Pope calls for a different approach to poverty, a more far-sighted social model, a new paradigm of sharing

It’s not a question of giving alms, but of opposing the culture of indifference and injustice we have created with regard to the poor,” he points out. “Individualistic lifestyles are complicit in generating poverty, and often saddle the poor with responsibility for their condition,” he argues. “Yet poverty is not the result of fate; it is the result of selfishness,” he insists. The pope says that resolving poverty is an issue directly linked with the very existence of democracy. “If the poor are marginalized, as if they were to blame for their condition, then the very concept of democracy is jeopardized and every social policy will prove bankrupt,” he says.

In his new World Day of the Poor Message the pope urges governments around the globe to build “a farsighted social model capable of countering the new forms of poverty”

By Loup Besmond de Senneville | La Croix, Vatican City

Pope Francis has called on world leaders to find a new and better way to fight poverty. And in his message for the Fifth “World Day of the Poor”, which the Vatican released on Monday, the pope offers concrete suggestions to that end. In the two-and-a-half page message, the Bishop of Rome pleads in particular for the authorities and international institutions to take a new look at poverty.

“A different approach to poverty is required,” writes the pope

And he urges governments to put in place “a farsighted social model capable of countering the new forms of poverty”. Francis acknowledges, like Jesus in the Gospels, that the poor “will always be with us”. But he warns that this “should not make us indifferent” to their plight. It will not do to “stop at statistics” or “move people’s hearts by filming a documentary”. The 84-year-old Jesuit pope says we must go further. In particular, he calls for a paradigm shift in the way we help the poorest among us. “Almsgiving is occasional; mutual sharing, on the other hand, is enduring,” he insists. This, he says, requires a change in thinking.

“It is not a question of easing our conscience by giving alms, but of opposing the culture of indifference and injustice we have created with regard to the poor,” he points out.

“Creation of new traps”

But changing the way we look at poverty also involves shunning the idea that poor people are solely responsible for their situation, Francis warns.

“We are now seeing the creation of new traps of poverty and exclusion,” he notes.

And he blasts those “unscrupulous economic and financial actors lacking in a humanitarian sense and in social responsibility” who also create poverty.

The Latin American pope also highlights the link between poverty and women because of discrimination.

“Women, so often discriminated against and excluded from positions of responsibility, are seen in the Gospels to play a leading role in the history of revelation,” he says.

“Poverty is not the result of fate”

Francis insists that, more often than not, it is not the people themselves who are responsible for the poverty they experience. Nor are they victims of destiny.

It’s not a question of giving alms, but of opposing the culture of indifference and injustice we have created with regard to the poor,” he points out. “Individualistic lifestyles are complicit in generating poverty, and often saddle the poor with responsibility for their condition,” he argues. “Yet poverty is not the result of fate; it is the result of selfishness,” he insists. The pope says that resolving poverty is an issue directly linked with the very existence of democracy. “If the poor are marginalized, as if they were to blame for their condition, then the very concept of democracy is jeopardized and every social policy will prove bankrupt,” he says.

Francis instituted the “World Day of the Poor” in 2016. It takes place each year on the 33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time on the Church’s liturgical calendar. This year the 5th such observance will be celebrated on November 14.It is also in this context that a global gathering including people in precarious situations is expected to be held from November 11-14 in Assisi, the Italian birthplace of St. Francis. It is expected that the pope will attend.

Read more at: https://international.la-croix.com/news/religion/pope-francis-calls-for-a-different-approach-to-poverty/14470

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