(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Saturday met with members of the Italian association of manufacturing companies, Confindustria, calling them to reflect together on the ethics of doing business.
Listen to Devin Watkins' report:
In remarks prepared for the occasion, Pope Francis spoke with the more than 7,000 businessmen and women from Italy’s largest manufacturing association about their slogan 'Work Together'.
Calling them to make that slogan into a true business program, the Holy Father meditated with the members of Confindustria on its deeper meaning of a way to contribute to a more just society.
“Your proposal,” the pope said, “is to reflect together on the ethics of doing business; together you have decided to focus your attention on values, values which are the ‘backbone’ of any formation project, of the appreciation of your country, and of promoting social relations, and which allow for a concrete alternative to the consumeristic model of profit at all costs.”
He went on to list how a program based on the slogan 'Work Together' would take into account the various groups in society most in need and most often forgotten.
These include the family, “in which the work experience, the sacrifice which sustains it, and the fruits which it produces find meaning and import”. It also takes into account those weaker and more marginalized categories of people, like the elderly and young people whose potential for work should not be imprisoned in uncertainty and unemployment.
“All these strengths combined,” Pope Francis said, “can make a difference for a business which places at its center the person, the quality of their relations, and the truth of his or her work to build a more just world, a world truly for all.”
The Pope continued, saying “This attention to the concrete person carries with it a series of important choices: It means giving to each his own, relieving of mothers and fathers of families the worry of not being able to give a future, or even a present, to their children. It means knowing how to direct, but also knowing how to share projects and ideas with humility and trust. It means acting in such a way that one task creates another, one responsibility creates other responsibilities, hope generates other hopes, especially for the younger generations, which today are more than ever are in need.”
Pope Francis concluded his remarks by calling the business people to altruism in favor of the dignity of every person.
“May justice always be your teacher,” he said, “justice which refuses the ‘easy-way-out’ of recommendations and favoritisms, and the dangerous deviations of dishonesty and easy compromises. […] For there is no freedom without justice, and there is no justice without respect for the dignity of every person.”