Pope Francis Encouraged Business Leaders to Leave No One Behind
Pope Francis greets Nancy Gibbs, editor of TIME, and Alan Murray, editor of Fortune Magazine, during an audience with business leaders participating in the Fortune-Time Global Forum in Rome on December 3. (CNS photo/L’Osservatore Romano)
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Saturday greeted participants of the Fortune-Time Global Forum. The Forum brings together Fortune 500 and Time 100 leaders, who were discussing technology and jobs, global health, food and water, commitment to communities, energy and the environment, and financial inclusion—each representing critical elements related to poverty alleviation.
“Our world today is marked by great unrest,” – Pope Francis told them – “Inequality between peoples continues to rise, and many communities are impacted directly by war and poverty, or the migration and displacement which flow from them. People want to make their voices heard and express their concerns and fears.”
The Holy Father thanked them for their work promoting “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.”
“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,” – he continued – “In so doing, the poor and marginalized are made to suffer even more, and we ourselves grow impoverished, not only materially, but morally and spiritually.”
Pope Francis challenged the business leaders to respond to global levels of injustice by promoting a local – “and even personal” – sense of responsibility so that no one is excluded from participating in society.
“Thus, the question before us is how best to encourage one another and our respective communities to respond to the suffering and needs we see, both from afar and in our midst,” – the Holy Father said – “The renewal, purification and strengthening of solid economic models depends on our own personal conversion and generosity to those in need.”
The Holy Father's speech follows.
Greetings of His Holiness Pope Francis
to Participants of the Fortune-Time Global Forum
Saturday, 3 December 2016
I am very pleased to welcome all of you who are participating in the Fortune-Time Global Forum, and I express my appreciation for your work these past two days. I thank Mrs Nancy Gibbs and Mr Alan Murray for their kind words. The theme you have chosen, “The 21st-Century Challenge: Forging a New Social Compact”, is very opportune and points to the urgent need for more inclusive and equitable economic models. Your time together has allowed for a substantive exchange of ideas and sharing of information. Important as this is, what is required now is not a new social compact in the abstract, but concrete ideas and decisive action which will benefit all people and which will begin to respond to the pressing issues of our day.
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. 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. In so doing, the poor and marginalized are made to suffer even more, and we ourselves grow impoverished, not only materially, but morally and spiritually.
Our world today is marked by great unrest. Inequality between peoples continues to rise, and many communities are impacted directly by war and poverty, or the migration and displacement which flow from them. People want to make their voices heard and express their concerns and fears. They want to make their rightful contribution to their local communities and broader society, and to benefit from the resources and development too often reserved for the few. While this may create conflict and lay bare the many sorrows of our world, it also makes us realize that we are living in a moment of hope. 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. This strategy of renewal and hope calls for institutional and personal conversion; a change of heart that attaches primacy to the deepest expressions of our common humanity, our cultures, our religious beliefs and our traditions.
Meet the "Missionaries"
In this edition of the Newsletter, we will continue the series of brief profiles and interviews with members of the staff of the Permanent Observer Mission of the Holy See to the UN, who can provide a perspective of the work of the Mission “from the inside.” Today we will highlight Bronx-born Monsignor Hilary Franco, who spent a great deal of time assisting those at the recent Fortune-Time Global Forum.
Q: What was your role in the Fortune-Time Global Forum?
Pope Francis has been talking about poverty since the beginning of his pontificate, and has been very clear in his willingness to help eradicate poverty in the world. One day I was talking to Joe Ripp, the former CEO of Time Inc., and he said it would be so wonderful if we could do something in Rome in 2016. I said if I can be of any help, I will be happy to do it. I know both worlds, so you can say I served as bridge.
Q: What was the response of those who participated in the Forum?
What really struck me during the two days was the humility of these guys. These people are employing 4.7 million people, and they were so humble. I was so impressed by them. Each one of the things they discussed was something that touches the whole world. The most beautiful thing that I can tell you is that many confided to me that they were not only touched by these two days, but they were changed inside. It was an incredible thing, and I saw lot of tears. We are talking about the top executives in the world.
Q: What is your role at mission?
I have been an Advisor to the Holy See Mission for almost three and a half years trying to serve in whatever capacity needed, and there have been several ways. I now serve as board member of the Path to Peace Foundation.
Q: What have been some of the highlights of your life as a priest?
I have had so many highlights, probably too many to count. Naturally when I was ordained at the early age of 22 with a special papal dispensation, I had in mind only one thing, to be a priest because I wanted to be with the people of God. But then the providence of God took me elsewhere because after a few years in parish life in the Archdiocese of New York, I was called to be assistant to Fulton J. Sheen. From parish life I was called again at the Apostolic Delegation in Washington, DC. Then I was called to Rome where I worked for the Roman Curia, and ended up serving in the Vatican for 26 years. Then I was sent to a lively parish in Westchester County for 19 years and I enjoyed every bit of it. The highlights were my priesthood, being with the people of God, and living with an exceptional man.
Q: What has been the most memorable experience at the Mission?
Working with everyone that I have met here has increased my knowledge, and also my faith. Not being so young, I try to bring whatever wisdom is necessary during these years giving advice and counseling. And my experience at the UN is also creating friendship with the people there. The presence of the Holy See at the UN is so important. It is good that we participate as Observers. Pope John Paul II insisted we do not want to take sides, but remain free to defend the most important values for humanity.
Q: How do you spend your free time?
I did a lot of sports whenever I would find the time. I played a lot of tennis. I ran a lot for years and years and I still try to have some time to dedicate to my health which is very important. There are two wonderful commandments that our Lord has given us. One is love God. The other, is to love your neighbor like yourself, which means you have to first to take care of yourself. You need to care of your needs so you may be able to devote yourself to your neighbor.