The pope also argued that this economic model was indifferent to the damage being done to the environment.
“Social inequality and environmental degradation go hand in hand and have the same root,” he said, “that of the sin of wanting to possess and wanting to dominate our brothers and sisters and God himself. But this is not the design of creation.”
Quoting from his 2015 encyclical Laudato si’, he said we can each take from the earth what we need, but we also have a duty to protect it.
“In fact, the earth ‘precedes us and has been given to us,’ has been given by God ‘to the whole human race,’” he said, also quoting from the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
“And therefore it is our duty to ensure that its fruits reach everyone, not just some. This is a key element of our relationship with earthly goods,” he stated.
Pope Francis also cited the Second Vatican Council constitution Gaudium et spes, noting its reminder that a person must consider “the external things that he legitimately possesses not only as his own, but also as common, in the sense that they can benefit not only him but also others.”
Homo sapiens, he said, turns into a kind of “homo economicus” when property and money are used as ends in themselves, instead of as a tool for human development.
We often forget, he said, that “we are the most cooperative beings among all species, and we flourish in community, as is clearly seen in the experience of the saints.”
We cannot emerge from the crisis of the pandemic in an equal economic situation to before, he said. We will come out either better or worse.
He added that he hoped that the thought of children without access to education and going hungry would help us to understand that “after this crisis, we have to emerge better.”