A Call for Ethical Intervention

According to Crux, Pope Francis and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople called on Christians to work together to build a culture of solidarity in the face of growing economic inequality and a lack of respect for the human dignity of the poor and of migrants.

The two leaders met privately May 26 before addressing an international conference sponsored by the Centesimus Annus Pro Pontifice Foundation, which seeks to promote the teaching of St. John Paul II’s 1991 encyclical on social and economic justice.

“The current difficulties and crises within the global economic system have an undeniable ethical dimension,” Francis told some 500 business leaders, theologians and proponents of Catholic social teaching.

The crises clearly “are related to a mentality of egoism and exclusion that has effectively created a culture of waste blind to the human dignity of the most vulnerable,” the pope said.

A “growing ‘globalization of indifference’” is seen in the uneven pace of development, “not only in materially poorer countries but increasingly amid the opulence of the developed world,” he said. It also is obvious in people’s reactions to migrants and refugees.

In his speech to the gathering, Bartholomew insisted that Christianity is “essentially social. Faith is not limited only to the ‘soul’ without any interest for the social dimension, but rather, it also plays a pivotal role at the level of society.”

The Orthodox and Catholic churches, he said, promote spiritual values and charitable activity, but they also teach “the principles of the respect of the person, solidarity, subsidiarity and the common good.”

But, he said, the world today – as seen in the global economic system and the continued destruction of the environment – is experiencing a “crisis of solidarity” that threatens humanity’s very existence.

Bartholomew condemned what he described as the “‘fundamentalism of the market,’ the deification of profit, the association of dignity with the property, the reduction of the human being to ‘homo oeconomicus’ and the subordination of the human person to the tyranny of needs.”

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