“Pope Francis is awesome. He’s wonderful.” These were the exact words of Joshua, a Jewish financier, on Wall Street when asked his view of the Pope. “You cannot fault someone for working toward equality,” he noted, saying that the differences between the privileged and those in severe poverty should be examined.
Last week, ZENIT decided to see what Wall Streeters had to say about the Pope who has been vocal against capitalistic abuses. Despite what some could speculate, the reaction of the people selected at random to speak between Wall and Broad Streets was overwhelmingly positive.
While some said they were just too busy to respond, others were incredibly receptive. Terrence works in marketing on Broad Street. As a Christian, he said, Francis’ words “really speak to me.”
“Pope Francis says things for how they are,” he noted, “and I like that.” Terrence also noted how open Francis is to everyone and his attention to the poor is worthy of imitation.
An Indian woman who works in finance at Deutsche Bank and asked to remain nameless, expressed that Pope Francis “has rightfully stirred up the mentality of business professionals.”
She said, “It is clear to us that he criticizes when people exploit others or use their power in ways that are negative. For those in the business world, who do their work and try their best, we don’t feel offended. As Pope, he is a moral leader and needs to call on everyone to do the right thing and help the needy.”
When asked her thoughts about his time in the city, she noted, “It’s a shame he can’t be here longer. We can’t get off from work and it would probably do everyone good to have a chance to listen!”
ZENIT came across a man walking very quickly. Marty was an attorney for the Attorney General’s office. When asked his thoughts about Pope Francis, he responded with a beaming smile: “I am a big fan,” he said.
In fact, he shared he was on his way to St. Patrick’s Cathedral to see the Pontiff, just as he had done to see Pope John Paul II when he visited the United States.
Elsie, an Indonesian Catholic who works on 90 Broad Street, just down the street from the New York Stock Exchange, noted how Francis speaks about the immigrant, “and I am one.”
“He makes me feel welcome and loved,” she said smiling.
“Pope Francis really touches the hearts of the people,” she expressed when asked her thoughts about him. She also pointed out how she loves Pope Benedict and had been present at Dunwoodie (St. Joseph’s Seminary in Yonkers, NY), in 2008 when Pope Francis was at the youth rally.
Debbie, works in government and pointed out, “I am from DC and can say he lit the place on fire.” “After speaking to some of my colleagues after he spoke to Congress, they told me how much people want to enrich their lives and be better overall.” She told us she was in the financial district for business meetings, but noted that she senses the same reaction to the Pope in the city.
“People can’t stop talking about him. Francis is refreshing and does right to call those who are unethical or who abuse the system out on their actions,” she said. “I am not Catholic, but he is simply great.”
Another person ZENIT spoke to was a law student planning to pursue corporate law in the financial district. He said he didn’t have thoughts about Pope Francis because he has not had the time. “I only have to get done everything I have to and then see how the Pope’s visit affects my commute.”
“However,” he added, “if I had time, I really would like to listen to his words. I think we all would learn something.”
Down the street at Our Lady of Victory, the Catholic Church in the heart of the financial district, Catholics were praying for the Holy Father’s visit to their city. On the way out, the faithful shared with ZENIT how blessed they felt to have the Pope in New York and how they always pray for him.