Chiara Lubich on the "Economy of Communion"

At International Congress Organized by Focolare Movement

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CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy, SEPT. 15, 2004 ( Focolare Movement founder Chiara Lubich has her own ideas about how businesses can become real «dwellings of God with men.»

She presented some of those ideas at an international congress that attracted 650 economists, researchers, businessmen, workers, students and shareholders from 30 countries.

The Sept. 10-12 meeting held at Castel Gandolfo was organized by the Focolarini and directed to evaluating the results and challenges of the «Economy of Communion» (EdC) project 13 years after its launch.

In 1991 Lubich started the EdC project in Brazil, to respond to the gap between the rich and poor.

«As opposed to the consumerist economy, based on a culture of having, the economy of communion is the economy of giving,» she explained.

About 800 businesses worldwide are participating in this initiative, which proposes to live business activities as an expression of communion.

Businesses that adhere to the EdC share their profits in common, in keeping with three objectives: reinvestment in the business’ development, the spread of the culture of giving and of love, and assistance to people in financial difficulties.

Aware that the «terrible imbalance between rich and poor countries» also «generates hostility and vengeance,» Lubich believes in fostering «an opposite current to terrorism,» including programs that defeat social inequalities.

To put this into practice in the labor field, Lubich launched the challenge of «making of each hour a masterwork of precision and harmony» and of using «one’s own talents and improving oneself.»

In Lubich’s opinion, work must be realized «not only for profit,» but to «transform, in love, each thing that comes from our hands,» Vatican Radio reported.

She said there must be between employer and employees «that reciprocal love that attracts the presence of Jesus in the collectivity.»

For his part, Luigino Bruni, professor of economics at Milan’s universities of Bicocca and Bocconi, and one of the leaders of the Movement for an Economy of Communion, spoke of an evangelical view of wealth and poverty.

Bruni explained that there is a poverty that is «endured» — an unjust misery — must be eradicated. But «there is another poverty, freely chosen, which is the precondition to defeat misery,» he said.

The professor said this idea could be summarized in the phrase: «All that I am and have, has been given to me and, therefore, must be restored,» a proposal that points to the option of a sober life and to communion of «goods which thus become bridges.»

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