Pope Francis is not known for mincing his words, but he truly unleashed his wrath against capitalism last night during an address to grassroots organizers in Bolivia, as part of his South American tour:
“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.”
The pope used one of his favorite quotes about the root of all evil from Basil of Caesarea, a 4th century Greek bishop:
“And behind all this pain, death and destruction there is the stench of what Basil of Caesarea, one of the church’s first theologians, called ‘the dung of the devil.’ An unfettered pursuit of money rules. That is the dung of the devil.”
Following in the footsteps of Pope John Paul II, Pope Francis also asked for forgiveness for the colonial crimes against the native people “during the so-called conquest of America.” He lashed out against “new colonialism” which takes the form of corporations, lenders, free trade treaties “and the imposition of measures of ‘austerity’ which always tighten the belt of workers and the poor.”
A staunch environmentalist, as he proved with his last encyclical on climate change, the pope said that the Earth is being pillaged. “Cowardice in defending it is a grave sin,” he said, criticizing international summits for their lack of results.