Category Archives: Poverty

Pope Francis keeps focus on poverty and the poor: Chris Bain

In the days since Pope Francis was elected by the Papal Conclave, he has been quizzed on everything from his stance on the Falkland Islands to his role in Argentina’s “dirty war.” He has had to navigate diplomatic minefields — why was Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe at his inauguration, while British Prime Minister David Cameron wasn’t? And he has faced scrutiny over his position on social issues like marriage equality and women in the church. But at his inaugural mass last Tuesday, Francis showed once again where his focus has been since he first took his vows, and where he wants it to remain.

The pontiff, Francis told the hundreds of thousands in attendance, “must open his arms to protect all of God’s people and embrace with tender affection the whole of humanity, especially the poorest, the weakest, the least important.”

It’s a message that’s more relevant than ever: Francis’s papacy begins at a time when the globe has never been more socially unequal, economically volatile or environmentally unsustainable. This is a world where 870million men, women and children go to bed hungry every night, and where nearly 1billion have no access to clean water; a world where whole countries are threatened with bankruptcy and seemingly stable regimes can collapse because of the price of grain; a world of manmade climate change and the plundering of creation for the few at the expense of the many.

The Roman Catholic Church, throughout its history, has worked for and alongside the poorest people in the world. Francis — a man with a strong history of working for the poorest in his home country of Argentina — now has the opportunity to reaffirm this focus, as well as expand the church’s engagement on issues of poverty. But what can he actually hope to accomplish? Continue reading

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