Meeting of God and mammon
ON the face of it, it was an unusual meeting, an encounter between representatives of God and mammon.
A delegation from global consultancy firm Deloitte was at the Vatican last week, where they met with Pope Francis.
After some remarks from Deloitte's CEO, Punit Renjen, the Pope laid out a series of challenges to the senior business consultants gathered in the Paul VI Hall.
Business has the power to help suffering people and tackle international crises, such as the Covid pandemic and the war in Ukraine, he told them - tasks his audience may have thought beyond the remit of a profit-and-loss spreadsheet.
Pope Francis said that consultants and managers should "organise their work in order to strive for a more humane, just and fraternal world".
They should seek to leave a positive mark that "moves towards integral human development" and makes careful use of the "power" they wield. "A good question to ask yourselves when evaluating what is and what is not effective would be: 'What kind of world do we want to leave for our children and grandchildren?'" Pope Francis told the business experts.
He went on to tell them to exercise cultural responsibility and to enhance diversity.
"You have the right skills to cooperate in building that necessary bridge between the current economic paradigm - based on excessive consumption and which is experiencing its final phase - and the emerging paradigm centred on inclusion, moderation, care and wellbeing," rallied the Pope.
"I encourage you to become 'integral consultants' in order to cooperate in reorienting our way of living on this our planet, which we have damaged in terms of both the climate and inequality."
The Pope ended by asking the Deloitte delegates to pray for him. "And if any of you do not pray or believe, at least wish me well. I need it."
It isn't clear what Pope Francis charged Deloitte for his consultancy session...