Pope in Genoa: The illness of the economy and the dignity of work. Prayer for Minya Coptic Martyrs
The first stage of Pope Francis visit to Genoa is in the Ilva steel plant, marked by economic difficulties and unemployment. The virtues of a good entrepreneur and good worker. The "speculator" is a "mercenary" who sells everything, including his dignity. Work for everyone and not "social security". At the meeting with priests and religious, Francis recalls the martyrdom of Coptic Christians in Minya and his "Brother Tawadros".
Genoa (AsiaNews) - There is an "illness" in the economy that is sinking into the transformation of the entrepreneur into "speculator" and "mercenary", for which the "faces" of those who work or their dignity are unimportant. And "sometimes the political system seems to encourage those who speculate on labor and not who invests and believes in labor." In his visit to Genoa, Pope Francis puts his finger on the many wounds that afflict the world of work. Francis and Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco, Archbishop of the city, decided to begin the visit at the Iva steel plant, plunged in crisis, marked by unemployment and the fragility of an uncertain future.
Immediately afterwards, the Pope met clergy and religious in the cathedral of St. Lawrence. The meeting began with a moment of prayer and silence for the dead and the entire Egyptian Coptic community and for "brother Tawadros II", once again wounded by violence in Minya, Lower Egypt. "And lets remember - said Francis - that todays martyrs are far more numerous than those at the beginning of Church history."
The two meetings, the one with the world of work and that of the priests and religious, were structured as a dialogue between the pontiff and some representatives.
At Iva he responded to questions from a businessman, a worker, a day-labourer, an unemployed. In his answers, the pontiff exalted the virtues of the "good entrepreneur": "" creativity, love for ones own enterprise, passion and pride for the labor produced by hands and intelligence, his and his workers " , "The ability to create, create work, create products".
There are also the virtues of the worker: "Sometimes a worker is thought to work well just because he is paid: this is a serious disrespect for workers and labor, because it denies the dignity of work that begins with working well for dignity, honor ".
WIth regards the dignity of work and the worker, the Pope seems to reject the idea of "social security or unemployment allowance" that some political parties seem to suggest to overcome unemployment. The pontiff urged people "not to resign themselves to the ideology that takes hold and imagines a world where only half will work and the others will be maintained by a social security check: it must be clear that the goal to reach is not income for everyone but work for everyone, because without work for everyone there will be no dignity for everyone."
Entrepreneur and workers are united as "in a family". And this also determines how to deal with difficult choices such as layoffs or bankruptcies. "If and when a boss must fire someone," said the pope, "it is always a painful choice and he would not do it if he didnt have to. No good entrepreneur loves to lay off his people. No. Anyone who thinks about solving the problem of his company by firing people, is not a good businessman: he is a trader. Today he sells his people, tomorrow ... he sells his own dignity. He always suffers, and sometimes from this suffering new ideas arise to avoid lay-offs. This is the good entrepreneur. "
Francis also pointed out that "an illness of the economy is the progressive transformation of entrepreneurs into speculators. The entrepreneur must not be confused with the speculator: they are two different types. The speculator is a figure similar to what Jesus in the Gospel calls mercenary, in contrast to the Good Shepherd. The speculator does not like his company, does not love the workers, but sees business and workers only as a means to profit. He uses his company and workers to make profit. Firing, closing, moving the company does not create any problems, because the speculator uses, exploits, eats people and means for his profit targets."
"When the economy is inhabited by good entrepreneurs, businesses are friendly to people and even to the poor. When it falls into the hands of speculators, everything is ruined. With the speculator, the economy loses face and loses its faces. It is a faceless economy. An abstract economy. Behind the speculators decisions there are no people and therefore you can not see people to be dismissed and cut. When the economy loses contact with the faces of concrete people, it itself becomes a faceless economy and therefore a ruthless economy. We must fear the speculators, not the entrepreneurs. No, do not be afraid of the entrepreneurs because there are so many good guys! No: fear the speculators."
"But paradoxically, sometimes the political system seems to encourage those who speculate on labor and not those who invests and believes in labor. Why? Because it creates bureaucracy and controls, starting from the hypothesis that the actors of the economy are speculators, and so those who do not remain disadvantaged and who can find the means to circumvent the controls and reach their goals. It is known that regulations and laws designed for dishonorable end up penalizing honorable. And today there are so many real entrepreneurs, honest entrepreneurs who love their work-loving people who work close to them to carry on the business: these are the most disadvantaged by these policies that favor speculators. But the honest and virtuous entrepreneurs in the end succeed, in spite of everything."
The Popes answers were interrupted dozens of times by the applause of the thousands of workers in the Ivva factory, some in their worksuits, others waering helmets, others with constantly waving Vatican flags. Everyone calling "Fran-ce-sco! Francis!". At the beginning of his conversation, the Pope had said, "There has always been a friendship between the Church and work, starting with a working Jesus. Where there is a worker, there is the interest and the gaze of love of the Lord and of the Church. "
The encounter with priests and religious had the tone of a quiet conversation with anecdotes, facts, ideas of Pope Francis who commented on some questions of parish priests, young priests, religious, a nun who asked him questions about Priestly fraternity, the bond with the diocese, the charism of the religious institute, the difficulty of finding vocations due to negative demographics.