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Pope Calls for ‘New International Financial Architecture’ To Relieve Global South of Debt Burden

Pope Francis. Credit: CC/Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston

Pope Francis yesterday called for “a new international financial architecture that is both daring and creative. In addressing the Vatican’s Pontifical Academy of Sciences conference, “Debt Crisis in the Global South,” Pope Francis said that the Jubilee Year of 2025 is an opportunity to cancel or reduce debt owed by poorer countries. He explained:

“It is not just any kind of financing that is useful to people, but one that implies a shared responsibility between those who receive it and those who provide it. The benefit such financing can bring to society depends on its conditions, on how it is used and on the frameworks in which the debt crises that may arise are resolved.

“In the wake of mismanaged globalization, and in wake of the pandemic and wars, we find ourselves faced with a debt crisis that mainly affects the countries of the global South, causing misery and distress, and depriving millions of people of the possibility of a dignified future. …

“In order to try to break the debt-financing cycle, it is necessary to create a multinational mechanism, based on the solidarity and harmony of peoples, that takes into account the global nature of the problem and its economic, financial and social implications. The absence of such a mechanism favors the mentality of ‘every person for himself or herself,’ where the weakest always lose.

“In line with the teachings of my predecessors, I want to reiterate that it is the principles of justice and solidarity that will lead to finding solutions. … So let us think of a new international financial architecture that is bold and creative.”

This will also be on the agenda of the Jubilee Year of 2025, in which the Church celebrates a Holy Year every quarter-century, a practice with roots in the ancient Jewish tradition of the Jubilee, when slaves would be freed and debts forgiven.