Pope Francis tells Catholic business leaders to invest in the common good

Pope Francis Pope Francis, pictured on July 27, 2016./ Mazur/catholicnews.org.uk.

Pope Francis has called on Catholic business executives and entrepreneurs to build trust through transparency and investment in the common good.

In a video message to a Christian association of Argentine business professionals, the pope adamantly encouraged “investing in the common good, not hiding money in tax havens.”

“Investment means giving life, creating. It is creative,” Pope Francis said on June 30.

“Clarity, transparency, and production. Invest. And gradually build social trust. It is very difficult to build without social trust,” he said.

Pope Francis said that everyone, from trade unionists to managers, should be involved in building a community that is fair, both economically and socially, for all.

The pope suggested that one concrete way business leaders could contribute to the common good was by creating jobs, particularly in a moment when people continue to face unemployment as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

“Return to the economy of what is tangible, not to lose sight of the real. And what is real is production, the work of all, that there should be no lack of work, families, the homeland, society,” he said.

Enrique Shaw, c. 1957.
Enrique Shaw, c. 1957.

The pope pointed to the example of Venerable Enrique Shaw, an Argentine businessman whose heroic virtues were recently recognized by the Vatican Congregation for the Causes of Saints in April.

Shaw was born in Paris, France, in 1921, and emigrated to Argentina, where he established himself as a businessman of outstanding integrity. He founded the Christian Association of Business Executives in 1952 and sought to apply Catholic social teaching in the workplace.

The businessman had nine children, including one who became a priest. He wrote numerous books and articles, and established a pension fund and a healthcare plan to provide 3,400 workers with financial support in the case of illness, and loans for important life events such as marriage, birth, and death.

Sara Shaw, one of Enrique’s daughters, told EWTN News that what she remembered most about her father was “how he enjoyed coming home. He would come in whistling. We kids would come running, and the whole atmosphere changed because it was like a party when he came home from work … he really enjoyed his family.”

One of the family’s devotional practices was praying the rosary.

“He taught each one of us how to lead a decade, taking turns, and he used to tell us to mention our petitions out loud … and we used to walk to church on Sundays to get to Mass early,” she recalled.

“After Communion, he gave us all a hug and had us pray the Anima Christi … that was very beautiful and many people remember how he had us recite this prayer in thanksgiving after Communion.”

When a firm led by Shaw was sold to an American trust fund that decided to fire 1,200 people, Shaw strongly opposed the layoffs and proposed a recovery plan that was to retain all the workers.

He died of cancer the following year in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on August 27, 1962.

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Pope Francis oversaw the diocesan phase of Shaw’s cause while he was serving as archbishop of the Argentine capital.

The pope praised Shaw in a 2015 interview with the Mexican television station Televisa.

He said: “Enrique Shaw was rich, yet saintly. A person can have money. God gives it to him so he can administer it well, and this man administered it well.”

Francis added that Shaw used his wealth “not with paternalism, but by fostering the growth of people who needed help.”

Pope Francis addressed his video message to the Christian Association of Business Leaders, who have organized a conference taking place from June 30 to July 1 to mark the centenary of Shaw’s birth.

“I cannot hide the joy I felt a short time ago in signing for the heroic virtue of Enrique Shaw,” the pope told the conference.

“I ask him to accompany you in this meeting, and that he may help you move forward.”

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