A slum in South Sudan's capital, Juba A slum in South Sudan's capital, Juba  (ANSA)

Pope Francis: Growing poverty requires action

Pope Francis calls for action to fight growing poverty in a video message to the Pan-American Committee of Judges for Social Rights and Franciscan Doctrine.

By Deborah Castellano Lubov

Pope Francis has urged judges to combat poverty, saying its growth requires action.

He did so in a video message he sent to the Pan-American Committee of Judges for Social Rights and Franciscan Doctrine on Wednesday, as he celebrated the creation of their new chapter in Paraguay.

“I am glad that in these critical and complex times of humanity, Social Rights and the Franciscan Doctrine are the inspiring basis of this new organisation.”

Argentina, Chile, Brazil, Colombia, Peru, Mexico and the United States, he noted, have already advanced with their national chapters, "generating important contributions and activities that contribute to consolidate the rights of those who suffer the discarding of the system."

The Holy Father said he took this opportunity to highlight their new commitment.

“Growing poverty in the region urgently calls us to reflect and act. We cannot and must not accept poverty and hunger in nations that enjoy all of nature's bountiful bounties: clean water, suitable land, clean air.”

"It is very easy to explain in a university lecture that social rights are programmatic," he acknowledged, but in people's lives, "the time of realisation of these rights is the qualification of their own existence: the dignity or unworthiness of their lives."

"Naturalising the non-observance of social rights under the pretext of insufficient resources in rich countries," the Pope decried in his Spanish message, "is a serious fault that involves not only those who govern but also those who judge. Wealth is a gift to be distributed."

Need to combat poverty

"When poverty reigns in a naturally rich country," the Pope lamented, "structural injustice is realised," all the more so "because there is no possibility of development in marginalised communities."

When this happens, he admonished, "a few powerful people may emerge, but as a whole inequitable communities are doomed to failure and stagnation." 

"When judges, who have the power to help reverse this unjust picture," he warned, "do nothing, they open the door to the new totalitarian discourses that ride on a realistic and indisputable diagnosis, but then promote inhumane and selfish political "solutions" that are even worse than this sad present."

Pope Francis concluded by encouraging their work and urging them to commit themselves to promoting equality, development, and fighting poverty.

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09 March 2023, 12:14