Vatican City, 10 May 2014 (VIS) – Today Pope Francis received in audience the participants in the international conference organised by the Centesimus Annus-Pro- Pontifice Foundation, “The good society and the future of jobs: can solidarity and fraternity be part of business decisions?”, which was held in Rome from 8 to 10 May.
In the current economic system, and in the mentality that it generates, the word 'solidarity' has become uncomfortable, even troublesome. The crisis during these years, that has profound ethical causes, has worsened this 'allergy' to words such as solidarity, just distribution of goods, work priorities …. and the reason is that there is an inability or unwillingness to truly study how these ethical values can become real economic values, that is, trigger virtuous dynamics in production, work, trade and finance. This, however, is what you must endeavour to do, uniting theoretical and practical aspects, thought, and experience in the field”.
“The conscience of the manager is the existential place in which this search takes place. In particular, the Christian entrepreneur must always measure the reality in which he works with the Gospel; and the Gospel requires him to make the human person and the common good his first priority, and to do his part to ensure there are opportunities for work, for dignified work. Naturally this 'enterprise' cannot be implemented in isolation, but rather in collaboration with others who share the same ethical foundation, and seeking to widen the network as far as possible”.
The Christian community – parishes, dioceses and associations – is “the place in which the entrepreneur, and also the politician, professional and unionist – draw the lymph that nourishes their commitment and where they are able to interact with their brethren. This is essential, as the work environment can at times become arid, hostile and inhuman. The crisis sorely tests the hope of managers; we must not leave alone those who in the greatest difficulty”.
Francis emphasised the members of the Foundation that this is the field in which their witness is needed, and that Vatican Council II insisted that the lay faithful were called to fulfil their mission in the fields of social, economic and political life. “With the help of God and of the Church, you can give effective witness in your field, as you bring not only words and speeches but also the experience of people and businesses that endeavour to implement Christian ethical principles in the current situation of the world of work. This witness is extremely important and I encourage you to carry it out with faith, also dedicating the right time to prayer, as also the layperson and the manager need to pray, and to pray most of all when the challenges are tough”.
The Bishop of Rome concluded by referring to his recent catechesis on the gift of counsel, one of the seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit, and remarked that businesspeople too must ask God for this gift in order to be able to “act and to make decisions according to the greater good”.