Pope Francis says "I want to ask, in the name of God, financial groups and international credit organizations to allow poor countries to guarantee the basic needs of their people and to forgive those debts..." FULL TEXT



Sisters, brothers, dear social poets!

1. Dear social poets

So I like to call you, "social poets". Because you are social poets, as you have the ability and the courage to create hope where only rejection and exclusion appear. Poetry means creativity, and you create hope. 

With your hands you know how to forge the dignity of each one, that of families and that of the whole society with the land, home and work, care and community. Thank you because your dedication is an authoritative word, capable of denying the silent and often "educated" postponements to which you have been subjected, or to which so many of our brothers are subjected. But thinking of you, I believe that your dedication is primarily an announcement of hope. Seeing you reminds me that we are not condemned to repeat or to build a future based on exclusion and inequality, on waste or indifference; where the culture of privilege is an invisible and irrepressible power and exploitation and abuse are a habitual method of survival. No! You know how to announce this very well. Thanks.

Thanks for the video we just shared. I have read the reflections of the meeting, the testimony of what you have experienced in these times of tribulation and anguish, the synthesis of your proposals and your aspirations. Thanks. Thank you for making me a participant in the historical process you are going through and thank you for sharing this fraternal dialogue with me, which seeks to see the great in the small and the small in the great, a dialogue that is born in the suburbs, a dialogue that reaches Rome and in which we can all feel invited and challenged. "To meet and help each other we need to dialogue" (Enc. Fratelli tutti , 198 ), and how much!

You felt that the current situation deserved a new meeting. I felt the same. Although we have never lost contact - it has already been six years, I think, since the last general meeting -. In this time many things have happened, many have changed. These are changes that mark points of no return, turning points, crossroads where humanity is called to choose. New moments of encounter, discernment and joint action are needed. Every person, every organization, every country, and the whole world, needs to look for these moments to reflect, discern and choose. Because returning to the previous schemes would be truly suicidal and, if you allow me to force the words a little, ecocidal and genocidal. I am forcing!

In recent months, many of the things you have denounced have become completely evident. The pandemic has shown the social inequalities affecting our peoples and has exposed - without asking permission or apology - the excruciating situation of so many brothers and sisters, that situation that so many post-truth mechanisms have not been able to hide.

Many things we took for granted have fallen like a house of cards. We have experienced how, from one day to the next, our way of life can change dramatically, preventing us, for example, from seeing our family, companions and friends. In many countries, states have reacted. They listened to science and managed to set limits to guarantee the common good and at least for a while they held back this "gigantic mechanism" which operates almost automatically, where peoples and people are mere gears (cf. St. John Paul II, Enc. Sollicitudo rei socialis , 22).

We all went through the pain of closure, but you, as always, got the worst part. In neighborhoods with no basic infrastructure (where many of you and millions and millions of people live), it's hard to stay indoors; not only because you do not have everything you need to carry out the minimum measures of care and protection, but simply because the home is the neighborhood. Migrants, undocumented people, informal workers with no fixed income have seen themselves deprived, in many cases, of any state aid and unable to carry out their usual tasks, aggravating their already excruciating poverty. One of the expressions of this culture of indifference is that it would seem that this suffering “third” of our world is not of sufficient interest to the big media and opinion makers. It does not appear.

I also want to refer to a silent pandemic that has been affecting children, adolescents and young people of all social classes for years; and I believe that, in this time of isolation, it has grown even more. It is chronic stress and anxiety, linked to various factors such as hyper connectivity, bewilderment and the lack of perspective for the future, which worsens without real contact with others - families, schools, sports centers, oratories, parishes -; in short, it is aggravated by the lack of true contact with friends, because friendship is the form in which love always rises again.

It is evident that technology can be an instrument of good, and it is an instrument of good, which allows dialogues like this and many other things, but it can never replace the contact between us, it can never replace a community in which to take root and in to ensure that our life becomes fruitful.

And, speaking of a pandemic, we cannot but ask ourselves about the scourge of the food crisis. Despite advances in biotechnology, millions of people have been deprived of food, even though it is available. Twenty million more people have been dragged into extreme levels of food insecurity this year, rising to [many] millions. The grave poverty has multiplied. The price of food has risen significantly. The hunger numbers are horrible, and I am thinking, for example, of countries like Syria, Haiti, Congo, Senegal, Yemen, South Sudan; but hunger is also felt in many other countries of the poor world and, not infrequently, also in the rich world. It is possible that annual hunger-related deaths may exceed those of Covid. [1] But this is not news, this does not generate empathy.

I want to thank you because you have felt the pain of others as your own. You know how to show the face of true humanity, that which is not built by turning your back on the suffering of those around you, but in the patient, committed and often even painful recognition of the fact that the other is my brother ( cf.Lk 10 : 25- 37) and that his pains, joys and sufferings are also mine (cf. Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, Pastoral Constitution Gaudium et Spes , 1). To ignore those who have fallen is to ignore our own humanity that cries out in each of our brothers.

Christians and non-Christians, you answered Jesus who said to his disciples in front of the hungry people: "You give them something to eat" ( Mt 14:16). And where there was scarcity, the miracle of multiplication was repeated in you who fought tirelessly to ensure that no one lacked bread (cf. Mt 14 : 13-21). Thanks!

Like the doctors, nurses and medical personnel in the health trenches, you have put your body in the trenches of the outcast neighborhoods. I have present many, in quotation marks, "martyrs" of this solidarity, of which I learned through you. The Lord will take this into account.

If all those who fought together against the pandemic out of love could also dream of a new world together, how would everything be different! Dream together.

2. Blessed

You are, as I told you in the letter I sent you last year, [2] a true invisible army; you are a fundamental part of that humanity struggling for life in the face of a system of death. In this dedication I see the Lord who makes himself present among us to give us his Kingdom. When Jesus presented us with the "protocol" by which we will be judged - cf. Mt 25 -, he told us that salvation consisted in caring for the hungry, the sick, prisoners, strangers, in short, in recognizing and serving him. in all suffering humanity. Therefore I feel I can tell you: "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for justice, for they will be satisfied" ( Mt 5,6); "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God" (Mt 5.9).

We want this bliss to extend, permeate and anoint every corner and every space where life is threatened. But it happens to us, as a people, as a community, as a family and even individually, that we have to face situations that paralyze us, where the horizon disappears and bewilderment, fear, helplessness and injustice seem to take possession of the present. We also experience resistances to the changes we need and aspire to, resistances that are deep, rooted, beyond our strengths and decisions. It is what the Social Doctrine of the Church has called "structures of sin", which we too are called to convert and which we cannot ignore when we think about the way to act. Personal change is necessary, but it is also essential to adapt our socio-economic models, so that they have a human face, because so many models have lost it. And, thinking about these situations, I become persistent in asking. And I start asking. To ask everyone. And I want to ask everyone in the name of God.

To the large laboratories, which liberalize patents. Make a gesture of humanity and allow every country, every people, every human being, to have access to the vaccine. There are countries where only three, four percent of the inhabitants have been vaccinated.

I want to ask, in the name of God, financial groups and international credit organizations to allow poor countries to guarantee the basic needs of their people and to forgive those debts so often contracted against the interests of those same peoples.

I want to ask, in the name of God, the big extraction companies - mining, oil -, forestry, real estate, agri-food, to stop destroying the woods, wetlands and mountains, to stop polluting rivers and seas, to stop to poison peoples and food.

I want to ask, in the name of God, the big food companies to stop imposing monopolistic production and distribution structures that inflate prices and end up keeping the bread of the hungry.

I want to ask, in the name of God, arms manufacturers and traffickers to completely cease their activity, which foments violence and war, often in the context of geopolitical games which cost millions of lives and travel.

I want to ask, in the name of God, the tech giants to stop exploiting human frailty, people's vulnerabilities, for gains, regardless of how hate speech, grooming [luring of minors on the internet], fake news [fake news], conspiracy theories, political manipulation.

I want to ask, in the name of God, the telecommunications giants to liberalize access to educational content and interchange with teachers through the internet, so that poor children can receive an education in quarantine contexts.

I want to ask, in the name of God, the media to put an end to the logic of post-truth, disinformation, defamation, slander and that sick attraction for scandal and turmoil; who try to contribute to human fraternity and empathy with the most wounded people.

I want to ask, in the name of God, powerful countries to stop the aggressions, blockades and unilateral sanctions against any country in any part of the earth. No to neo-colonialism. Conflicts must be resolved in multilateral fora such as the United Nations. We have already seen how interventions, invasions and unilateral occupations end, albeit carried out under the noblest motives or coverings.

This system, with its relentless logic of profit, is escaping all human control. It's time to brake the locomotive, an out of control locomotive that is taking us to the abyss. We still have time.

I want to ask governments in general, politicians of all parties, together with the poor of the earth, to represent their peoples and to work for the common good. I want to ask them for the courage to look at their peoples, to look people in the eye, and the courage to know that the good of a people is much more than a consensus between the parties (cf. Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium , 218 ). Beware of listening only to the economic elites who are so often spokespersons for superficial ideologies that evade the real issues of humanity. May they be at the service of the peoples who ask for land, home, work and a good life. That aboriginal "good living" which is not the "dolce vita" or the "dolce far niente", no. That good human life that puts us in harmony with all humanity, with all creation.

I also want to ask all of us, religious leaders, never to use the name of God to foment wars or coups d'etat. We stand beside the peoples, the workers, the humble and we fight together with them so that integral human development is a reality. Let us build bridges of love so that the voice of the periphery, with its tears, but also with its song and its joy, does not cause fear but empathy in the rest of society.

And so I'm persistent in asking.

It is necessary that together we face the populist discourses of intolerance, xenophobia, aporophobia - which is hatred of the poor -, like all those that lead us to indifference, meritocracy and individualism, these narratives have only served to divide our peoples and to undermine and neutralize our poetic capacity, the capacity to dream together.

3. Let's dream together!

Sisters and brothers, let's dream together! And since I ask this with you, together with you, I also want to convey to you some reflections on the future that we must build and dream of. I said reflections, but perhaps we should say dreams, because in this moment the brain and the hands are not enough, we also need the heart and the imagination: we need to dream in order not to go back. We need to use that very sublime faculty of the human being which is the imagination, that place where intelligence, intuition, experience, historical memory meet to create, compose, venture and take risks. We dream together, because it was the dreams of freedom and equality, justice and dignity, the dreams of fraternity that made the world better.

We dream together, dream with each other, dream with others. Know that you are called to participate in the great processes of change, as I told you in Bolivia: "The future of humanity is largely in your hands, in your ability to organize, to promote creative alternatives" ( Speech to popular movements , Santa Cruz de la Sierra, 9 July 2015). It is in your hands.

“But these are unattainable things,” someone will say. Yes, but they have the ability to set us in motion, to set us on the road. And right there is all your strength, all your worth. Because you are capable of going beyond short-sighted self-justifications and human conventionalisms that can only continue to justify things as they are. Dream! Dream together. Do not fall into that hard and losing resignation… The Tango expresses it well: “Come on, everything is fine! Which is the same. Down there in hell we will meet! ”. No, no, please don't fall for it. Dreams are always dangerous for those who defend the status quo, because they question the paralysis that the egoism of the strong and the conformism of the weak want to impose. And here there is a sort of pact not made but which is unconscious: the one between the egoism of the strong and the conformity of the weak. But it can't work like that. Dreams transcend the narrow limits that are imposed on us and offer us new possible worlds. And I'm not talking about low fantasies that confuse living well with having fun, which is nothing more than spending time to fill the void of meaning and thus remain at the mercy of the first ideology of the moment. No, it is not this, but dreaming for that good living in harmony with all humanity and with creation.

But what is one of the greatest dangers we face today? During my life - I am not fifteen, I have some experience - I have been able to realize that a crisis never comes out the same. From this pandemic crisis we will not come out the same: either we will come out better or we will come out worse, as before we will not. We will never come out the same. And today we must face together, always together, this question: “How will we get out of this crisis? Better or worse? We certainly want to come out better, but for this we must break the bonds of what is easy and the passive acceptance of "there is no alternative", of "this is the only possible system", that resignation that annihilates us, that it leads us to take refuge only in "save whoever can". And for this we must dream. I am concerned that, while we are still paralyzed, there are already projects started to rearm the same socio-economic structure we had before, because it is easier. Let's choose the difficult path, let's get better.

In Brothers all I used the parable of the Good Samaritan as the clearest representation of this choice committed to the Gospel. A friend told me that the figure of the Good Samaritan is associated by a certain cultural industry with a half-dull character. It is the distortion that causes depressive hedonism with which we intend to neutralize the transforming force of peoples, and especially of youth.

Do you know what comes to mind now, along with popular movements, when I think of the Good Samaritan? Do you know what comes to my mind? Protests over George Floyd's death. It is clear that this type of reaction against social, racial or male chauvinist injustice can be manipulated or exploited by political machinations or the like; but the essential thing is that there, in that demonstration against that death, there was the "collective Samaritan" (who was not stupid at all!). That movement did not pass beyond, when it saw the wound of human dignity struck by such an abuse of power. Popular movements are, in addition to being social poets, “collective Samaritans.

In these processes there are so many young people that I feel hope…; but there are many other young people who are sad, who perhaps in order to feel something in this world need to resort to the cheap consolations offered by the consumerist and narcotic system. And others - it's sad - others just choose to get out of the system. Juvenile suicide statistics are not published in their full reality. What you do is very important, but it is also important that you manage to infect present and future generations with what makes your heart burn. In this you have a double job or responsibility. To remain attentive, like the Good Samaritan, to all those who are wounded along the way but, at the same time, to ensure that many more join in this attitude: the poor and oppressed of the earth deserve it,

I want to offer some leads. The Social Doctrine of the Church does not contain all the answers, but it has some principles that can help this journey to concretize the answers and help both Christians and non-Christians. Sometimes I am surprised that every time I speak of these principles some are amazed and then the Pope is cataloged with a series of epithets that are used to reduce any reflection to a mere discrediting adjective. It doesn't make me angry, it saddens me. It is part of the post-truth plot that seeks to undo any alternative humanistic research to capitalist globalization; it is part of the throwaway culture and part of the technocratic paradigm.

The principles I expound are measured, human, Christian, compiled in the Compendium prepared by the then Pontifical Council for “Justice and Peace” [3] . It is a small manual of the social doctrine of the Church. And sometimes, when the Popes, whether I, Benedict, or John Paul II, say something, there are people who are amazed: "Where did you get this from?". It is the traditional doctrine of the Church. There is a lot of ignorance in this. The principles that I expound are in that book, in the fourth chapter. I want to clarify one thing: they are included in this Compendium and this Compendium was wanted by Saint John Paul II. I recommend you, and all social, trade union, religious, political and business leaders to read it.

In the fourth chapter of this document we find principles such as the preferential option for the poor, the universal destination of goods, solidarity, subsidiarity, participation, the common good, which are concrete mediations for implementing the Good News on a social and cultural level. of the Gospel. And it saddens me when some brothers of the Church get annoyed if we remember these orientations which belong to the whole tradition of the Church. But the Pope cannot fail to remember this doctrine even if it very often annoys people, because it is not the Pope but the Gospel that is at stake.

And in this context, I would like to briefly resume some principles on which we count to carry out our mission. I will mention two or three, no more. One is the principle of solidarity. Solidarity not only as a moral virtue but as a social principle, a principle that seeks to address unjust systems in order to build a culture of solidarity that expresses - literally says the Compendium - "the firm and persevering determination to commit oneself to the common good" ( no. 193).

Another principle is to stimulate and promote participation and subsidiarity between movements and peoples, capable of limiting any authoritarian scheme, any forced collectivism or any state-centered scheme. The common good cannot be used as an excuse to crush private initiative, local identity or community projects. Therefore, these principles promote an economy and a politics that recognize the role of popular movements, "of the family, groups, associations, local territorial realities, in short, of those aggregative expressions of an economic, social, cultural, sporting nature. , recreational, professional, political, which people spontaneously give life to and which make effective social growth possible for them ». This in thenumber 185 of the Compendium .

As you can see, dear brothers, dear sisters, these are balanced and well established principles in the social doctrine of the Church. With these two principles I believe we can take the next step from dream to action. Because it is time to act.

4. Time to take action

They often say to me: "Father, we agree, but concretely, what should we do?". I don't have the answer, so we have to dream together and find it together. However, there are concrete measures that may perhaps allow for some significant changes. These are measures that can be found in your documents, in your interventions, and which I have taken a lot of account of, on which I have meditated and consulted with experts. In past meetings we have talked about urban integration, family farming, the popular economy. To these, which still require us to continue working together to make them concrete, I would like to add two more: the universal wage and the reduction of the working day.

A minimum income (RMU) or universal wage, so that every person in this world can access the most basic goods of life. It is right to fight for a humane distribution of these resources. And it is the task of governments to establish fiscal and redistributive schemes so that the wealth of a part is shared fairly, without this implying an unbearable burden, especially for the middle class - generally, when there are these conflicts, it is the one that suffers the most - . Let us not forget that today's great fortunes are the result of the work, scientific research and technical innovation of thousands of men and women over the course of generations.

The reduction of the working day is another possibility. Minimum income is one possibility, the other is the reduction of the working day. And it needs to be seriously analyzed. In the 19th century, workers worked twelve, fourteen, sixteen hours a day. When they conquered the eight-hour day, nothing collapsed, as some sectors had predicted. So - I insist - working less so that more people have access to the labor market is an aspect that we need to explore with some urgency. There cannot be many people who suffer from overwork and many others who suffer from lack of work.

I believe these are necessary measures, but of course not sufficient. They do not solve the basic problem, nor do they guarantee access to land, housing and work in the quantity and quality that landless peasants, families without a safe home and precarious workers deserve. They won't even solve the huge environmental challenges we face. But I wanted to mention them because they are possible measures and would mark a positive change of direction.

It is good to know that we are not alone in this. The United Nations has tried to set some goals through the so-called Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), but unfortunately not known by our peoples and peripheries; and this reminds us of the importance of sharing and involving everyone in this common search.

Sisters and brothers, I am convinced that the world is seen more clearly from the peripheries. We must listen to the peripheries, open the doors to them and allow them to participate. The suffering of the world is best understood together with those who suffer. In my experience, when people, men and women, who have suffered injustice, inequality, abuse of power, deprivation, xenophobia in their own flesh, in my experience I see that they understand better what others are experiencing and they are capable of helping them to open, realistically, paths of hope. How important it is that your voice is heard, represented in all places where decisions are made! To offer it as a collaboration, to offer it as a moral certainty of what must be done. Make an effort to make your voice heard, and even in those places, please, do not allow yourselves to be pigeonholed and do not allow yourselves to be corrupted. Two words that have a very big meaning, which I will not talk about now.

We reaffirm the commitment we have made in Bolivia: to put the economy at the service of the peoples to build lasting peace based on social justice and care for the common home. Continue to advance your land, home and work agenda. Keep dreaming together. And thank you, thank you very much, for letting me dream with you.

We ask God to pour out his blessing on our dreams. Let's not lose hope. Let us remember the promise that Jesus made to his disciples: "I will always be with you" (cf. Mt 28:20); and remembering it, in this moment of my life, I want to tell you that I too will be with you. The important thing is that you are aware that He is with you. Thanks!


[1] “The hunger virus multiplies”, Oxfam report of July 9, 2021, based on the United Nations World Food Program Global Report on Food Crises (GRFC).

[2] Letter to popular movements , 12 April 2020.

[3] Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church , 2004.



Bulletin of the Holy See Press Office , October 16, 2021