Pope Francis Persists in His Pestering

On October 16, Pope Francis spoke to the Fourth World Meeting of Popular Movements. This meeting brings together the Vatican and the representatives of a number of groups across the globe who stand up for the rights of the poor and excluded. Our Holy Father’s message was so frank and poignant that for a few columns I decided to share a few excerpts of our Pope’s message without comment.

In the name of God, I ask the media to stop the logic of post-truth, disinformation, defamation, slander and the unhealthy attraction to dirt and scandal, and to contribute to human fraternity and empathy with those who are most deeply damaged.

In the name of God, I call on powerful countries to stop aggression, blockades and unilateral sanctions against any country anywhere on earth. No to neo-colonialism. Conflicts must be resolved in multilateral fora such as the United Nations. We have already seen how unilateral interventions, invasions and occupations end up; even if they are justified by noble motives and fine words.

Together with the poor of the earth, I wish to ask governments in general, politicians of all parties, to represent their people and to work for the common good. I want to ask them for the courage to look at their own people, to look people in the eye, and the courage to know that the good of a people is much more than a consensus between parties (cf. Evangelii gaudium, 218). Let them stop listening exclusively to the economic elites, who so often spout superficial ideologies that ignore humanity’s real dilemmas. May they be servants of the people who demand land, work, housing and good living. This aboriginal good living or buen vivir is not the same as “la dolce vita” or “sweet idleness”, no. This is good human living that puts us in harmony with all humanity, with all creation.

And so, I persist in my pestering. It is necessary to confront together the populist discourses of intolerance, xenophobia, and aporophobia, which is hatred of the poor. Like everything that leads us to indifference, meritocracy and individualism, these narratives only serve to divide our peoples, and to undermine and nullify our poetic capacity, the capacity to dream together.

You can read Pope Francis’ complete message at tinyurl.com/lsia-popular-movements. Working together, we can help take care of our common home.

Paul Litwin

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