“Amid the challenges of our day, see the human face of those you earnestly seek to help.”
Pope Francis said this when addressing participants of the Fortune-Time Global Forum, which brings together Fortune 500 and Time 100 leaders.
Addressing them as friends, he said he was pleased to welcome them and expressed his appreciation for their work the two preceding days. According to Vatican Radio, they exchanged information and ideas on various themes representing elements related to poverty alleviation, including jobs, technology, health care, the environment, food and water, energy, financial inclusion and commitment to communities.
Reflecting on their theme of “The 21st-Century Challenge: Forging a New Social Compact,” Francis said it is very appropriate and points to the urgent need for more inclusive and equitable economic models.
Need to Make Abstract, Concrete
While applauding their collaborative efforts thus far, the Pontiff stressed, “what is required now is not a new social compact in the abstract, but concrete ideas and decisive action which will benefit all people and which will begin to respond to the pressing issues of our day.”
He thanked them for promoting the centrality and dignity of the human person within institutions and economic models, and drawing attention to the plight of the poor and refugees, “who so often are forgotten by society.”
“When we ignore the cries of so many of our brothers and sisters throughout the world, we not only deny them their God-given rights and worth, but we also reject their wisdom and prevent them from offering their talents, traditions and cultures to the world.”
In doing so, the Pope stressed, the poor and marginalized suffer even more, and we ourselves “grow impoverished, not only materially, but morally and spiritually.”
Moment of Hope
While lamenting that our world today is marked by great unrest and inequality, he urged the business leaders to acknowledge they live in a moment of hope.
“When we finally recognize the evil in our midst, we can seek healing by applying the remedy,” he said, noting, “Your very presence here today is a sign of such hope, because it shows that you recognize the issues before us and the imperative to act decisively.”
“This strategy of renewal and hope calls for institutional and personal conversion; a change of heart that attaches primacy to the deepest expressions of our common humanity, our cultures, our religious beliefs and our traditions.”
This fundamental renewal, he explained, does not have to do simply with market economics, figures, and materials.
“No, what we are speaking about is the common good of humanity, of the right of each person to share in the resources of this world and to have the same opportunities to realize his or her potential, a potential that is ultimately based on the dignity of the children of God, created in his image and likeness.
Since “our great challenge” is to respond to global levels of injustice by promoting a local and even personal sense of responsibility so that no one is excluded from participating in society, he noted, “the question before us is how best to encourage one another and our respective communities to respond to the suffering and needs we see, both from afar and in our midst.”
Personal Conversion Required
“The renewal, purification and strengthening of solid economic models depends on our own personal conversion and generosity to those in need.”
The Argentine Pontiff encouraged them to “seek ever more creative ways to transform” our institutions and economic structures so that they may be able to respond to today’s needs and be in the service of the human person.
“I pray too,” Pope Francis concluded, “that you may involve in your efforts those whom you seek to help; give them a voice, listen to their stories, learn from their experiences and understand their needs. See in them a brother and a sister, a son and a daughter, a mother and a father.”
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