Pope meeting the delegation of the Global Solidarity Fund Pope meeting the delegation of the Global Solidarity Fund  (Vatican Media)

Pope: World needs a new Christian model of economy

Before the Wednesday General Audience, Pope Francis meets 20 members of the Global Solidarity Fund (GSF) and encourages them to continue their commitment for a more inclusive economy in line with the Catholic Social teaching and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

By Lisa Zengarini

Pope Francis on Wednesday reiterated his call for the Church to reach out to the physical, but also the spiritual "peripheries" of the world, recalling that this is exactly what Jesus did in his time.

He made the call during an audience with a delegation of the Global Solidarity Fund (GSF), an alliance that promotes partnerships for the most vulnerable across the private sector, the development sector, and Catholic communities, inspired by his vision and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to build a better world, based on solidarity, charity, and equality.

Solidarity is a core value of the Social Doctrine of the Church

In his prepared remarks that were handed over to the delegation led by Cardinal Silvano Maria Tomasi, Pope Francis stressed that solidarity is “a core value of the Social Doctrine of the Church”, but that “in order to make this word a reality, it needs to be accompanied by closeness and compassion for others, for people who are marginalized and for the poor and migrants”. 

Speaking off the cuff, he praised the group for its concern and closeness to those who are discarded in our throw-away societies, noting that reaching out to the peripheries of the world is what Jesus did,  as opposed to the Pharisees. 

“Closeness is God's style.”

Integrating migrants

Pope Francis referred specifically to migrants, emphasizing the crucial importance of their integration in the hosting societies, through education and work.  Indeed, he said, welcoming migrants is only a first step, which needs to be followed by three further steps: those of accompanying, promoting and integrating them. He warned that not integrating immigrants is  “dangerous” for immigrants themselves, but also for society as a whole. He cited the example ot the terrorist attack in Brussels international airport which was perpetrated in 2016 by second-generation Belgian nationals of immigrant descent.

The Pope further recalled that many countries of the developed world are either made of descendants of immigrants, like America, or have produced emigrants, like Ireland and Italy.

“To understand migrants, we have to see ourselves: most of us are children or grandchildren of migrants. They are many! I am the son of migrants. Do not lose your memory!.”

Europe needs immigrants

Pope Francis also called attention to the fact that Europe, which is facing a “demographic winter”,  needs immigrants. This is why, he said, it is important to welcome but, above all to integrate them: “This is not almsgiving,  it is brotherhood”, the Pope said.

A new economic model

Reflecting on the Global Solidarity Fund’s mission, Pope Francis once again highlighted the urgent need to convert to a new model of economy, inspired by Christian values,  as proposed by a new generation of economists, both in the United States and Europe: “We need to move from the liberal economy to an economy shared by the people, to a community economy”, he said.

“We cannot live with the economic pattern that comes from the liberals and the Enlightenment. Nor can we live with an economic pattern that comes from Communism. We need ... a Christian economy.”

Concluding his remarks,  Pope Francis encouraged the GSF partners to move forward in their commitment to support the most vulnerable in the peripheries of the world.

“Go ahead, get your hands dirty! Take risks and look at the many peripheries in Southeast Asia, part of Africa, part of Latin America, which wound our hearts.”

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25 May 2022, 13:47