Participants of the World Congress of UNIAPAC Participants of the World Congress of UNIAPAC   (Vatican Media)

Pope to business leaders: Use gifts to promote common good

In his address to business leaders and entrepreneurs gathered for the 27th World Congress of UNIAPAC, an international union of business executives, Pope Francis urges members to use their God-given gifts to work towards a more caring and inclusive economy.

By Sophie Peeters

Addressing participants of the 27th World Congress of UNIAPAC on Friday, Pope Francis urged business leaders to always remember that success in business is a “gift from God.”

Their talents as businessmen, the Pope noted, should be directed toward helping those most in need and towards impacting change.

Change however does require courage, the courage to “discern the divine grace in our lives,” the Pope noted.

UNIAPAC is an international organization composed of business people from around the world. Its mission is to advocate “for an economy based on the respect and dignity of the person,” while promoting the “sense of Common Good.”

A ‘new economy' for the common good

The Pope began his address with a prayer that the days spent together on the occasion of their World Congress may help them “remain conscious of God’s grace and wisdom” in their lives, in their homes and in their businesses and in their daily interactions.

Reflecting on the theme for UNIAPAC’s 27th World Congress “Creating a new economy for the common good,  the Pope said this phrase is especially relevant today, as too often economy is unexclusive, dehumanizing and destroys the environment

“Everyone has the right to participate in economic life and the duty to contribute, each according to his own capacity, to the progress of his own country and to that of the entire human family … This is a duty in solidarity and justice, but it is also the best way to bring economic progress to all of humanity.”

Therefore, Pope Francis suggested a “new economy” that is inclusive of all, fostering the development and dignity of each person.

Each of their profession of business leaders and entrepreneurs, the Pope noted, must be used as “leaven” to ensure that development reaches everyone, especially “the most marginalized and in greatest need” in order to contribute toward integral human development.

Work as a means of dignity

During the global COVID-19 pandemic, the Pope noted how essential and low-skilled services workers assured life was sustained during lockdowns, delivering goods and services so desperately needed.

Helping and including those set on the margins of society, including migrant and refugee workers who often perform the most dangerous and “degrading” tasks, through financial assistance should be addressed in order to give them “a dignified life through work,” the Pope stressed.

Work in and of itself, the Pope said, is not only a commercial exchange between employer and employee but rather is “an expression of our creation in the image and likeness of God, the worker”.

This connection between our image and likeness of God and work should also be integrated into an economy of care; care of its workers and its working conditions.

“Work that cares, that contributes to the restoration of full human dignity, will help to ensure a sustainable future for future generations. And this dimension of care involves, first and foremost, the workers.”

Looking toward the future

Recalling the recent “Economy of Francesco” event held in Assisi the 22-24 September, where one thousand young economists from around the world gathered to reflect on a “new economy”, the Pope mentioned major points from the gathering in his address.

Young people, he noted, are too often excluded; their creative enthusiasm can and should be used to develop this new economy of “the Gospel.”

The Pope highlighted a few major points from the pact signed by the young people in Assisi, including providing an economy “of peace and not of war”; “an economy that cares for creation”; “an economy at the service of the human person”; “an economy where care replaces rejection and indifference”; “an economy that leaves no one behind.”

Concluding his address, Pope Francis said “perhaps billions” of young people are struggling to access formal economic systems or even having their first paid jobs.

The Pope therefore urged the business leaders and entrepreneurs to “consider a new alliance with young people” to shape this “new economy” aimed at the common good.

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21 October 2022, 14:04