Pope: We need to boost wellbeing, making it more widespread. What we want is a fight against inequality, this is the biggest evil that exists in the world today. Money is what causes this.

November 21, 2016

In an interview with journalist Eugenio Scalfari, founder of Italian national newspaper La Repubblica, the Pope says that in order “to achieve this we need to knock down walls and build bridges that can lessen inequality and boost freedom and rights”. Today there are “Christian martyrs in almost every corner of the world”

By ANDREA TORNIELLI, Nov 2016

“I don’t judge people and politicans, I simply want to understand what kinds of suffering they cause to the poor and the excluded through their way of doing things.” Pope Francis said this in answer to a question on Donald Trump, put to him Eugenio Scalfari, founder of Italian national newspaper La Repubblica, in an interview which was held Monday 7 November. It is worth noting that the interview took place prior to US election day, so before Trump’s triumph was announced, a result which defied many media predictions.

According to Scalfari’s account, Francis said that his main concern at the moment regards refugees and immigrants, “a small percentage of which are Christians  but this does not change the situation as far as we are concerned, their suffering and hardship; there causes are many and we are doing everything we can to eliminate these.”

Sadly, the Pope said, “these are measures that are opposed by the people who fear losing their jobs and seeing their salaries reduced. Money is against the poor and against immigrants and refugees but there are also the poor within rich countries, who fear the arrival of their similars from poor countries. It is a perverse vicious circle and it needs to be stopped. We need to knock down the walls that divide us: try to boost wellbeing and make it more widespread but in order to achieve this, we need to knock down walls and build bridges that can lessen inequality and boost freedom and rights…”

“What we want is a fight against inequality, this is the biggest evil that exists in the world today. Money is what causes this and it goes against measures that aim to even out wellbeing and thus favour equality.”

According to Scalfari, Francis pointed out that inequality encourages “the movement of many people from one country to another , from one continent to another. After two, three, four generations, these people become integrated and differences tend to disappear altogether”. Francis also said he agreed that this process is “mixed” and reiterated that he was not thinking of a Marxian society: “My response has always been that, if anything, it is the communists who think like Christians: Christ talked about a society in which the poor, the weak and the excluded are the ones who decide. Not the demagogues, not the Barabbases , but the people, the poor, whether they believe in a transcendent God or not, they are the ones we need to help gain equality and freedom.”

Talking about popular movements and the role – political also – he believes they should play, the Pope “never thought about war and arms. Blood may be shed, yes, but in the end, it is the Christians who are martyred, as we see happening in almost every corner of the world, at the hands of ISIS radicals and terrorists, butchers.  They are horrible and Christians are the victims.”

The Pope went on to explain that “we Christians have always been martyrs and yet over the centuries, our faith has conquered a large portion of the world. Of course, there were wars against other religions that were backed by the Church and wars were also waged against our religion. The cruellest of these was the St. Bartholomew massacre and sadly there were many other similar wars. But they occurred when the various religions, including ours, like and sometimes more than the others, put earthly power above faith and mercy.”

Francis pointed out that Christians have “spread the faith following the example of Jesus Christ. He was the martyr of all martyrs and threw the seed of faith to humanity. But I am careful not to ask the martyrdom of those who strive for policies that benefit the poor, policies oriented towards equality and freedom. Such a policy is different from the faith and there are many poor who do not have a faith. But they do have serious, essential needs and we ned to support them and we would support anyone else. As we could and as we knew how.”

Lastly, the Pope answered a question about “adversaries within his Church”. “I wouldn’t say adversaries. The faith unites us all. Naturally, each of us as individuals sees the same things differently; the overall picture is objectively the same but subjectively different”.