The Holy Father has sent a video message to the participants in the Third Festival of the Social Doctrine of the Church, to be celebrated in Verona from 21 to 24 November. This year the festival takes as its theme “Fewer inequalities, more differences”, a title which, according to the Pope, highlights the multiple richness of people as an expression of personal talents and avoids the mortification of uniformity which paradoxically increases inequality”.
The Pontiff addressed the young, “the strength to carry on”, and the elderly, “the memory of the people”. “Acknowledgement of difference accords value to people, unlike uniformity, which bears the risk of discarding them since it prevents their significance from being recognized. Nowadays, the young and the elderly are considered dispensable as they do not correspond to the productive logic of a functionalist vision of society, they do not respond to any useful criterion of investment. They are described as ‘passive’, they do not produce but rather in the market economy they are subjects of production. We must not forget, however, that the young and the elderly both bring great richness: they are both the future of a people”.
The Pope also addressed some thoughts to the Social Doctrine of the Church. “The social Magisterium”, he continued, “is a great reference point which forms a guideline, the result of reflection and virtuous practice. It is very useful to avoid disorientation. Those who work in economics and finance are certainly attracted by profit and, if they are not careful, they risk placing themselves in the service of profit itself, thus becoming slaves to money. The Social Doctrine contains a great patrimony of reflections and hope that is able, even today, to guide people and preserve their freedom. It takes courage, thought and the strength of faith to stay within the market while guided by a conscience that places at the centre the dignity of the person, not the idol of money”.
Francis concluded his message by speaking about co-operation, and mentioned how, as a child, he listened to his father speak about Christian co-operation at a conference. “In that moment I was filled with enthusiasm about this subject, and I saw that the path lay there”, he said. “Work and the dignity of the person walk the same path together, side by side. Solidarity applies also to guaranteeing work: co-operation constitutes an important element for ensuring the plurality of presences of employers on the market. Nowadays this is the subject of some misunderstanding, also at European level, but I maintain that not regarding as current this form of presence in the world of production is a form of impoverishment that allows space for the encroachment of uniformity and does not promote differences and identity”.