The Roman Catholic Church has a following of approximately 1.2 billion people around the globe. Pope Francis currently stands as the 266th pope. Pope Francis’ view on poverty emulates the values of his namesake, St. Francis of Assissi, putting poverty relief at the forefront of his mission. Pope Francis has the power to bring together people from all over the world in order to combat global poverty.
Leading by Example
As the figurehead of a major global entity, Pope Francis has a tremendous influence on a significant number of people. Even before his election as pope, as the first pope from Latin America, Pope Francis had been exposed to poverty as a youth in his homeland. Born Jorge Mario Bergoglio, Pope Francis was born in Buenos Aires to Italian immigrants. Growing up in his native land of Argentina, Pope Francis saw the gap between the wealthy and impoverished widening drastically. This issue, occurring in several areas of the world, is a topic of concern for Pope Francis.
Poverty Reduction Efforts
Speaking on poverty, Pope Francis says, “There is such a large number of people who are on the margins. And we don’t see them because poverty is bashful. They have become part of the landscape; they are things.” As far as religious figures go, Pope Francis is notably unconventional. He calls on world leaders to fight poverty and hunger by readjusting the budgeting of tax dollars and redistribution of immense wealth in order to provide for the most at risk.
He also preaches about remaining true to an ascetic lifestyle, which means possessing the discipline to reject modern luxuries in the name of equality. For example, the title of cardinal is a tremendous honor in the Roman Catholic Church and is often cause for celebration. Practicing what he preaches, Pope Francis requested that those wishing to travel to the Vatican to witness his appointment to the position of cardinal not do so. Rather, Pope Francis suggested donating these travel funds to people most in need.
In March 2021, the Pope donated $350,000 while in Iraq, $250,000 of which went directly to families living in poverty. The Pope has also made significant donations toward the fight against COVID-19, particularly with the purchase of ventilators sent to several countries in need. Additionally, the Pope contributed to funding for medical supplies through donations to Colombia in April 2021 and Brazil in August 2021.
Calls to Action
Regardless of one’s belief system, it is easy to recognize the Pope’s humanitarianism simply by considering Pope Francis’ view on poverty. It is inspiring to have a leader who so valiantly fights for those in poverty. The Pope typically follows the teachings professed in the Gospel of Matthew, verse six, which states, “Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward…” This means that the Pope does not make public the nature of his charity. The known instances of his charity are only public knowledge because of public statements made out of gratitude by the recipients. The Pope’s empathy and authenticity are notable features that are changing the world for the better.
It is easy to recognize injustice in the world, however, it is not always easy to remain steadfast in ethics and intervene in global poverty with bravery. In his speeches, Pope Francis declares that even the most ordinary individual can play a role in global poverty reduction.
– Michelle Schwab