Pope Francis calls for action

Pope Francis calls for action

As global problems such as global warming and coronavirus rise, Pope Francis regularly takes the opportunity to comment on such issues. For instance, he has proposed the implementation of a global minimum wage to protect all workers, and he has urged world leaders to work towards a nuclear weapon-free world.

Pope Francis regularly takes the opportunity to give his opinion on various global issues. For instance, he famously argued in favour of a universal minimum wage on Easter 2020.[1] Earlier, he addressed human trafficking in Thailand during his visit to the country.[2] Moreover, the pope called for a nuclear weapon-free world in Japan[3] [4] and asked for more attention to climate change.[5] According to Arturo Sosa, the superior general of the Society of Jesus, a Catholic order, the pope is therefore the only world leader that addresses major global problems.[6]

Universal minimum wage
On Easter 2020, Pope Francis sent a message to several movements and organisations. In this message, he expressed his concern that the coronavirus emergency will mainly hit the poor and the excluded.[7] He argued that many lowest-wage workers are suffering from limited labour protection and an unstable income, leading to additional challenges as coronavirus lockdowns were implemented.[8] Therefore, Francis calls on popular movements to propose a universal minimum wage. Such a global wage should enhance equality around the world and ensure that no workers are without rights.[9]

Human trafficking
In November 2019, Pope Francis visited Thailand. During his visit, he regularly condemned the exploitation, enslavement, and abuse of women and children in prostitution. With tens of thousands of sex workers, the country is notorious for its sex tourism from Europe and from other Asian countries.

As well as speaking on Thailand’s problems, the pope also took the opportunity to praise the influence of Buddhism on Thai society. He commented that this religion has helped inhabitants to lead a “sober lifestyle based on contemplation, detachment, hard work and discipline”. However, this statement led to criticism from ultra-conservative Catholics, who believe that Pope Francis is too accommodating to other religions. Nevertheless, Thai Buddhists and Catholics are fighting the problem of sex tourism together. However, in order to be successful, this fight will require the support of political authorities.[10] [11] [12]

Climate change
The COP 25, the yearly international conference about climate change, started in Madrid in December 2019. On this occasion, Pope Francis called for more attention to climate change. Moreover, he has accused world leaders of a lack of willingness to solve this crisis. This is not the first time that the pope has spoken on the issue. He had previously sent a video message to participants at the UN Climate Action Summit in September 2019. In this video, he accused countries of not being sufficiently committed to the 2015 Paris climate agreements. Moreover, he pointed out that they are not yet close to the objectives set in this agreement.[13] [14] The pope, however, encouraged leaders that it was not too late to act, stating that “it is still possible to limit the warming of the planet”.[15]

Nuclear weapon-free world
Finally, in November 2019, the pope delivered a speech in Nagasaki, Japan. He called for nuclear disarmament, stating his belief that nuclear weapons hinder the deepest desires of people: safety, peace, and stability. Therefore, he encouraged leaders to stop stockpiling nuclear weapons. Moreover, he urged leaders to consider the damage that humans are able to inflict upon each other, referring to the horrible sufferings of the inhabitants of Nagasaki and Hiroshima as a result of the nuclear bombardments during World War II.

The Vatican has long opposed nuclear weapons. It was one of the first countries in the world that has both signed and verified the Treaty that prohibits nuclear weapons. Although Japan is the only country ever attacked with nuclear weapons, its current government has not yet verified this treaty, fearing to lose the protection of the American nuclear arsenal.[16] [17]

Pope Francis is clearly aiming to use his wide-spread influence to tackle global problems. Talking to both world leaders and regular individuals, he seeks to make the world a better place for all.

Anne Clerx

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[1] Papa Francesco scrive ai movimenti e propone stipendio di base per tutti i precari del mondo

[2] Prostituoidut ovat äitejämme, veljiämme ja siskojamme, Thaimaassa vieraileva paavi sanoi ja pyysi kunnioitusta ihmiskaupan uhreille

[3] Paus roept in Japan op tot kernwapenvrije wereld

[4] Pope Francis calls for a ‘world without nuclear weapons’ during Nagasaki visit

[5] Francisco, a la COP25: “¡Todavía es posible limitar el calentamiento global!”

[6] Il generale dei gesuiti: «Torniamo alla vera politica»

[7] Il Papa scrive ai movimenti popolari: un salario universale per gli esclusi

[8] Pope Francis says it might be ‘time to consider a universal basic wage’ in Easter letter

[9] Il Papa scrive ai movimenti popolari: un salario universale per gli esclusi

[10] In Thailand, Pope condemns exploitation of women, children for sex

[11] Bangkok, il Papa: “I bambini esposti alla prostituzione sono sfigurati nella loro dignità”

[12] Prostituoidut ovat äitejämme, veljiämme ja siskojamme, Thaimaassa vieraileva paavi sanoi ja pyysi kunnioitusta ihmiskaupan uhreille

[13] Commitment to fighting climate change still weak, pope says

[14] Climate crisis is ‘challenge of civilisation’, says pope

[15] Francisco, a la COP25: “¡Todavía es posible limitar el calentamiento global!”

[16] Paus roept in Japan op tot kernwapenvrije wereld

[17] Pope Francis calls for a ‘world without nuclear weapons’ during Nagasaki visit