(Source: CD/Vatican News)
Pope Francis on Monday reflected on the serious and crucial challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic in the social and economic field that, he said, demand a generous and ethical response on the part of those tasked with business management and economic development.
Addressing representatives of a top Italian investment bank – the Cassa Depositi e Prestiti (‘Deposits and Loans Fund Institute’) – the Pope noted that the task of the Institute founded 170 years ago has evolved adapting to the needs of society and of the country.
He said the process of development is ongoing and requires a generous commitment as economic dynamics are at the forefront while we search for a way forward in this difficult time of the pandemic.
The Pope noted that an institution such as the Cassa Depositi e Prestiti plays a pivotal role in development as it is involved in investment, support for local authorities and the training of professionals and productivity.
At a time such as this, he said, with very significant repercussions on productivity, and with “certain forms of production,,, in need of renewal or radical transformation,” the work of an investment bank has an important impact on commercial dynamics and has the responsibility of preventing “the risk of concentrating trade and commerce in the hands of a few global players.”
Pope Francis reminded those present that according to the social doctrine of the Church a vision in which investors “expect a fair return” is acceptable, but resources must be collected and channelled into the “financing of initiatives aimed at social and collective development.”
“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, a variable in a process that he cannot in any way control or which he cannot in any way oppose,” he said.
The Pope reflected on how business management requires “fair and transparent conduct that does not give in to corruption.”
He said that “in the exercise of one’s responsibilities it is necessary to know how to distinguish good from evil,” highlighting the fact that in the field of economics and finance, “transparency and the search for good results are compatible and must never be separated.”
“It is a matter of identifying and courageously pursuing lines of action that respect and indeed promote the human person and society,” he said.
Pope Francis also called on all those who work in the sector to encourage the relaunch of an economy that has solidarity as a core value and is a driving force for the development of people, families and society as a whole.
Only in this way will it be possible to accompany the gradual progress of nations and to serve the common good, he concluded, as he urged those present to be “builders of justice and peace” as they continue in their work with generosity and solidarity.
Pope appoints members of new Vatican Commission for Confidential Matters
Also on Monday, the Vatican announced that the Pope has appointed Cardinal Kevin Farrell and Archbishop Filippo Iannone as president and secretary respectively of a new Vatican Commission for Confidential Matters. Francis also named Bishop Fernando Vérgez Alzaga, Bishop Nunzio Galantino, and Father Juan Antonio Guerrero, SJ, as members of the Commission.
The Holy See Press Office released the news on Monday, saying the Holy Father made the appointments on September 29.
The Commission was provided for in the new Vatican procurement code, in order to “supervise” certain contracts which, due to their characteristics, go beyond the rules of the code itself.
The Commission’s task will be to establish on a case-by-case basis which acts of an economic nature require a degree of confidentiality.
In order to understand the meaning of the Pope’s decision to establish the new body, it is necessary to return to the “Rules on transparency, control and competition in the procedures for awarding public contracts of the Holy See and Vatican City State,” which was published in June.
Article 4 of the document, which was approved by the Pope and defined as the procurement code, specifies that the application of the law is to be applied to all public contracts with the exception of certain cases.
Cases to which the law does not apply – stated in point “d” of the same article – include “contracts entered into directly by the Secretariat of State and the Governorate, if their competence concerns the following”:
- “They are necessary to fulfill international obligations, if the same instrument directly dictates the rules for awarding contracts”;
- “They are financed in whole or in part by an international organization or an international financial institution, and the contracting parties have agreed on the applicable award procedures”;
- “They deal with matters covered by the obligation of secrecy set forth in article 39 of the Motu Proprio La Cura Vigilantessima”;
- “They are concerned with the office and security of the Roman Pontiff, the Holy See and the Universal Church, or are necessary or essential to ensure the Church’s mission in the world and guarantee the sovereignty and independence of the Holy See or the Vatican City State.”
Article 4 of the procurement code concludes with a brief paragraph (paragraph 2), in which it is specified that “An oversight committee appointed by the Superior Authority shall supervise the contracts referred to in paragraph 1, point ‘d’ above.”
The Commission set up in recent days therefore assumes these oversight and supervisory tasks.