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Pope: Reparation for Exploiting the Poor Will Take a Lot of Penance

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Pope: Reparation for Exploiting the Poor Will Take a Lot of Penance

Drawing from today’s forceful reading from the Book of James, which asserts that “the wages you withheld from the workers who harvested your fields are crying aloud, Pope Francis likened those who exploit the poor to bloodsuckers.

According to Vatican Radio, the Pope at daily Mass in Casa Santa Marta today considered both the correct attitude toward money and the falsehood of the so-called “prosperity Gospel.


“€œRiches in themselves are good,”€ the Pope explained, but they are “€œrelative, not absolute”€ goods.

He criticized the so-called theology of prosperity”€” according to which “€œGod shows you that you are just if He give you great riches,”€ saying those who follow it are mistaken.

Attachment to wealth is like a chain that takes away “the freedom to follow Jesus, he said.


“When riches are created by exploiting the people, by those rich people who exploit [others], they take advantage of the work of the people, and those poor people become slaves. We think of the here and now, the same thing happens all over the world. ‘I want to work.’ ‘Good, they”€™ll make you a contract, from September to June.’ Without a pension, without health care”€¦ Then they suspend it, and in July and August they have to eat air. And in September, they laugh at you about it. Those who do that are true bloodsuckers, and they live by spilling the blood of the people who they make slaves of labour.


Pope Francis recalled how a young girl once told him about having found a job, working 11 hours a day for 650 euro a month, paid under the table. And they told her, “€œIf that”€™s ok with you, take it; if not, get lost. There”€™s nothing else!”€

These rich people, he said, “€œgrow fat on their riches”€”€”but the Apostle warns: “€œYou have fattened your hearts for the day of slaughter.”€ “€œThe blood of all these people that you have sucked,”€ and on which “€œyou have lived, is a cry to the Lord, it is a cry of justice. The exploitation of the people,”€ the Pope said, “€œis today truly a form of slavery.”€

“We might think, he continued, that slaves no longer exists: they exist. It”€™s true, people no longer go to Africa to capture them in order to sell them in America, no. But it is in our cities. And there are these traffickers, these people who treat the working people without justice.”€

“Yesterday, in the Audience, we meditated on the rich glutton and Lazarus. But, this rich man was in his own world, he didn”€™t realize that on the other side of the door of his house, there was someone who was starving. But this is worse. That rich man, at least, did not realize, and left the other man to die of hunger. But this is worse. This is starving the people with their work for my own profit! Living on the blood of the people. And this is a mortal sin. This is a mortal sin. And this demands a great deal of penance, a great deal of restitution, in order to be converted from this sin.


The Pope also told the story of the death of a miser. The people joked: “€œThe funeral was ruined,”€ they said. “€œThey couldn”€™t close the coffin,”€ because “€œhe wanted to take all that he had with him, and he couldn”€™t.”€ “€œNo one can take their riches with them,”€ the Pope said.

“We consider this drama of today: the exploitation of the people, the blood of these people who become slaves, the traffickers of people”€”and not just those who deal in prostitutes and children for child labour, but that trafficking we might call ‘civilized’: ‘I”€™ll pay you this much, without vacation, without health care, without”€¦ everything under the table”€¦ But I will become rich!’ May the Lord make us understand today the simplicity that Jesus speaks to us of in the Gospel of today: a glass of water in the name of Christ is more important than all the riches accumulated through the exploitation of the people.

Readings provided by the US bishops”€™ conference:


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