Vatican City, 31 October 2015 (VIS) – This morning in the Paul VI Hall, the Pope received seven thousand members of the Christian Union of Business Executives (UCID), a group of Catholic entrepreneurs who seek to be agents of development for the common good, inspired above all by the Social Doctrine of the Church. The UCID, which is an ecclesial association recognised by bishops, grants great importance to Christian formation and carries out its apostolate in the field of work and enterprise.
In his address, the Holy Father exhorts the members of UCID to live their entrepreneurial vocation in the spirit of the lay mission, emphasising that businesses and their managing offices can become “places of sanctification” through common commitment to building fraternal relations between entrepreneurs, managers and workers, promoting co-responsibility and collaboration in mutual interest. “It is fundamental to pay special attention to the quality of the working life of employees, who are the most precious resource of a business, and in particular to favour harmonisation between work and family life”, he added. “I think especially of female workers: the challenge is to protect both their right to fully recognised work and and their vocation to maternity and presence within the family”. Another important aspect, Francis remarked, is the “responsibility of businesses in the defence and care of creation and the realisation of progress that is 'healthier, more human, more social, more integral'”.
The call to be missionaries of the social dimension of the Gospel in the world of work, the economy and enterprise implies “openness and evangelical closeness to the many situations of poverty and fragility”, encouraging programmes for development and assistance. However, it is not enough to provide charitable aid, the Pope adds. “It is necessary to guide economic activity in an evangelical sense, that is, at the service of the person and the common good. From this point of view you are called upon to cooperate to promote the growth of an entrepreneurial spirit of subsidiarity, to face ethical and market challenges together, and above all the challenge of creating good work opportunities”.
“The business is an asset of common interest. While it may be a private asset, managed privately, for the simple fact that it pursues aims of general interest and relevance, such as economic development, innovation and employment, it must be protected as an asset in its own right. This protection must be provided firstly by the institutions, but also by entrepreneurs, economics, financial bodies and banks, and all those involved must act with competence, honesty and a sense of responsibility. The economy and business need ethics in order to function correctly; and not merely any ethical code, but rather one that places the person and the community at the forefront”, the Holy Father concluded.