Pope Francis to Accountants: 'Go Beyond' Numbers to Find People

Pope Francis to Accountants: 'Go Beyond' Numbers to Find People

In his meeting with more some 7,000 accountants Friday, Pope Francis focused on the humanity of their work, reminding them that “behind each piece of paper there is a story, there are faces.” He invited them to “go beyond” numbers and bureaucracy to “meet the person in distress and exercise the creativity that allows you to find solutions to blocked situations.”

The Pope received participants in a World Conference for Accountants held in Rome, exhorting them to serve people above all and “make human dignity prevail over rigid bureaucracy.”

“The economy and finance are dimensions of human activity and may be opportunities for encounter, dialogue, and cooperation,” the Pope said, but for this to happen, “you must always put man at the center,” rejecting a dynamic that would “put money above everything.”

“When money becomes the object and the reason behind every activity,” Francis continued, “then a utilitarian perspective and the savage logic of profit prevail,” resulting in “a collapse of the values of solidarity and respect for the human person.”

The Pope also tackled the question of unemployment, noting that “the current socio-economic environment makes the job situation acute.” From your professional perspective, he said, “you are well aware of the dramatic reality of so many people whose employment is precarious, or who have lost their jobs; of so many families that pay the consequences; of so many young people seeking their first job and dignified work.”

In this context, he said, there can be “a temptation to defend one’s personal interests without worrying about the common good.” This is when people working as professionals in the economy have to “play a positive and constructive role through their work.”

I encourage you accountants “to always act responsibly, fostering relationships of fairness, justice and, if possible, fraternity, courageously facing the problems especially of the weakest and the poorest.”

It is “necessary to keep the value of solidarity alive,” the Pope said, at a time “when this word risks being tossed out of the dictionary.” If we want to hand on a better world to future generations, he continued, “we are called to take responsibility for working towards a globalization of solidarity.”

Without the dual principles of solidarity and subsidiarity, Pope Francis concluded, “there can be no true and lasting peace.”