I welcome all of you, members of the Centesimus Annus –Pro Pontifice Foundation and participants of the international conference. I thank the president for his introduction to this meeting, which is one step on the path that you are currently on, seeking to respond to some of the challenges of the contemporary world in the light of the social doctrine of the Church.
I thank you because you have accepted the suggestion to work on the value of solidarity. In this way, we can carry forward a theme of reflection and commitment that is intrinsic to the social doctrine, which is always in harmony with subsidiarity. In particular, this theme emerged with great prominence in the magisterium of St John Paul II and also was explained and updated by Pope Benedict XVI in Caritas in veritate.
In the contemporary economic system—and in the mentality that it generates—the word “solidarity” has become inconvenient, even troublesome—last year, I said it was considered a curse word by this world. The crisis of these years, which has profound ethical causes, has increased this “allergy” to words like solidarity, equal distribution of goods, the priority of work, and the reason is that one cannot—or does not want—to truly study in what way these ethical values can become concrete economic values, that is create virtuous dynamics of production, in work, in commerce, in finance.
Truly this is what you seek to do, holding together the theoretical and practical aspects, thoughts and the experiences “in the field.”
The conscience of the entrepreneur is the place in which such research occurs. In particular, the Christian entrepreneur is urged to always confront the Gospel with the reality in which he works; the Gospel asks him to put the human person and the common good in first place, to perform his role so that there might be work opportunities, dignified work. Naturally this venture is not accomplished in isolation but in collaborating with others who share an ethical base and who search to expand the net as large as possible.
The Christian community—the parish, the diocese, the associations—is the place in which the entrepreneur, but also the politician, the professional, the union worker, draws the strength to nourish their commitments and encounters with their brothers. This is indispensable, because the work situation becomes dry, at times, hostile and inhuman. The crisis putts the hope of the entrepreneur to a difficult test. One must not leave only those who are most in difficulty.
Dear friends of “Centesimus Annus,” this is your field of testimony. The Second Vatican Council insisted on the fact that the lay faithful are called to accomplish their mission in in the social, economic and political sectors of life. With the help of God and of the Church, you can give effective testimony in your field, because you do not bring only, words and discourses, but you bring the experience of persons and ventures that seek to realize concretely Christian ethical principles in the contemporary situation of the world of work. This testimony is most important and I encourage you to move ahead with faith, dedicating proper time to prayer, because also the layperson, also the entrepreneur needs to pray and to pray often when the challenges are most difficult! Last Wednesday I held the catechesis on the gift of counsel, one of the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit, also you must ask God for this gift, the gift of counsel, in order to act and make your choices according to the greater good. May the Virgin Mary, Mother of Good Counsel, accompany you and also my blessing.
Text from page http://en.radiovaticana.va/news/2014/05/10/pope_promotes_solidarity_in_the_work_sphere_/en1-798125
of the Vatican Radio website