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Pope Francis Calls for 'Legitimate Redistribution' of Wealth

Speaking to UN officials, Pope urges steps towards "equitable economic and social progress."

Andrea Germanos

Pope Francis on Friday issued another indictment of inequality, saying that "equitable economic and social progress" are only possible through solidarity and generosity, and require the "legitimate redistribution" of wealth.

The Pontiff delivered the comments while speaking to United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and other UN senior executives at a meeting in Rome.

People should share the "material goods [as well as] intellectual and spiritual ones" they have received, and should "give back generously and lavishly," he said, according to a statement released by the Vatican.

He said that "equitable economic and social progress can only be attained by joining scientific and technical abilities with an unfailing commitment to solidarity accompanied by a generous and disinterested spirit of gratuitousness at every level."

"A contribution to this equitable development will also be made both by international activity aimed at the integral human development of all the world's peoples and by the legitimate redistribution of economic benefits by the State, as well as indispensable cooperation between the private sector and civil society," he continued.

Pope Francis urged the global body "to work together in promoting a true, worldwide ethical mobilization which, beyond all differences of religious or political convictions, will spread and put into practice a shared ideal of fraternity and solidarity, especially with regard to the poorest and those most excluded."

His remarks Friday were not the only time he has put a spotlight on the scourge of global inequality. The Buenos Aires native issued a document in November 2013 in which he slammed rampant inequality the current socioeconomic system that "is unjust at its root." The following month he delivered a speech railing against the "widening gap between those who have more and those who must be content with the crumbs."

Meanwhile, the Pope continues to receive criticism for refusing to lift the censure on a group of nuns focusing on social justice, as the Catholic Church faces ongoing criticism for a number of issues including "continuing to evade responsibility for its crimes against children."

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