Pope: humans are never a consumer good, but beings created with unique dignity

“At times,” noted Francis, “we look at others as objects, to be used and discarded. In reality this type of perspective blinds and fosters an individualistic and aggressive throw-away culture, which transforms the human being into a consumer good”. By contrast, “the believer, contemplating his or her neighbour as a brother or sister, and not as a stranger, looks at him or her compassionately and empathetically, not contemptuously or with hostility. Contemplating the world in the light of faith, with the help of grace, we strive to develop our creativity and enthusiasm in order to resolve the ordeals of the past.”


Vatican City (AsiaNews) – The pandemic has shown humanity’s vulnerability and interconnectedness, showing "broader social ills. One of these is the distorted vision of the person,” whose dignity is neglected or violated,” said Pope Francis.

The pontiff spoke again from the Vatican Library in today's general audience dedicated to faith and human dignity, in pursuit of his new cycle of catechesis on healing the world. “At times,” Francis noted, “we look at others as objects, to be used and discarded. In reality this type of perspective blinds and fosters an individualistic and aggressive throw-away culture, which transforms the human being into a consumer good”.

“In the light of faith, we know, instead, that God looks at a man and a woman in another manner. He created us not as objects but as people loved and capable of loving; He has created us in His image and likeness (see Gen 1:27). In this way He has given us a unique dignity, calling us to live in communion with Him, in communion with our sisters and our brothers, with respect for all creation. [. . .] And in this communion, in this harmony that is communion, God gives us the ability to procreate and safeguard life (see Gen 1:28-29), to till and keep the land (see Gen 2:15; LS, 67).”

It is therefore necessary to overcome the individualistic gaze and see each person as a brother or sister. “Seeking to climb in life, to be superior to others, destroys harmony. It is the logic of dominion, of dominating others. Harmony is something else: it is service.” For this reason, “let us ask the Lord to give us eyes attentive to our brothers and sisters, especially those who are suffering.

“As Jesus’s disciples we do not want to be indifferent or individualistic. These are the two unpleasant attitudes that run counter to harmony. Indifferent: I look the other way. Individualist: looking out only for one’s own interest. The harmony created by God asks that we look at others, the needs of others, the problems of others, in communion. We want to recognise the human dignity in every person, whatever his or her race, language or condition might be.”

“This renewed awareness of the dignity of every human being has serious social, economic and political implications. Looking at our brother and sister and the whole of creation as a gift received from the love of the Father inspires attentive behaviour, care and wonder.”

Thus, “the believer, contemplating his or her neighbour as a brother or sister, and not as a stranger, looks at him or her compassionately and empathetically, not contemptuously or with hostility. Contemplating the world in the light of faith, with the help of grace, we strive to develop our creativity and enthusiasm in order to resolve the ordeals of the past.”

“While we all work for a cure for a virus that strikes everyone without distinction, faith exhorts us to commit ourselves seriously and actively to combat indifference in the face of violations of human dignity. [. . .] Faith always requires that we let ourselves be healed and converted from our individualism, whether personal or collective; party individualism, for example.

“May the Lord ‘restore our sight’ so as to rediscover what it means to be members of the human family. And may this sight be translated into concrete actions of compassion and respect for every person and of care and safeguarding of our common home.”

"The Bible,” Francis said in his greetings to Arabic-speaking faithful, “teaches us that every human being was created out of love, made in the image and likeness of God. This affirmation shows us the immense dignity of every person, who is not just something but is someone, capable of knowing themselves, possessing themselves, giving themselves freely and entering into communion with others. "

In his other greetings, Francis also noted that the Assumption of the Virgin will be celebrated in a few days. He reminded Italian-speaking faithful that yesterday the Church “celebrated the memory of St Clare of Assisi,” inviting them "to imitate her shining example of generous bond with Christ.”

udienza_vuota.png