Pope: Convert the logic of profit to respond to famine and ecological emergencies
Castel Gandolfo (AsiaNews) – Benedict XVI, in his address prior to the Angelus warned against “the logic of profit” widely put into effect in a way which “increases the divide between rich and poor and causes a disastrous exploitation of the planet”. Speaking from the apostolic palace of Castel Gandolfo, the pope highlighted the current world emergencies regarding “famine” and “the ecology”, underlining that only by bringing to bear “ a logic of sharing and solidarity may the current course be changed towards equal and sustainable development”.
The pope’s reflections were inspired by Christ’s words carried in this Sunday’s Gospel: "I tell you, make friends for yourselves with dishonest wealth, 6 so that when it fails, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings" (Luke 16, 9).
“Money – explained the pope - is not ‘dishonest’ in itself, but above every other thing it is capable of leading man down the blind path of selfishness. Thus a ‘conversion’ of economic goods is necessary: instead of using them explicitly for self interests, we must begin to think of the needs of the poor, imitating Christ, who – as St Paul writes – ‘for your sake he became poor although he was rich, so that by his poverty you might become rich.’ (2 Cor 8,9). It may seem a paradox: Christ did not make us rich with his wealth, but with his poverty, in other words with his love, to the point of gifting himself totally to us”.
From a theological reflection the pope the turned to a reading of the current global situation, where “two forms of economic logic present themselves: the logic of profits and the logic of an equal distribution of wealth”. Benedict XVI said that these two forms of reason “do not contradict one another”, but adds “it is so, only in so far as their relationship is kept under control”. “Profit – he explained – is naturally legitimate, and in a just measure, necessary for economic development”. Quoting from John Paul II’s social encyclical Centesimus annus, he recalled that “the modern business economy carries within it positive aspects, the root of which is the freedom of the individual, which is expressed in the economic field as in many other areas of life” (n. 32). But despite this, he added, capitalism cannot be considered the only valid model of economic organisation (cfr ivi, 35)”.
Benedict XVI concluded his reflection by drawing on the Magnificat, where it is proclaimed “the hungry he has filled with good things; the rich he has sent away empty’ (Luke 1, 53). “Blessed Mary –said the pontiff -… help Christians to use the wisdom of the Gospel that is using worldly goods with generous solidarity, and inspire governments and economists to insightful strategies which benefit an authentic progress for all peoples”.
Among his greetings to pilgrims, the pope recalled an initiative by the Italian Society of St Vincent de Paul to combat illiteracy, “a grave social wound which still afflicts countless people across the world”. In wishing them success in their campaign he added: “I take this opportunity to send my warm greetings to all of those children, boys and girls who have recently begun the new school year [in Italy], as well as their teachers. I wish you a happy school year!”