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Pope attacks mega-salaries and wealth gap in peace message

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - Pope Francis said in the first peace message of his pontificate that huge salaries and bonuses are symptoms of an economy based on greed and inequality and called again for nations to narrow the wealth gap.

In his message for the Roman Catholic Church's World Day of Peace, marked around the world on January 1, he also called for sharing of wealth and for nations to shrink the gap between rich and poor, more of whom are getting only "crumbs".

"The grave financial and economic crises of the present time ... have pushed man to seek satisfaction, happiness and security in consumption and earnings out of all proportion to the principles of a sound economy," he said.

"The succession of economic crises should lead to a timely rethinking of our models of economic development and to a change in lifestyles," he said.

Francis, who was named Time magazine's Person of the Year on Wednesday, has urged his own Church to be more fair, frugal and less pompous and to be closer to the poor and suffering.

Pope Francis is Time's 2013 "Person of the Year."

His message will be sent to national leaders, international organizations such as the United Nations, and NGO's.

Titled "Fraternity, the Foundation and Pathway to Peace", the message also attacked injustice, human trafficking, organized crime and the weapons trade as obstacles to peace.

Anger at multi-million payouts for executives has swept across the globe as the economic crisis has deepened and the gap between the super-rich and the poor has widened.

But last month, Swiss voters rejected a proposal to cap the salaries of top executives at 12 times that of a company's lowest wage, heeding warnings from industry leaders that the measure could harm the country's economy.


Francis said many places in the world were seeing a "serious rise" in inequality between people living side by side.

He attacked the "widening gap between those who have more and those who must be content with the crumbs", calling on governments to implement "effective policies" to guarantee people's fundamental rights, including access to capital, services, educational resources, healthcare and technology.

The new pope's style is characterized by frugality. He shunned the spacious papal apartment in the Vatican's Apostolic Palace to live in a small suite in a Vatican guest house, and he prefers a Ford Focus to the traditional pope's Mercedes.

A champion of the downtrodden, he visited the island of Lampedusa in southern Italy in July to pay tribute to hundreds of migrants who had died crossing the sea from North Africa.

Last month, in a document seen as a manifesto of his papacy, he attacked unfettered capitalism as "a new tyranny".

Since his election in March as the first non-European pope in 1,300 years, the Argentinian has several times condemned the "idolatry of money" and said it was a depressing sign of the times that a homeless person dying of exposure on the street was no longer news but a slight fall in the stock market is.


  • Pope Francis represents all the good in Christianity. I believe that he is doing a terrific job leading the Church and spreading the faith around the world. The pope has touched the lives of many people, poor and rich, and has allowed God to be the center of their lives. Pope Francis has taken it upon himself to reaffirm the Church's teachings, and allow the gift of faith to be universal. I am glad that he is taking steps to improve the Church's image as a collective group, and taking steps to convert more people into the faith. Truly, he loves God and God is at the center of his life. He rightfully deserved to be Time's 2013 "Person of the Year". Pope Francis promotes peace and nonviolent methods of dealing with conflict. 
    Thanked by 1Bob_Moderator
  • Pope Francis is helping restore the name of Catholicism. For years there has been a dark cloud over the church full of scandal, corruption and other such internal issues. Now that we have a Pope who is forward, honest and charismatic we can begin to rebuild the name of the church. Moreover, Pope Francis provides a figure for people to look too and hope for a revival of the world renown for the church. 
    Thanked by 1Bob_Moderator
  • Posts: 5
    I know he has good intentions in his words, and I agree with all he's said. Though I also believe he isn't fully aware that this society has been built this way for countless generations. We've always wanted to be prosperous as human beings, but you can't do that unless you profit off of others' sufferings. As harsh as that might sound, it's actually an accurate way of describing the world we've all built. 
  • Posts: 21
    Quite a timely message this one! The gap continues to widen between the wealthy and the poor. It is unlikely the wealth of the world can be evenly distributed with all the greed that exists. It was good of him to address this. 
  • Posts: 56
    This was basically an attack on capitalism but it shouldn't be because everyone experiences greed no matter where they are. We only have to take what we need, we need to practice socialistic giving and not just charity. It's good that Pope Francis sees how money has reshifted our focus on what is really important which is family, kindness and compassion. It's great of the Pope to look at the current economies of states which really goes to show he's in the zeitgeist of world events.
  • Posts: 10
    I think he's right. We should stop treating people basing on their positions or status in life. We all work to provide for our family so I think we deserve to be treated the way those in high positions are being treated. If they get a raise, then so does regular employees. I think inequality is one of the main reasons why a lot of people are socially immoral. Some people base their treatment to other people base on where they stood in life. And frankly, I think that's were arrogance and greed comes from.
  • I think his message is on point. This applies to even average earners not only the rich people. Sometimes, we tend to acquire more than what we need. I am guilty of this too sometimes. And somehow, there are people in the world who lives without anything. They get by everyday by scraps and food in the garbage. It is really difficult to live in contentment. But that is when you will realize that you do not need more when you have enough. Some people do not even have enough to eat everyday and we tend to waste some food. We have to think about other people to be able to live in contentment.
  • Posts: 36
    He is absolutely right. And I am glad he has taken this platform. Further, it's good he has taken steps to avoid hypocrisy by living modestly himself.
  • Nothing will change. It's all just for show to get more likes. It's vague, what everybody wants but nothing changes.
  • Yes there should be something to be done about this and not leave the less fortunate behind and the more that they should be helped. The message of the Pope is very timely and serves as a huge wake up call for all of us that we should do something about the huge gap between the mega rich and the poor. This can be done by sharing ang giving to those people who need help financially unstable and helpless.
  • I think this is a timely message. I don't believe in forcing people to give, but I also wish it weren't necessary (taxes) to take from some and give to others. I believe in working hard for what I have, but I also feel the need to give to others. I can't imagine having millions or billions of dollars and not wanting to share that with others. I really don't understand why some feel the need to build up huge empires, have multiple estates, etc. It's unnecessary, and you can only live in one place at a time, drive one vehicle, and it seems wasteful, especially when others are struggling just for food and basic shelter. 
  • Posts: 59
    Many have chosen to be rich in flesh and not in their souls. The gap between the rich and the poor is still widening. The rich have separated from the poor, which is against the will of God. Many have fraudulently acquired riches without caring about how the poor will survive. I think the Pope was delivering the same message.
  • Posts: 129
    With the populairty of Pope Francis, he has the rigth to criticize the rich. However, we should accept fhe phenomenon of the economy that it tends to separate the rich from the poor. Given a prototype in school, our economics professor showed us that players with the same resources at the start of the game ends with either more or lesser. That means the money becomes unequally divided - that's how the rich became rich and the poor became poor.

    With the statement of Pope Franics, rich businessmen may have opened their eyes to the compassion needed by their lowly employees.
  • Well, I guess the reason for the Pope's message is to demonstrate charity and a little compassion to those that are economically challenged and unfortunate or those that are in the lowest sector of life. I think it is best to share our blessings and I think the rich and those that are especially blessed in life should learn to give just a portion of what they have because this will spell a lot of things to our poor brothers' and sisters' lives. Thank you and God bless us all.
  • Posts: 18
    He is right to rebuke those who exercise their power in wealth but have no compassion for the poor. This is a sin, it is as if these men gained  the world at the expense of their own souls. Everyone who watches television can see it. There is n balance. G-d is a G-d of order, imbalances such as these gaps between financial classes of people cause chaos. How is it that any man believing in Christ should seek to profit off of the impoverished with no intentions of giving back? It is evident that they do not believe in the same G-d that I believe in. They are not peace makers, they profit off of war. these men should be examined before a just judge in a court that upholds the whole law. though I am not catholic, I could not agree more with  the statements Pope Francis makes. Thank Christ for his bold remarks, and may the pope keep fighting on the side of teh Spirit of peace.
  • Posts: 129
    The rich gets richer and poor gets poorer - that's a dictum in economy. Those below the threshold of middle class are in a hand-to-mouth existence in spite of their job which pays them low. While on the other side of the equation is the rich who owns the business and who earns way so much than he can spend. And since salary increases cannot be given more to the lowly workers than the managers and supervisors, the gap is widening as days pass. There will come a time that there will be a great divide that will separate the poor from the rich.
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