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Comment and Opinion

Francis. "Humankind should renounce the idolatry of money and must focus on people"

Translated Saturday 31 October 2015, by Adrian Jordan

Pope Francis appealed for humankind to protect “our shared home”, particularly threatened by pollution, and to “give up the idolatry of money”, in a long interview with Paris Match on Thursday.

In the ten pages Paris Match dedicated to him, the Pope criticised the current capitalist system and said he awaited “concrete decisions” during international summit on the climate, being held in Paris in December. For him, “capitalism and profit are not evil if you do not turn them into idols. Not if they remain instruments.”

On the other hand, he insisted, “if money and profit at any cost become symbols of worship, if greed is the basis of our social and economic systems, then our society is heading for ruin.” For Francis, “Humanity and all of creation should not be put to the service of money. The consequences for our future are staring us in the face!” “Humankind should renounce the idolatry of money and focus on people, their dignity and the common good of future generations who will populate the Earth after us”, affirmed the Pope, who was also envisaging the protection of the planet.

Reflecting on current conflicts, notably in Syria and Iraq, he called for action “against this urgent situation”, without forgetting to attack the “causes”. “We should ask ourselves why there are so many wars and so much violence [...] We must not forget the hypocrisy of the world powers who talk of peace, but, underhandedly, sell arms”, he castigated, calling for us to “build systems of economic development which centre on human beings and not money.”

Deeply engaged in the fight for the environment since the start of his papacy, Francis hopes that COP21 “will lead to, shared, concrete decisions, aimed at sustained action for the common good”.

“Christians tend to be pragmatists, not pessimists. Nonetheless, precisely for this reason, we cannot hide from the obvious: the current world system is unsustainable”, the Pope believes. “We need everyone to engage. We must protect humanity from self-destruction”, warned Francis.

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