During his trip to Latin America, Pope Francis delivered one of his most moving speeches in Bolivia, as he was addressing popular movements of the Catholic Church. Among them were some of the most vulnerable members of society, who are often marginalized, not just in their communities, but in their countries.
"One may ask: What can I do, as collector of paper, old clothes or used metal, a recycler. What can I do before all these problems, if I barely make enough money to eat?”
It was one of the longest speeches the Pope gave during his eight day trip. The main message he highlighted over and over was that of hope.
"We suffer from over analyzing situations, and this sometimes leads to pessimism or negativity. It happens when we see the daily news. We think there is nothing we can do but that care of ourselves, family and the small circle that surrounds us.”
To see change, one must first embrace change, said the Pope. Those in need, he added, should not be excluded.
"Change on the national, regional and global level. Don't lose heart! You are the humble, the exploited, the poor and underprivileged. You can- and are doing a lot.”
He then denounced political and economic models that put economic profits before everything else.
"An unfettered pursuit where money rules. This is the "dung of the devil”. The service of the common good is left behind. The earth, entire peoples and individual persons are being brutally punished.”
He then added that exploitation, colonialism and special interests have not been left in the past.
"The new colonialism takes on different faces. At times it appears as the anonymous influence of money: corporations, loan agencies, certain 'free trade' treaties, and the imposition of measures of "austerity” which always tighten the belt of workers and the poor.”
The Pope didn't just denounce corporate greed. He also apologized for the sins the Church carried out during the conquest of Latin America.
"I humbly ask forgiveness, not only for the offenses of the Church herself, but also for crimes committed against the native peoples during the conquest of America.”
During that speech, people who are often ignored had the attention of the world. The Pope concluded by saying that the Church has an obligation to listen and give a voice to the voiceless.