Pope Francis addressed participants at a Vatican conference on Wednesday, emphasizing the need for international cooperation to alleviate the debt crisis affecting the Global South.

The conference, organized by the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, focused on “Addressing the Debt Crisis in the Global South.” Pope Francis highlighted the severe impact of debt on these nations, saying, “we are now faced with a debt crisis that mainly affects the countries of the Global South, generating misery and distress.”

The Pope called for the creation of “a multinational mechanism, based on the solidarity and harmony of peoples,” to manage and potentially forgive the debts. He stressed the importance of such a system, saying that it should consider “the global nature of the problem and its economic, financial, and social implications.”

Echoing sentiments from the last Jubilee year in 2000, Pope Francis quoted Saint John Paul II, who spoke about the ethical dimensions of international debt. “The Jubilee can be an appropriate occasion for gestures of goodwill to reducing substantially, if not cancelling outright, the international debt.”

As the Jubilee Year 2025 approaches, Pope Francis urged the global community to adopt a proactive and compassionate stance towards debt relief.

He said, “we are only custodians and stewards of our money, not masters,” inviting the global community to reconsider their approach to economic management in favor of greater justice and solidarity.

Photo credit: Prachaya Roekdeethaweesab / Shutterstock.com
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