News Release

Pope’s Coming Jubilee Year: Debt and Right Relationships

ERIC LeCOMPTE, ANDREW HANAUER, andrew at jubileeusa.org, @jubileeusa
LeCompte is executive director of Jubilee USA Network and Hanauer is campaigns director for the group. Jubilee USA Network is an alliance of more than 75 U.S. organizations, 400 faith communities and 50 Jubilee global partners.

When asked about the Greek debt crisis, Pope Francis said recently: “If a company can declare bankruptcy, why can’t a country do so and we go to the aid of others?”

Said LeCompte: “When he said this, Francis also offered further comments noting that too many countries are struggling with high debts and he suggested a United Nations bankruptcy proposal could be the solution.‎ Pope Francis knows that heavy debt loads cause poverty and inequality. The Pope’s statement is a logical extension of the Catholic Church’s strong support of debt relief for struggling countries.

“And just last week, the United Nations General Assembly voted 136-6 with 41 abstentions to adopt a set of principles to guide countries facing debt crises. The resolution passed overwhelmingly in Africa, Latin America, Asia and the Caribbean. Canada, Germany, Israel, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States voted against the principles.”

Last year, LeCompte led a delegation of global Jubilee organizations to advise Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin on the need for a bankruptcy process to address inequality.

Hanauer said: “Pope Francis has announced that the coming year will be a jubilee year. The concept of jubilee is found in scripture in Leviticus and then again in Luke – it’s the concept of an economic system built on right relationships. The jubilee movement — with support from across the political spectrum — won tens of billions of dollars in debt relief to benefit vulnerable communities. World Bank President Jim Yong Kim cites the jubilee debt relief movement as one of the two biggest reasons for economic growth in Africa.”