Religious are crucial for integral human development


VATICAN CITY, 22 MAY 2010 (VIS) - Participants in the annual congress of the "Centesimus Annus Pro Pontifice" foundation, led by their president Domingo Sugranyes Bickel, were received in audience this morning by the Holy Father.

The Pope expressed his appreciation to the group for having chosen the relation between "development progress and the common good" as the theme of their congress. "Today more than ever", he said, "the human family can grow as a free society of free peoples so long as globalisation is guided by solidarity and the common good, and by social justice, all of which find a precious wellspring in the message of Christ and of the Church".

"The common good is the goal that gives meaning to progress and development, which otherwise would be limited only to the production of material goods. These goods are necessary, but without the orientation to the common good consumerism, waste, poverty and inequality come to prevail, which are negative factors for progress and development".

Benedict XVI then went on to quote from his Encyclical "Caritas in veritate", affirming that one of the greatest risks of the modern world lies in the fact that "'the de facto interdependence of people and nations is not matched by ethical interaction of consciences and minds that would give rise to truly human development'. Such interaction, for example, seems to be too weak with those leaders who, in the face of renewed episodes of irresponsible speculation against the weakest States, do not react with adequate decisions to govern finance. Politics must have primacy over finance, and ethics must be the guiding force for all activities".

The Holy Father recalled how "the common good is made up of a number of factors: material, cognitive and institutional good, as well as moral and spiritual good. The latter two are superior and the former must be subordinate to them", he said. "Our commitment to the common good of the family of peoples, and to that of each society, means we must give support to and avail ourselves of the complex of institutions that give juridical, civil, political and cultural structure to the life of society".

And he went on: "We must ensure that the economic-productive order remains socially responsible and of a human scale, through joint and unitary action on various levels, including the international level. In the same way, it is important to support the consolidation of constitutional, juridical and administrative systems in countries that do not yet fully enjoy them. Economic aid must, then, be accompanied by measures that aim to reinforce the guarantees of the rule of law, a just and efficient system of public order in full respect for human rights, and truly democratic and participative institutions.

"The fundamental priority for the development of the entire family of peoples, however, is to strive to recognise the true scale of goods and values", the Holy Father added. "The notion of integral human development presupposes such things as subsidiarity and solidarity, and interdependence between State, society and the market. In a global society made up of many different peoples and religions, the common good and integral development must be achieved with everyone's contribution. Religions have a crucial role to play in this, especially when they teach fraternity and peace".

"The exclusion of religion from public life - and, at the other extreme, religious fundamentalism - hinders an encounter between persons and their collaboration for the progress of humanity. Public life is sapped of its motivation and politics becomes domineering and aggressive".