Pope Francis has great sympathy for the poor. He has criticized multinational corporations for their role in causing poverty, and he has adopted a simple lifestyle to show his empathy with those who have little or nothing by way of material goods.
I cannot address the issue of multinational corporations beyond wondering what their employees in third world countries would be doing if they were not employed by these corporations. At the same time, one can safely propose that even if the employees are net beneficiaries compared to their condition if unemployed, there is most probably much more that can and should be done to improve their situation.
The issue of purity is more specific and has direct economic consequences. The single greatest source of new poverty in the United States is the household headed by a single woman with children. These children have two strikes against them from the day they are born. Currently, about 70% of black children are born out-of-wedlock compared to about 24% of white children. The respective rates for families living in poverty are just about the same.
Thus, the single greatest thing that can be done to alleviate poverty in these United States will be a rebirth of chastity. That will take a considerable and sustained effort by the Catholic Church and all others who are concerned about the plight of the poor. Somehow or other, every community needs to understand that sexual intercourse is intended by God to be exclusively a marriage act, a renewal of the marriage covenant. “Waiting for marriage” is not just a nice thing to do, sort of an ideal from the past. It is the moral norm based on Sacred Scripture.
For those who do not recognize the biblical moral norm, there is simply the hard statistical fact that starting a family without marriage is an invitation to lifelong economic hardship. The Left has been arguing for more than 80 years that contraception will solve the problem. As a result, almost no one of fertile age is unaware of contraception, and condoms are universally available. Still the rate of illegitimacy has risen steadily for the past 50 years. In other words, contraception has aggravated, not relieved, the problem of poverty.
Dear Pope Francis, please lead your millions of listeners to believe that purity is not a man-made hurdle but is an essential part of God’s plan for the alleviation of poverty. There is probably nothing that you can do or say that will have more good social effects than your steadfast promotion of purity both before marriage and within it.