ROME — Pope Francis encouraged Christian business leaders to form “a new alliance” with young people to learn and create together an economy for the common good.
“Today, there are hundreds, thousands, millions and perhaps billions of young people who are struggling to access the formal economic systems or even to have access to their first paid jobs where they could apply in a practical way their academic learning, acquired skills, energy and enthusiasm,” the pope said Oct. 21.
“I would encourage you, mature and successful business leaders and entrepreneurs, to consider a new alliance with the young people who have developed and committed themselves to such a new covenant,” he said.
The pope was speaking to people attending the 27th world congress of UNIAPAC in Rome Oct. 20-22. UNIAPAC is a Paris-based, ecumenical organization for Christian business executives from all over the world to promote Christian social values in businesses and society, and to build an economy that serves the dignity of the human person and the common good, according to its website.
The pope encouraged members to create a new economy for the common good that is inclusive and supports integral human development.
“There is no doubt that our world urgently needs ‘a different kind of economy: one that brings life not death, one that is inclusive and not exclusive, humane and not dehumanizing, one that cares for the environment and does not despoil it,'” he said, quoting remarks he made in a letter dated May 1, 2019, to young people taking part in the “Economy of Francesco,” an international project of young economists and entrepreneurs.
The pope told the UNIAPAC members about the “good news” that came out of the young people’s recent gathering in Assisi, “where St. Francis and the early friars embraced poverty and proposed a radical new economy to the business leaders of his era.”
The “Economy of Francesco” meeting Sept. 22-24 brought together about 1,000 young people who “reflected on shaping a new economy and subsequently developed and signed a covenant to reform the global economic system to better the lives of all people,” the pope said.
Pope Francis said he wanted to share that meeting’s outcome with them “because too often young people are excluded” from the world of business and the economy and “because creativity and new thinking often comes from youth.”
“We older people need to be courageous enough to stop and listen to them,” he said. “Just as young people must listen to older people, all of us must listen to young people.”
He said the young people meeting in Assisi proposed a kind of “economy of the Gospel,” which embodies:
— an economy of peace and not of war; “let’s think about how much is spent on making weapons.”
— an economy that cares for creation and does not misuse it, such as with deforestation.
— an economy at the service of the human person, the family and life, that is respectful of everyone, especially the most frail and vulnerable, and that leaves no one behind.
— an economy where care replaces rejection and indifference.
— an economy that recognizes and protects secure and dignified work for everyone.
— an economy where finance is “a friend and ally” of the real economy and of labor and not an enemy.
Pope Francis encouraged the business leaders to be patient with young people, because it is true there may be problems, “but they have a nose for being able to see the right path.”
“Please walk with them, teach them and learn from them as you shape together a new economy for the common good,” he said.