.- The current economic crisis provides opportunities for the marketplace to find new and better ways of doing business, the Holy Father said to a group of businessmen meeting with him at the Vatican on Thursday. A “humanism” based on the knowledge of our role as individuals and a community in God’s one family, he told them, is needed to establish a “more competitive and civil marketplace.”
Speaking of the current crisis which has put economic and productive systems to the test in many countries, the Holy Father said that despite this situation, we should live these moments with “trust, because it can be considered an opportunity.” He referred specifically to the economic struggles as a time for a “revision of development models and of a new organization in the world of finance, a ‘new time’ ... of profound rethinking.”
Pope Benedict repeated the importance of one of the lessons in his most recent encyclical, “Caritas in veritate,” emphasizing that putting the person at the center of the economy is crucial and that ethical and spiritual concerns should be favored over those of strictly material and technical nature.
“Moreover,” the Pope continued, referring to his call for a reform of the U.N., “while recommending that politics not be subordinate to financial mechanisms, I encouraged the reform and creation of an international juridical and political order (adapted to global structures of economy and finance) in order more effectively to achieve the common good of the human family.”
Further into his address, he reaffirmed the Church’s position as a promoter of “access to a decent job for all,” which is “a good for man, for the family and for society” as well as “a source of freedom and of responsibility.”
Business people, he said, are “obviously involved” in reaching these goals, being “particularly encouraged in the work in service of society and the common good.”
Pointing out the difficulty today for small and medium-sized businesses in securing financing, Benedict XVI said, “it’s important to know how to defeat that individualistic and materialistic mentality that suggests removing investments from the ‘real economy’ to favor the employment of capital in financial markets, in view of easier and quicker earnings.”
The Holy Father also took time to highlight elements of “the surest way” to combat economic decline, He named, networking with other “social realities,” investing in research and innovation, avoiding unfair competition, remaining true to social duties and providing incentives for quality production that caters to “real needs of people.”
Calling to mind businesses that have been able to weather the crisis by adhering to “moral behaviors” and being aware of local needs, he said that businesses can be “vital and produce ‘social wealth’ if the businessmen and managers are guided by a far-sighted view, that prefers investment in the long term to speculative profit and that promotes innovation instead of thinking of accumulating riches only for itself.”
"Business people attentive to the common good are always called to see their activity in the framework of a pluralistic whole. Such an approach generates - through personal dedication and a fraternity expressed in concrete economic and financial decisions - a market that is more competitive and, at the same time, more civil, animated by a spirit of service.”
A “humanism,” said the Pope, “born of the knowledge of being called as individuals and a community to form part of the single family of God” is required to put this into practice.