Vatican City (AsiaNews) – Business leaders, and especially Christian business leaders, "are called to be missionaries of the social dimension of the Gospel in difficult and complex world of labor, economics and business."
But to do this, "ethics must be restored to the economy. Not any ethics whatsoever, but an ethics that places the person and the community at its center", said Pope Francis this morning receiving the Christian Union of Business Leaders and Entrepreneurs.
After urging them "to continue in your training activities with enthusiasm, to be ferment and stimulation, in word and deed, in the business world," the Pope recalled the importance of witness. "I encourage you” – he said “to live your entrepreneurial spirit as lay missionaries. “Business is a vocation, and a noble vocation, provided that those engaged in it see themselves challenged by a greater meaning in life; this will enable them truly to serve the common good by striving to increase the goods of this world and to make them more accessible to all". (ibid., n. Evangelii Gaudium, 203)
The company and the executive office s says Francis, "can become places of holiness, by the commitment of everyone to build fraternal relations between business leaders, managers and workers, encouraging shared responsibility and cooperation for mutual benefit".
But this requires "a special attention to the quality of employees’ working life, who are the most valuable asset of a company; in particular to promote the harmonization of work and family. I think especially of women: the challenge is to protect the full recognition of both their right to work and their vocation to motherhood and presence in the family.
In off the cuff remarks the Pope added “How often have we heard that a woman goes to her boss and says, 'But I must tell you that I am pregnant'- ‘As of the end of the month you will no longer work with us'. Women (must) be helped in this double duty: the right to work and the right to motherhood. "
This call to be missionaries of the social dimension of the Gospel in difficult and complex world of labor, economics and business, the Pope added, "also implies an openness and closeness to evangelical poverty and fragility. It is, again, an attitude, a style with which to carry out programs to promote and support, by increasing the many praiseworthy concrete works of sharing and solidarity that you support in various parts of Italy. This will also be a way for you just to put the grace of the Jubilee of Mercy into practice ".
But doing some charity is not enough: "It is necessary to direct economic activity in the evangelical sense, that is at the service of the person and the common good. In this perspective, you are called to cooperate in order to nurture an entrepreneurial spirit of subsidiarity, to deal with the ethical challenges of the market and, above all the challenge of creating good employment opportunities. "Think of the young people", added the Pope, once again moving from his prepared text, “I believe that 40 percent of young people here today are out of work. In another neighboring country, 47; in another neighboring country, more than 50. Think of the young, but be creative in creating employment opportunities, because those without work not only cannot earn their daily bread, they lose their dignity! This also requires initiatives for discussion and study".
Business concluded Francis, "is of public interest. Although privately owned and operated, it pursues objectives of general interest and importance, such as economic development, innovation and employment and thus it should be protected as a good in itself. In protecting this good, institutions, but also entrepreneurs, economists, financial agencies and banks and all involved must not fail to act with competence, honesty and sense of responsibility. The economy and business need ethics for their proper functioning; not any ethics whatsoever, but an ethics that places the person and the community at its center. "