French businessmen meeting in Paris. Photo: Vatican News

Pope’s Five Important, Concrete, Positive and Constructive Messages to Entrepreneurs

The Holy Father’s Message to French entrepreneurs gathered in Paris on August 28-29, 2023

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(ZENIT News / Vatican City, 29.08.2023).- Pope Francis’ Message to French entrepreneurs has been published; they were gathered in Paris on August 28-29, on the occasion of their annual meeting. Bishop Matthieu Marie Jean Rougé of Nanterre, read the text to the entrepreneurs. 


ZENIT translated the Message and also added the five thematic headings.


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[1st Improvements to the “Common Good” Cannot Be Imagined Without Entrepreneurs]

I am delighted to be able to send you, entrepreneurs of France, this brief Message on the occasion of your annual meeting. When I think of entrepreneurs, the first word that comes to mind is “Common Good.” In fact, today, it’s impossible to image any improvement of the Common Good — namely, of economic and social life, of justice, of the conditions of life of the poorest –, without considering entrepreneurs as the actors of development and wellbeing. You are an essential engine of wealth, prosperity and public happiness. 


[2nd Entrepreneurs Also Suffer and the Church Understands Their Suffering]

These are not easy times for anyone, and the entrepreneurial world also suffers, sometimes a lot, for various reasons, among them this absurd war and, before, the very difficult years of the pandemic. Entrepreneurs suffer when their enterprise suffers, and they suffer much when the company goes bankrupt and has to close. The media speaks little about the difficulties and the pain of entrepreneurs who close their businesses and fail through no fault of their own. The Book of Job teaches that misfortune is not synonymous with guilt, because it also strikes the just, and that success isn’t an immediate synonym of virtue and goodness. Misfortune affects all, both the good and the bad. The Church understands the suffering of the good businessman, she understands your suffering. She accepts it, accompanies it, is grateful for it. Since the beginning, the Church has also welcomed the merchants, precursors of the modern businessmen. There is often talk of money and commerce in the Bible, and some of the most beautiful stories of the history of salvation also have to do with the economy: drachmas, talents, landlords, administrators, precious pearls. In Luke’s Gospel, the Father of the Prodigal Son is presented to us as a rich man, perhaps a landlord. Likewise, the Good Samaritan could have been a merchant; he stopped next to the wounded man, cared for him, and then entrusted him to an innkeeper, paying him with two denarii.


[3rd To Create Job Positions Is an Important Way of Participating in the “Common Good”]

An increasingly important way of participating in the Common Good today is to create job positions, job positions for all, especially for young people — trust young people: they need you and you need them –. Every new job created is shared wealth, which doesn’t end in banks to generate financial interests, but that is invested so that new people can work and make their life more worthy. Work is legitimately important because, it’s true that work ennobles man, it’s event truer that it’s man who ennobles work. We are the ones, and not the machines, who are the real value of work


[4th An Entrepreneur Is Also a Worker]

The entrepreneur is also a worker. He lives of work, he lives of work, and continues being an entrepreneur while working. When an entrepreneur stops working, he becomes a speculator or rentier and changes his profession. The good entrepreneur, as the “good shepherd” of the Gospel, unlike the “salaried,” knows his workers because he knows their work. One of the grave crises of our time is the loss of the entrepreneur’s contact with the  work of his company and, hence, with his workers, who become “invisible” (Pierre Y. Gomes). You made yourselves entrepreneurs because one day you were fascinated by the smell of the workshop, the joy of touching your products with your hands, the satisfaction of seeing that your services were useful: don’t ever forget that your vocation was born thus. And in this you are like Joseph, like Jesus, who spent part of His life working as a craftsman: “the Word was made a carpenter,” He knew the smell of wood. 


[5th A Business’ First Capital]

One last word. You are the first capital of your business: your heart, your conscience, your virtues, your will to live, your justice. This human, ethical and spiritual capital is worth more than the economic or financial capital. Today, the new challenges of our complex society cannot be addressed without good entrepreneurs. You can live your work as a vocation, as a moral task, as an existential destiny. However, a business isn’t enough, the economy is too little for you: your creativity and innovation are also necessary in civil society, in the communities, in the care of Creation.


Without new entrepreneurs, our planet will not endure the impact of capitalism. Up to now you have done something, some of you have done much, but it’s not enough. It’s an urgent moment, very urgent: we must, you must do more: the children will thank you, and I with them. 


I pray that your work and your efforts will bear abundant and lasting fruits, and I send you a cordial greeting. 


Translation of the French original into Spanish by ZENIT’s Editorial Director and, into English, by Virginia M. Forrester

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