Pope Francis recently called for a "legitimate redistribution" of wealth when meeting with United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, saying governments should work to end the "economy of exclusion" that plagues the poor and the middle class from rising up the economic ladder.
The pope made his comments while meeting with Ban Ki-moon and other United Nations agency heads meeting in Rome this week. He encouraged the United Nations to help the poor around the world by mobilizing a culture of generosity.
"I do not hesitate to state, as did my predecessors, that equitable economic and social progress can only be attained by joining scientific and technical abilities with an unfailing commitment to solidarity accompanied by a generous and disinterested spirit of gratuitousness at every level," Francis said.
"A contribution to this equitable development will also be made both by international activity aimed at the integral human development of all the world's peoples and by the legitimate redistribution of economic benefits by the state, as well as indispensable cooperation between the private sector and civil society," the pontiff continued.
The pope, who has often reiterated his desire to see the Catholic Church be "a poor Church [...] for the poor," went on to argue that the only way to overcome poverty is to push forward and progress: "Much more needs to be achieved, since an important part of humanity does not share in the benefits of progress and is in fact relegated to the status of second-class citizens."
The Pope said the best way for governments to move toward a more equal social structure for all is to resist the "economy of exclusion, the throwaway culture and the culture of death."
Since becoming Pope in March 2013, Francis has often made media headlines for his focus on social injustices. Francis has also spoken more openly about scandal within the church, marking a clear change in transparency between him and his predecessors. Shortly after his election, Francis asked reporters to "always try to better understand the true nature of the Church, and even its journey in the world, with its virtues and with its sins."
Not everyone has been pleased with Francis' outspoken approach to social injustice, especially when discussing the economy with the U.N. In an opinion piece written for Fox News, John Moody argues that Francis crossed a line this week when he stopped asking wealthy communities to voluntarily relieve economic inequality, and instead suggested "forced redistribution" from entire governments.
"By appearing to sanction what amounts to forced redistribution, Francis grievously exceeded his authority and became what amounts to a robe-wearing politician," Moody wrote.
"The pope is the head of the Church. He is the Vicar of Christ and is infallible on matters of doctrine," Moody continued. "When it comes to economics, however, Francis should stick to making suggestions for how to voluntarily reduce economic inequality and leave tax policy to the politicians. Perhaps he can help by offering a prayer for them. God knows, they need it."