ROME, Italy, September 7, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) — Time/Fortune Global Forum 2016 announced that Pope Francis will give an address to their inaugural gathering of the world's top 500 CEOs and Time magazine’s 100 most influential people. The unprecedented meeting will take place in Rome and the Vatican on December 2-3. The two-day conference will be capped by an address from the Holy Father, Time announced Tuesday.
The grand event follows Time magazine’s nomination of Pope Francis as the Person of the Year in his election year of 2013. In a video titled “Why TIME chose Pope Francis,” TIME contributor Howard Chua-Eoan explained that it is Pope Francis’ “openness” to people with homosexual tendencies, women who have had abortions, and “divorced” and “remarried” Catholics that inspired the nomination. “He is just more open so these people are willing to come back to the Church without having to deal with the actual rules.”
Regarding the choice of placing the global conference in Rome and the Vatican, TIME explained that Pope Francis plays a central role in the efforts for social justice by speaking out on issues as global economics, the growing wealth gap, and his statement that the “distribution of the fruits of the earth and human labor is a moral obligation.”
“Time Inc. is honored to present this unique gathering of global influencers and to facilitate discussions around some of the most critical issues of our time. We are hopeful that this rare event in partnership with the Vatican has the potential to impact the way the world thinks about these issues,” said Joe Ripp, chairman and CEO of Time Inc.
With the motto “The 21st Century Challenge: Forging a New Social Compact,” CEOs from companies including IBM, Johnson & Johnson, McKinsey, PepsiCo, and Siemens as well as non-profit organizations, including the Rockefeller and Ford foundations will lead discussions aimed toward finding concrete solutions for problems of global health, food and water, energy, the environment, and financial inclusion to combat poverty on an international scale. The Rockefeller and Ford foundations have deep ties to Planned Parenthood and have supported efforts to spread abortion in other countries.
It is not the first time the world's rich and famous have been afforded unprecedented Vatican access. Forbes magazine revealed that the Sistine Chapel was rented out in 2014 to the Porsche company for a $10,000 a plate dinner and concert fundraiser. Last May, “The Edge,” guitar player for the Irish rock band U2, was invited to stage the first-ever rock concert in the Vatican’s Sistine Chapel. The concert was embedded in the framework of the Cellular Horizons Conference to combat cancer.
While the upcoming Global Forum certainly gives Pope Francis the possibility to get up close and personal with the stars, the question remains if the attendees will be able to grasp the Catholic spirit of helping the helpless. For the Catholic, the dignity of any person – rich or poor – comes from the dignity imbued by God in creating man in His image and likeness. The agenda-laden philanthropy of the major corporations is a far cry from selfless love; the foundation for giving oneself on one’s own expense to Christ in the neighbor, an example given freely by so many saints.
Pope Francis putting his head together with the most influential and rich people in the world – a world that usually has nothing good to say about the Church – might give the impression of submission to the world. The autonomy from the world’s machinations that Pope Francis enjoys merely by being the Vicar of Christ on Earth may be compromised by the world’s largest corporations trying to drag him to their side. Should not the Pope be the “stumbling stone” for those who seek self-gratification in their philanthropic works? The question remains: Does the Pope need the visits of these celebrities, or do the celebrities need them for their own careers?