by Patrick Devlin

The always surprising (largely for taking on the mantle of preaching what the Christ of Christian theology actually taught with respect to compassion, brotherhood and humility) Pope Francis laid down another challenge to the world’s Catholics and the denizens of that oh so special Land-O-Christians; the USofA.

The pope, welcoming a United Nations delegation to a conference in Rome, challenged the executives of the UN Agencies Funds and Programs directorate, which coordinates efforts to promote sustainable development across the globe, to have the audacity to not avert their eyes and minds from “The gaze, often silent, of that part of the human family which is cast off (and) left behind,” and “awaken the conscience of political and economic agents and lead them to generous and courageous decisions” that have immediate results irrespective of “religious or political convictions”

Francis implored the members of the international body to challenge “the “economy of exclusion”, the “throwaway culture” and the “culture of death”” and aspire to achieve goals formulated to have “a real impact on the structural causes of poverty and hunger, attain more substantial results in protecting the environment (and) ensure dignified and productive labor for all.” The pope reminded the UN conferees that “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.”

Part of the pope’s prescription for addressing the stark inequality that exists in the world today and the continued exclusion of huge sectors of mankind from progress and equality is to harness the scientific and technical abilities that are afforded to our technologically advanced society to approach resolution of the problems of hunger and poverty with “a generous and disinterested spirit of gratuitousness,” pursuing economic and social progress for all humans, in part, through “the legitimate redistribution of economic benefits by the State” as well as the honest cooperation between the private sector and civil society at large.

The pope closed his statement to the UN committee by suggesting a page from the “Occupy Movement” and other social movements to elevate humanity (such as Christianity), encouraging the confreres “to work together in promoting a true, worldwide ethical mobilization which, beyond all differences of religious or political convictions, will spread and put into practice a shared ideal of fraternity and solidarity, especially with regard to the poorest and those most excluded.”