Helping poor and jobless is not socialism

Helping poor and jobless people is one of the ways the Catholic Church is planning to help resolve the post-pandemic fallout, Vatican official Father Augusto Zampini says.

Helping these people is not a form of socialism, it’s Church teaching.

Zampini says the Church’s advocacy for the poor has resulted in some people accusing it of being socialists.

“Our answer is”: ‘So, some companies are asking for help, and that’s not socialism, but if poor people or informal workers need help, that’s socialism?’

“This is not about ideology. This is not about socialism or capitalism.”

“All the structures of society are being challenged at the moment. What we are trying to implement is the preferential option for the poor. That’s one of the basic principles, and it is an ethical imperative according to Laudato Si,” Zampini says.

Zampini, who is an adjunct secretary in the Vatican’s Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, says while all proposals have complications, including providing a universal basic income, “we need to do something.”

“We cannot remain indifferent, and these people cannot be invisible for society.”

He pointed out that at present “millions of people” are losing their jobs.

While some people’s needs are covered by the market and others receive unemployment insurance from the state, “what happens to those millions of people who aren’t covered by either the market or the state?”

They are being forced by the pandemic to stay at home.

Zampini says one person told him that if he stayed home without working, his family risked dying of hunger, but going out meant he could also be infected or that he could infect someone else.

“We cannot force them to stay at home…without any support,” Zampini says.

He echoes Pope Francis’s call for a universal basic income.

“It has its pros and cons, but if you weigh these pros and cons today, there’s no doubt we should do something, at least if we want to promote health for everyone.

“We need to sustain those who are doing something for society such as staying home.”

The Vatican’s coronavirus taskforce is charged with handling the challenges resulting from the pandemic.

Led by Cardinal Peter Turkson of the Vatican’s development department, five working groups are looking at different aspects of the pandemic fallout, including unemployment and research.

Tying the Church’s response to the pandemic fallout to the papal encyclical, Laudato Si’, Turkson says “We listen to the cry of creation and the cry of the poor.”

Zampini also points out that the world is facing a severe food shortage, which could cause violent conflicts to arise due to insecurity, creating an even larger class of those living in poverty.

“The value of society is determined by how it treats its most vulnerable members,” he says.

Helping poor and jobless people affected by COVID-19 is, “an opportunity to change, both in production and consumption patterns and in private and public actions.”


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News category: World.

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