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Wednesday, October 26, 2016

By Philip Pullella and Scott Malone

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) — Pope Francis on Friday condemned the craving for material gains and power, telling an annual gathering of world leaders at the United Nations that greed is destroying the Earth’s resources and aggravating poverty.

The spiritual leader of 1.2 billion Roman Catholics condemned the “grave offense” of economic and social exclusion, in his first speech to the U.N. General Assembly in New York.

“A selfish and boundless thirst for power and material prosperity leads both to the misuse of available natural resources and to the exclusion of the weak and disadvantaged,” he said.

The first pope from Latin America, Francis has often criticized unbridled capitalism in the two years of his papacy.

On Friday, he had a high-powered audience at the United Nations, which is celebrating its 70th anniversary. This year’s General Assembly is believed to have attracted the highest number of leaders in United Nations history.

The Argentine pontiff called on government leaders to ensure their people enjoy the minimum material means needed to live. “In practical terms, this absolute minimum has three names: lodging, labor, and land,” Francis said to applause.

Among those in the audience were Cuban President Raul Castro and Malala Yousafzai, the 18-year-old Pakistani campaigner for girls’ rights to education.

Francis, 78, called on government leaders to fight human trafficking and ban nuclear arms, and gave a grim warning about the future of the planet.

“The ecological crisis and the large-scale destruction of biodiversity can threaten the very existence of the human species,” said Francis, who this year published the first papal encyclical, a letter to the church, dedicated to the environment.

He called for “fundamental and effective agreements” at climate change talks in Paris in December.

The prospects of a meaningful global climate pact in the French capital have been boosted by the news that China — one of the world’s biggest polluters — will start a national carbon emissions trading market in 2017.

In keeping with his reputation as a green pope, Francis has used a small Fiat car to get around Washington and New York during this week’s trip to the United States. He ends his visit in Philadelphia on Sunday.

He arrived in New York on Thursday from Washington after urging the U.S. Congress to help heal many of America’s divisions such as the heated political debate over immigration.

The pope has addressed issues dear to liberals in the United States but also emphasized conservative values and Catholic teachings on the family.

At the United Nations, he warned against imposing Western liberal values on the rest of the world via “an ideological colonization by the imposition of anomalous models and lifestyles which are alien to people’s identity.”

Later on Friday, Francis led an inter-religious prayer service at the site of the Sept. 11, 2001, hijacked plane attacks by Islamist militants that brought down the twin towers of the World Trade Center.

(Additional reporting by Susan Heavey; Writing by Alistair Bell; Editing by Mary Milliken and Grant McCool)

Photo: Pope Francis (L) poses with United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon at the United Nations in New York, September 25, 2015. REUTERS/Tony Gentile

  • Independent1

    Here’s in more detail what Pope Francis would probably liked to have expressed at the U.N. but may not have had the time to fully cover. Although I’m not a Catholic, I must say I have to agree with a lot of what he has to say about Capitalism and Income Inequality.

    See this from MarketWatch:

    Pope Francis’s ‘holy war’ on capitalism and toxic inequality

    Pope Francis’s target is clear: economic inequality is the world’s No. 1 problem. Capitalism is at the center of all problems of inequality. And he speaks with a powerful moral authority — something totally missing from American political leaders who are ideologically guided by atheist Ayn Rand, patron saint of the GOP’s capitalism agenda in this moral war. Without moral grounding, the GOP is no match for Francis’ vision, his principled mandate, his long-game strategy to raise the world’s billions
    out of poverty, to eliminate inequality, to attack the myopic capitalism driving today’s economy, markets and political system.

    Moreover, the pope has the resources: As commander-in-chief of the world’s largest army: 1.2 billion Catholics worldwide who are now motivated to defeat capitalism’s grip on inequality. His army includes 78 million Americans in 17,645 parishes, plus a huge officer corps of 213 cardinals, over 5,000 bishops, 450,000 priests and deacons worldwide, all sworn to carry out his vision. He needs no legislative approvals; popes have authority to act unilaterally, with speed, a dictator whose word is law, commanding allegiance, obedience and action.

    Pope’s 10 commandments in war against Inequality and capitalism

    So welcome to his first-anniversary celebration: Yes, it was just one year ago Pope Francis laid down his anticapitalism agenda as a battle plan for Catholics. One short year. Mitch McConnell probably hasn’t even read it yet. Every American should. So here’s an edited version of Francis’s 10 economic commandments. They define the specific strategies guiding his economic war against inequality and capitalism.

    Here are Pope Francis’s 10 strategies, in his own words directly from his “Apostolic
    Exhortation,” a 67-page manifesto published by the Vatican before Thanksgiving last year. Listen to how driven Pope Francis is to changing the world. He really is a radical anticapitalist, socialist, revolutionary leader that American conservatives and capitalists worldwide, especially GOP leaders, will face for years, long after McConnell’s tenure. Listen:

    1. Solve economic inequality fast … or capitalism dooms whole world

    Pope: “Inequality is the root of social ills … as long as the problems of the poor are not radically resolved by rejecting the absolute autonomy of markets and financial speculation and by attacking the structural causes of inequality, no solution will be found for the world’s problemsor, for that matter, to any problems.”

    2. Never trust the greedy Invisible Hand of free-market capitalists

    Pope: “We can no longer trust in the unseen forces and the ‘invisible hand’ of the market. Growth in justice requires more than economic growth … a better distribution of income … The economy can no longer turn to remedies … such as attempting to increase profits by reducing the work force and thereby adding to the ranks of the excluded.”

    3. Trickle-down economic ideology of the Super Rich is massive hoax

    Pope: Some “continue to defend trickle-down theories which assume that economic growth, encouraged by a free market, will inevitably succeed in bringing about greater justice and inclusiveness in the world. … a crude and naïve trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power … the culture of prosperity deadens us.”

    4. New tyranny of capitalism gets rich stealing from the public

    Pope: “While the earnings of a minority are growing exponentially, so too is the gap separating the majority from the prosperity enjoyed by those happy few. This imbalance is the result of ideologies which defend the absolute autonomy of the marketplace and financial speculation, and reject the right of states charged with vigilance for the common good. … A new tyranny … unilaterally and relentlessly imposes its own laws and rules.”

    5. The new Golden Calf Idolatry is capitalism’s worship of money

    Pope: “Money must serve, not rule … The current financial crisis can make us overlook the fact that it originated in a profound human crisis: the denial of the primacy of the human person! … The worship of the ancient golden calf has returned in a new and ruthless guise in the idolatry of money … lacking a truly human purpose.”

    6. Capitalism fuels excessive consumerism, undermining social morals

    Pope: “Today’s economic mechanisms promote inordinate consumption, yet it is
    evident that unbridled consumerism combined with inequality proves doubly damaging to the social fabric. … Inequality eventually engenders a violence … new and more serious conflicts. Some … blaming the poor and the poorer countries themselves for their troubles … more exasperating … widespread and deeply rooted corruption found in many countries … businesses … institutions.”

    7. Obsessive competition to amass personal wealth destroys democracy

    Pope: “Today everything comes under the laws of competition and the survival of the fittest, where the powerful feed upon the powerless … masses of people find themselves excluded and marginalized: without work, without possibilities, without any means of escape. … Such an economy kills … it is not a news item when an elderly homeless person dies of exposure, but it is news when the stock market loses two points?”

    8. Capitalists treats humans as leftovers in their throwaway world

    Pope: “Human beings are themselves considered consumer goods to be used and
    then discarded. We have created a ‘throw away’ culture which is now spreading. It is no longer simply about exploitation and oppression, but something new. … those excluded are no longer society’s underside …no longer even a part of it. … but the outcast, the ‘leftovers’.”

    9. Extreme conservative individualism is killing democracy worldwide

    Pope: “In a culture where each person wants to be bearer of his or her own
    subjective truth, it becomes difficult for citizens to devise a common plan which transcends individual gain and personal ambitions. … freed from those unworthy chains and to attain a way of living and thinking which is more humane, noble and fruitful, and which will bring dignity to their presence on this earth.”

    10. Capitalism rejects God, morality, ethics … loves total anarchy of money

    Pope:“Behind this attitude lurks a rejection of ethics and a rejection of God. … condemns the manipulation and debasement of the person. … ethics leads to a God who calls for a committed response which is outside the categories of the marketplace. … makes it possible to bring about balance and a more humane social order.”

  • bikejedi

    Finally a Christian that liberals like and they dont like because he is Christian they like him because he’s talking like a Socialist dictator. Can’t you people just wait until he goes away and you can get back to the business of booing ..God hating Christians ….killing babies and selling their body parts? I bet you people can’t wait

  • bikejedi

    This Pope came to America to talk down to Americans . He tells us to take in more refugees when if I’m not mistaken were already taking in about 70% of the people that the U N classifies as refugees . Why doesn’t the Vatican take them all in or maybe one of those socialist South American countries like oh I don’t know Argentina. He manages those who would build the wall and if I’m not mistaken the Vatican has a mighty fine wall itself. He talks about gun control issues when the Vatican owns part of beretta and he is surrounded by armed bodyguards typical liberal. This Pope is not a spiritual leader he is a Socialist Marxist want to be. He admonishes people to help the poor any politics for wealth redistribution. Well how’s that working out socialist countries in South America they have a lot of poverty and no ones helping the poor down there but the United States. I have left the Catholic faith over this idiot and will classify myself as a Christian not as a Catholic