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Pope Francis: Message for World Day of the Poor, today “arrogant” people still “hound the poor”, “the centuries pass”, but their condition remains unchanged

“The economic crisis has not prevented large groups of people from accumulating fortunes that often appear all the more incongruous when, in the streets of our cities, we daily encounter great numbers of the poor who lack the bare necessities of life and are at times harassed and exploited”. Pope Francis wrote this in his Message for the third World Day of the Poor, which will be celebrated on 17 November this year on the theme “The hope of the poor shall not perish for ever”. According to the Pope, sadly, the “condition of the poor and the arrogance of those who oppress them” described in the Psalms are not dissimilar from today’s. “Restoring lost hope in the face of injustice, sufferings and the uncertainties of life” should be our goal, today as back then, to respond to the “age-old questions: How can God tolerate this disparity? How can he let the poor be humiliated without coming to their aid? Why does he allow oppressors to prosper instead of condemning their conduct, especially in the light of the sufferings of the poor?”. When the Psalms were composed, Pope Francis noted, “it was a time of great economic development that, as often happens, also led to serious social imbalances. The inequitable distribution of wealth created a significant number of poor people, whose condition appeared all the more dramatic in comparison with the wealth attained by a privileged few. The Psalmist, observing the situation, paints a picture as realistic as it is true. It was a time when arrogant and ungodly people hounded the poor, seeking to take possession even of what little they had, and to reduce them to bondage. The situation is not much different today. The centuries pass, but the condition of rich and poor remains constant, as if history has taught us nothing. The words of the Psalm, then, are not about the past, but about our present, as it stands before God’s judgement”.

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