I guess Francis forgot about the entire history of Europe where the Roman Catholic Church was in a constant state of thirst for power over the various countries.
Pope Francis on Friday called for world leaders to end a “selfish and boundless thirst for power and material prosperity” that was fuelling poverty, inequality and destruction of the environment, laying part of the blame on “international financial agencies”.
Opening a three-day UN summit to adopt an ambitious new set of goals, ranging from eradicating poverty and hunger to combating climate change, the Pope said it was time for “greater equity” within the UN and other elements of the international system.
Singling out “financial agencies and the groups or mechanisms specifically created to deal with economic crises”, in an apparent reference to the International Monetary Fund and its related institutions, the Pope said change was needed to limit “every kind of abuse or usury, especially where developing countries are concerned”.
“International financial agencies should care for the sustainable development of countries and should ensure that they are not subjected to oppressive lending systems,” he said, drawing applause.
Such systems, he said, “far from promoting progress, subject people to mechanisms which generate greater poverty, exclusion and dependence”.
Since being elected to the helm of the Catholic Church in March 2013, Pope Francis has put forth a more strident critique of global capitalism and the world’s economic system than his predecessors, accusing it of widening income inequality, deepening the plight of the poor and plundering the planet.
In a speech in Bolivia in July, the 78-year-old Argentine went as far as calling unfettered free markets the “dung of the devil”. In his speech to the US Congress on Thursday, the Pope toned down his language — and even emphasised the benefits of “free enterprise”, if they are properly harnessed, and the good that business can do to help improve the world.
But in his speech to the UN on Friday, Pope Francis left little doubt that he believed the current system is skewed in favour of rich countries, to the detriment of the poor, as he argued for a more effective distribution of power in the world.
“Our world demands of all government leaders . . . concrete steps and immediate measures for preserving and improving the natural environment and thus putting an end as quickly as possible to the phenomenon of social and economic exclusion,” he said.
Pope Francis’ attack on global lending institutions may also reflect his personal background. As Archbishop of Buenos Aires, he was on the front lines of the Argentinian debt default of 2001 in the midst of a brutal recession and criticised austerity policies the government implemented.
Speaking later on Friday, Christine Lagarde, IMF managing director, defended the fund’s role in development, saying it was committed to help find ways to fund the new goals agreed at the UN. The IMF, she said, was expanding its help to member countries to deal with social and environmental issues, both through its research and technical assistance. It was also extending more interest-free financial help to the world’s poorest countries, she said.
The 17 “global goals” being adopted at the UN this weekend are designed to define how best to help the world’s downtrodden over the next 15 years and combat problems ranging from climate change to gender discrimination and inequality. The push has been criticised by some for lacking focus — alongside the goals are 169 “targets”. Many of them, including the first, to end extreme poverty “everywhere”, seem as improbable as they are laudable.
Justine Greening, the UK’s international development secretary, called the goals a “major landmark in our fight against global poverty”, though she warned that the world “cannot underestimate the huge challenge that remains”.
Speaking ahead of the summit, Bill Gates, whose family foundation has emerged as a critical player in global development in recent years, said the goals marked an important milestone. But he also warned that the world was likely to struggle to find the annual $3tn-$5tn in extra funding that the UN has estimated will be needed.
“There is certainly no chance that that amount of money will be available next year,” he told reporters on Thursday. “We would be doing very well to get anywhere near that number by 2030.”
Categories: Roman Catholic Church News