ROME — Pope Francis urged young economists, entrepreneurs and business leaders Saturday to promote post-pandemic development models that involve the poor.
Francis, in a videotaped message for a forum of young people in Assisi, Italy, said the worst reaction once the coronavirus pandemic ends would be to “fall even more deeply into feverish consumerism and forms of selfish self-protection.”
Instead, Francis said, the poor should be invited to participate in discussions about creating a “different economic narrative” that he thinks is urgently needed.
The pope pressed young people to help change production systems and consumption patterns to make them more sustainable.
He said the future will be a “time that reminds us that we are not condemned to economic models whose immediate interest is limited to profit and promoting favorable public policies, unconcerned with their human, social and environmental cost.”
During the pandemic, Francis has decried that the people on society’s margins have been among those suffering the most during the health crisis.
In his message to the young people, Francis said more must be done than “meeting the most essential needs of our brothers and sisters. We need to accept structurally that the poor have sufficient dignity to sit at our meetings, participate in our discussions and bring bread to their own tables.”
Such an approach goes beyond welfare, Francis said.
“We are speaking of a conversion and transformation of our priorities and of the place of others in our policies and in the social order,” the pope said.
He says it’s time to shun economic models focused immediately on profit.