The Pope offers a fresh vision for the economy at a virtual summit in front of 2,000 young economists from 120 countries
Pope Francis has put forth a roadmap for a new economy that he hopes can change the world.
He did so in a video message on November 20 to a conference called, “Francis’ Economy“.
The event, which was originally intended to be held in-person in Assisi, was done via live streaming because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Some 2000 young economists and future decision-makers from 120 countries participated in the virtual conference.
Vatican organisers said they were “driven by the common goal of building a more just and sustainable world”.
La Croix has selected highlights from Francis’s message to the participants.
“The urgent need for a different economic narrative”
You showed a personal interest in identifying the crucial issues we are facing, and you did this from a particular perspective: that of the economy, which is your area of research, study and work.
You recognise the urgent need for a different economic narrative, for a responsible realisation that “the present world system is certainly unsustainable from a number of points of view” and is harming our sister earth, so gravely maltreated and despoiled, together with the poor and the excluded in our midst.
Those two things go together: if you harm the earth, the number of poor and excluded increases. They are the first to be hurt… and the first to be forgotten.
You must take a responsible stand, lest history pass you by
You are called to have a concrete impact on cities and universities, workplaces and unions, businesses and movements, public and private offices, and to work with intelligence, commitment and conviction in order to reach the centres where ideas and paradigms are developed and decided. That is why I have invited you to make this covenant.
The gravity of the present situation, made all the more evident by the COVID pandemic, demands that a responsible stand be taken by all social actors, all of us, with yourselves in the forefront. The effects of our actions and decisions will affect you personally.
Consequently, you cannot remain outside the centres that are shaping not only your future, but also, I am convinced, your present. You cannot absent yourselves from those places where the present and future are generated. You are either part of them or history will pass you by.
“We need to recover a sense of the common good”
Every effort to organise, care for and improve our common home, if it is to be meaningful, will also demand a change in “life-style, models of production and consumption, and established structures of power which today govern societies”.
As a example, we can think of hunger, which, as Benedict XVI rightly pointed out, “is not so much dependent on a lack of material resources as on a shortage of social resources, the most important of which are institutional”… We need to recover a sense of the common good.
“Promoting and encouraging models of development, progress and sustainability”
We are not condemned to economic models whose immediate interest is limited to profit and promoting favourable public policies, unconcerned with their human, social and environmental cost…
Dear young economists, entrepreneurs, workers and business leaders, the time has come to take up the challenge of promoting and encouraging models of development, progress and sustainability in which people, especially the excluded (including our sister earth), will no longer be – at most – a merely nominal, technical or functional presence. Instead, they will become protagonists in their own lives and in the entire fabric of society.
“We never emerge from a crisis unaffected”
Once the present health crisis has passed, the worst reaction would be to fall even more deeply into feverish consumerism and forms of selfish self-protection. Remember: we never emerge from a crisis unaffected: either we end up better or worse.
Reproduced with permission from La Croix International.