Vatican City, Feb 4, 2017 / 14:18 pm
Pope Francis warned of the “hidden victims” of capitalism, the idolatry of money and false philanthropy, telling a Saturday gathering of entrepreneurs they must act to change a system that creates victims, not simply help people after the fact.
“An entrepreneur who is only a Good Samaritan does half of his duty: he takes care of today’s victims, but does not curtail those of tomorrow,” he told a meeting of the Focolare Movement’s Economy of Communion project Feb. 4.
“The first gift of the entrepreneur is of his or her own person: your money, although important, is too little,” he said. “Money does not save if it is not accompanied by the gift of the person. Today’s economy, the poor, the young, need first of all your spirit, your respectful and humble fraternity, your will to live and, only then, your money.”
About 1,100 collaborators of the Economy and Communion project from 49 countries attended the audience with the Pope. The project was launched by Focolare founder Chiara Lubitch in 1991 in Brazil as a response to the poverty of Sao Paolo’s favelas. She invited entrepreneurs to set up companies that could help lift up the poor and create a culture of giving.
Pope Francis reflected on the positive nature of this work, which he suggested provided a path to remember the poor.
“When capitalism makes the seeking of profit its only purpose, it runs the risk of becoming an idolatrous framework, a form of worship,” he said.
“The principal ethical dilemma of this capitalism is the creation of discarded people, then trying to hide them or make sure they are no longer seen,” the Pope continued. “A serious form of poverty in a civilization is when it is no longer able to see its poor, who are first discarded and then hidden.”
He pointed to airlines that plant trees to compensate for the environmental damage of aircraft and gambling companies that pay to care for gambling addicts.