Pope Francis, in his recent Sunday Angelus address, spoke out against a society that “throws away” people deemed as not useful or valuable, including unborn children, the elderly, the poor and the disadvantaged. The Pope, delivering his speech from the window of the Apostolic Palace, stated that the “throwaway culture” is prevalent in affluent societies and is a major concern.

“The throwaway culture says, ‘I use you as much as I need you. When I am not interested in you anymore, or you are in my way, I throw you out.’ It is especially the weakest who are treated this way — unborn children, the elderly, the needy, and the disadvantaged,” said Pope Francis.

The Pope continued by emphasizing the importance of treating everyone with dignity and respect. “But people are never to be thrown out. The disadvantaged cannot be thrown away. Every person is a sacred and unique gift, no matter what their age or condition is. Let us always respect and promote life! Let us not throw life away.”

Pope Francis went on to highlight the wastage of resources in the world, with about one-third of food production going to waste each year while so many people die of hunger. He called for an “ecology of justice and charity” and an end to waste.

“Nature’s resources cannot be used like this. Goods should be taken care of and shared in such a way that no one lacks what is necessary. Rather than waste what we have, let us disseminate an ecology of justice and charity, of sharing.”

Pope Francis underlined the importance of recognizing the value and worth of every individual, stating that Jesus’ call in the beatitudes to be “poor in spirit” includes the “desire that no gift should go to waste.” The Pope added, “Each one of us is a good, independent of the gifts we have. Every woman, every man, is rich not only in talents but in dignity. He or she is loved by God, is valuable, is precious.”

The Pope ended his address with a call for peace, expressing sorrow for the recent violence in the Holy Land and appealing to the governments and the international community to find a solution through dialogue and a sincere search for peace. He also asked for prayers for his upcoming apostolic journey to the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan, where he will join the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland for an ecumenical pilgrimage of peace.

Pope Francis concluded, “In South Sudan, I will arrive together with the Archbishop of Canterbury and the moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland. Together, as brothers, we will make an ecumenical pilgrimage of peace, to entreat God and men to bring an end to the hostilities and for reconciliation. I ask everyone, please, to accompany this journey with their prayers.”

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