Pope Francis blesses a sick man inside the Basilica of Our Lady of Bonaria in Cagliari, Sardinia, Sept. 22.

CNS PHOTO | PAUL HARING

Pope Francis blesses a sick man inside the Basilica of Our Lady of Bonaria in Cagliari, Sardinia, Sept. 22.

September 30, 2013

Visiting an Italian region especially hard hit by the European economic crisis, Pope Francis blamed high unemployment on globalization driven by greed and said those who give charitable aid to the poor must treat their beneficiaries with dignity.

“We want a just system, a system that lets all of us get ahead,” the pope said Sept. 22, in his first address during a full day on the Italian island of Sardinia.

“We don’t want this globalized economic system that does us so much harm.

At its centre there should be man and woman, as God wants, and not money.”

Sardinia has an overall unemployment rate of nearly 20 per cent, rising to nearly 50 per cent among young adults.

Before speaking to a crowd of about 20,000, Pope Francis heard a series of speeches in greeting, including one from an unemployed father of three, who said joblessness “wears you out to the depths of your soul.”

In response, the pope discarded his prepared remarks and recalled the struggles of his immigrant Italian father in 1930s Argentina.

“They lost everything. There was no work,” he said.

“I was not born yet, but I heard them speak about this suffering at home. I know this well. But I must tell you: courage.”