Earlier this month S’bu Zikode participated in a meeting of popular movements with the Pope and others at the Vatican. Zikode was able to have a personal engagement with the Pope and valuable discussions with people like former President of Uruguay Jose Mujica, comrades from the MST in Brazil and many others.
There were useful discussions about building popular power to defend human dignity, and the equality of all people, in an increasingly reactionary time.
Here is the report, from the Vatican, on the Pope’s remarks at the opening of the meeting.
Pope Francis warned against the rule of money, which governs with “the whip of fear, inequality, and violence – economic, social, cultural and military – which creates more and more violence in a downward spiral that never seems to end.”
“The entire social doctrine of the Church and the magisterium of my predecessors rebels against the idol-money that reigns – tyrannizing and terrorizing humanity – instead of serving” said the Holy Father.
“No tyranny can be sustained without exploiting our fears,” – continued the Pope – “Citizens are walled-up, terrified, on one side; on the other side, even more terrified, are the excluded and banished.”
Pope Francis said this fear “is fed and manipulated.”
“Because fear – as well as being a good deal for the merchants of arms and death – weakens and destabilizes us, destroys our psychological and spiritual defenses, numbs us to the suffering of others, and in the end it makes us cruel,” he explained.
Pope Francis praised the members of the Popular Movements for giving dignity to the worker, and doing their part to reduce unemployment through their cooperatives.
He also thanked them for their assistance to migrants, and recalled the scenes he saw when he visited the Greek island of Lesbos, where the sight of so many children demonstrated the “bankruptcy of humanity.”
“What happens in the world today, if it is a bank which goes into bankruptcy, immediately there appear outrageous sums to save it,” – Pope Francis said – “But when the bankruptcy of humanity arrives, not one-thousandth of that will be used to save our suffering brothers and sisters? Thus the Mediterranean has become a cemetery, and not just the Mediterranean … many cemeteries are near walls; walls stained with innocent blood.”
The Holy Father told the organizations they are called to “revitalize and re-establish democracies going through a real crisis.”
“Do not fall into the temptation of being put into a box that reduces you to secondary actors or, worse, to mere administrators of the existing misery,” he said.
The Pope also warned them against corruption.
“The measure is very high: we must live the vocation of serving others with a strong sense of austerity and humility,” he said.
The Holy Father concluded by praying that God “fill you with his love and defend you on the path, providing sufficient strength to sustain you, and give you the courage to break the chain of hatred; that strength is hope.”