In meeting with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon criticizes "economics of exclusion."
Vatican City – On Friday 9 May Pope Francis met with United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and other executives from the UN Agencies, Funds and Programmes, just a few days after the Holy See’s participation at the UN Convention against Torture in Geneva.
At the meeting the Holy Father called for the executives to strive towards “fraternity and solidarity”, and to challenge “all forms of injustice,” resisting “the ‘economy of exclusion’, particularly when it comes to the poor and marginalised.
In addressing the representatives present, Francis began strategically by mentioning his predecessors, the two recently canonized saints John XXIII and John Paul II, and the “passionate concern” that they had “for integral human development” and “for understanding between peoples”, not forgetting to mention the numerous visits made by John Paul II to the Organizations.
The pontiff then called upon the representatives to be attentive in striving always to do better for the “world’s peoples”, since a fundamental basis of management “is the refusal to be satisfied with current results and to press forward.”
With regards to global political and economic organization, “much more needs to be achieved” he stressed, “since an important part of humanity does not share in the benefits of progress and is in fact relegated to the status of second-class citizens.”
Consequently the Pope asserted that Future Sustainable Development Goals must “be formulated and carried out with generosity and courage, so that they can have a real impact on the structural causes of poverty and hunger, attain more substantial results in protecting the environment, ensure dignified and productive labor for all, and provide appropriate protection for the family, which is an essential element in sustainable human and social development.”
Thus in concrete terms he stressed the need for these representatives of the chief agencies of global corporations to challenge “all forms of injustice” and to resist “the ‘economy of exclusion’, the ‘throwaway culture’ and the ‘culture of death’ which nowadays sadly risk becoming passively accepted.”
On this note he took the opportunity to remind the executives about the encounter between Jesus and the rich tax collector Zacchaeus (Luke 19: 1-10) that took place little over 2000 years ago. In this meeting Zacchaeus “made a radical decision of sharing and justice, because his conscience had been awakened by the gaze of Jesus” the pontiff explained.
Likewise, “this same spirit should be at the beginning and end of all political and economic activity” he affirmed. “Jesus does not ask Zacchaeus to change jobs nor does he condemn his financial activity; he simply inspires him to put everything, freely yet immediately and indisputably, at the service of others.”
In other words, Francis invited the representatives to be guided by a “spirit of solidarity,” which entails an “awareness of the dignity of each of our brothers and sisters whose life is sacred and inviolable from conception to natural death.”
This will then lead us to “share with complete freedom the goods which God’s providence has placed in our hands; material goods but also intellectual and spiritual ones, and to give back generously and lavishly whatever we may have earlier unjustly refused to others.”
He therefore concluded that “equitable economic and social progress can only be attained by joining scientific and technical abilities with an unfailing commitment to solidarity accompanied by a generous and disinterested spirit of gratuitousness at every level.”
However Pope Francis also noted that in steering towards a rightful development of such a kind there is the need for cooperation between private sector and civil society, as well as contributions at both the international level “aimed at the integral human development of all the world’s peoples” as well as at the local level of the State, in its “legitimate redistribution of economic benefits.”
The Holy Father finished by urging the representatives present to work together to promote a “true, worldwide ethical mobilization” which – notwithstanding religious or political convictions – looks to “put into practice a shared ideal of fraternity and solidarity, especially with regard to the poorest and those most excluded.”