Pope Francis has urged careful supervision of assets and spending by religious institutes, calling on them to not tolerate waste and be attentive to good use of resources.
In an address to an international symposium in Rome March 8-9 entitled “The administration of the ecclesiastical assets of the Institutes of Consecrated Life and the Societies of Apostolic Life in the service of the humanum and the mission of the Church”, the Pope wrote that our time is characterised by “significant changes and progress in various fields, with important consequences for the life of humanity.”
But he added that although poverty has been reduced, “the goals attained have often contributed to the construction of an economy of exclusion and injustice”.
“The Institutes of Consecrated Life and the Societies of Apostolic Life can and must be active agents in living and bearing witness that the principle of gratuity and the logic of giving have a place in economic activity,” he said. “Careful supervision is necessary to ensure that the assets of the Institutes are managed shrewdly and transparently, that they are protected and preserved, linking the charismatic-spiritual dimension to that of economy and efficiency, which has its humus in the administrative tradition of the Institutes, which does not tolerate waste and is attentive to the good use of resources”.
He added: “The Institutes of Consecrated Life and the Societies of Apostolic Life have always been the prophetic voice and living witness to the novelty of Christ … who became poor so that we might be rich.”
But he said it is “not a theoretical poverty that we need, but rather the poverty that is learned by touching the flesh of the poor Christ, in the humble, in the poor, in the sick, in children”.
Pope Francis concluded by encouraging the Institutes and Societies to continue their work in relation to “the poor and all material, moral and spiritual misery, overcoming all selfishness in the logic of the Gospel that teaches us to trust in God’s Providence”.