Pope Francis, in his latest General Audience, has challenged the ‘culture of waste’ in our society and suggested that, if we only share the world’s resources with one another, then “we [would] all have enough.”
The Pope said, “that some homeless people die on the streets is not news. If in so many parts of the world there are children who have nothing to eat, that’s not news, it seems normal. It cannot be this way! Yet these things become the norm.”
The Pope continued, “In contrast, a ten point drop on the stock markets of some cities, is a tragedy. A person dying is not news, but if the stock markets drop ten points it is a tragedy!”
The Pope suggested that this mentality means “people are disposed of, as if they were trash.” He called it a “culture of waste” where “the person is no longer perceived as a primary value to be respected and protected, especially if poor or disabled, if not yet useful – such as the unborn child – or no longer needed – such as the elderly.”
The Holy Father also referred to the high levels of food waste in the developed world suggesting 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 the issue, are a vehicle of solidarity and sharing with the needy.”
He continued, “Consumerism and a ‘culture of waste’ have led some of us to tolerate the waste of precious resources, including food, while others are literally wasting away from hunger.”
While we can all do our bit to avoid excessive food waste and further our personal charitable contributions, the Holy Father’s message highlights another important point; human life is no longer highly valued by society. What other conclusion is there in a world where abortion is so widely available and where there are even clinics for people who wish assistance to die.
Pope John Paul II, during his New Year message in 2001, was right on the money when he referred to society’s growing ‘culture of death’. Twelve years later, Francis has given us another warning. We would be foolish to ignore it.