Pope: Move away from ‘a god called money’

Pope Francis has made one of his strongest attacks on the global economic system, saying it could no longer be based on a “god called money” and urged the unemployed to fight for work.

Francis, at the start of a day-long trip to the Sardinian capital, Cagliari, put aside his prepared text at a meeting with unemployed workers, including miners in hard hats, and improvised for nearly 20 minutes.

“I find suffering here ... It weakens you and robs you of hope,” he said. “Excuse me if I use strong words, but where there is no work there is no dignity.”

The Pope discarded his prepared speech after listening to Francesco Mattana, a 45-year-old married father of three who lost his job with an alternative energy company four years ago.

His voice trembling, he told the Pope that un-employment “oppresses you and wears you out to the depths of your soul”.

The crowd of about 20,000 people in a square near the city port chanted what Francis called a prayer for “work, work, work”.

Francis, who later celebrated Mass for some 300,000 people outside the city’s cathedral, told them: “We don’t want this globalised economic system which does us so much harm. Men and women have to be at the centre [of an economic system] as God wants, not money.”

“The world has become an idolator of this god called money,” he said, making clear that his assessment was not limited to just Sardinia.

“It is not a problem of Italy and Europe... It is the consequence of a world choice, of an economic system that brings about this tragedy, an economic system that has at its centre an idol which is called money.”

While Benedict, Francis’s predecessor, also called for changes to economic systems, he was more likely to use intellectual language.

Francis ended his speech with a prayer asking God to “give us work and teach us to fight for work”. He said he did not want the crowd to see him as a smiling “cordial manager of the Church who comes here and says to you ‘have courage’.”

Francis brought tears to the eyes of some in the crowd when he told his own family’s story of emigration from Italy to Argentina and how they lost everything in the Great Depression.

“I was not born yet, but as a child I remember hearing talk of this suffering.”

He said globalisation had brought with it a culture where the weakest in society suffered the most and often, those on the fringes “fall away”, including the elderly, who he said were victims of a “hidden euthanasia” caused by neglect of those no longer considered productive.

“To defend this economic culture, a throwaway culture has been installed. We throw away grandparents, and we throw away young people. We have to say no to his throwaway culture. We want a just system that helps everyone,” he said.


More in this Section

‘I am so excited about the rest of my life’, says Isabel Terry after 15-year transplant wait

Criticism as Killarney to take 55 people ‘seeking international protection’

Charity gets €300,000 in water fee refunds

Leo Varadkar and Micheál Martin coy on abortion recommendation


Breaking Stories

PSNI chief gives stark warning over stalled agreement to deal with legacy of the Troubles

Two arrested as Gardaí find €370k worth of drugs in Dublin house raid

Cork rallies around mother of five hit by double tragedy in run-up to Christmas

Taoiseach: A lot of thinking needs to be done about EU and UK's post-Brexit relationship

Lifestyle

Scenes from the analogue city - Memories of Limerick from the late 80s and early 90s

Ask Audrey: 'I heard that Viagra fumes from Pfizer’s were causing stiffys below in Ringaskiddy'

The 12 drinks of Christmas - Top tipples for the festive season

Sex advice with Suzi Godson: My boyfriend is too noisy during sex

More From The Irish Examiner