our behavior is the key/curia

our behavior is the key/curia

When the recent General Congregation, via Decree 2, launched us into the practice of Social Economy in Solidarity which is reflected in concrete choices, we never thought that there would come a time when we would implement these choices during and after a pandemic like the one we are experiencing today.

Two months ago the meeting “The Economy of Francis” was planned in Assisi for economists, business persons, youth, representatives of the Church in order to discuss a more sustainable focus in finances and economics. The meeting was cancelled due to the Coronavirus. However, the topic continues to be very relevant, considering that the collapse of the economy in these days runs the risk of creating a multitude of newly poor.

Professor Leonardo Becchetti was chosen as spokesman for this event; he is a specialist in social economy in solidarity. In an interview in “Settimana News” he stated:

The epidemic teaches us that our behavior is the key to resolving the problems. But this is always true, not only in emergencies. As citizens we are making a tremendous effort of coordination. Yes, after the crisis, we will substitute the slogan “let’s stay at home” with the slogan “let’s make our life styles more sustainable,” and “let’s vote with our wallets” for the leading companies in the creation of economic worth in social and environmentally sustainable terms; the world will change. Though the macroeconomic choices depend on the government, everything else depends on us.

The difficulty in achieving this utopia is that in order to win the vote with our wallets four things are needed: awareness-raising, information about the social and environmental quality of the businesses, coordination of the individual choices (what we are experiencing with the Coronavirus) and non-prohibitive prices. We have been working on this for many years, building platforms with civil society that help with the dissemination of the qualifications for social and environmental sustainability of businesses (such as https://www.nexteconomia.org/, https://www.eyeonbuy.org/), https://www.benecomune.net/ )“ (*to read the whole article of Bechetti, at the end)

Now is the opportune moment to return to our Decree on Social Economy in Solidarity from GC XX in 2017 and continue to opt for each one of its suggestions:

  • to review our modes and criteria of consumption, discerning which are our needs and the desires which humanize us, and distinguishing these from other “wants.” This will help us to grow in “awareness” and to avoid accumulating more and more things that, instead of being regarded as gifts and reasons to be grateful to God, become necessities.
  • to opt for the values and products of fair trade, “Purchasing is always a moral act, and not simply and economic one.” Our purchases involve a demand for goods and services to which the producers try to respond. If in each purchase we use well our “vote with the wallet,” we will arrive at greater justice and integral ecology.
  • to put into practice what is established about the distinction between necessary reserves and the accumulation of wealth. All our communities are called to share what we have with others; therefore, we must adequately coordinate prudent reserves in order to deal with the unforeseen and the communication of goods within and outside of the Congregation.
  • to discern how to invest the necessary reserves in order to better promote our mission and to facilitate communication of goods among ourselves and sharing with the most needy. Not only is “buying a moral act” but also “investing is always a moral act.” Our investments are for the mission and are part of the mission; therefore, they are not governed by the norm of greater profit but by ethics, by what is socially responsible, sustainable and makes an impact in view of the common good: the integral promotion of the human person, the universal destination of goods and the preferential option for the poor.
  • to ensure that our buildings be sustainable and thus in solidarity with the planet and human beings.  In our buildings we want to implement whatever avoids contamination of the environment, opting for renewable energy, conservation of energy, and ecological commitment.

If we put each of these options into practice, not only will we be responding to the petition of the GC, but in this critical moment we will be orienting ourselves, together with many others, toward an economy that is more humane and in harmony with the environment.

Elina Graceffa aci