In an unprecedented event, Fortune 500 CEOs, members of the Time 100 and non-profit, academic, religious and labor leaders from throughout the world met in Rome to address the need for a global economic system that both encourages growth and aids the poor.
The two-day forum focused on the theme “The 21st Century Challenge:
Forging a New Social Compact.”
Inspired by Pope Francis’ continual call
to help the poor and marginalized, the thought and business leaders
discussed practical solutions to creating an inclusive and more humane
economy and how to help eliminate poverty and the refugee problem around
On the last day, Pope Francis addressed the leaders, thanking them
for their work and encouraging them to keep the human person at the
center of their solutions.
“I would like to offer a particular word of thanks for all that you
are doing to promote the centrality and dignity of the human person
within our institutions and economic models, and to draw attention to
the plight of the poor and refugees, who are so often forgotten by
society,” the Holy Father said.
“When we ignore the cries of so many of our brothers and sisters
throughout the world, we not only deny them their God-given rights and
worth, but we also reject their wisdom and prevent them from offering
their talents, traditions and cultures to the world.”
This then further impoverishes us all, the Pope said, because we are
morally and spiritually impoverished when we reject the least among us.
Solutions for humane economic renewal and growth call for both
institutional and personal conversion and generosity to those in need,
the Pope told the group. Therefore, the work begun at the forum is only
Francis also encouraged those at the forum to involve those that they seek to help in their quest for solutions.
“...involve in your efforts those whom you seek to help; give them a
voice, listen to their stories, learn from their experiences and
understand their needs. See in them a brother and a sister, a son and a
daughter, a mother and a father. Amid the challenges of our day, see the
human face of those you earnestly seek to help,” he said.
Although there is “great unrest” throughout the world today due to
inequality, poverty, war and migration, the Pope said the forum gave him
hope because the first step to solving a problem is to recognize that a
“For when we finally recognize the evil in our midst, we can seek
healing by applying the remedy. Your very presence here today is a sign
of such hope, because it shows that you recognize the issues before us
and the imperative to act decisively.”
The Pope concluded by assuring the group of his prayers and of the
Catholic Church’s ongoing commitment to also help “those who otherwise