Meeting with a group of unemployed workers, Pope Francis abandoned his prepared text on Sunday to make some of his strongest remarks against economic inequality.
Later, he spoke to a crowd of thousands where he condemned the idolization of the “god of money.” “To defend this economic culture, a throwaway culture has been installed,” he said “We throw away grandparents, and we throw away young people. We have to say no to this throwaway culture. We want a just system that helps everyone.”
This approach, Francis said, marginalizes the young and old, causing those who suffer the most to “fall away,” creating a “hidden euthanasia” that neglects the poor elderly.
Francis spoke at Sardinia, an island off of Italy’s coast and a site of vast income inequality between its cities and resort beaches. The island has been a location for massive protests against extreme European budget-cutting. Francis himself has condemned austerity policies and instead encouraged lawmakers to implement pro-growth policies to fight poverty. And yet the American Catholic Church has only reigned in the efforts of a group of U.S. Catholic nuns to champion economic and health care programs that help the poor.