WelCom February 2020
As the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Pope Francis urged the world’s public and private sector leaders of their responsibility for the integral development of all by placing the human person at the very centre of public policy.
Pope Francis’ message was read at the WEF annual meeting by Cardinal Peter Turkson, Prefect of the Vatican Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development.
The January 21‒24 meeting on the theme, ‘Stakeholders for a Cohesive and Sustainable World’, marks the WEF’s 50th anniversary. Founded in 1971, the international organisation for public-private cooperation brings together the foremost political, business, cultural and other leaders of society to shape global, regional and industry agendas.
Pope Francis noted the organisation offers the various stakeholders the opportunity to explore innovative and effective ways of building a better world. It also provides the opportunity to overcome isolationism, individualism and ideological colonisation that, he said, ‘sadly characterises too much contemporary debate’.
The Pope reminded the WEF ‘we are all members of the one human family’. This is the basis of the moral obligation to care for one another and of the ‘principle of placing the human person, rather than the mere pursuit of power or profit, at the very centre of public policy’.
This calls for going beyond short-term technological or economic approaches and giving full consideration to the ethical dimension in seeking resolutions to present problems or proposing initiatives for the future.
The Pope lamented that too often, ‘materialistic or utilitarian visions, sometimes hidden, sometimes celebrated, lead to practices and structures motivated largely, or even solely, by self-interest.’ This approach, he said, views others as a means to an end and entails a lack of solidarity and charity, which lead to real injustice.
He noted that a truly integral human development can only flourish when all members of the human family are included in, and contribute to, pursuing the common good.
‘In seeking genuine progress,’ the Pope urged that the WEF not forget that ‘to trample upon the dignity of another person is in fact to weaken one’s own worth.’
Pope Francis also underscored the importance of an ‘integral ecology’ with regard to our common home.
While acknowledging the achievements of the past fifty years of WEF, the Pope hoped the Forum will keep in mind the ‘high moral responsibility each of us has to seek the integral development of all our brothers and sisters, including those of future generations’.
He hoped their deliberations would lead to a ‘growth in solidarity, especially with those most in need, who experience social and economic injustice and whose very existence is even threatened’.