Pope Gathers Fortune 500 Executives to Economic Forum

VATICAN CITY, VATICAN – JANUARY 06: Pope Francis delivers his homily during the Epiphany Mass at St. Peter’s Basilica on January 6, 2016 in Vatican City, Vatican. In his homily at Mass celebrating the solemnity of the Epiphany, Pope Francis said the Church is called to be a missionary Church and announcing Christ is not a profession and nor is it about proselytism. (Photo by Franco Origlia/Getty Images)

In an unprecedented event, Fortune 500 CEOs, members of the Time 100 and non-profit, academic, religious and labor leaders from throughout the world met in Rome, December 2-3, to address the need for a global economic system that both encourages growth and aids the poor.
The two-day forum focused on the theme “The 21st Century Challenge: Forging a New Social Compact.” Inspired by Pope Francis’ continual call to help the poor and marginalized, the thought and business leaders discussed practical solutions to creating an inclusive and more humane economy and how to help eliminate poverty and the refugee problem around the world.
On the last day, Pope Francis addressed the leaders, thanking them for their work and encouraging them to keep the human person at the center of their solutions. “I would like to offer a particular word of thanks for all that you are doing to promote the centrality and dignity of the human person within our institutions and economic models, and to draw attention to the plight of the poor and refugees, who are so often forgotten by society,” the Holy Father said.
In an age of disruption and turmoil, Pope Francis called on the “noble vocation” of business to help create a more inclusive and humane society. Even as free markets have lifted billions out of poverty, with business “stimulating and developing immense resources of human intelligence, too many have been left behind, said the Pontiff. Inspired by the Pope’s please for more and better jobs, broader prosperity, and lasting ways to lift the poor, the Forum was a solutions-based conversation aimed at encouraging transformative actions and an economic system that both promotes growth and spreads its benefits more broadly. The Pope concluded by assuring the group of his prayers and of the Catholic Church’s ongoing commitment to also help “those who otherwise are silenced.”