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September 16, 2015

Finance Titans to Tout Wall St. Philanthropy on Pope's Visit

Preparing to welcome Pope Francis on his first trip to the United States, leading investors and finance executives say they hope to bring the Wall Street elite's giving to the attention of a pontiff who has decried "savage capitalism" as a contributor to economic inequality and climate change, Bloomberg writes.

Several major Wall Street figures plan to be at St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York when the pope leads prayers there September 24. Finance leaders were key donors to a $175-million restoration of the landmark church. Despite his criticisms of the financial system, many have praised Francis's leadership and ideals.

"He's made it very clear that he has a particular affinity for the downtrodden and the less fortunate," billionaire investor and Home Depot co-founder Ken Langone said. "New York, to me, is the city on the hill that demonstrates philanthropy and giving back and caring for others more than any other city. And I think he'll see that."

Mr. Langone, who has donated $200 million to New York University's medical school and chaired the St. Patrick's fundraising campaign, raised concerns last year that the pope's rhetoric on wealth could dampen giving by very rich.