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Pope’s Address to Participants of the World Congress of Accountants

“The economy and finance are dimensions of human activity and can be occasions of encounter, of dialogue, of cooperation”

At 12:15 today, Pope Francis received in audience the participants of the World Congress of Accountants.

Here is a translation of the Pope’s address to them.

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Dear Accountants,

I give you my cordial welcome on the occasion of your World Congress, and I thank the Madam President of the International Federation for her words of introduction.

You have come together to focus on a shared vision of the future, addressing the different experiences matured in your countries of origin. It is an important moment, be it to address the problems entailed in your profession today, be it to renew awareness of the fact that it is also a service to the community. And you wished to insert this moment within your Congress, which calls you back to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, as a perennial source of inspiration for personal and social renewal.

The present socio-economic context poses in a pressing way the question of work. From your professional observation, you are well aware of the dramatic reality of so many persons who have precarious occupations, or have lost them; of so many families that pay the consequences; of so many young people in search of their first employment and dignified work. There are many, especially immigrants, who are constrained to work “in nero” [without contract] lack the most elementary legal and economic guarantees.

In this context, the temptation is stronger to defend one’s own interests without concern for the common good, without paying too much attention to justice and legality. Required of all, therefore, especially those who exercise a profession that has to do with the good functioning of the  economic life of a country, 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. In this commitment that, as we were saying, requires the cooperation of all, the Christian professional draws every day from prayer and the Word of God the strength, first of all, to do his duty with competence and wisdom, and then to “go beyond,” which means to go to meet the person in difficulty, to exercise that creativity that enables one to find solutions in blocked situations, to apply the reasons of human dignity in face of the rigidities of bureaucracy.

The economy and finance are dimensions of human activity and can be occasions of encounter, of dialogue, of cooperation, of recognized rights and services rendered, of dignity affirmed in work. However, for this it is necessary to always put man with his dignity at the center, opposing the dynamics that tend to assimilate everything and put money at the top. When money becomes the end and the reason for every activity and initiative, then the utilitarian view prevails and the wild logic of profit, which does not respect persons, with the consequent widespread fall of the values of solidarity and respect of the human person.

All those called to work in various capacities in the economy and finance, are called 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. In your activity, you accountants support businesses, but also families and individuals, in giving your economic and financial advice.

I encourage you to act always responsibly, fostering relations of loyalty, justice and, if possible, of brotherhood, 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. 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, expression of care for the other in every legitimate need of his. If we want to give future generations an improved environmental, economic, cultural and social patrimony than we inherited, we are called to assume the responsibility to work for a globalization of solidarity. Solidarity is a requirement that flows from the network itself of the interconnections that are developing with globalization. And the Social Doctrine of the Church teaches us that the principle of solidarity is carried out in harmony with that of subsidiarity. Thanks to the effect of these two principles, processes are geared to the service of man and justice grows, without which there cannot be true and lasting peace.

While I leave you these simple points of reflection, I entrust each of you and your work to the protection of the Virgin Mary. I bless you from my heart and ask you, please, to pray for me. Thank you.

[Original text: Italian] [Translation by ZENIT]

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