The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Sophia Har, Communications Director / (o) (202) 783-3566 x101 (m) (651) 815-1818

Pope Francis Celebrates Two-Year Anniversary as Leader of Catholic Church

Pontiff's Teachings Focus on Inequality


March 13 marks the second anniversary of the election of Pope Francis. After two years as leader of the world's 1.2 billion Catholics, Pope Francis has made poverty and inequality central themes in his papacy. The Catholic Church was a principle founder of Jubilee USA Network, a faith-based campaign that focuses on inequality that won billions of dollars in debt relief for poor countries. Jubilee USA's Executive Director met Pope Francis last May and engages in high-level talks with the Vatican Secretary of State and senior officials on debt, tax and financial issues.

Eric LeCompte, Executive Director of the religious anti-poverty organization Jubilee USA Network and an expert to United Nations finance working groups, releases the following statement:

"Poverty and inequality have always been important aspects of Catholic teaching. What sets Pope Francis apart from his predecessors is that he has made these central issues of his papacy.

"Perhaps what makes this Pope most unique is how specific he is on the causes of inequality. A few years ago I never would have thought that I would hear a Pope name tax havens as a social evil or call extreme market behavior savage.

"His core teachings are derived from the Christian and Hebrew scriptures on Jubilee. The idea that we all should be protected from becoming too poor or too rich. We could call him the 'inequality' Pope or the 'Jubilee' Pope.

"Because Francis is specific and concrete his teachings reverberate far beyond Catholics. He has become an icon to people of all faiths.

"Pope Francis speaks specifically and brings morality to global economic issues. He speaks about tax havens, debt and risky financial behavior. He calls on all of us to protect our planet and the poor from harmful market policies. The faith community prays for many more years of Pope Francis' leadership."

Jubilee USA Network is an interfaith, non-profit alliance of religious, development and advocacy organizations. We are 75 U.S. institutions and more than 750 faith groups working across the United States and around the globe. We address the structural causes of poverty and inequality in our communities and countries around the world.

(202) 783-3566