(Photo: Reuters/Stefano Rellandini)
Pope Francis has launched a strong attack on what he calls a "Culture of Waste" dominating the world, where some treat a drop in the Stock Market as a tragedy but care little for starving children and homeless people dying on the streets.
"If in so many parts of the world there are children who have nothing to eat, that's not news, it seems normal. It cannot be this way! Yet these things become the norm: that some homeless people die of cold on the streets is not news. In contrast, a ten point drop on the stock markets of some cities, is a tragedy. A person dying is not news, but if the stock markets drop ten points it is a tragedy! Thus people are disposed of, as if they were trash," the Roman Catholic Church leader said on Wednesday in front of thousands of pilgrims at St. Peter's square, the Vatican Radio reported.
Speaking on the subject of World Environment Day, which is sponsored by the United Nations, Pope Francis also reminded the faithful that God gave humans the earth so they can take care of it and protect it, not to exploit and neglect it.
"And the question comes to my mind: What does cultivating and caring for the earth mean? Are we truly cultivating and caring for creation? Or are we exploiting and neglecting it?" the pointiff asked.
He added that instead, people are often driven "by pride of domination, of possessions, manipulation, of exploitation; we do not 'care' for it, we do not respect it, we do not consider it as a free gift that we must care for. We are losing the attitude of wonder, contemplation, listening to creation."
The Vatican leader added that the crisis affects not only the environment, but all of mankind as well.
"The human person is in danger: this is certain, the human person is in danger today, here is the urgency of human ecology," Pope Francis continued. "Man is not in charge today, money is in charge, money rules. God our Father did not give the task of caring for the earth to money, but to us, to men and women: we have this task! Instead, men and women are sacrificed to the idols of profit and consumption: it is the 'culture of waste.'"
He added that this culture becomes common mentality and that it begins to infect everyone – it leads to human life no longer being respect and protected, especially the poor, the disabled, the unborn and the elderly.
"This culture of waste has made us insensitive even to the waste and disposal of food, which is even more despicable when all over the world, unfortunately, many individuals and families are suffering from hunger and malnutrition," he warned. "Consumerism has led us to become used to an excess and daily waste of food, to which, at times, we are no longer able to give a just value, which goes well beyond mere economic parameters. We should all remember, however, that throwing food away is like stealing from the tables of the poor, the hungry!"
In May, the pointiff stirred up further debate and discussion when he claimed that the Free Market system and a global "culture of money" were exploiting the poor, and called on world leaders to stand up in unison and tackle this problem.
"While the income of a minority is increasing exponentially, that of the majority is crumbling," Pope Francis argued. "A new, invisible and at times virtual, tyranny is established, one which unilaterally and irremediably imposes its own laws and rules."