Pope Francis says that in order for business people to thrive and be a positive force in the world, they should turn to God’s Word and pray often.
Speaking today to accountants gathered in Rome for an annual world congress, the Pope warned them about the “great temptation” to put their own interests before the common good.
Turning their attention to the reality of those without work, he said, “From your professional observation, you are well aware of the dramatic reality of so many people whose employment is precarious, or who have lost their jobs; of so many families that pay the consequences; of so many young people seeking their first job and dignified work.”
The Holy Father also recognized how business professionals are also vulnerable to letting self-interest take precedence over the needs of others, before what is best for everyone.
“Required of all,” he said, especially those who work in economic and financial sectors, “is to play a positive, constructive role in the daily unfolding of their work, knowing that behind every charter, there is a history, there are faces.”
To do this, he noted, means regularly being strengthened through prayer and God’s word so they not only can do their own work well, but also so they can go out and help others who are struggling.
Guarding against a utilitarian view
The Pope spoke of the economy and finance as dimensions of human activity that can be occasions of “encounter, dialogue, cooperation, recognized rights and services rendered, and dignity affirmed in work,” emphasizing that man and his dignity must be at the center, not money.
Money, he said, cannot become the end and the reason for every activity and initiative.
If it does, he warned that then “the utilitarian view prevails,” which “does not respect persons” and leads to “the consequent widespread fall of the values of solidarity and respect of the human person.”
Francis encouraged the professionals to “make choices that foster the social and economic well-being of the whole of humanity, offering everyone the opportunity to realize his own development.”
The Pope called on them to always act responsibly, foster relations of loyalty, justice and brotherhood, while “addressing with courage especially the problems of the weakest and the poorest.”
“It is not enough to give concrete answers to economic and material questions,” he said, adding, “It is necessary to arouse and cultivate an ethic of economy, of finance and of work. It is necessary to keep alive the value of solidarity as a moral attitude” and “expression of care” for the other, in all his needs.
“If we want to give future generations an improved environmental, economic, cultural and social patrimony that we inherited,” Pope Francis said, “we are called to assume the responsibility to work for a globalization of solidarity.”
This proper service and sense of justice, Francis concluded, not only are needed for solidarity, but are prerequisites for “true and lasting peace.”
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