“With the help of God and of the Church, you can give effective witness in your field, as you bring not only words and speeches, but also the experience of people and businesses that endeavor to implement Christian ethical principles in the current situation of the world of work,” Pope Francis has said.
Speaking on Saturday to the participants of an international conference organized by the Centesimus Annus-Pro-Pontifice Foundation, the Pope said: “This witness is extremely important and I encourage you to carry it out with faith, also dedicating the right time to prayer, as also the layperson and the manager need to pray, and to pray most of all when the challenges are tough.”
The Holy Father emphasized to the members of the foundation that this is the field in which their witness is needed, and that Vatican Council II insisted that the lay faithful were called to fulfill their mission in the fields of social, economic and political life.
The foundation had just ended a conference in Rome May 8-10 entitled “The good society and the future of jobs: can solidarity and fraternity be part of business decisions?”
Referring to his recent catechesis on the gift of counsel, one of the seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit, the Pontiff stated that business people, too, must ask God for this gift in order to be able to “act and to make decisions according to the greater good.”
“The Christian community – parishes, dioceses and associations – is the place in which the entrepreneur, and also the politician, professional and unionist – draw the lymph that nourishes their commitment and where they are able to interact with their brethren.”
“This is essential,” he added, “as the work environment can at times become arid, hostile and inhuman. The crisis sorely tests the hope of managers; we must not leave alone those who are in the greatest difficulty.”
“In the current economic system, and in the mentality that it generates, the word ‘solidarity’ has become uncomfortable, even troublesome.”
Posing a solution, he said what you must do is unite “theoretical and practical aspects, thought, and experience in the field.”
The crisis during these years has profound ethical causes, he added, which “worsened this ‘allergy’ to words such as solidarity, just distribution of goods, work priorities.” The reason for this, he suggested, is “an inability or unwillingness to truly study how these ethical values can become real economic values, that is, trigger virtuous dynamics in production, work, trade and finance.”
Calling attention to the “conscience of the manager,” he said “the Christian entrepreneur must always measure the reality in which he works with the Gospel.” He added that the Gospel “requires him to make the human person and the common good his first priority, and to do his part to ensure there are opportunities for work, for dignified work.”
Naturally this ‘enterprise’ cannot be implemented in isolation, he said, but “rather in collaboration with others who share the same ethical foundation, and seeking to widen the network as far as possible.” (D.C.L.)