Add To Cart

Pope Francis rails against the 'globalization of indifference'

“How many of us, myself included, have lost our bearings?” Pope Francis asked Monday, in another stirring cri de coeur on the fate of the poor, this time on the slender Sicilian island of Lampedusa, a fishing community of 6,000 people that has received 200,000 refugees seeking asylum in boats from Africa and the Middle East since 1999, according to Agence France Press.

The pope made his trip in response to recent news on drowning victims. Forty have died so far this year, 200 missing or drowned in 2012, “in boats which were vehicles of hope and became vehicles of death,” said the pope.

Vatican Information Service released a transcript of his sermon.

“I felt that I had to come here today, to pray and to offer a sign of my closeness, but also to challenge our consciences lest this tragedy be repeated.”

“Who wept for these people who were aboard the boat?" Pope Francis said in the homily at a soccer field, with 10,000 present according to the AP. "For the young mothers who brought their babies? For these men who wanted to support their families? We are a society that has forgotten how to cry."

In a striking allusion to the financial industry, Francis said: “The globalization of indifference makes us all ‘unnamed,’ responsible yet nameless and faceless.”

No other international leader has advanced a moral vocabulary linking poverty, global finance and a call to social conscience. Clearly, the pope wants to reinvigorate the faith of Catholics in a church trailed by scandals. Part of his strategy is to use the media lens on him to focus on people trapped at the bare edges of existence. He told Muslims yesterday, starting the fast of Ramadan, “The Church is at your side as you seek a more dignified life for yourselves and your families.”

Francis’s critique of society stems from a spiritual aching found throughout Christianity, a sense of humanity severely out of balance. This is the argument made by theologian Matthew Fox in his new book, "Letters to Pope Francis.