Pope Francis tells business leaders: “money must serve, not rule”

The Pope has advised business leaders that money is not “morally neutral”, emphasising the need for socially responsible banking and finance.

“Wealth is good when it is placed at the service of one’s neighbour; otherwise it is wicked,” Pope Francis said yesterday during a meeting with participants in an international conference for associations of Catholic business leaders.

“Money must serve, not rule,” he said. “Money does not have a neutral value, but acquires value according to the aims and the circumstances in which it is used.”

To claim money is neutral, the Pope said, shows that one is “falling under its power.”

Pope Francis told the business leaders that he knows they take risks every day. As Christians, those risks should be more than just financial, he said.

Pope Francis asked the business leaders also to take a risk on being honest with themselves and their employees. “Corruption is the worst social plague,” he said.

“It is a lie to seek profit for oneself or one’s group under the semblance of serving society,” he said. “It is the law of the jungle masqueraded by an apparent social rationale.”

The world urgently needs to recover the social significance of finance and banking, and it needs the co-operation of business leaders to do so, he said. “This will mean taking the risk of complicating your life and renouncing some economic earnings.”