Pope Francis Shared Some Damning Words About Greedy Employers

May 19th 2016

Taylor Bell

Pope Francis continued his campaign against economic inequality on Thursday. The pontiff condemned employers who exploit their workers, calling them "true leeches."

Pope Francis I in the Popemobile

During his sermon in Casa Santa Marta, the pontiff called out business owners who take advantage of their workers and refuse to provide them health insurance, likening it to a modern-day form of slavery, according to the National Catholic Reporter.

"Exploitation of people today is a true slavery. We thought that slaves do not exist anymore. They exist. It's true, people don't go to Africa to take them and then sell them in America, no. But it's in our cities."

The pope followed up his comments by explaining a scenario in which an employer hires someone from September to June without offering health insurance during their tenure. From July to August, that person must "eat air," the pontiff said.

"Living off the blood of the people. This is a mortal sin. And it takes much patience, much restitution to convert ourselves from this sin."


He then laid out the biblical case for helping the poor.

"May the Lord make us understand today that simplicity that Jesus tells us in the Gospel today. A glass of water in the name of Christ is more important than all the wealth accumulated by exploitation of people.”

People are applauding the Pope's comments.

This isn't the first time that the Pope has spoken out against the dangers of unregulated capitalism.

In 2014, he called for a redistribution of wealth based on biblical principles:

"In the case of global political and economic organization, much more needs to be achieved, since an important part of humanity does not share in the benefits of progress and is in fact relegated to the status of second-class citizens. Future Sustainable Development Goals must therefore be formulated and carried out with generosity and courage, so that they can have a real impact on the structural causes of poverty and hunger, attain more substantial results in protecting the environment, ensure dignified and productive labor for all, and provide appropriate protection for the family, which is an essential element in sustainable human and social development."

The pontiff has made poverty a prime concern for his ministry ever since he took the papacy in March 2013, even though he's taken some criticism for his views from more some pro-market economists.

“When the pope says that this economy kills, that this economy destroys the environment, I’m not quite sure what economy he’s talking about,” Kishore Jayabalan, an economist who formerly worked at the Vatican, told Voice of America in July of 2015.

Click here to Listen to the Pope's full homily.