, the ongoing implementation of the Council’s Declaration has enabled our relations to become increasingly friendly and fraternal.

Nostra Aetate noted that the origins of the Christian faith are to be found, in accordance with the divine mystery of salvation, in the Patriarchs, in Moses and in the Prophets. It also stated that, given the great spiritual heritage we hold in common, every effort must be made to foster reciprocal knowledge and respect, above all through biblical studies and fraternal discussions (cf. No. 4).

Consequently, in recent decades, we have been able to draw closer to one another and to engage in an effective and fruitful dialogue. We have grown in mutual understanding and deepened our bonds of friendship. The Statement Between Jerusalem and Rome does not hide, however, the theological differences that exist between our faith traditions.

All the same, it expresses a firm resolve to collaborate more closely, now and in the future. Your document is addressed to Catholics, speaking of them as “partners, close allies, friends and brothers in our mutual quest for a better world blessed with peace, social justice and security”.

It goes on to say that “despite profound theological differences, Catholics and Jews share common beliefs” and also “the affirmation that religions must use moral behavior and religious education – not war, coercion or social pressure – to influence and inspire”. This is most important: may the Eternal One bless and enlighten our cooperation, so that together we can accept and carry out ever better his plans, “plans for welfare and not for evil”, for “a future and a hope” (Jer 29:11).

On the occasion of your welcome visit, I would like to express to you and to your communities beforehand my best wishes for the Jewish New Year which will begin in a few weeks. Shanah tovah! Once more I thank you for coming and I ask you to remember me in your prayers. Finally, I would invoke upon you, and upon all of us, the blessing of the Most High for the shared journey of friendship and trust that lies before us. In his mercy, may the Almighty bestow his peace upon us and upon the entire world. Shalom alechem!

Pope and Patriarch: A common declaration for a shared world

Rev. Dr. John Chryssavgis

Pope Francis and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew have issued a joint statement to mark the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation. Archdeacon John Chryssavgis, Bartholomew’s theological advisor on environmental issues, says the message comes at a time of global crisis and international instability.

[Editor’s note: This commentary was written for L’Osservatore Romano, the Vatican newspaper, to appear along with the joint statement of Pope Francis and Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople for the World Day of Care for Creation. With the permission of the author, it also appears here in English.]

The world that we share – the ground we tread, the air we breathe, the water we savor – unites us in a very tangible and profound way. Despite our diverse religious or racial differences, the earth provides a basis of solidarity and the ground of harmony for all people, all creatures, and all things.

It comes, then, as no surprise that the spiritual heads of the Roman Catholic and Orthodox Churches are able to profess with one mind and one voice the sacredness of God’s creation and to proclaim the need to respect and protect its resources for the benefit of all people, especially the vulnerable among us. Continue reading

Some U.S. experts think Pope, Patriarch may want Trump’s attention

Christopher White

U.S. Catholic climate leaders say that Pope Francis and Patriarch Bartholomew‘s joint statement on the environment are a veiled criticism at the Trump administration’s withdrawal from the Paris climate agreement. The document, they argue, offers both pastoral and practical wisdom for Christian communities to work together for a greater care of creation.

Pope Francis and Patriarch Bartholomew’s joint message for the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation comes just three months after President Donald Trump announced that the United States would withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement, and some experts suspect the two developments may be related.

Earlier this week, Francis said he and Bartholomew are inviting everyone “to take an attitude of respect and responsibility towards creation,” though the statement concludes with a direct plea to world leaders.

“We urgently appeal to those in positions of social and economic, as well as political and cultural, responsibility to hear the cry of the earth and to attend to the needs of the marginalized, but above all to respond to the plea of millions and support the consensus of the world for the healing of our wounded creation,” they wrote.

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Pope, Patriarch: ‘Cry of the earth’ and cry of the poor are one voice

Inés San Martín

Pope Francis and Patriarch Bartholomew released a joint statement to mark the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation on Sept. 1. They both say that they’re convinced there’s no sincere and enduring solution to the ongoing ecological crisis unless “the response is concerted and collective, unless the responsibility is shared and accountable, unless we give priority to solidarity and service.”

ROME – In a joint statement from Pope Francis and Patriarch Bartholomew to mark the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation on Sept. 1, the two said that what’s happening in the world today reveals a “morally decaying scenario, where our attitude and behavior towards creation obscures our calling as God’s co-operators.”

They call on those “in positions of social and economic, as well as political and cultural, responsibility to hear the cry of the earth, and to attend to the needs of the marginalized.”

Those leaders, Francis and Bartholomew write, are called to “respond to the plea” of millions, and support “the consensus of the world for the healing of our wounded creation.” Continue reading