VATICAN CITY (CNS) — In a world where profit reigns over human dignity, solidarity has become a “dirty word” and risks being removed from the dictionary, Pope Francis said.

“Whoever works in economics and finance is surely attracted to profit, and if they are not careful, they will put themselves at the service of profit and becoming slaves to money,” he said.

The pope’s comments came in a video message aired Nov. 21 at a meeting on Catholic social teaching being held in Verona, Italy, Nov. 21-24. The third “Festival of the Social Doctrine of the Church” focused on preventing inequality and preserving diversity in a globalized world.


In his message, the pope said Catholic social doctrine “is a great point of reference” and is a very useful guide “for not losing oneself” in a profit-driven economy.

The church’s many teachings on social doctrine offer important reflections and hope, and are “able even today to guide people and keep them free” from becoming slaves to money, he said.

“Courage, thought and the strength of faith are needed” for a person to work in a market economy while also being “guided by a conscience that puts human dignity at the center and not the idol of money,” he said.

Applying Catholic principles within the market economy generates hope and real development, he said, because church teaching demands people take responsibility for the unemployed and those who are fragile and for social injustices, rather than submitting “to the distortions of a perspective of cost-effectiveness.”

Social doctrine “does not put up with” defining as useful only those able to produce something, not does it support letting social concerns “be left to the state or to aid workers and volunteers,” he said. “That’s why solidarity is such a key word in social doctrine.”

“However, today, we are at risk of removing it from the dictionary because it is an uncomfortable word, and also — allow me to say — it’s almost a ‘dirty word.’ For the economy and the market, solidarity is almost a dirty word.”