Pope Francis @ World Meeting of Popular Movements (Santa Cruz, Bolivia)

pope francis bolivia(Community Matters) I almost unplugged completely yesterday – barely responding to email, hardly posting on FB – mostly wandering Marfa, reading, chilling w/ Steven, attending a party at the McDonald Observatory, wrapping up w/ a drink at Cochineal w/ our dear friend Tom Rapp & new friend, Donald.

ahhhhhh . . . and I’m finding myself in a good place from which to listen to others’ messages, this morning Pope Francis’.

Pope Francis spoke Thursday evening at the World Meeting of Popular Movements, taking place in Santa Cruz, Bolivia

Some notes I’ve taken:

Let us together say from the heart: no family without lodging, no rural worker without land, no laborer without rights, no people without sovereignty, no individual without dignity, no child without childhood, no young person without a future, no elderly person without a venerable old age.

Not sure about this assumption:  “Many people are hoping for a change capable of releasing them from the bondage of individualism and the despondency it spawns.”

Seems to be the premise:  “And behind all this pain, death and destruction there is the stench of what Basil of Caesarea called “the dung of the devil”. An unfettered pursuit of money rules. The service of the common good is left behind. Once capital becomes an idol and guides people’s decisions, once greed for money presides over the entire socioeconomic system, it ruins society, it condemns and enslaves men and women, it destroys human fraternity, it sets people against one another and, as we clearly see, it even puts at risk our common home.”


You, the lowly, the exploited, the poor and underprivileged, can do, and are doing, a lot. I would even say that the future of humanity is in great measure in your own hands, through your ability to organize and carry out creative alternatives, through your daily efforts to ensure the three “L’s” (labor, lodging, land) and through your proactive participation in the great processes of change on the national, regional and global levels. Don’t lose heart!

“financial institutions and transnational companies are becoming stronger to the point that local economies are subordinated, especially weakening the local states, which seem ever more powerless to carry out development projects in the service of their populations”.

Ideological colonialism – the monopolizing of the communications media, which would impose alienating examples of consumerism and a certain cultural uniformity, is another one of the forms taken by the new colonialism.

The Bible tells us that God hears the cry of his people, and I wish to join my voice to yours in calling for land, lodging and labor for all our brothers and sisters. I said it and I repeat it: these are sacred rights.

1. Let us begin by acknowledging that change is needed.

Do we realize that something is wrong in a world where there are so many farmworkers without land, so many families without a home, so many laborers without rights, so many persons whose dignity is not respected?

Do we realize that something is wrong where so many senseless wars are being fought and acts of fratricidal violence are taking place on our very doorstep? Do we realize something is wrong when the soil, water, air and living creatures of our world are under constant threat?

2. You are sowers of change. – I am convinced that respectful cooperation with the popular movements can revitalize these efforts and strengthen processes of change

3. Important tasks for the present historical moment: 

3.1.  The first task is to put the economy at the service of peoples. Human beings and nature must not be at the service of money. Let us say NO to an economy of exclusion and inequality, where money rules, rather than service. That economy kills. That economy excludes. That economy destroys Mother Earth. A truly communitarian economy, one might say an economy of Christian inspiration, must ensure peoples’ dignity and their “general, temporal welfare and prosperity”.[1] This includes the three “L’s” [Land, Lodging, Labor], but also access to education, health care, new technologies, artistic and cultural manifestations, communications, sports and recreation.

3.2. The second task is to unite our peoples on the path of peace and justice. The world’s peoples want to be artisans of their own destiny. They want to advance peacefully towards justice. They do not want forms of tutelage or interference by which those with greater power subordinate those with less. Despite the progress made, there are factors which still threaten this equitable human development and restrict the sovereignty of the countries of the “greater country” and other areas of our planet . . . “financial institutions and transnational companies are becoming stronger to the point that local economies are subordinated, especially weakening the local states, which seem ever more powerless to carry out development projects in the service of their populations”. Ideological colonialism – the monopolizing of the communications media.

3.3.  The third task, perhaps the most important facing us today, is to defend Mother Earth. Our common home is being pillaged, laid waste and harmed with impunity. Cowardice in defending it is a grave sin.

One response to “Pope Francis @ World Meeting of Popular Movements (Santa Cruz, Bolivia)

  1. Thanks for posting this; hadn’t bothered reading the speech myself.

    Very impressed by his calling out the world-crushing sense of entitlement that too often seems to accompany the possession of great wealth. A recent example that made me shake my head in dismay and despair: California, in the midst of a drought that could annihilate the state, asked residents to voluntarily reduce personal water consumption (among other conservation measures). In response, the good people of Rancho Santa Fe (median home sale price: $2.6 million) in San Diego County increased their water usage by 9 percent. Because no one could stop them. Because they could afford to pay for it. Because f*** the poor. Maybe those living in lower-income zip codes could just take fewer showers. When some of them were confronted by news reporters about the increased water usage, to a person they stated that since they had the money to pay for it, nothing should stop them from using all the water they could get their hands on. Apparently, even if doing so meant sucking the Colorado River and all available aquifers dry. That was their attitude toward one of the essentials of life, which they used mainly for watering lawns and filling swimming pools.

    That kind of thinking seems to be what Francis is getting at when he talks about the “bondage of individualism.” To be such a slave to your own self-interest that other people and their needs become irrelevant or invisible. It’s not just bondage, but blindness. The pope seems to be singling out for opprobrium this kind of out-of-control egocentrism and lack (or absence) of community feeling, and good for him. Because the national news media in this country is doing a terrible job of it.

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