Vie de l'église

Pope warns of risk of getting ‘stiff neck’ by looking away from suffering

Society has slipped into a culture of indifference so pervasive that « our necks are going to get stiff » from constantly turning away from the suffering of marginalized people, Pope Francis said.

The pope’s prayer intention for the month of September is dedicated to « people living on the margins, » and in his video message, he lamented the « throwaway culture » of today’s world which prioritizes economic growth over the wellbeing of people.

« How is it that we allow throwaway culture — in which millions of men and women are worth nothing compared to economic goods — how is it that we allow this culture to dominate our lives, our cities, our way of life? » the pope asked.

« Our necks are going to get stiff from looking the other way so we don’t have to see this situation, » he said.

The video released with the pope’s prayer message showed various realities of marginalized people, including scenes of poverty-stricken slums alongside bustling cities, persons with disabilities, the elderly and homeless.

« A homeless person who dies on the street will never appear among the top stories of search engines or newscasts, » Francis said in his message. « How could we have reached this level of indifference? »

The pope urged people to « stop making invisible those who are on the margins of society, whether it’s due to poverty, addictions, mental illness or disability. » Instead, he asked to « focus on accepting them, on welcoming all the people who need it. »

To counter the throwaway culture, Francis proposed developing a « culture of welcoming » which provides hospitality, shelter, love and human warmth to those in need.

The pope ended his message by soliciting prayers for those « on the margins of society in subhuman living conditions, that they may not be neglected by institutions and never be cast out. »