The world’s Popular Movements have fleshed out the “radical” and “revolutionary” nature of Pope Francis’ vision for the economy.

– A Vatican summit on the pressing need for work, housing and land and food through the lens of the new encyclical Fratelli tutti

This Saturday representatives of the Popular Movements – grassroots organisations around the world working to overcome the economy of exclusion and inequality by promoting structural changes for social, economic and racial justice – met online with officials of the Vatican Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development.

At the heart of the four-hour long summit was Pope Francis’ ‘3Ts’ proposal for the world’s disadvantaged – trabajo (work), techo (housing), and tierra (land and food) – as well as the new encyclical Fratelli tutti, and both of those from the perspective of the challenges of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Cardinal Michael Czerny – the under-secretary of the Migrants and Refugees Section of the Dicastery – opening the meeting by situating it as part of the culture of encounter the Pope repeatedly calls for and which the cardinal described as “indispensable for progress”.

Calling the meeting an opportunity to “learn in a new context” of pandemic, the cardinal challenged meeting participants with questions taken from Fratelli tutti (197):

“How much love did I put into my work?” “What did I do for the progress of our people?” “What mark did I leave on the life of society?” “What real bonds did I create?” “What positive forces did I unleash?” “How much social peace did I sow?” “What good did I achieve in the position that was entrusted to me?”

– Cardinal Turkson: world plagued by “inequalities, lack of access to health and cruel economic systems”

The centrepiece of the meeting Saturday was the release of a document prepared by the Popular Movements ahead of the ‘Economy of Francesco’ online event November 19-21.

The Pope convened that event in a May 2019 letter with the aim of imagining “a different kind of economy: one that brings life not death, one that is inclusive and not exclusive, humane and not dehumanising, one that cares for the environment and does not despoil it”.

Presenting their guidelines for an economy that is a real alternative to the current “predatory” model of markets and finance, the Popular Movements warned that “the socio-environmental crisis cannot be overcome within the framework of the current system which idolises money”.

Instead of that “idolatry and power” of money that seeps into every aspect of social life, the Popular Movements proposed putting “women, men and nature at the centre” of political decisions.

Calling their manifesto “a vision that we consider to be in harmony with the radical nature ” of the Pope’s teachings “and the revolutionary nature of the Christian faith”, the Popular Movements based their proposals around five points: integral ecology and common goods; economic democracy; land, shelter, and labour; education, health, communication, and technology; and sovereignty, human mobility, and peace.

Cardinal Peter Turkson, the Prefect of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, welcomed the document of the Popular Movements, and agreed with their diagnosis that the world today suffers from “inequalities, lack of access to health [and] cruel economic systems; that is why the virus exposes us to many other pandemics that must be dealt with”.

The pandemics of injustice, unequal access to healthcare and the oppression of ruthless economies “all have one thing in common – they undermine human dignity”, Turkson deplored, adding that Fratelli tutti shows ways of innoculating the world against these and other like viruses.

– Full text of the document of the Popular Movements: The Economy of Francis

“The socio-environmental crisis cannot be overcome within the framework of the globally hegemonic capitalist system… We need an economy centred on nature, on men and women”

(Source: Movimientos Populares)

More on Novena on the Pope and the Popular Movements:

In prophetic letter to Popular Movement, Pope rages against “economic power”, “idolatry” of money; proposes universal basic wage

Pope backs this “antidote” to populism, “politics of false prophets”


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PhD in ancient Jewish/Christian history and philosophy. University ethics lecturer with 4 years' experience in religion journalism.