THE POVERTY PROJECT(1)

BACKGROUND AND JUSTIFICATION

 Pope Francis has successfully brought to the attention of the entire world the fact that abysmal poverty rampant in the community of nations is unacceptable when all taken together have never in recorded history experienced the level of wealth generated by the current global economic system. The system consists of  an impersonal and unregulated competitive array of markets and institutions aimed at  maximizing wealth and as might be expected reflects the economic models in place in the wealthy more advantaged countries. It excludes, as many economic systems of the past, the poor countries except in those cases where money can be made through some type of exploitation. The problems are daunting because of the extreme technical nature of the multifaceted and complex arrangement of its interacting factors and institutions. An organized highly technical approach to solving the problem of poverty needs to be developed in order to induce the reluctant and show the way to the willing to modify the current system.

 Many persons and worldwide religious institutions share Pope Francis’ passion and the international economic leaders have been put on notice of their obligation to take a hand in rectifying an unacceptable organization of the world’s resources to the detriment of so many of the planet’s citizens. The Church Universal, a term for all organized religious bodies, may be the only set of international institutions in a position and with a will to organize an effort to right a system that enriches the industrialized nations while ignoring the poor.

 In our present day international community historical influences have developed within individual countries a variety of economic and social models based on national/local circumstances and ideologies.  In contrast Jesus teaches all men a universal participative prayer, The Our Father, which exhorts us to ask for help in our efforts to establish a Kingdom on earth, as in heaven. That prayer traces in broad strokes the normative path needed to achieve a just globalized economy.

 The human family since the time of Jesus like the global economy has developed through economic and social stages its institutional base and technological capabilities to meet the challenge. We are currently at a period in history where we can move much closer to the universal Kingdom Jesus taught us to pray and work for. On the new global scene we find many intelligent and well-intentioned players. At the same time the predominant motivation is amassing wealth and within the system the unspoken rules that drive the key players engender a very inhospitable and hostile environment for change where even very intelligent and highly technical well motivated individuals find themselves at a loss on which way to go. However, upon analysis it is possible to see that The Church Universal can count on available talent to lead, teach others of good will, and with the expertise and technology available, show why and how Jesus’ way can be integrated into a more just model for exploiting the talents and fruits of the earth.

 As a favorable wind for change, we find that communication among nations across linguistic and social strata has become immediate and the availability of information about virtually all the economic and political activities in this new world is forcing social and economic adaptation. The poor are equally becoming aware of the immediacy of economic success of others, and through everyday awareness feeling the glaring disparities in their social position. New pressures are building up among the majority of societies to participate in the world economy and are demanding from their governments new conditions permitting them to become successful citizens of the so-called global village. Although the pace is not uniform, the visible street (square) protestors in many countries are managing to change the wintry view of our planet developing in the last 30 years to the beginning of spring as peoples rise up to force new and more acceptable living conditions for the excluded societies.

 In a similar vein, the world religious bodies, Orthodox, Catholic, Protestant and Evangelical, Muslim, and the numerous far eastern belief systems are being drawn into a new unity following the leads of the new technologies. Closed systems are being forced open in order to survive as belief systems for peoples exposed to new realities.

 Illustrative of these upheavals Pope Francis of the Catholic faith has been called upon by its international leadership to bring its institutional organization and outreach up to date in this new social order. Among his many initiatives he has raised to a new level of attention the problems of poor nations in a rich world. In addition, his frontal attack on the impersonal, uncontrolled, global economic system has put the international community on notice to the unwelcomed fact that the capitalist system as currently in place in the international fraternity of nations needs to be evaluated and recalibrated to include the poorer nations and exclude crazy, wild disparities of wealth. The severe economic slowdown of 2008, a product of uncontrolled abusive business practices in one country, the U S, caused serious interruption of activity in the global economy and created for individual families and entire countries, especially the poorer ones, disastrous negative consequences that after six years are still being felt.

 The convergence of  three factors two of which have taken place in the last 6 years have created a moment of opportunity for international religious forces to act in favor of the poorer nations: 1) a new technological world that cries out for accompanying social and economic institutional development, in reality to launch a new paradigm; 2) an avoidable global economic disaster that has been a wakeup call for remedial action; 3) the appearance on the scene of an international, moral leader that has been able through the new world of communication to impress on the global community the unnecessary inequities of the present economic and social system.

 The proposal of the Poverty Project aims to come to the rescue of the poorer nations by taking advantage of the leverage occasioned by the political and economic international community’s current attention to and evident malaise with a system capable of visiting havoc on so much of the world’s population. Despite the time this Project may require (years, decades, centuries?), now is the moment to begin. And despite the hostile environment in which the Project will inevitably  develop, with the aid promised to His followers Jesus’ Church abetted by support from the rest of the world’s religions is capable and has an obligation to lead the way in showing how the answer to our hopefilled petitions in the OUR FATHER can be answered.