WelCom August 2021
In his message for the fifth World Day of the Poor, for 14 November 2021, released 14 June this year, Pope Francis has appealed for a new global approach to poverty.
He said ‘the very concept of democracy is jeopardised’ when the poor are marginalised and treated as if they are to blame for their condition.
‘This is a challenge that governments and world institutions need to take up with a farsighted social model capable of countering the new forms of poverty that are now sweeping the world and will decisively affect coming decades,’ he wrote.
‘If the poor are marginalised, as if they were to blame for their condition, then the very concept of democracy is jeopardised and every social policy will prove bankrupt.’
Poverty is the result of people’s selfishness; it is not ‘fate’ or the fault of the poor, says Pope Francis.
‘Unless we choose to become poor in passing riches, worldly power and vanity, we will never be able to give our lives in love; we will live a fragmented existence, full of good intentions but ineffective for transforming the world,’ the Pope said in his message.
‘We need, therefore, to open ourselves decisively to the grace of Christ, which can make us witnesses of his boundless charity and restore credibility to our presence in the world,’ the Pope said in the message released in June.
The World Day of the Poor – marked each year on the 33rd Sunday of Ordinary Time – will be observed on 14 November this year and focuses on a verse, ‘The poor you will always have with you’ (Mk 14:7).
However, people must never become indifferent knowing there will always be poverty in the world and among their neighbours, the Pope said. Jesus always sides with the poor and he ‘shares their lot,’ he said.
‘This is a powerful lesson for his disciples in every age,’ he said, because it calls people to directly engage in ‘a mutual sharing of life’ with the poor, who are not ‘outside our communities, but brothers and sisters whose sufferings we should share in an effort to alleviate their difficulties and marginalisation, restore their lost dignity and ensure their necessary social inclusion.’
The Pope lamented what he said was an increasing tendency to dismiss the poor against the background of the coronavirus crisis.
‘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,’ he commented.
Sources: CNA, National Catholic Reporter
Pope Francis message for the fifth World Day of the Poor is online at: tinyurl.com/World-Day-Of-Poor-Message-2021