Pope Francis meets with members of the Latin American Business Council, and urges entrepreneurs to look to the Gospel to find hope and direction in their business endeavors.
By Devin Watkins
“Work must be founded on a culture of encounter… which encourages people to seek the common good.”
Pope Francis offered that guidance to businessmen and women from across Latin America on Thursday.
The Pope was meeting in the Vatican with participants in the annual Assembly of the Business Council of the Latin America.
Confronting common problems
In his address, the Holy Father urged entrepreneurs to build a network guided by the Gospel and founded on hope.
He noted that the annual Assembly addressed themes such as migration, climate change, and integral human development, adding that these problems can be found in all other parts of the globe.
“Your exchange of ideas can help you join forces to deal together with problems which are currently common to the entire human family,” he said.
Creating culture of encounter
Pope Francis said a business model that imbibes a culture of encounter can push aside any shadows that creep into the workplace, including an excessive drive for profit which seeks to enslave workers.
“A culture of encounter,” he noted, “expresses the search for the common good, and thus contributes to dispel shadows.”
The values of a culture that respects others, said the Pope, are then translated into countless daily sacrifices and efforts to help others grow.
He urged the Latin American entrepreneurs to offer ongoing formation and education for their workers, in order to “avoid conflicts and the pain of redundancies” since every worker represents a family with concrete financial needs.
Daily service on behalf of others
The Pope invited the businessmen and women to look to the first disciples of Jesus, who were fishermen.
He said they learned how to plough the rough seas of their own times to spread the Christian message, something from which he said modern entrepreneurs can learn.
“The service you carry out is not abstract,” he said, “but directed at every person, which makes it necessary to work together, without stepping over anyone or leaving anyone behind.”
Pope Francis said the choice to hold the Assembly in Rome offered participants the opportunity to encounter firsthand the many apostles buried in the Eternal City, including St. Peter.
“Here we encounter the tracks of the numerous disciples of the Lord of all times who transformed their surroundings in the light of the Gospel by offering their daily witness,” he said.
Guiding compass of the Gospel
In conclusion, the Pope said Christian business leaders enjoy the guiding “compass” of the Gospel and the gift of hope.
“Therefore, we are able to navigate correctly,” he said, “trusting that God will guide us and accompany us along our journey.”