In his weekly general address in Vatican City’s St. Peter’s Square on Wednesday — which is also the labor holiday May Day — Pope Francis condemned putting profits ahead of human suffering and called for job creation:
“And here I think of the difficulties that, in various countries, today afflict the world of work and businesses,” he told tens of thousands people gathered for his weekly general audience in St. Peter’s Square.
“I think of how many, and not just young people, are unemployed, many times due to a purely economic conception of society, which seeks selfish profit, beyond the parameters of social justice. I wish to extend an invitation to solidarity to everyone, and I would like to encourage those in public office to make every effort to give new impetus to employment.”
The Pope has long been an advocate for the poor, living a spare lifestyle, visiting impoverished areas, and taking his name from the Catholic church’s biggest advocate for the poor. He has called extreme poverty and growing income inequality violations of basic human rights.
Pope Francis joins a growing anti-austerity chorus on his continent. U.S. officials have also urged Europe to shift the focus away from budget cutting and toward pro-growth policies. Yet leaders in this country haven’t heeded the same advice, hurting growth with spending cuts and harming important social programs.
Francis also condemned the factory collapse in Bangladesh and working conditions in that country:
A headline that impressed me so much the day of the Bangladesh tragedy, ‘Living on 38 euros a month’: this was the payment of these people who have died … And this is called ‘slave labor!’