VATICAN CITY (AP) – On May 9, 2014 Pope Francis called for governments to redistribute wealth to the poor in a new spirit of generosity to help curb the “economy of exclusion” that is taking hold today.
Francis made the appeal during a speech to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the heads of major U.N. agencies who were meeting in Rome that week.
Latin America’s first pope has frequently lashed out at the injustices of capitalism and the global economic system that excludes so much of humanity.
Francis called for the United Nations to promote a “worldwide ethical mobilization” of solidarity with the poor in a new spirit of generosity.
He said a more equal form of economic progress can be had through “the legitimate redistribution of economic benefits by the state, as well as indispensable cooperation between the private sector and civil society.”
Francis had a similar message to the World Economic Forum in January and in his apostolic exhortation “The Joy of the Gospel.” That document, which denounced trickle-down economic theories as unproven and naive, provoked criticism in the U.S. that he was Marxist.
Francis has denied he’s Marxist, and spent years in Argentina battling Marxist excesses of liberation theology. But he has said from the outset that he wants a church that “is poor and for the poor” and ministers to the most marginal of society.
He urged the U.N. to promote development goals that attack the root causes of poverty and hunger, protect the environment and ensure “dignified” labor for all.
“Specifically, this involves challenging all forms of injustices and resisting the economy of exclusion, the throwaway culture and the culture of death which nowadays sadly risk becoming passively accepted,” he said.