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Friday, November 14, 2014

Francis to accountants: the dignity of the person must prevail over bureaucracy

Vatican City, 14 November 2014 (VIS) – “From your professional observatory, you are well aware of the dramatic situation faced by many people who are precariously employed or have lost their jobs; of the many families who pay the consequences; of the many young people in search of a first occupation and dignified work. They are many, especially immigrants, who are compelled to work illegally, and lack the most basic legal and economic guarantees”, said the Pope this morning in his address to the seven thousand participants at the World Congress of Accountants, held in Rome from 10 to 13 November.

In this economic context, there is a “strong temptation to defend one's own interests without worrying about the common good, without paying too much attention to justice and legality. However, we are all, especially those who exercise a profession associated with the good functioning of the economic life of a country, required to play a positive and constructive role in carrying out our work on a daily basis, aware that behind every piece of paper there is a story, and there are faces. In this task … the Christian professional draws strength every day from prayer and the Word of God to carry out his or her own duties well, with skill and wisdom; and then, to go further than this, which means reaching towards those in difficulty; exercising that creativity that allows solutions to be found in situations of impasse; to make the reason of human dignity prevail over the rigidity of bureaucracy”.

Francis affirmed that the economy and finance are “dimensions of human activity and may be opportunities for encounters, dialogue, cooperation, the recognition of rights and the rendering of services, of dignity affirmed in work. But it is therefore necessary always to place man and his dignity at the centre, opposing those dynamics that tend to homogenise everything and place money at the summit. When money becomes the aim and reason for every activity and initiative, this leads to the prevalence of a utilitarian perspective and the untrammelled logic of profit that does not respect people, with the consequent widespread decline in the values of solidarity and respect for the human person. Those who work in various roles in economics and finance are required to make decisions that favour the social and economic well-being of humanity as a whole, offering everyone the opportunity to realise their own development”.

“You, in your profession”, he said, addressing the accountants, “work alongside companies, but also families and individuals, to offer economic and financial advice. I encourage you always to work responsibly, favouring relationships of loyalty, justice and, if possible, fraternity, courageously facing, above all, the problems faced by the weakest and poorest. It is not enough to give concrete answers to economic and material questions; it is necessary to promote and cultivate the ethics of the economy, finance and work; it is necessary to keep alive the value of solidarity as a moral attitude, an expression of attention to others and all their legitimate needs. If we wish to hand our environmental, economic, cultural and social patrimony to future generations in a better condition than that in which we have inherited it, we must assume the responsibility of working for a globalisation of solidarity. … And the social doctrine of the Church teaches us that the principle of solidarity works in harmony with that of subsidiarity. Thanks to the effect of these two principles, processes are placed at the services of humanity and enable the growth of justice, without which there cannot be true and lasting peace”.

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