On Saturday, two of Pope Francis’ most trusted advisers took part in the latest edition of the World Meeting of Popular Movements, which has been supported by the Pope since the early days of his pontificate.
The meeting brings together grassroots organizations from five continents working with the poor and marginalized, with the aim of letting them become the protagonists of their own stories.
Cardinal Peter Turkson, Prefect of the Vatican Dicastery for the Promotion of Integral Human Development, was one of the people who addressed the meeting this year, held online due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“There are inequalities, a lack of access to health, cruel economic systems, which is why the [COVID-19] the virus exposes us to many other pandemics that need to be treated, ”he said.
All of these other pandemics, Turkson said, “all have one thing in common: they undermine human dignity.”
Turkson said that Pope Francis’ latest document, the encyclical Fratelli Tutti is an appropriate response to these shortcomings.
The World Meeting met several times, the first time in Rome in 2014. Francis participated in some of them, including two in Rome and one in Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia.
Cardinal Michael Czerny recalled that this new meeting was part of the encounter culture “Essential for progress” and an opportunity “to learn in a new context” of pandemics. He issued a clear invitation to personal conversion, asking those gathered to ask themselves a series of questions asked by Francis in Fratelli Tutti, like “how much love have I put into my job? “And” how much social peace have I sowed? “
The meeting participants released a seven-page document that will be presented at an economic event hosted by Pope Francis to take place next November.
“We know that nothing of what we propose is possible with the current balance of power which determines the relations between the nations and within them”, they recognized in the document. “We know the power of money to subordinate governments, maintain the status quo, expand elite privileges, and reduce majority rights.”
“We also have confidence in the ability of peoples to resist injustice and transform reality,” the document said. “We therefore assume the task of building popular power so that the workers and the poor become the protagonists of the change that the world needs, because, as Francis said,” in your hands, in our hands, is ‘future of humanity’. “
The proposals revolve around five main axes: Integral ecology and common goods; economic democracy; land, shelter and work; education, health, communication and technology; sovereignty, human mobility and peace.
The document, entitled “The Economy of Francis”, argues that it is necessary to imagine an alternative system to the “globally hegemonic capitalist system”, to eradicate “the global idolatry of money which structures the world economy” , to advance an economy centered “on nature, on men and women.
During these meetings, supported the members of the popular movements, they were able to hear the “revolutionary preaching of a shepherd of the peoples who calls the poorest to be protagonists of their own destiny and who calls them to lead the process of change. that all mankind needs.
“We are aware that certain sectors seek to domesticate its thought and to confine it within the narrow margins of the administration of what already exists”, they write.
Recognizing that they cannot claim to have the only correct interpretation of the pontiff’s thoughts, the group offers a vision that they deem to be in tune with the radicality of Francis’s teaching and the revolutionary nature of Christianity.
Most of the proposals are those expected for such a document: Access to drinking water as a right for all; a serious campaign to reduce the carbon footprint; the planting of native trees; recycling; and international minimum income; the elimination of tax havens which allow the richest in the world to escape their obligations; and the implementation of a fiscal policy aimed at “all industries which undermine the physical or mental health of the population”, from arms manufacturers to gambling, fast food and alcohol, to create a fund to provide free access to health care at all levels.
Others are a little more outlandish, notably a new international currency issued by the United Nations, under the control not of one nation but of all countries, so that “the dollar and the euro will no longer be used in international transactions or as a source of speculation, since they create international inequalities and promote speculative attacks against national currencies; to implement a Popular Agrarian Reform, to distribute the land to all those who want to work it, with a maximum area of agricultural property; and the elimination of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank to replace them with institutions that serve the international community and not the “colonial interests of powerful countries”.
Still others are even more radical, such as the promotion of alternatives to private property, such as “state property, cooperative property or community property”.