The “Economy of Francesco” is a worldwide movement of young people. Its aim is to change the current economic models for a more inclusive and just future.
Pope Francis convoked a meeting on the “Economy of Francesco” in 2019 when he asked economists and young people to give life to the idea of a different kind of economy. He proposed even the date and the place, Assisi, March 2020. It had to be postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic. It was held in direct streaming from the 19th to 21st November, organized from Assisi. Numerous young personalities from the economic, social and entrepreneurial world from all over participated in it with the objective of changing the current economic system making it more inclusive, fraternal and sustainable.
At the presentation in the Holy See Press Office, the “Economy of Francesco” was described as “a different economy, one that helps people live and does not kill, that includes and does not exclude, that humanizes rather than dehumanizes, and that takes care of creation and does not plunder it.”
Sister Alessandra Smerilli, a member of the “Economy of Francesco” Scientific Committee, during the press conference made an interesting point: the necessity of postponing the event for those due to attend “have transformed the original two-day pre-event into 9 months of confrontation, in-depth study and proposals.”
The official web site The Economy of Francesco was set up with Pope Francis’s words presenting it, “Dear young people, the effects of our actions and decisions affect you personally. Therefore, you cannot remain outside the places that are shaping the present and future. You are either part of them or history will pass you by.”
Listening to the voice of young people and putting their vision to good use within the overall understanding of society is unmissable if we belief that no one is saved alone.
In his video message to participants in the meeting of 21 November 2020, Pope Francis writes, “Our original idea was to meet in Assisi, to find inspiration in the footsteps of Saint Francis. In the crucifix at San Damian, and in many other faces – like that of the leper – the Lord came to Francis, called him and gave him a mission. He empowered Francis to cast off the idols that had isolated him from others, the questions and doubts that had paralyzed him and kept him trapped in thinking ‘this is the way things have always been done’ (for that is a trap!), or in the bittersweet melancholy of those caught up only in themselves. The Lord made it possible for Francis to intone a hymn of praise, an expression of his joy, freedom and self-giving. I consider this virtual meeting in Assisi not as an endpoint, but rather the beginning of a process that we are asked to undertake together as a vocation, a culture and a covenant.”
New life to the ethical economy and new ideas from which to draw inspiration this is what the Pope expects from the youth. Over 2,000 young people from 115 countries around the world have taken part in the event that offered an opportunity for international discussion on solidarity economy.
Bringing people at its center the economy should aim at allowing every citizen to develop happiness through profitable personal development opportunities. The human development of the individual will create a growth of the whole society provide, as Pope Paul VI in his encyclical, Populorum Progressio - March 26, 1967 – said, “Development is not reduced to simple economic growth. To be authentic development, it must be integral, which means aimed at the promotion of every person and of the whole person.”
Therefore, Paul VI admonished, “We do not accept to separate the economic from the human, the development of civilization where it fits. What matters to us is the person, every person, every group of person, up to and including the whole of humanity."
“We need change; we want change and we seek change”, echoes Pope Francis in his message. “But the problem arises when we realize that we lack adequate and inclusive answers to many of our current problems.”
Then he writes: “On the local and institutional levels, we need leadership groups that can take up problems without becoming trapped or frustrated by them, and in this way challenge the tendency – often unconscious – to submit to certain ideological ways of thinking that end up justifying injustices and paralyzing all efforts to combat them”.
The message ends with words of hope addressed to youth, “History teaches us that no system or crisis can completely suppress the abilities, ingenuity and creativity that God constantly awakens within us. With dedication and fidelity to your peoples, and to your present and future, you can join others in forging new ways to make history. Do not be afraid to get involved and touch the soul of your cities with the gaze of Jesus. Do not fear to enter courageously the conflicts and crossroads of history in order to anoint them with the fragrance of the Beatitudes. Do not fear, for no one is saved alone.”
We need for one another in giving birth to a new economic culture. A culture that is able “to plant dreams, draw forth prophecies and visions, allow hope to flourish, inspire trust, bind up wounds, weave together relationships, awaken a dawn of hope, learn from one another and create a bright resourcefulness that will enlighten minds, warm hearts, give strength to our hands, and inspire in young people – all young people, with no one excluded – a vision of the future filled with the joy of the Gospel.”
See the entire video-message “The Economy of Francesco - Young People, a Commitment, the Future”