By Linda Bordoni
I am writing, Pope Francis says in his letter, “to invite you take part in an initiative very close to my heart”, an event he says, that will allow him to meet young economists who are interested in “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.”
The event he is referring to is a conference to be held in Assisi from 26 to 28 March 2020 entitled “Economy of Francis.”
The need to re-animate the economy
Expressing his belief that there is a need to “re-animate” global economy, the Pope says Assisi, a city that symbolizes a humanism of fraternity, is the right place.
“Saint John Paul II chose Assisi as the icon of a culture of peace. For me, it is also a fitting place to inspire a new economy” he writes.
The Pope goes on to note that the life and vision of St. Francis are so timely they can “give hope to our future and benefit not only the poorest of the poor, but our entire human family”.
Protection of planet and social justice connected
He says that as emphasized in his encyclical ‘Laudato Sì’, protection of the planet and social justice are profoundly interconnected and solutions must be found to the structural problems of the economy.
“We need to correct models of growth incapable of guaranteeing respect for the environment, openness to life, concern for the family, social equality, the dignity of workers and the rights of future generations” he writes.
The appeal Saint Francis received from the Crucifix to go and “repair my house which, as you see, is falling into ruin”, Pope Francis continues, “increasingly concerns the environment, which urgently demands a sound economy and a sustainable development that can heal its wounds and assure us of a worthy future”.
The Pope makes it clear that his message is addressed above all to young people who “can hear in [their] hearts the ever more anguished plea of the earth and its poor, who cry out for help and for responsibility, for people who will respond and not turn away”.
Young people protagonists of change
Young people, he continues, are the protagonists of necessary change: “your universities, your businesses and your organizations are workshops of hope for creating new ways of understanding the economy and progress, for combating the culture of waste, for giving voice to those who have none and for proposing new styles of life. Only when our economic and social system no longer produces even a single victim, a single person cast aside, will we be able to celebrate the feast of universal fraternity”.
In his letter Pope Francis also underscores the need for a communion of intentions that goes beyond “differences of creed and nationality” and is inspired by “an ideal of fraternity attentive above all to the poor and excluded”.
Francis of Assisi, the Pope concludes, “offers us an ideal and, in some sense, a programme. For me, who took his name, he is a constant source of inspiration. With you, and through you, I will appeal to some of our best economists and entrepreneurs who are already working on the global level to create an economy consistent with these ideals. I am confident that they will respond. And I am confident above all in you young people, who are capable of dreaming and who are prepared to build, with the help of God, a more just and beautiful world”.