In which the money changers start wondering if the Pope is really taking this representative of Christ thing too far…

Okay, I really like this guy.

Francis, at the start of a day-long trip to the Sardinian capital, Cagliari, put aside his prepared text at a meeting with unemployed workers, including miners in hard hats who told him of their situation, and improvised for nearly 20 minutes.

“I find suffering here … It weakens you and robs you of hope,” he said. “Excuse me if I use strong words, but where there is no work there is no dignity.”

He discarded his prepared speech after listening to Francesco Mattana, a 45-year-old married father of three who lost his job with an alternative energy company four years ago.

Mattana, his voice trembling, told the pope that unemployment “oppresses you and wears you out to the depths of your soul”…

“We don’t want this globalised economic system which does us so much harm. Men and women have to be at the centre (of an economic system) as God wants, not money.”

“The world has become an idolator of this god called money,” he said.

“It is not a problem of Italy and Europe … It is the consequence of a world choice, of an economic system that brings about this tragedy, an economic system that has at its centre an idol which is called money,” he said to the cheers of the crowd.

Francis said globalization had brought with it a culture where the weakest in society suffered the most and often, those on the fringes “fall away”, including the elderly, who he said were victims of a “hidden euthanasia” caused by neglect of those no longer considered productive.

“To defend this economic culture, a throwaway culture has been installed. We throw away grandparents, and we throw away young people. We have to say no to his throwaway culture. We want a just system that helps everyone,” he said.

Capitalism as it stands today causes human misery. It exploits workers. It dehumanizes people and treats them as cogs in a machine, and then it condemns them by telling them they deserve to be cast aside, defrauded and exploited. It despoils the environment for the sake of making just a little bit more money that quarter.

In short, it causes human misery for the sake of greed.

Which isn’t to say it’s not an efficient economic system, just an uncaring one.  In a just and sane world, we would have strong checks on the ability of companies to cause human misery, we would punish the ones that do because it is the right thing to do, we would push for greater unionization of workers, and we would have strong safety net programs to help the neediest get back on their feet and back to a fulfilling work.

Instead, we live in a world where half of the legislature just decided to pass out hundreds of billions of dollars to large farming corporations and cut billions of dollars to hungry families still suffering in the midst of a Recession caused by unmitigated, unregulated, and irresponsible greed in which the vast majority of those who caused it not only did not face jail time, but have since prospered even more while the wreckage in human lives that they caused lingers on.


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