Youth have ‘prophetic’ role in shaping new economy, Assisi archbishop says

ROME – Archbishop Domenico Sorrentino, whose diocese of Assisi will receive Pope Francis at an event this weekend with a thousand young people to discuss transforming the world economy, described the discussion as “prophetic” and in line with the vision of the city’s most famous blessed saints.

Speak with coreSorrentino hailed the Pope’s decision to hold a conference on the economy in Assisi as “a prophetic decision”.

Assisi, he said, was appropriate because in the city, the pope’s namesake, St. Francis of Assisi, walked through the door of the bishop’s residence and “did rid himself of all earthly goods… he threw away all earthly goods in order not to do the.” rejecting economics, but rejecting bad economics.”

According to Sorrentino, following the example of Francis of Assisi, the economy must be transformed into one that “is an economy of gifts, and not only of interest and profit; an economy that must be a human economy, centered on men and women, the human person; an economy that has to be not just an economy for the poor, but with the poor, i.e. a participatory economy.”

“It is so obvious that the economy in the world has many problems. It doesn’t work for many millions of people who are being robbed of their dignity, the most important realities for a decent life,” Sorrentino said, saying this is not just a problem for the church but “for humanity. ”

“We have to face this problem, tackle it,” he said.

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Two years ago, Pope Francis announced plans to travel to Assisi for a major event entitled “The Economy of Francis” that would bring together young economists, entrepreneurs and change-makers from around the world to discuss the formation of a more just and fraternal to discuss economy.

This gathering has been postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic, forcing participants to conduct discussions and work sessions online in preparation for the face-to-face gathering that will take place this week, September 22-24 in Assisi, attended by around 1,000 people have young people from over 100 countries around the world.

Pope Francis will travel to Assisi on Saturday for the final day of the event, where he will deliver a speech and sign a pact with the young participants to build a new, fairer economy.

During the three-day event, attendees will take part in workshops and “theme villages” aimed at sharing ideas and experiences gathered over the past two years, and they will also have the opportunity to meet leading international figures such as Vandana Shiva and Jeffrey Sachs to meet Kate Raworth, Gael Guraud, Sabina Alkire, Helen Alford, Vilson Groh and Stefano Zamagni.

In his interview with coreSorrentino said the event will provide an impetus for “a new economy,” one freed from the injustices that harm the poor and vulnerable and the environment.

He noted how Saint Francis of Assisi symbolically stripped off his clothes and assumed a life of poverty in a room in what is now known as the Episcopal Residence of Assisi Sala della Spoliazione.

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The archdiocese recently unearthed the original door through which St. Francis entered the bishop’s residence 800 years ago.

“So we have the opportunity to introduce young people to this place that is so inspiring and to tell them to come here and have the courage to walk through this door like Francis did,” said Sorrentino.

When Pope Francis first visited the city after his election in 2013, he said that like St Francis, the Church too needs to “shed” attitudes of worldliness, arrogance, vanity and pride.

Nine years later, with a newly unveiled door, the city of Assisi is ready to “strip down” again and rid the global economy of unsustainable habits that are harmful to both people and the environment, Sorrentino said.

“We’re used to a lifestyle that doesn’t work. We’re used to having too many things and using too many things that don’t really matter,” he said, saying, “We have to learn a new lifestyle that respects the environment.”

The world is also currently facing an energy crisis, so “we have to do something, it’s very important to change our lifestyle,” said Sorrentino, arguing that this is not just a political or economic problem, but rather a problem “for everyone “. .”

He also said companies need to get rid of a mentality that “looks only at their profit” and “we need to have a new perspective where the environment and the poor, human dignity, are at the heart of a company’s path of thinking.”

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Labor and trade markets also need to be rethought, he said. Everyone can contribute to this change by asking themselves questions like: “How was the thing I’m buying made? Did the people who made this product respect the environment? Did they respect the people?”

“If we are aware of this, we can make good decisions and also align production and trade, because production and trade depend on our choices,” said Sorrentino, arguing that in this regard “we have many things to do” and ” move out.”

Young people have a privileged role to play and “their enthusiasm can make a difference,” he said, expressing hope that attendees will nurture and grow the network they have built at the event and in the years leading up to the face-to-face meeting will collect.

“With the grace of God and with this great inspirational message from St. Francis and also the encouragement from Pope Francis, they will do great work in the field of economics,” he said. “These are, let’s not forget, young economists. They’re not just people, they’re economists, so they have a future, and a future built together can really be a great future.”

Follow Elise Ann Allen on Twitter: @eliseannallen

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