Pope Francis: Economy Needs ‘Initiative,’ Not ‘Welfarism’

Pope Francis: Economy Needs ‘Initiative,’ Not ‘Welfarism’

Pope Francis said that the current economic crisis requires “initiative” to overcome the consequences of economic difficulties and unemployment, avoiding the temptations of “welfarism” and “indifference.”

“We must renew working relationships,” Francis said in a video message released by the Vatican, “trying new forms of participation and worker responsibility, inventing new formulas of entry into the work world, creating a mutually supportive relationship between the company and the territory.”

The address is slated to open the fourth annual Festival of the Catholic Social Teaching, which will run until Sunday in the Italian city of Verona.

Francis warned of a great temptation to focus on ourselves and “not hear the cry of the poor or the suffering of those who lost their job, losing the dignity of bringing home their daily bread.”

The Pope also noted that the economic and social crises can produce fear and disorientation, leading us to think that the situation is so heavy we cannot do anything, instead of taking the initiative. “Taking the initiative means overcoming welfarism,” he said.

“Living this time intensely leads us to wager on a different future and a different way of solving problems,” Francis added.

According to the Pope, we need to stop asking the same old solutions from the state or welfare institutions and, instead, create “new processes.”

“These new processes are not the result of technical interventions, but come from a love that responds to concrete situations, never settling until it can find a solution and become a response,” he said.

In this sense, Francis stated that “taking the initiative” means “considering love as the real force for change.”

“Activating the love that each of us has in our heart means loving your own work, being present in difficulties, feeling involved, and responding with integrity.” 

In his words, Francis emphasized the importance of addressing “real needs,” leaving aside clichés, and overcoming a system that tends to standardize everything, making money into the master.

“We need a new way of seeing things. I give you an example: today it is said that many things do not get done because of lack of money, but there’s always money for some things,” the Pope observed, after referring to the arms market and “unscrupulous financial transactions.”

The real problem, explained the Pope, “is not money but people” because “money by itself does not create development.” Instead, we need people who have the courage to take the initiative, he said.

Francis presented the example of a father who formed a cooperative for young people who have Down syndrome, as the man’s son does, creating a work environment that enabled them to secure a level of autonomy.

The Pope expressed his hope that a new “social awareness” can be created to avoid the indifference that makes people “blind, deaf and dumb”–shut up in their own world.