Vatican | Bernie Sanders Prepared Remarks

I’m extremely honored to be with you today and was pleased to receive your invitation. The Church’s social teaching, stretching back to the first modern encyclical about the industrial economy, Rerum Novarum in 1891, to Centesimus Annus, to Pope Francis’ inspiring encyclical Laudato Si’ this past year, have grappled with the challenges of the market economy. There are few places in modern thought that rival the depth and insight of the Church’s moral teachings on the market economy. Over a century ago, Pope Leo XIII highlighted economic issues and challenges in Rerum Novarum that continue to haunt us today, such as what he called, and I quote, “the enormous wealth of a few as opposed to the poverty of the many.” End quote. And let us be clear. That situation is worse today. In the year 2016, the top one percent of the people on this planet, the wealthiest one percent, own more wealth than the bottom 99 percent, while the wealthiest 85 people own more than the bottom half. Three and a half billion people. At a time when so few have so much, and so many have so little, we must reject the foundations of this contemporary economy as immoral and unsustainable. The words of Centesimus Annus likewise resonate with us today. One striking example: Quote, “Furthermore, society and the State must ensure wage levels adequate for the maintenance of the worker and his family, including a certain amount for savings. This requires a continuous effort to improve workers’ training and capability so that their work will be more skilled and productive, as well as careful controls and adequate legislative measures to block shameful forms of exploitation, especially to the disadvantage of the most vulnerable workers, of immigrants and of those on the margins of society. The role of trade unions in negotiating minimum salaries and working conditions is decisive in this area.” That’s paragraph fifteen. Paragraph 43. The essential wisdom of Centesimus Annus is this: “A market economy is beneficial for productivity and economic freedom. But if we let the quest for profits dominate society, if workers become disposable cogs of the financial system, if vast inequalities of power and wealth lead to marginalization of the poor and the powerless, then the common good is squandered and the market economy fails us.” Pope John Paul II puts it this way. Profit that is the result of “illicit exploitation, speculation, or the breaking of solidarity among working people . . . has not justification, and represents an abuse in the sight of God and man.” We are now twenty-five years after the fall of Communist rule in Eastern Europe. Yet we have got to acknowledge that Pope John’s, John Paul’s warnings about the excesses of untrammeled finance were deeply prescient. Twenty-five years after Centesimus Annus, speculation, illicit financial flows, environmental destruction, and the weakening of the rights of workers is far more severe today than it was a quarter century ago. Financial excesses, indeed widespread financial criminality on Wall Street, played a direct role in causing the world’s worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. We need a political analysis as well as a moral and anthropological analysis to understand what has happened since 1991. We can say that with unregulated globalization, a world market economy built on speculative finance burst through the legal, political, and moral constraints that had once served to protect the common good. In my country, home of the world’s largest financial markets, globalization was used as a pretext to deregulate the banks, ending decades of legal protections for working people and small businesses. Politicians joined hands with the leading bankers to allow the banks to become, quote unquote, “too big to fail.” The result: eight years ago the American economy and much of the world was plunged into the worst economic decline since the 1930s. Untold numbers of working people lost their jobs, their homes and their life savings, and the government bailed out the banks. Inexplicably, the U.S. political system doubled down on this reckless financial deregulation, when our Supreme Court in a series of deeply misguided decisions, unleashed an unprecedented flow of money into American politics. These decisions culminated in the infamous Citizens United case, which opened the financial spigots for huge campaign contributions by billionaires and large corporations to turn the United States political system to their narrow and greedy advantage. It has established a system in which billionaires today can buy elections. Rather than an economy aimed at the common good, we have been left with an economy operated for the top one percent, who get wealthier and wealthier as the working class, the young and the poor fall further and further behind. And the billionaires and banks have reaped the returns of their campaign investments, in the form of special tax privileges, imbalanced trade agreements that favor investors over workers, and that even give multinational companies extra-judicial power over governments that are trying to regulate them. But as both Pope John Paul II and Pope Francis have warned us and the world, the consequences have been even more dire than the disastrous effects of financial bubbles and falling living standards of working-class families. Our very soul, our very soul as a nation has suffered as the public has lost faith in political and social institutions. As Pope Francis has stated, and I quote, profoundly stated, “Man is not in charge today, money is in charge, money rules.” End of quote. And the Pope has also stated, and I quote, very profoundly, “We have created new idols. The worship of the golden calf of old has found a new and heartless image in the cult of money and the dictatorship of an economy which is faceless and lacking any truly humane goal.” End of quote. And further, from the Pope. “While the income of a minority is increasingly, is increasing exponentially, that of the majority is crumbling. This imbalance results from ideologies which uphold the absolute autonomy of markets and financial speculation, and thus deny the right of control to States, which are themselves charged with providing for the common good.” End quote. Pope Francis has called on the world to say, and I quote, and how profound, how important this is, “No to a financial system that rules rather than serves”. And he called upon financial executives and political leaders to pursue financial reform that is informed by ethical considerations. He stated plainly and powerfully that the role of wealth and resources in a moral economy must be that of servant, not master. The widening gap between the rich and the poor, the desperation of the marginalized, the power of corporations over politics, is not a phenomenon of the United States alone. The excesses of the unregulated global economy have caused even more damage in the developing countries. They suffer not only from the boom-bust cycles on Wall Street, but from a world economy that puts profits over pollution, oil companies over climate safety, and arms trade over peace. And as an increasing share of new wealth and income goes to a small fraction of those at the top, fixing this gross inequality has become a central challenge. The issue of wealth and income inequality is the great economic issue of our time, it is the great political issue of our time, it is the great moral issue of our time, it is an issue that we must confront in the United States and across the world. Pope Francis has given the most powerful name to the predicament of modern society, he calls it the Globalization of Indifference. Quote, “Almost without being aware of it,” he noted, “we end up being incapable of feeling compassion at the outcry of the poor, weeping for other people’s pain, and feeling a need to help them, as though all of this were someone else’s responsibility and not our own.” End quote. We have seen on Wall Street that financial fraud became not only the norm in many ways, but the new business model, business as usual. Top bankers, major executives of Wall Street firms, have shown no shame, no shame at all, for their bad behavior, for their illegal behavior, they have made no apologies to the public. The billions and billions of dollars of fines they have paid for financial fraud are just another cost of doing business, another short cut to unjust profits. Some might feel that it is hopeless to fight the economic juggernaut, that once the market economy escaped the boundaries of morality it would be impossible to bring the economy back under the dictates of morality and the common good. I am told time and time again by the wealthy and the powerful, and the mainstream media that so often represents their interests, that we should be “practical,” that we should accept the status quo, that a truly moral economy is beyond our reach. Yet Pope Francis himself is surely the world’s greatest demonstration against such a surrender to despair and cynicism. He has opened the eyes of the world once again to the claims of mercy, justice and the possibilities of a better world. He is inspiring the world to find a new global consensus for our common home. I see that hope everyday and that sense of possibility among America’s young people, which gives me an enormous sense of optimism. Our youth are no longer satisfied with corrupt and broken politics and an economy of stark inequality and injustice. They are not satisfied with the destruction of our environment by a fossil fuel industry whose greed has put short term profits ahead of climate change and the future of our planet. They want, our young people want to live in harmony with nature, as part of nature, not destroy nature. They are calling out for a return to fairness, for an economy that defends the common good by ensuring that every person, rich or poor, has access to quality health care, nutrition and education. As Pope Francis made powerfully clear last year in Laudato Si’, we have the technology and we have the know-how to solve our problems from poverty to climate change to health care to the protection of biodiversity. We also have the vast wealth to do so, especially if the wealthy pay their fair share of taxes rather than hiding their funds in the world’s tax and secrecy havens as the Panama Papers have shown us. The challenges facing our planet are not mainly technological or even financial, because as a world we are rich enough to increase our investments in skills, infrastructure, and technological know-how to meet our needs and protect the planet. Our challenge is mostly a moral one, to redirect our efforts and vision to the common good. Centesimus Annus, which we celebrate and reflect on today, and Laudato Si’, are powerful, eloquent and hopeful messages of this possibility. It is up to us to learn from them, and to move boldly toward the common good in our time. Thank you very much. [Applause]

100 thoughts on “Vatican | Bernie Sanders Prepared Remarks

  1. I left the church when i accepted that they didn't want people like me there. This pope has mostly delivered fluff when it comes to LGBT discrimination. That said, Pope Francis has finally disturbed the pattern of Popes living like Kings, while the poor are ignored. It's something.

  2. 2732 thumbs up right now and 9 thumbs down. There are 9 confirmed morally corrupt people among us right here, these people I now refer to as human scum, the absolute bottom of the barrel. To those 9 people who thumbed down, you need to take a goooood long hard look within yourself in the place I call the room of mirrors.

  3. This is one of the best speeches I've heard from Sanders this election season so far because of how concise it is about some of the core issues being discussed and debated this campaign cycle.

  4. I just had a premonition: He being president speaking like that in front of the world leaders in the UN. The hatred or suspicion from most of middle eastern and latin american countries would start fading as he talks. Can you imagine that?

  5. Good job staying on message, Bernie. I'd like us to be harder on the churches, but now is not the time for that.

  6. The Vatican did not invite Hillary because the way her head spun around and how she vomited green vile freaked them out.

  7. Bernie goes international for peaceful message. Hillary goes international to kill people and laughs about it. Yep

  8. Highlights: 1.) 0:16 Bernie bluntly snubs the horrible Margaret Archer, liar extraordinaire: – 2.) 6:28 Bernie burns Citizens United and all those "YUGE campaign contributions"! – 3.) Bernie speaks of the optimism he gets from the youth of today, as they are unsatisfied with "corrupt and broken politics, and an economy of stark inequality and injustice. They are not satisfied with the destruction of our environment by a fossil fuel industry whose greed has put short term profits ahead of [facing] climate change and the future of our planet." 13:30

  9. This might be one of the most important speeches given in our modern history. This is a true contributor of world leadership.

  10. Hillary would have erupted into flames as soon as she walked through those doors! God and the Pope do not like liars.

  11. If you can hear these words by Bernie Sanders, quoting the popes' own words as well instilling his own and not find them to be total sense and truths, you are either part of the problem or completely oblivious to the current state of affairs throughout the world.

  12. I love how Bernie walked right past that Vatican bitch that tried to sabotage him by lying about his invitation saying that he invited himself. Bernie showed everyone his invitation later verifying he was indeed invited.

  13. Bernie is the one candidate who has true wisdom, vision and hope for not only the future of America but the whole world. Bernie Sanders is a leader who not only has common sense but the experience and integrity to choose the best VP and cabinet with the top expertise to implement his platform; Bernie has a consistent POV while at the same time has demonstrated he has the ability to create consensus and unite people to solve the challenges that our world faces and is prepared for this responsibility from day one.

  14. The finest summary of what this election is really about. The advancement of our planet for the betterment of all mankind. Thank you Bernie
    I am with you and Pope Francis. 100%

  15. bernie keep surprising me over and over again, It's a big lost he only started now. How woud the world be today when he was the world leader years ago.

  16. Hillary supporters whined about this event. Said Bernie used campaign funds to take a free trip. Meanwhile, at George Clooney's house the Clintons had million dollar wine bottles and lit cigars with 100 dollar bills.

  17. If New York was an open primary, he would crush Hillary. You had to register 6 months ago (before the first democratic debate) in order to obtain your right as a citizen to vote. If Bernie wins the democratic nomination and hence the general election (it would be a landslide against the republicans) I hope he reforms the corrupt voting system. 1 citizen 1 vote. No questions asked. Period.

  18. Guys, know what's interesting? The republicans always boast about how religious they are, yet it was the Jew who got invited to the vatican, and it was a Republican candidate who had his religion challenged by the pope.

  19. "A market economy is beneficial for productivity and economic freedom, but if we let the quest for profits dominate society, if workers become disposable cogs of the financial system, if vast inequalities of power and wealth lead to marginalization of the poor and the powerless, then the common good is squandered and the market economy fails us."

    To be sure.

  20. Time for Bernie Sanders and William McDonough sit down to discuss to rebuilding of the planet. McDonough is already rolling in Europe, China and corporate America. He rebuilt Ford's gigantic Rouge auto plan now with habitat roofing and plants cleaning their on site storm water. Saved Ford $35 million. Time to build new clean, circular and renewably powered houses, neighbourhoods, cities and thriving economies of regeneration.

  21. Forget all the Hillary comments. She has nothing to do with "Moral Economy". That is Bernie's message and life's work. The current pope is in agreement. It is a message of a better world with less misery, greed, exploitation and suffering. We need to focus on getting the message out.

  22. A historic speech! TOGETHER we can effect change that benefits the entire planet, it starts locally, it spreads globally! Si se puede!

  23. Bernie spent close to a $1000,000 for this trip…ONE day and only 10 hours in Rome and a 10 minute canned spech.
    Read this article. He is such a hypocrite.

  24. I expect the socialist candidate to castigate everything American while abroad, but couldn't he have spent some of that righteous indignation lecturing the Vatican on its walls, immigration policy, its top 1% economic status among all religions, its no condoms more AIDS African policies, forced adoptions, no abortions, pedophile exchange program? Are these policies immune from Bernie's highly-attuned moral and ethical sense of right & wrong? Burn-it-all-down Bernie . . . 2 + 2 no longer has to equal 4 . . .

  25. Evo Morales is a Democratic Socialist. Yea…. he's sure a great Bolivian president….

  26. I bet Bernie supporters don't know anything about Evo Morales

  27. Bernie embodies what an American presidency should be and I for one cannot wait for this election to be over so that our country can begin anew with positive diplomatic relations abroad, and better quality education, healthcare, and government reform here at home. #FeelTheRevolution #StillSanders because we must change our corrupted government that has become an oligarchic parasite.

  28. Revelation 14:9-11 "Then a third angel followed, saying, with a loud voice. "if anyone worships the beast and his image, and receives his mark on his forehead or on his hand, he himself shall also drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out full strength into the cup of His indignation. He shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the lamb. And the smoke of their torment ascends forever and ever, and they have no rest day or night, who worship the beast and his image, and whoever receives the mark of his name."

  29. This man is the real deal. He really cares. His words are no different than those of the great prophets and, indeed, he speaks many beliefs held by Jesus himself.
    Feel the Bern! He might be the U.S.A's last chance. John Dewey said that there has never been a democracy that hasn't committed suicide. Bernie is the only one who can save us.

  30. In an independent bid for the presidency, Bernie could likely count on the votes of millions of Catholics.

  31. Evo morales in da House, viva la revolución Viva Bolivia Socialista, respect to sanders, but you guys in the united states have to push harder and i know you cant undertand the socialist states of our america Cuba, Nicaragua, Venezuela, Ecuador and Bolivia, soon will join Argentina, Brasil and Chile im so praud of La Patria grande and how we are allies with Russia China Iran Syria even North Korea if you cant get them is because you never feel the opresion of the imperialism of the corporations, i have the same face of our INDIO BOSS EVO MORALES as an cuban argentinian, we are one country from Rio Grande to the Patagonia, and gonna put our Union of Sates even in some neoliberal goverment thats our right we never gonna have the republican in Latin America be sure. Big love to all the americans and we in down south the mayority of Our continent behind Pope Francis and Che Guevara, Allende, Chavez, Maduro, Fidel follow our way hope you can win over the corporations gonna be hard and thats are the battles that motivated us as americans you north americans now 2017 have to battle more. Hugs from our CELAC Comunidad de Estados Latino Americanos y Caribeños. Hasta la victoria siempre, behind Che and Pope we go.

  32. What a rude asshole he ignores the host of the meeting Margaret Archer who stands to greet him (despite him going over her head to invite himself to the meeting). She stands up, he ignores her and walks right by. Asshole.

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