05/20/2017, 14.49
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Pope on Centesimus Annus calls for alternative ways to deal with economics, poverty, and unemployment

Pope Francis praised the Centesimus Annus Foundation for its work inspired by the Church's social doctrine. In economics and business, " things can change," the pope said. For him, poverty is “a human and not merely economic phenomenon.” Unemployment has "reached truly dramatic proportions in both developed and developing countries”.

Vatican City (AsiaNews) – Pope Francis today addressed the international conference of the Centesimus Annus Pro Pontifice Foundation held in the Vatican on 18-20 May, centred on ‘Constructive Alternatives in an Era of Global Turmoil – Job Creation and Human Integrity in the Digital Space – Incentives for Solidarity and Civic Virtue”.

In his address, the pontiff focused on “new paradigms and forms of power derived from technology, the throwaway culture and lifestyles that ignore the poor and despise the weak”. Such a situation needs alternative ways to understand economics and progress in order to deal with poverty and unemployment among youth and adults, which have “reached truly dramatic proportions in both developed and developing countries”.

Fortunately, “we know that things can change,” said the pope who praised the Foundation for its commitment to “developing models of economic growth centred on the dignity, freedom and creativity that are the hallmark of the human person”.

Fighting poverty

For the Holy Father, the “fight against poverty demands a better understanding of the reality of poverty as a human and not merely economic phenomenon. Promoting integral human development demands dialogue and engagement with people’s needs and aspirations, listening to the poor and their daily experience of ‘multidimensional, overlapping deprivations’, and devising specific responses to concrete situations.

“This calls for the creation, within communities and between communities and business, of mediating structures capable of bringing people and resources together, initiating processes in which the poor are the principal actors and beneficiaries. Such a person-based approach to economic activity will encourage initiative and creativity, the entrepreneurial spirit and communities of labour and enterprise, and thus favour social inclusion and the growth of a culture of effective solidarity.”

Work and unemployment

Another “critical issue” is that “of job creation in the context of the ongoing new technological revolution. How can we not be concerned about the grave problem of unemployment among the young and among adults that do not have the means to ‘upgrade’ themselves?”

This “is a problem that has reached truly dramatic proportions in both developed and developing countries, and needs to be addressed, not least out of a sense of intergenerational justice and responsibility for the future.

“In a similar way, efforts to address the complex of issues associated with the growth of new technologies, the transformation of markets and the legitimate aspirations of the workforce must take into account not only individuals but families as well.

“This, as you know, was a concern expressed by the recent Synod assemblies on the family, which noted that uncertainty about work situations often contributes to family pressures and problems, and has an effect on the family’s ability to participate fruitfully in the life of society”.

“I encourage your efforts to bring the light of the Gospel and the richness of the Church’s social teaching to these pressing issues by contributing to informed discussion, dialogue and research, but also by committing yourselves for that change of attitudes, opinions and lifestyles which is essential for building a world of greater justice, freedom and harmony.”

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