"True wealth is sharing," Pope Francis comments in an audience with businessmen.

On Monday, September 12, Pope Francis met with a group of businessmen from the Italian Confederation of Industry. During the meeting he discussed some ideas on the social duties of a good entrepreneur.

Giovanni Tridente-September 15, 2022-Reading time: 3 minutes
Pope entrepreneurs

Photo: the Pope greets members of the General Confederation of Italian Industry. ©CNS/Yara Nardi, Reuters

Translation of the article into Italian

A small compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Churchspecifically focused on the understanding of "just" wealth, was delivered by Pope Francis on Monday to the more than 5,000 Italian businessmen received in audience in the Paul VI Hall.

They were there representing more than 5 million employees of small, medium and large manufacturing and service companies on the peninsula, who are members of the association Confindustria, the General Confederation of Italian Industry.

The Pontiff's speech evidently went beyond the Italian sphere, in fact it can be said that the value of the considerations he made involve the whole of human society, especially in this period of great uncertainty and crisis. And it is not by chance that the Italian confederal body itself has representative offices in several countries bordering the Mediterranean, from Eastern Europe to Russia.

In his speech, Pope Francis wanted to characterize the figure of the "good entrepreneur", as opposed to the "mercenaries". The good entrepreneur resembles the "good shepherd" - explained Francis - because he takes on the sufferings of the workers and feels their uncertainties and risks. A real test is the time when the situation is easy after the pandemic and with the ongoing war in Ukraine.

Judas denarii and Good Samaritan denarii

Mentioning some biblical and evangelical episodes, the Pope offered a parallel between "Judas' money" and the money that the Samaritan advances to the innkeeper to attend to the robbed and wounded man he found on the road, showing how "the economy grows and becomes human when the Samaritan's money is more numerous than Judas'," that is, when altruism overcomes personal and selfish interest.

Not in vain, money "can serve, yesterday as today, to betray and sell a friend or to save a victim".


The Pope then wanted to clarify what is the right key for a follower of Christ who is a businessman to "enter the kingdom of heaven", as opposed to the words of Jesus who in the Gospel of Matthew (19:23-24) considers it an almost impossible mission for this category to aspire (see camel and eye of the needle).

The key word is share. Assuming this ability to extend one's wealth for the benefit of others allows the entrepreneur to avoid idolatrous temptation and opens him to the responsibility of making his wealth bear fruit and not dissipate it. So it is not impossible to enter the Kingdom of Heaven, difficult yes, but not impossible, concludes the Pope.

How do you experience sharing? There are many ways "and each entrepreneur can find his own" with creativity and according to his own personality. The Pontiff points out some of them:

  • Philanthropy: "giving back to the community, in various ways".
  • The payment of taxes: "a high form of sharing of goods, they are the heart of the social pact". Obviously, they must be fair and equitable, guaranteeing efficient and non-corrupt services.
  • Job creation: as it could not be otherwise for an entrepreneur, this also means giving opportunities to young people.
  • Encouraging the birth rate: supporting families and allowing women not to be discriminated against when they are expecting a child, often paying with dismissal.
  • Promote the integration of the immigrant population through honest employment, which at the same time welcomes, supports and integrates.
  • Reduce the gap between the salaries of managers and workers: "if the gap between the top and the bottom gets too big, the business community gets sick, and soon society gets sick".

The smell of work

Another valuable piece of advice given by Pope Francis is that the entrepreneur himself should consider himself and live as a "worker". "The good entrepreneur knows the workers because he knows the work", he perceives that smell that makes him be in contact with the life of his company, and furthermore, through that contact and that closeness he imitates "God's style: to be close".

After all, the value created by a company depends not only on the creativity and talent of the entrepreneur, but "also on the cooperation of all", and therefore, the Pontiff concludes, it must rely on the creativity, heart and soul of its workers, its "spiritual capital".

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