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Pope Francis calls for 'legitimate redistribution' of wealth

The pope is known for promoting economic equality. He himself chooses to live simply in a modest apartment in the Vatican, without the adornments offered to popes.
By Aileen Graef Follow @AileenGraef Contact the Author   |   May 9, 2014 at 2:46 PM
VATICAN CITY, May 9 (UPI) -- In a speech to the United Nations on Friday, Pope Francis called for countries to redistribute wealth to the poor and end the "economy of exclusion."

The pope, who has frequently slammed capitalism as an unfair system, said governments can achieve more economic equality with "the legitimate redistribution of economic benefits by the state, as well as indispensable cooperation between the private sector and civil society."

The words were said to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and other top UN officials, who met in Rome this week.

Pope Francis encouraged the UN to challenge countries to attack the roots of poverty and guarantee dignified labor for all people.

"Specifically, this involves challenging all forms of injustices and resisting the economy of exclusion, the throwaway culture and the culture of death which nowadays sadly risk becoming passively accepted," he said.

Pope Francis been outspoken about the issues of inequality and poverty, and even chose the name "Francis" from Francis of Assisi, who dedicated his life to helping the poor. He spoke to U.S. President Barack Obama as well about these issues during the president's visit to the Vatican.

"Well we spent a bulk of our conversation around issues of poverty and inequality, themes that he has been talking about quite a bit," Obama told 60 Minutes' Scott Pelley. "And obviously issues that I care about deeply. The very poor finding fewer and fewer ladders to get into the middle class."

Ban invited the pope to speak to the General Assembly in New York. The Church has not confirmed any trip, but it is widely expected that the pope will travel to the U.S. in September 2015 to participate in a church meeting on families in Philadelphia.

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