Pope: ‘Throwaway culture’ threatens the future

Paterno Esmaquel II
'I believe that we are in a world economic system that isn’t good,' Pope Francis says in a recent interview

CORRECTING CULTURE. In this file photo, Pope Francis leads a Mass for the feast of the Assumption of Mary in the papal summer residence in Castelgandolfo south of Rome, Italy on August 15, 2013. File photo by Maurizio Brambatti/Pool/EPA

MANILA, Philippines – Pope Francis issued another warning against a “throwaway culture,” which, he said, threatens the young and old who make up the “future of a people.”

In a recent interview, he also reminded his flock that money should serve men and women, not the other way around.

“The economy is moved by the ambition of having more, and, paradoxically, it feeds a throwaway culture,” Francis said in an interview with the Spanish magazine La Vanguardia, the English translation of which was published by the National Catholic Register on June 16.

The pontiff pointed out: “Young people are thrown away when their natality is limited. The elderly are also discarded because they don’t serve any use anymore: They don’t produce, this passive class…. In throwing away the kids and elderly, the future of a people is thrown away, because the young people are going to push forcefully forward and because the elderly give us wisdom.”

Francis, for one, described as “worrisome” the unemployment rate, “which in some countries is over 50%.”

“But we are discarding an entire generation to maintain an economic system that can’t hold up anymore, a system that, to survive, must make war, as the great empires have always done,” he said.

The Pope, then, observed that “as a Third World War can’t be done, they make zonal wars.”

“What does this mean? That they produce and sell weapons, and with this, the balance sheets of the idolatrous economies, the great world economies that sacrifice man at the feet of the idol of money, obviously, they are sorted,” Francis said.

Economic system ‘isn’t good’

He said these in criticizing the “idolatry of money” when asked, “What can the Church do to reduce the growing inequality between the rich and the poor?”

Francis said: “It’s proven that with the food that is left over we could feed the people who are hungry. When you see photographs of undernourished kids in different parts of the world, you take your head in your hand; it is incomprehensible.”

“I believe that we are in a world economic system that isn’t good,” he added. “At the center of all economic systems must be man, man and woman, and everything else must be in service of this man. But we have put money at the center, the god of money. We have fallen into a sin of idolatry, the idolatry of money.”

In his year-old papacy, Francis has condemned both a “throwaway culture” and a “culture of waste,” alongside the love of money.

In 2013, for instance, he said on World Environment Day: “We should all remember… that throwing food away is like stealing from the tables of the poor, the hungry! I encourage everyone to reflect on the problem of thrown away and wasted food to identify ways and means that, by seriously addressing this issue, are a vehicle of solidarity and sharing with the needy.”

He also called for a change “from attitudes of defensiveness and fear, indifference and marginalization – all typical of a throwaway culture – toward attitudes based on a culture of encounter.” – Rappler.com

Paterno Esmaquel II

Paterno R. Esmaquel II, news editor of Rappler, specializes in covering religion and foreign affairs. He obtained his MA Journalism degree from Ateneo and later finished MSc Asian Studies (Religions in Plural Societies) at RSIS, Singapore. For story ideas or feedback, email him at pat.esmaquel@rappler.com.