Pandemic highlights social problems and inequality

The pandemic is highlighting and exacerbating social problems, especially inequality, Pope Francis said at his General Audience  last Wednesday.

Focusing his talk on the fourth of his “Healing the World” series, Francis is urging everyone to check statistics to see how many children are dying of hunger because of a poor distribution of wealth and a sick economic system.

We should also check many children do not have the right to school, for the same reason, he said.

“May it be this image, of children in need of hunger and lack of education, which helps us to understand that after this crisis we must come out better” and understand the need for change, he said.

Francis explained the pandemic and its social consequences are causing many people to be in danger of losing hope.

“The pandemic has highlighted and exacerbated social problems, especially inequality. Some may work from home, while for many others this is impossible.”

“Some children, despite the difficulties, can continue to receive a school education, while for many others it has stopped abruptly.”

“Some powerful nations can issue money to deal with the emergency, while for others this would mean mortgaging the future.”

He said these symptoms of inequality are a social disease caused by “a virus that comes from a sick economy” and “the fruit of inequitable economic growth” that has taken place independent of fundamental human values.

“In today’s world, a few of the very rich have more than the rest of humanity. […] It is an injustice that cries out to heaven.”

Francis said this economic model will result in irreversible consequences such loss of biodiversity, climate change, rising sea levels and the destruction of tropical forests.

“Social inequality and environmental degradation go hand in hand and have the same root, that of the sin of wanting to possess, of wanting to dominate brothers and sisters, of wanting to possess and dominate nature and God himself. But this is not the design of creation.”

The transformation of money and property into ends in themselves, rather than as tools, had led to the emergence of individualistic and calculating people Francis calls “homo œconomicus.”

“We forget that, being created in the image and likeness of God, we are social, creative and supportive beings, with an immense capacity to love. We often forget about this,” he said.

“When the obsession with owning and dominating excludes millions of people from primary goods; when economic and technological inequality is such as to tear the social fabric; and when addiction to unlimited material progress threatens the common home, then we cannot stand by. No, this is bleak. We cannot stand and watch.”

“After the crisis, will we continue with this economic system of social injustice and contempt for the care of the environment, of creation, of the common home?”

He hopes to inspire a healthier and more equitable world.


Additional reading

News category: World.

Tags: , , , , ,