Pope Francis in Bolivia: 'We Are Tearing Apart Our Common Home'

By Stephen Seufert 7-10-2015
Pope Francis in Quito, Ecuador
Pope Francis greets onlookers while on his Latin America tour in Ecuador on July 7. Fotos593 / Shutterstock.com

During a meeting with the World Meeting of Popular Movements, an international gathering of grassroots activists in Santa Cruz, Bolivia, Pope Francis acknowledged he didn’t have a “recipe” for a perfect economic-social-political system, but nonetheless recognized the current way of doing business fails to adequately defend the Earth, our common home.

If we as Catholics are supposed to act on the words of Pope Francis, how best can we end the cycle of exclusion and suffering millions around the world struggle with on a daily basis?

First and foremost, Pope Francis said society must come to recognize “profit at any price” deadens our sense of morality and common bond. As Pope Francis states, what good is the current financial system if a growing number of "farmworkers find it intolerable, laborers find it intolerable, communities find it intolerable, peoples find it intolerable. The earth itself — our sister, Mother Earth, as St. Francis would say — also finds it intolerable."

Pope Francis correctly points out that while “we are not yet tearing one another apart … we are tearing apart our common home," and that not defending our common home “is a grave sin."

The scientific community, Pope Francis believes, “realizes what the poor have long told us: Harm, perhaps irreversible harm, is being done to the ecosystem," Through human-made decisions that resulted in pollution and exploitation, Pope Francis declared, "The earth, entire peoples and individual persons are being brutally punished."

In any social justice action taken to end the pain and suffering of others, Pope Francis said it cannot be based on ideology; it must be about people. Pope Francis believes each of us must be moved into meaningful action not just by cold statistics, but by a heart that feels, "the pain of a suffering humanity, our own pain, our own flesh."

Pope Francis states the ultimate goal must be the formation of “a truly communitarian economy, one might say an economy of Christian inspiration. His Holiness envisions, “an economy where human beings, in harmony with nature, structure the entire system of production and distribution in such a way that the abilities and needs of each individual find suitable expression in social life."

Reaching this new economy isn’t a dream in the opinion of Pope Francis. He believes humanity has the people, talent, and resources to make it a reality and that the "social poets," and people who are "creators of work, builders of housing and producers of food, above all for people left behind by the world market" particularly have the power to affect humanity’s future.

Read the full text of the speech HERE.

Stephen Seufert is state director of Keystone Catholics, an online social justice advocacy organization in Pennsylvania.

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