Pope Francis pleaded for land, jobs and housing for the world’s poor and outcasts, during a meeting on Thursday of the World Meeting of Popular Movements (World Meeting), in which the pontiff addressed topics on poverty and social marginalization.
The pope’s remarks came during a special session highlighting the pontiff’s social views. The World Meeting brings together 200 representatives from 100 organizations. This meeting was organized by the Papal Council for Justice and Peace and includes 100 organizations supporting those with no more than a minimal amount of income.
Pope Francis started off by welcoming representatives of the poor, who "not only suffer injustice, but also fight against it."
In his speech, Pope Francis said that due to his many exhortations, he was often described as a "communist" a label he rejects. He stressed that "the love of the poor is at the heart of the Gospel."
"We do not defend a particular (ideology), but we want your voices to be heard, since they often remain unheard, perhaps for fear of what you demand," the Pontiff said.
He added that the right to land, work and housing corresponds to what any father or mother might wish for their children.
Regarding land, the Pope expressed his gratitude for the dozens of farmers present at the meeting, and also expressed his concern regarding the environment, which will be the main topic in an upcoming mass.He said that the misuse of land and financial speculation with food prices could leave millions hungry and dead.
The pope described wasting of tons of food as a "shameful" practice, considering it an attack on the "inalienable right" to food.
"We live in cities that build towers, shopping malls, and businesses, but abandon the parts where the outcasts reside- the outskirts of town," he said, calling for the integration of suburbs within cities.
"In the end, there is no financial poverty worse than not allowing (people) to have bread and the pride of working," he said, attacking social and economic systems which put profit ahead of the people.
The Pontiff also warned that children and the elderly are currently marginalized, as they are unable to work, and stressed that there is a third painful marginalization regarding youth.
Pope Francis’ speech was applauded by participants belonging to all cultures, beliefs, and political ideologies.
Bolivian president Evo Morales was present as an active leader of the Aymara indigenous ethnicity. He met with the Pope unofficially, in an initiative to strengthen the relationship between his administration and the Bolivian church.
The World Meeting will conclude Wednesday with a session in which a document summarizing the conclusions reached during its three days of deliberation will be presented.