Pope Francis pleaded with a group of billionaires to take seriously their personal obligation to share their resources and make a real commitment to doing business in a way that helps other people realise their potential, too.
The global economic system, he said on 3rd December, needs a “fundamental renewal” that “does not have to do simply with market economics, figures to be balanced, the development of raw materials and improvements made to infrastructure.”
“What we are speaking about is the common good of humanity, of the right of each person to share in the resources of this world and to have the same opportunities to realise his or her potential, a potential that is ultimately based on the dignity of the children of God, created in his image and likeness,” the pope told CEOs and other leaders taking part in the Fortune-Time Global Forum.
Business leaders like Virgin’s Richard Branson, LRN’s Dov Seidman, Siemens’ Joe Kaeser and IBM’s Ginni Rometty met in Rome for two days to respond to what they described as Pope Francis’ “passionate pleas for broader prosperity and lasting ways to lift the poor.” They also spoke with concern of growing popular discontent with the way big business and governments operate.
“Populism and protectionism are rearing their heads around the world, and trust in business – as well as other institutions – has plummeted,” the leaders said in their report to the pope.
Picture: Pope Francis talks with Nancy Gibbs, editorial director of Time Inc. News Group, and Alan Murray, editor-in-chief of Fortune, during an audience with business leaders at the Vatican on 3rd December. The business leaders were taking part in the Fortune-Time Global Forum in Rome. (CNS photo/L’Osservatore Romano).