For Pope, creative entrepreneurship and societal solidarity needed to overcome crisis
March 20, 2014
For Pope Francis, Europe's current "period of severe hardships and high unemployment" is the by-product of an economic system that "has placed an idol called money at its centre". It "has to be addressed with tools of creativity and solidarity: the creativity of courageous entrepreneurs and artisans, who look to the future with confidence and hope, and the solidarity" expressed by "all members of society, who can give up something and adopt a more sober lifestyle in order to help those who are in a state of need."
The Holy Father spoke today at a meeting with corporate leaders, managers and employees from the Terni Steelworks (Acciaierie di Terni) on the plant's 130th anniversary. This gave him a chance to stress again the value that employment has for people and to reiterate the need for an economic model that focuses on people.
"In view of the current state of the economy and labour markets," the pope noted, "we must reiterate that employment is an essential reality for society, families and individuals. Having a job, in fact, directly touches people, their life, freedom and happiness. The primary value of employment is good brings to people allowing them to realise themselves as such through their aptitudes as well as their intellectual, creative and manual abilities.
"Hence, it follows that employment is not only about economics and profits but also about man and his dignity. Without a job, dignity is hurt! Anyone who is unemployed or underemployed is likely, in fact, of finding himself at the margins of society, a victim of social exclusion. Often, people out of work - especially young people who frequently are unemployed today - fall into chronic discouragement, or worse, into apathy."
"What can be said," the pope went on to say, "about the problem of high unemployment in many European countries? It is the consequence of an economic system that can no longer create jobs because it has placed an idol called money at its centre! In view of this, all political, social and economic actors are called to promote a different approach, based on justice and solidarity, to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to work with dignity."
"Employment is good for everyone, and must be available to everyone." The ongoing "period of difficulties and unemployment has to be addressed with tools of creativity and solidarity: the creativity of courageous entrepreneurs and artisans, who look to the future with confidence and hope, and the solidarity" expressed by "all members of society, who can give up something and adopt a more sober lifestyle in order to help those who are in a state of need."
Such a "challenge is a wakeup call for the entire Christian community" and "The Church as a whole is working at pastoral and missionary conversion. In this regard, our main goal is always that of reviving the roots of our faith and your fidelity in Jesus Christ. Therein lies the principle inspiring the choices Christians have to make, namely the faith." And "Faith can move mountains!"
Indeed, "The Christian faith can enrich society through its inner sense of brotherhood. When faith is greeted with joy, when it is lived fully and with generosity, it can give society humanising strength. Hence, we are all called to seek new ways to bear witness with courage to a living and life-giving faith."
"Dear brothers and sisters," said the pope in concluding his address, "don't ever stop hoping for a better future. Don't be trapped in a vortex of pessimism! If everyone does their part, if everyone focuses on the human person, on his or her dignity, if an attitude of solidarity and fraternal sharing is consolidated, inspired by the Gospel, then we can get out of the economic morass" characterised by "the difficulties and hardships that currently prevail."
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