06/14/2021, 14.03
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Pope: Poverty is not the result of fate; it is the result of selfishness

In the message for the V World Day of the Poor, Francis writes of the need to "share" with the poor so as to give rise to the principal of a “development processes in which the abilities of all are valued". "If the poor are marginalized, as if they were to blame for their condition, then the very concept of democracy is jeopardized and every social policy will prove bankrupt."

Vatican City (AsiaNews) – “The poor are a sacrament of Christ; they represent his person and point to him" and poverty “is not the result of fate; it is the result of selfishness." From these two affirmations, founded on the Gospel, Pope Francis develops a series of consequences, first of all the "sharing" with the poor, from which derives the principle that "it is critical, therefore, to generate development processes in which the abilities of all are valued, so that complementarity of skills and diversity of roles can lead to a common resource of mutual participation.” In the end, a different approach to poverty is needed, because "if the poor are marginalized, as if they were guilty of their condition, then the very concept of democracy is in crisis and every social policy becomes bankrupt".

These are the central points of Francis' message for the Fifth World Day of the Poor which is celebrated on the 33rd Sunday of Ordinary Time - this year on November 14th - on the theme "The poor you will always have with you” " (Mk 14: 7), released today.

All of Jesus' work, the Pope writes, "affirms that poverty is not the result of fate; it is the result of selfishness". The poor, then, "are true evangelizers, for they were the first to be evangelized and called to share in the Lord's joy and his kingdom".

The message emphasises that “Jesus not only sides with the poor; he also shares their lot. This is a powerful lesson for his disciples in every age.” The poor, in fact, " The poor are not people “outside” our communities, but brothers and sisters whose sufferings we should share, in an effort to alleviate their difficulties and marginalization, restore their lost dignity and ensure their necessary social inclusion. On the other hand, as we know, acts of charity presuppose a giver and a receiver, whereas mutual sharing generates fraternity. Almsgiving is occasional; mutual sharing, on the other hand, is enduring.”

It is an attitude that requires conversion, therefore in the first place " opening our hearts to recognizing the many different forms of poverty and manifesting the Kingdom of God through a lifestyle consistent with the faith we profess. Often the poor are viewed as persons apart, as a “category” in need of specific charitable services. Yet following Jesus entails changing this way of thinking and embracing the challenge of mutual sharing and involvement”.

The Gospel, then, “us to display special concern for the poor and to recognize the varied and excessive forms of moral and social disorder that are generating ever new forms of poverty. There seems to be a growing notion that the poor are not only responsible for their condition, but that they represent an intolerable burden for an economic system focused on the interests of a few privileged groups. A market that ignores ethical principles, or picks and chooses from among them, creates inhumane conditions for people already in precarious situations. We are now seeing the creation of new traps of poverty and exclusion, set by unscrupulous economic and financial actors lacking in a humanitarian sense and in social responsibility." Added to this is the pandemic which, in addition to suffering and death, has brought new forms of poverty and even unemployment. “It is especially urgent to offer concrete responses to those who are unemployed, whose numbers include many fathers, mothers, and young people. Social solidarity and the generosity which many, thanks be to God, have shown are, together with far-sighted projects of human promotion, making a most important contribution at this juncture.”.

And since "poverty is not the result of fate; it is the result of selfishness", it is " t is the result of selfishness. It is critical, therefore, to generate development processes in which the abilities of all are valued, so that complementarity of skills and diversity of roles can lead to a common resource of mutual participation. There are many forms of poverty among the “rich” that might be relieved by the wealth of the “poor”, if only they could meet and get to know each other! None are so poor that they cannot give something of themselves in mutual exchange. The poor cannot be only those who receive; they must be put in a position to give, because they know well how to respond with generosity.”

Finally, as pointed out by Msgr. Rino Fisichella, president of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of New Evangelization at the presentation of the Message, the reference to the condition of women. In the document, taking a cue from the words of Jesus to the disciples, commenting on the gesture of the woman who had poured a very precious perfume on his head, Francis observes that "this anonymous woman, destined perhaps for this reason to represent the entire female universe that in over the centuries it will have no voice and will suffer violence, it inaugurates the significant presence of women who take part in the culminating moment of Christ's life: his crucifixion, death and burial and his appearance as the Risen One ". (FP)

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