Pope Francis has been making an extraordinary impact within and beyond the Catholic Church. His direct and forceful challenge to reform and reinvigorate the Church has already begun to bear fruit. He has also had a tough message for business.
Consistently he demands a serious re-examination of purpose, and calls for higher standards. In the Catholic Church he has no time for an inward-looking mentality, reminding Catholics that the Church does not exist for its own sake, but to proclaim the Gospel and serve humanity, upholding human dignity and promoting the common good.
As for business and the market economy, last year he said this:
"Just as the commandment 'Thou shalt not kill' sets a clear limit in order to safeguard the value of human life, today we also have to say 'thou shalt not' to an economy of exclusion and inequality. Such an economy kills.....Today everything comes under the laws of competition and the survival of the fittest, where the powerful feed upon the powerless. As a consequence masses of people find themselves excluded and marginalised: without work, without possibilities, without any means of escape."
This raises three questions: Is the Pope anti-business? Is he simply preaching without making any practical contribution? Is his passionate call for change something that business wants to engage with in a practical way?