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Pope Francis Reiterates The Importance of Helping The Poor and Vulnerable During the World Meeting of Popular Movements

"Thinking about these situations (of exclusion and inequality), I make a pest of myself with my questions. And I go on asking. And I ask everyone in the name of God."

During the World Meeting of Popular Movements, an initiative started by Pope Francis “to create an “encounter” between Church leadership and grassroots organizations,” the Holy Father sent a message to participants. Through a video, the 84-year-old pope shared some points which he wanted to emphasize on, especially those related to pressing issues the world is facing nowadays.

He first started off by saying that he has realized that some people consider him “a pest for defending the poor and most vulnerable.” “Thinking about these situations (of exclusion and inequality), I make a pest of myself with my questions. And I go on asking. And I ask everyone in the name of God,” the Holy Father said. (Read: ‘St. Teresa Embodies the Important Role of Women in Society’ – Pope Francis)

He then called on different sectors to spark discussion on different societal issues. Here are three of Pope Francis’s statements, and how he has helped raise awareness toward the cause.

On the environment

caritas-ph-condemns-duterte-for-lifting-the-mining-ban
This photo taken on March 26, 2006, shows workers walking through a mine tunnel in Itogon north of Manila. The Philippines said on July 9, 2012, it would not approve new mining permits until Congress passes a bill increasing royalties on the industry as part of new rules governing the sector. (Photo from AFP PHOTO/Joel NITO/Inquirer.net)

Pope Francis said, “In the name of God, I ask the great extractive industries–mining, oil, forestry, real estate, agribusiness–to stop destroying forests, wetlands and mountains, to stop polluting rivers and seas, to stop poisoning food and people.” He called on industries and corporations that are into mining and have asked them to stop destroying the environment for their business.

The Holy Father also emphasized that what these corporations are doing do not just affect the environment but also the lives of the people around mining areas. He has previously talked about and criticized an economic model during his address at a 2019 Vatican meeting with the theme, “Mining for the Common Good”. (Read: BLACKPINK Set To Attend ‘Dear Earth’ YouTube Event To Promote Environmental Care)

Pope Francis added that mining projects should “be at the service of the entire human community, and should involve local communities in every phase of mining projects.”

On violence and war

pope-appeals-for-peace-in-jerusalem-amid-ongoing-clashes
Israeli police detain a Palestinian during clashes at Damascus Gate on Laylat al-Qadr during the holy month of Ramadan, in Jerusalem’s Old City, May 8, 2021. (Photo from Reuters/Ronen Zvulun)

“In the name of God, I ask arms manufacturers and dealers to completely stop their activity, because it foments violence and war, it contributes to those awful geopolitical games which cost millions of lives displaced and millions dead,” Pope Francis said. (Read: A Prayer to End Gun-Related Violence)

It wasn’t the first time that the pope talked about violence and war–and how he wanted countries to put a stop to it. In March this year, during his first papal visit to Iraq, Pope Francis called for an end to violence and extremism in the war-torn country. “May the clash of arms be silenced… may there be an end to acts of violence and extremism, factions and intolerance!” he stated.

Pope Francis also raises awareness on violence against women and children. He even called these “acts of cowardice and a degradation of all humanity” in his message for the Worldwide Prayer Network.

On food and hunger

hunger-poverty-denial-of-human-rights
Hunger and poverty in Madagascar. (Photo from Vatican News)

The pope’s statement was, “In the name of God, I ask the great food corporations to stop imposing monopolistic systems of production and distribution that inflate prices and end up withholding bread from the hungry.” He highlighted the importance of access to food in order to alleviate hunger being experienced around the world.

Pope Francis recently talked about hunger and food accessibility during this year’s World Food Day celebration last October 15. In his message to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization Director General, the Holy Father said that we must adopt solutions that would “transform the way we produce and consume food “for the well-being of people and of the planet.” (Read: Pope to Judges: Hunger and Poverty are Denial of Human Rights)

“The annual celebration of World Food Day brings us face to face with one of humanity’s greatest challenges: overcoming hunger once and for all is an ambitious goal,” Pope Francis added. “If we do not want to jeopardize the health of our planet and our entire population, we must encourage active participation in change at all levels and re-organize food systems as a whole.”

Read Pope Francis entire message here.

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