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The Pope on the economy of communion: not to avoid profit but to share it

February 5, 2017

Money, its importance and the danger of idolatry if it becomes the only end; poverty and the integration of all in society, avoiding the ‘throwaway persons’ that will later serve to do philanthropy; and not losing the identity of the economy of communion, in a society where there are rich and poor but where “the rich know how to share their riches and the poor are called blessed.”
These were the three themes that Pope Francis addressed at this Saturday’s meeting in the Vatican with more than a thousand entrepreneurs engaged in an economy of communion at the conclusion of a meeting organized by the Focolare Movement.
The initiative of economy and communion, recalled the Holy Father, was born 25 years ago in Brazil, following the invitation of Chiara Lubich, who in the face of social inequalities invited businessmen to become agents of communion.
The first thing of which Francis reminded those present in the Paul VI Hall was that “money is important, especially when there is none, and and food, school, and the children’s future depend on it.” But that “it becomes an idol when it becomes the aim.” And it is not by chance, he added, that greed is a capital sin because “it is a sin of idolatry.”
He noted that “when capitalism makes the search for profits its only goal, it risks becoming an idolatrous structure, a form of worship.” So the concrete way to not turn money into an idol “is to share it with others, especially with the poor, or to enable young people to study and work.”
The second point addressed by the pontiff was poverty. Francis points out that “some seeds of the Bible have blossomed into more effective institutions than those of the past” and that “the rationale for taxes lies in this solidarity, which is negated by tax evasion.”
Francis goes on to say that “the ethical problem of this capitalism is the creation of throwaways and then seeking to hide them or cure them so as not to make them visible anymore”, and said with irony that “when companies of arms finance hospitals to heal children mutilated by their bombs, the system would have reached its peak”. Because capitalism “knows philanthropy and not communion”.
Instead, he said, the economy of communion “should not only heal the victims, but build a system where they are less and less.” Because “imitating the good Samaritan of the Gospel is not enough,” instead it is necessary before the man meets the brigands “to combat the structures of sin that produce brigands and victims.” Without being “blocked by the meritocracy invoked by the eldest son” of the parable of the Prodigal Son and “by so many who in the name of merit deny mercy.”
The Holy Father stated that “a businessman of communion has to do everything so that those who make mistakes and leave the house can have a job and a decent income, and not find themselves eating with pigs.”
The third point addressed by Francis refers to the future, warning that “every time people, nations and even the Church have thought of saving the world growing in numbers” they have produced “structures of power, forgetting the poor.” And to consider also that “communion is not only division, but also the multiplication of goods”.
He specified that the first gift of the entrepreneur is the person himself: “your money although it is important is too little” and that “in the logic of the Gospel, if you do not donate everything you never donate enough.”
In concluding his words, the Pope invited to continue to be a seed, salt and yeast of another type of economy: “the economy of the Kingdom, where the rich know how to share their riches and the poor are called blessed”.

Published em Zenit by Sergio Mora