Pope Francis Calls Greedy|Employers ‘True Leeches’

     (CN) — Pope Francis condemned the sin of “living off the blood of the people” while criticizing immoral employers for not providing health care for their employees, calling them “true leeches.”
     During his homily on Thursday, the pontiff brought up a hypothetical situation in which a business employs a worker from September to June but does not provide health care coverage.
     “Exploitation of people today is a true slavery,” he said. “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.”
     Francis’ critique of greedy employers was published in the National Catholic Reporter, which quoted the pontiff as saying that “living off the blood of the people is a mortal sin.”
     He elaborated on his hypothetical scenario by explaining how the mindset does not reflect Christian values and instead represents an immoral focus on becoming wealthy.
     “I will pay you this much, without vacation time, without health insurance, all under the table — but I will become rich!
     “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,” Francis said.
     Francis has commented on economic and health care issues since becoming pontiff in 2013. He criticized trickle-down economics, stating that it has never worked. He also called for a more balanced economic system that cares for the poorest people in May 2014.
     Francis has discussed health care issues less frequently, and there’s been a divide within the Catholic Church regarding the mandates outlined in the Affordable Care Act, specifically regarding contraception. In 2010, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops officially opposed the Affordable Care Act.
     But Sister Carol Keehan, the president of the Catholic Health Association, defended the act in a 2012 speech, citing the bill’s assistance in extending lives
     “As I mentioned at the beginning of my remarks, the ACA is not a perfect law but it is a tremendous beginning for getting coverage for all,” she said. “It is a pro-life law that matches Catholic and American principles for fairness and compassion.”
     Pope Francis also spoke of temporary workers who perform intense labor without receiving sufficient compensation in his comments Thursday, saying that when their job ends they’re expected to “eat air.”
     Those who employ the temporary workers are “true bloodsuckers,” the pontiff added.

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