Pope Francis took aim at conservatives and populism during his homily for the World Day of the Poor on Sunday.
Francis accused populists of exploiting people’s real needs with “facile and hasty solutions.”
“Let us not listen to prophets of doom,” the pontiff said.
“Let us not be enchanted by the sirens of populism, which exploit people’s real needs by facile and hasty solutions.”
“Let us not follow the false ‘messiahs’ who, in the name of profit, proclaim recipes useful only for increasing the wealth of a few, while condemning the poor to the margins of society,” he urged.
The Pope said populists peddle conspiratorial theories and exploit people’s fears.
“If we think in this way, we let ourselves be guided by fear, and we may end up looking for answers with morbid curiosity in the ever-present chicanery of magic or horoscopes – today many Christians go visit magicians; they consult horoscopes as if they were the voice of God,” he lamented.
“Or again, we rely on some last-minute ‘messiah’ who peddles wild theories, usually conspiratorial and full of doom and gloom – conspiratorial theories are bad; they cause us a lot of harm,” he continued.
The Pope then insisted God is not to be found in conspiracy theories.
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“The Spirit of the Lord is not to be found in such approaches: nor is he found by going to a ‘guru’ or in the conspiratorial spirit; the Lord is not there,” he said.
“Jesus warns us: ‘Beware that you are not led astray.’ Do not be gullible or fearful, but learn how to interpret events with the eyes of faith.”
“Instead, let us bear witness,” the pope urged.
“Let us commit ourselves courageously to justice, the rule of law, and peace, and stand always at the side of the weakest.”
Reuters noted Francis called on people who are more fortunate “to break through that inner deafness which prevents us from hearing the stifled cry of pain of the frailest” in society.
“If our heart is deadened and indifferent, we cannot hear their faint cry of pain, we cannot cry with them and for them, we cannot see how much loneliness and anguish also lie hidden in the forgotten corners of our cities.” he said.
The pope established the day in 2016 to bring more attention to poverty, particularly in wealthy nations. Catholic parishes and groups around the world hold events to help the poor in local communities.