Pope calls for greater social justice at meeting with UN chiefs


VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis on Friday urged more progress on social justice at an audience with U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the heads of other United Nations agencies.

Noting the achievements on poverty eradication of the U.N.’s Millennium Developing Goals, which expire in 2015, Francis said more ambitious targets should be set in the future.

The targets should “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,” the pope said.

The Argentine-born pontiff — who has on several occasions condemned unfettered capitalism — recalled the story from the Gospel of St Luke about the rich tax collector Zacchaeus, who decided to share his wealth after meeting Jesus.

“Jesus does not ask Zacchaeus to change jobs, nor does he condemn his financial activity; he simply inspires him to put everything, freely yet immediately and indisputably, at the service of others,” Francis said.

Ban invited the pope to visit the United Nations headquarters in New York and said he hoped that Francis’ visit to his home country of South Korea, due in August, could help reconciliation with North Korea.