Vatican City, May 3, 2019 / 10:22 am (CNA).- Pope Francis Friday offered a critique of captialism’s impact on the environment, calling for a response that hears “the cry of the Earth and the cry of the poor.”
“The precarious condition of our common home has been the result largely of a fallacious economic model that has been followed for too long,” Pope Francis said May 3.
Francis called this economic model “profit-oriented, shortsighted, and based on the misconception of unlimited economic growth,” and said that it results in a “disastrous impact on the natural world.”
“Economic powers continue to justify the current global system where priority tends to be given to […] the pursuit of financial gain, which fail to take the context into account, let alone the effects on human dignity and the natural environment,” he said.
Pope Francis offered his reflection on the environment and the economy in an audience with the participants in the meeting, “Mining for the Common Good,” organized by the Vatican Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development.
Mining industry executives from Latin America, Africa, Asia, and Canada participated in the meeting, along with Anglican, Methodist, and Catholic leaders dedicated to development. The pope commended the participants for their commitment to dialogue.
“We need a paradigm shift in all our economic activities, including mining,” Pope Francis told the conference participants in the Apostolic Palace.
“Mining, like all economic activities, should be at the service of the entire human community,” he said.
Pope Francis stressed the importance of assessing the impact of mining projects on local communities.
Pointing to the upcoming Synod on the Amazon, he said that “it is essential to show special care for indigenous communities and their cultural traditions. They are not merely one minority among others, but should be the principal dialogue partners, especially when large projects affecting their land are proposed.”
“These vulnerable communities have a lot to teach us. For them, land is not a commodity but rather a gift from God and from their ancestors who rest there, a sacred space with which they need to interact if they are to maintain their identity and values,” Francis said.
The pope said that the effort and the struggle to protect the environment is “an ecumenical journey” that challenges “us to think and act as members of one common home.”
“Religious traditions have always presented temperance as a key component of responsible and ethical lifestyle,” he said. “Moderation is also vital to save our common home. ‘Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.’”