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Pope Francis reminds investors to be champions of social development

Pope Francis has urged financial investors to be champions of social and collective development and not to only focus on profits.

The pontiff made the call during a Oct. 5 meeting with the directors and staff of the Cassa Depositi e Prestiti SpA or Deposits and Loans Fund during its 170th anniversary.

The financial organization is a prominent Italian investment bank founded in 1850 in Turin. It is known as a major Italian institution for economic development through long-term investments.

Pope Francis said the social doctrine of the Church “is in agreement with a vision in which more investors expect fair remuneration from the resources gathered.”

He added, however, that it is imperative for investors to “channel” resources “towards the financing of initiatives aimed at social and collective development.”

The pontiff said Christian thought “is not opposed in principle to the prospect of profit, but rather is opposed to profit at any cost, to profit that forgets man, makes him a slave, reduces him to a ‘thing’ among others.”

He said the management of business “always demands of everyone fair and transparent conduct, which does not give in to corruption.”

“In the exercise of one’s own responsibilities, it is necessary to know how to distinguish good from bad,” the pope said.

Pope Francis underscored the role of the financial institution in re-building the social and economic strength of Italy and Europe in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.

The pontiff said the bank’s “generous commitment” is required to the “evolution and needs of the country, in need of constant investment, modernization, support for local authorities, support for professional training, and productivity.”

“We are thinking of phenomena with very significant repercussions, such as the decline of certain forms of production, which are in need of renewal or radical transformation,” said the pontiff.

“Think of the changes in the way goods are bought and sold, with the risk of concentrating trade and commerce in the hands of a few global players,” he said.

He added that it is to the detriment of “specific characteristics of the territories and their local professional skills, so typical of Italy and Europe.”

The pontiff reminded the bankers and investors that it is necessary “to know how to distinguish good from bad.”

He said that “in the field of economics and finance, good intentions, transparency, and the search for good results are compatible and must never be separated.”

The pope encouraged investors to identify and courageously pursue “lines of action that respect, indeed, promote the human person and society.”

“In your work, you are called to manage, day by day, with scrupulous care, the relations with the various actors who turn to you for support,” he said.

“An institution such as yours is able to bear witness, in a tangible way, to a sensibility of solidarity, favoring the relaunching of the real economy, as a driving force for the development of people, families, and society as a whole,” added the pope.

He said that it is in this way that “we can accompany the gradual progress of a nation and serve the common good, with the effort to multiply the goods of this world and to make them more accessible to all.”

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