Pope calls for new economic order

Pope Francis acknowledges problems of middle class are neglected, says he is willing to have a dialogue with critics of capitalism

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Updated Jul 28, 2015

Pope Francis, speaking to reporters on the papal plane returning from a gruelling 8-day trip to Ecuador, Bolivia and Paraguay said he is aware of the unrecognized plight of the middle class.

He also said he hoped the Greek crisis could lead to more oversight so other countries would not experience the same problems.

During the hour-long conversation with the Francis, who has made defence of the poor a major plank of his papacy, a reporter asked why he had hardly ever spoken about the problems of the "working, tax-paying" middle class.

He offered a rare papal mea culpa, thanking the reporter for his "good correction."

"You're right. It's an error of mine not to think about this," he said.

"The world is polarized. The middle class becomes smaller. The polarization between the rich and poor is big. This is true. And, perhaps this has led me to not take account of this (the problems of the middle class)," he said.

Francis said he spoke about the poor often because they were so numerous but that ordinary working people had "great value."

"I think you’re telling me about something I need to do. I need to do delve further into this ....," he said

The pope, who is due to visit Cuba and the United States in September, said he was willing to have a dialogue with Americans who have seen his criticism of the global economic system and capitalism as an attack on their way of life.

"I heard that there were some criticisms from the United States ... I haven't had time to study this well but every criticism must be received, studied and then dialogue must follow," he said.