"We the peoples" is how the 1945 United Nations Charter begins. "Fratelli Tutti" we are, Pope Francis reminds us in his latest encyclical, and it could well be the beginning of a Universal Charter, because it is addressed to all people of good will. In fact, what unites us as a "people", what defines us, as "we" is that we recognise each other as brothers and sisters.
And it is this fraternity, this shared humanity, wounded by pandemic and war, that wonders how to recover from broken dreams, where to settle down again in the face of emerging insecurities, where to look for solidarity when international selfishness is roaming free. It will never be enough to denounce it: misery, hunger, unemployment, exclusion, disease, lack of opportunities, the humiliation of poverty continue to exist, further reinforced by the consequences of climate change, loss of biodiversity and pollution, growing inequality, unjust discrimination, indifference and lack of access to justice.
Global problems require global solutions.
It is at this historic moment, full of uncertainty, insecurities and wounds, that Pope Francis' call arises to give a new soul to the Economy, to deepen the dialogue between Faith and Economy. Therefore, it offers to young economists, entrepreneurs and agents proposals of concrete change, real alternatives that give other answers to world’s today turbulences, starting with the economy and finance.
This call, already proposed in 2019 to a humanity also hit by the pandemic and the consequent isolation, came as a ray of hope. It took advantage of the global online momentum to become a movement structuring itself into a community of 12 villages, called with such suggestive names as: finance and humanity, agriculture and justice, energy and poverty, women for the economy, business in transition, business and peace, lifestyles, inequalities, work and care, politics and happiness, vocation and profit, management and gratuity.
During almost three years, Pope Francis has being bringing out the best from the hearts and minds of young people and made them prophets of a new economy. Thus, between zooms, meetings, socials and platforms, a dialogue between technical principles and moral values have grown up. In addition, regional, national and local networks were set up with the aim of translating ideas into the concrete reality of young peoples’ lives.
The pillars of Francis' economic proposal can be summarised in three:
On these three solid pillars, young people have responded to the call and have consolidated a prophetic economic proposal, which is not utopian but real because it places people at the centre, which yearns for change because it cares for creation and can therefore aspire to peace.
What does this mean in concrete terms? The first fruits were seen at the 2022 global meeting in Assisi. This meeting made it possible to put flesh and blood on the people’s faces whom strong online links had forged, but who lacked a face-to-face embrace. And from there they shared solidarity projects, social and business initiatives, economic models for the inclusion of people with disabilities, cooperatives in prisons, and a long etcetera that were presented to the Holy Father showing the work young people did in response to his call.
The words of Pope Francis during the event were the message that marks the future lines of work, indicating three of them.
These principles were followed by a concrete Pact that the young people signed with the Pope. A pact that lays the foundations of the new economy and encourages all of us to commit ourselves to
We believe in this economy. It is not a utopia, because we are already building it, said the Pope, encouraging young people to action with the inspiration and intercession of St. Francis. We can well bring here the Pope’s words of Laudato Si, n°10, recalling the inspiration of the saint of Assisi: "He loved and was loved for his joy, his generous dedication, his universal heart. He was a mystic and a pilgrim who lived in simplicity and in wonderful harmony with God, with others, with nature and with himself. In him we see how inseparable are concern for nature, justice for the poor, commitment to society and inner peace".
This is the Pope's call to the young people of today: be prophets of a new economy so that all people can see "to what extent concern for nature, justice for the poor, commitment to society and inner peace are inseparable".
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