From the Vatican, 13 April 2001.
Dear Cardinal Bevilacqua,
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Once more I have the pleasure of greeting you, the members of the Papal Foundation, on your annual visit to Rome. I welcome you today with the words that our Risen Savior spoke to his disciples on the evening of that first Easter Sunday almost two thousand years ago: "Peace be with you" (Jn 20,19).
Yes, the Lord’s abiding gift to his Church and to his people in every age is the gift of his peace, his reassuring presence with us always, "until the close of the age" (Mt 28,20). And it is the responsibility of those who believe and proclaim that the Lord is truly risen from the dead to bring this gift of his peace to others, especially to those who are poor or suffering, to those who are neglected or oppressed, to those whose cries go unheeded, whose hopes seem always shattered. I myself cannot fail to feel this obligation in a particular way, for the charge given by the Risen Lord to the Apostle Peter, the task of "feeding his lambs" and "tending his sheep" (cf. Jn Jn 21,15-17), falls in a special way to Peter’s Successor. The Bishop of Rome, in fact, is entrusted with the care of all the Churches; he is called to use every means at his disposal to assist and strengthen those communities most in need of spiritual and material care.
It is for this reason, dear friends, that I am most grateful to you: the support which you give through the Papal Foundation allows so many good works to be carried out in the name of Christ and his Church. The many programs and projects funded by grants made available by the Papal Foundation enable the Church’s Easter proclamation of joy, hope and peace to reach the ears, minds and hearts of people in many parts of the world. The generous sharing of your time, talents and treasures in this way shows forth your love of the Successor of Peter and gives eloquent expression to the fraternal communion which marks the lives of those who know the Lord and experience "the power of his resurrection" (Ph 3,10).
At the beginning of the Third Christian Millennium, renewed and strengthened by the grace-filled Jubilee encounter with the One who is the living source of our hope, we are bid to set out once more on our journey of faith and service, with the assurance that the Risen Christ himself walks by our side. Entrusting all of you to the loving intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the model for all discipleship and the "sure guide for our steps" (Novo Millennio Ineunte NM 58), I cordially impart my Apostolic Blessing to you and your families as a pledge of joy and peace in the Risen Savior.
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
1. With great affection I welcome you on this important anniversary, 15 years since the tragic accident which happened in the city of Chernobyl on 26 April 1986. I sincerely extend to each one of you a cordial greeting and a warm welcome.
My thoughts turn, in the first place, to the President of the Republic of Ukraine, Mr Leonid Kuchma, who wished to be present through his message, which was read a short time ago in this hall. I greet the Ambassador of the Republic of Ukraine to the Holy See, Her Excellency Mrs Nina Kovalska, and I thank her for the words which she has just addressed to me on everyone's behalf.
I then greet the authorities and the personages who by their presence wished to demonstrate the solidarity with the children of Chernobyl in the name of the communities and nations which they represent. I greet all those present, beginning with the representatives of the families, parishes, associations, movements and organizations that in these years have hosted and continue to welcome,to Italy, children affected by the consequences of what happened in Chernobyl.
With my journey to Ukraine approaching, I am more eager to embrace all the children of that nation, which is so dear to me, and to kiss that land so tried even by the nuclear disaster, the fatal effects of which are still felt today. With ardent hope I am also preparing to meet my brothers and sisters in the faith who live there, to be able to share with them the eagerness for a renewed evangelization.
2. At this moment we go back in thought to that 26 April 1986, when a tremendous explosion occurred in the nuclear power station of Chernobyl in the dead of night. A few minutes later a huge toxic cloud covered the sky of the city and of Ukraine, spreading very far. The tragic results of so disastrous an event were not long in proving to be far worse than could have been imagined. It was not without reason that someone described it as the technological catastrophe of the century, which sadly rendered the city of Chernobyl world-famous. Since then it has become the symbol of the risks connected with the use of nuclear energy.
My appreciation goes to the civil administrations, the religious communities, the dioceses and those who, during these years, have worked tirelessly in order to help those who, through no fault of their own, have paid and continue to pay the price of a calamity of such magnitude.
Above all, I address, you, dear children of Chernobyl. You represent the thousands of your little friends, who have found hospitality in Italy to be healed and to overcome a difficult stage of their lives. The Pope embraces you and asks you to bring his greeting and his blessing to your families, your friends, peers and your school companions. To everyone!
Looking at you, I cannot but give thanks to God for the extraordinary generosity that, since then, has never ceased to alleviate the suffering and difficulties of those who continue to be innocent victims of the consequences of that huge catastrophe. How many Catholic institutions in various countries have opened their doors and opened their arms wide to those who were in need! How many can look with confidence towards the future as a result of this joint support, which today's event well emphasizes!
3. I would like, today, to voice all of your sentiments of gratitude for this chain of solidarity with regard to the victims of Chernobyl. This solidarity has been translated into gestures of concrete attention to brothers and sisters pressed by need. For Christians, this praiseworthy enterprise finds an authoritative foundation in the great commandment given by Jesus: "Love one another" (Jn 15,17). Should not mutual love appear especially in times of trial? Even a famous popular proverb confirms this: "A friend in need is a friend indeed". When one is in need it is a great comfort to have trustworthy friends. It is important that this chain of goodness should never be broken. While it comforts those who are benefited, it spiritually enriches those who generously give their aid.
In the Gospel, Jesus assures believers: "As you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me" (Mt 25,40). Love is the path by which the world can be improved. Loving everyone without distinction of race, language or religion becomes, in fact, a tangible sign of God's special love towards every human being, of whom he is Father.
4. Recalling the tragic effects caused by the accident of the nuclear reactor in Chernobyl, let us think of the future generations that these children represent. We must prepare a future of peace, free of fear and similar threats. This is a task for everyone. For this to happen, there must be a combined technical, scientific and human effort to put every kind of energy at the service of peace, with respect for the needs of the human person and of nature. The future of the entire human race depends on this commitment.
While we pray for the numerous victims of Chernobyl and for those who bear on their bodies the signs of such a dreadful disaster, let us ask the Lord for light and support for those who, at various levels, are responsible for the destiny of mankind.
I also ask God in his omnipotence and mercy to grant comfort to those who suffer, and to see that what we sadly recall today may never happen again.
With these sentiments, I invoke the protection of Mary, Mother of Hope, and, while I renew to everyone my cordial greeting, I gladly impart to you a special Blessing.
Dear Superiors and Students of the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Accademy,
1. This morning I prayed for you all before setting out for Piazza della Minerva, where your 300-year-old institution stands opposite the historical church that preserves the mortal remains of St Catherine of Sienna, who was so devoted to the Successor of Peter. Now I am pleased to meet you and to extend my cordial greeting to you. I thank Archbishop Justo Mullor García, President of the Academy, for the noble words with which he voiced your sentiments, effectively describing the understanding that guides your commitment. I remember with gratitude those who preceded him and who carried out this highly responsible office with dedication and self-denial.
Entering these walls, I could not but think of all who were trained here for their future tasks at the Church's service. How can I forget my Predecessors who founded and appreciated this academy, or spent part of lives there as young priests? The Servant of God Paul VI certainly deserves special mention, but Cardinal Adam Sapieha, the great Pastor who ordained me a priest, also comes to my mind. He entered the academy a year before the Servant of God Raffaele Merry del Val, the future Cardinal Secretary of State, became President. Before these and other ecclesiastics of great spirituality, it is only right to feel committed to imitating their virtues and exemplary dedication to the service of the Church.
Those of you who form the present teacher and student community are all men of the Second Vatican Council; you are also priests who have lived the Great Jubilee of the Incarnation. Therefore everything in your lives, both as individuals and as a group, must converge in the duty to respond to the universal call to holiness, which must sum up the fundamental message of these two great ecclesial events. You came here to learn to be "experts in humanity", in accordance with Paul VI's evocative phrase, because your mission requires the skill of diplomacy, which is sometimes complex. First and foremost however, you are here for your own sanctification: your future service to the Church and the Pope demand it.
The fact that you are celebrating your 300th anniversary shows that institutions too have their own vital continuity: a project of life and service which, having matured in the past, has been enriched along the way and is now entrusted to this generation, so that they may pass it on to those of the future. In the Church therefore, when true traditions are authentic and the sap of the Gospel flows within them, far from fostering paralysing types of conservatism they spur us on to goals of new ecclesial vitality and creative renewal. The Church walks through history with people of all times.
2. My meeting with you in this Easter season reminds me of chapter 21 of John, in which the Evangelist presents the risen Christ in conversation with Peter and several other Apostles, pausing in their habitual work as fishermen. They had just returned from an exhausting night on the lake of Tiberias. They had caught nothing. Peter and his companions had fished trusting only in their own strength and knowledge as experts in "things of the sea". But when, later, they went fishing relying on Christ's words, their catch was exceptionally abundant. Thus it was not their "technical" expertise that filled their nets with fish. That exceptionally abundant catch occurred through the Word of the Master, who overcame death and with it suffering, hunger, marginalization and ignorance.
3. Ours is a Church which lives in history. Christ founded her on the Apostles, fishers of men (cf. Mt Mt 4,19), so that his actions and his saving words would be repeated through the centuries. Scenes like the one described in chapter 21 of John have often been repeated down the ages. In so many situations the results of apostolic action and also of the action developed in the national or international forums to which you will one day be sent, have appeared meagre and almost useless. Phenomena like secularization, paganizing consumerism and even religious persecution make the proclamation of Christ, who is "the Way, and the Truth, and the Life" (Jn 14,6) very difficult and at times almost impossible.
This academy is also part of that "incarnation" of the Church which is expressed through her presence in the world and in its civil, national or international institutions. What you learn here is directed to taking the Word of God even to the ends of the earth. Therefore it is a Word that must first take hold of your minds, your wills, your lives. If the Gospel has not taken root in your personal and comunity life, your activities could be reduced to a noble profession in which, with greater or lesser success, you face questions pertaining to the Church or her presence in specific human settings. If, instead, the Gospel is present and firmly rooted in your lives it will tend to give a very precise content to your action in the complex field of international relations. In the midst of a world permeated by material interests that are often contradictory, you must be men of the spirit in the search for harmony, heralds of dialogue, the most convinced and tenacious builders of peace.
You will not be - nor could you ever be - champions of any "reason of State". Although the Church is present in the symphony of nations, she pursues only one concern: to make herself the echo of God's Word in the world in the defence and protection of the human person.
4. The values of all time defended by papal diplomacy focus mainly on the exercise of religious freedom and the safeguard of the Church's rights. Such themes continue to be up to date, even in our day, and at the same time, the Papal Representative's attention is also increasingly focused, especially in the international forums, on other human and social questions of great moral importance. The most urgent task today is the defence of the human person and of the image of God that is in him. You are called to be messengers of the human values whose source is the Gospel, according to which every person is a brother to respect and love.
During the 20th century, there were undeniable scientific and technical achievements in the world in which you will carry out your mission. But from the ethical viewpoint, this world has many worrying aspects, exposed as it is to the temptation to manipulate everything, including the human person. In your action, you must uphold the dignity of the human being whose nature, through the Incarnation of the Son of God, has been raised to a dignity beyond compare (cf. Gaudium et Spes, GS 22).
Like Simon Peter, like Thomas called the Twin, Nathanael and the sons of Zebedee, and two others of his disciples exhausted by a night in which "they had caught nothing" (cf. Jn Jn 21,3), you too will sometimes be overwhelmed by dejection. Do not give into the temptation of the devil. Rather, draw close to the risen Christ and experience, and make others deeply experience, the power that comes from his own definition of himself: "I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End" (Ap 21,6). Sustained by the strength that emanates from him, you too will have an abundant catch, guiding many other human beings in their search for truth and goodness. It will be enough for you to be faithful to the Gospel, without the slightest hesitation; this will be the way to offer others the opportunity to know the breadth, the length, the height and the depth of Christ's love (cf. Eph Ep 3,18).
5. In the Letter which I wrote at the end of the Holy Year, I echoed Christ's words to Peter: Duc in altum! I also extend this invitation to you, who will shortly have to leave Rome for the world, the Urbe for the Orbe. The world that awaits you is thirsting for God even when it is not aware of it. Recalling the Apostle Philip's meeting with some Greeks, I myself wrote that "like those pilgrims of 2,000 years ago, the men of our own day - often perhaps unconsciously - ask believers not only to "speak' of Christ, but in a certain sense to "show' him to them" (Novo Millennio ineunte, NM 16).
Others must "make Christ visible" in a parish or among a group of young people, in an industrial neighbourhood or among society's outcasts. You must "make him visible" in your contact with political and diplomatic circles; you will succeed in doing this with your life witness rather than with the force of juridical or diplomatic arguments. You will be effective to the extent that those who approach you will feel that they are discovering the liberating presence of the risen Christ in your words, in your attitude, and in your life.
In the future you will be traveling the highways of the world: always remember that you are at the service of the Successor of Peter and in a creative dialogue with the Pastors of the particular Churches in the countries where you are sent to carry out your mission. Take Christ with you. May Mary help you live his thoughts and sentiments intensely (cf. Phil Ph 2,5-11). May my affectionate Blessing accompany you!
Venerable Brothers in the Episcopate!
1. I welcome you with great affection on the occasion of your visit ad limina Apostolorum. You have come to bear witness to the communion of faith that links the Church in the Republic of Slovenia to the Successor of Peter, the Head of the Episcopal College. In this circumstance, I make my own the words of the Apostle Paul to the Philippians: "I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, thankful for your partnership in the Gospel" (1: 3-5).
I am grateful to Metropolitan Archbishop Franc Rodé of Ljubljana for his cordial words to me as President of the Slovenian Episcopal Conference, in his own name and on behalf of you all.
From the reports on your Dioceses and, in particular, from the fraternal talks I was able to have with you on the current situation of the Church in your country, her apostolic commitment and the prospects and difficulties she encounters in the activity of evangelization, I noted with joy the great pastoral zeal that enlivens you and your priests. Continue on the way of fidelity to the mandate received from Christ, doing your utmost to fulfil your daily task for the cause of the Gospel.
2. A vast field of evangelizing action is opening before you, Pastors of the Church in Slovenia. In order to respond better to the expectations and needs of your diocesan communities and of all civil society, you desired to celebrate the First Slovenian Plenary Council, to which the country's priests, religious and lay faithful have contributed (cf. Documento finale, p. 8). I urge you to refer constantly to the indications which emerged from that providential meeting, continuing to watch "[over] all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you guardians" (Ac 20,28). In governing the People of God, in acts of worship and in teaching the doctrine passed on by the Apostles, you know that you must always and in all things be "examples to the flock" (cf. 1P 5,3).
In this respect you have shining examples of Pastors who spent all their energy in tireless service to the brethren. Here I would like to recall in particular Bl. Anton Martin Slomsek and the Servants of God Bishop Friderik Baraga and Bishop Anton Vovk. May their teachings inspire you and their intercession accompany you.
In the new social scenario that is emerging in your country, have at heart the fostering of the common good of society as well as the proclamation of the Gospel, so as to encourage the spiritual and material progress of all people and every individual person. Working for the genuine growth of the country's men and women is part of the Church's mission: indeed, no genuinely human dimension, from the social, cultural and political to the economic and scientific, and those of social assistance, health-care and sports, is "foreign" to the Gospel.
In carrying out your specific mission at the service of humanity, the Church encounters the State in various areas and this opens prospects of fruitful and mutual collaboration, with full respect for one another's legitimate autonomy.
3. In meeting today, unforgettable memories spring to my mind of the two pastoral visits I was able to make to your country, from 17 to 20 May 1996 and on 19 September 1999. I still have the imprint in my heart of the emotion I felt from the warm welcome given to me by the country's authorities, the Christian community and the entire people. I likewise have vivid memories of other meetings that I had with the faithful of Slovenia on various occasions here in Rome, especially on the occasion of the national Jubilee pilgrimage. Every time I could see the enthusiasm and zeal of Slovenian Catholics and note your people's rich spiritual and culural heritage.
On the threshold of the third millennium, while the urgent need for "an exciting work of pastoral revitalization" (Novo millennio ineunte, NM 29) is also making itself intensely felt in Slovenia, may you make this legacy the starting point for a prophetic renewal of the proclamation of the Gospel.
As it has been in the past, this will certainly be to the benefit of the whole nation and will help it remain faithful to true religious and human values, overcoming the old and new challenges it encounters on its way through daily life.
4. As I speak to you, Pastors of the Church in Slovenia, and with you look confidently at the vast apostolic field that awaits you, my thoughts turn to the priests who are your first and principal co-workers in your service to the People of God; I am thinking of the deacons and the other pastoral workers, as well as of the religious and the lay faithful, actively involved in the life and mission of the Christian community; lastly I am thinking of those who have left their homeland to bring the Gospel proclamation to mission lands. To each one I express my sincere appreciation for his generous apostolic commitment. I encourage them to persevere in the task entrusted to them with prompt dedication and humble charity, keeping themselves in full conformity with their Pastors and with one another, so that the ministry of each one will serve in building Christ's mystical Body and for the good of civil society (cf. CCC, CEC 799).
As for you, venerable Brothers in the Episcopate, your specific mission remains that of testing all things and holding fast to what is good, fostering the Spirit's action (cf. Lumen gentium, LG 12) in full communion with the Successor of Peter, the heir of "a sure charism of truth" (St Irenaeus, Adversus haereses, IV, 26, 2: , 10, 53). Indeed you are primarily responsible for pastoral work in each of your Dioceses.
Harmony of apostolic intentions and close cooperation among all - priests, consecrated men and women and lay faithful, under the Bishop's attentive guidance - will bear abundant fruits of faith, charity and holiness. To this end, dear brothers, foster communion with one another; join forces at the parish, diocesan and national levels in order to respond appropriately to modern pastoral needs. In this way you will be able to create, with attentive Gospel love, adequate structures for the current needs, ensuring that no one remains excluded from your concern as Pastors. Do so with apostolic daring and courage.
5. In our times people are attracted by witnesses rather than by teachers, as one of your proverbs stresses: "Words entice, examples draw". This is why it is important that all who intend to dedicate themselves to the apostolate should be exemplary in holiness, teaching and wisdom. Their lives and work must reflect the living image of Christ in every situation.
Dear Brothers in the Episcopate, this demands a constant theological, liturgical and pastoral formation which you will never tire of assuring your communities. It is a duty that concerns not only priests, but also other pastoral workers, consecrated people and the lay faithful. Act therefore in such a way that priests and all who are dedicated to pastoral work do not lack opportunities for updating, especially on those topics that prove particularly useful in performing your daily duties. At the same time, the lay faithful, young people and adults, should be offered appropriate opportunities to deepen their faith, in order to live the Gospel more consistently, at the individual in addition to the family and communitarian levels.
Dedicate yourselves, therefore, with great care to the human and spiritual formation of future priests. Seminaries should be true Upper Rooms where candidates are given the opportunity for a true and integral maturation. At the same time, make sure that the lay faithful are active in carrying out their mission in the social, political, economic and cultural life of the country, as heralds of Christ and of the prophetic power of his Gospel.
You therefore need to have at your disposal a pastoral programme that reinitiates the evangelization of families and young people; a far-reaching catechesis that involves the members of every social class, men and women of every age, helping them to discover and to live the mystery of Christ and of salvation that is celebrated in the liturgy.
6. An intense and consistent witness is the premise and promise of a renewed enthusiasm in evangelization. In this perspective it will be especially important to promote untiringly new vocations to the priesthood, to the consecrated life and to other forms of total self-giving to the Lord. The commitment to keeping alive the missionary spirit which has always distinguished the Church in Slovenia is equally fundamental. May God awaken in the new generations a great many young people who are willing to become stewards of the Mysteries of salvation, entrusted by Christ to his Church. May he also inspire generous people to follow Christ on the way of Gospel perfection with a free and undivided heart.
If they are able to open themselves to the promptings of the Holy Spirit, your Ecclesial Communities will be leaven in society and will spread everywhere the Good News of the risen Lord, offering in their own lives a convincing witness of his saving power. May Christ Jesus, our hope (cf. 1Tm 1,1), Lord of history and Pastor of the Church, fill you and your Churches with his grace and peace.
I entrust these wishes to the Virgin of Nazareth, the humble handmaid of the Lord. May Mary watch over her devoted children of beloved Slovenia from her shrine in Brezje and suppport them with her intercession in their efforts to build the present and the future in harmony with God's plan for man and for human society.
With these wishes, I cordially impart a special Apostolic Blessing to you, venerable and dear Brothers, to the priests, deacons, consecrated men and women, lay faithful and the entire people of your beloved country.
Friday, 27 April 2001
Ladies and Gentlemen of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences,
1. Your President has just expressed your pleasure at being here in the Vatican to address a subject of concern to both the social sciences and the Magisterium of the Church. I thank you, Professor Malinvaud, for your kind words, and I thank all of you for the help you are generously giving the Church in your fields of competence. For the Seventh Plenary Session of the Academy you have decided to discuss in greater depth the theme of globalization, with particular attention to its ethical implications.
Since the collapse of the collectivist system in Central and Eastern Europe, with its subsequent important effects on the Third World, humanity has entered a new phase in which the market economy seems to have conquered virtually the entire world. This has brought with it not only a growing interdependence of economies and social systems, but also a spread of novel philosophical and ethical ideas based on the new working and living conditions now being introduced in almost every part of the world. The Church carefully examines these new facts in the light of the principles of her social teaching. In order to do this, she needs to deepen her objective knowledge of these emerging phenomena. That is why the Church looks to your work for the insights which will make possible a better discernment of the ethical issues involved in the globalization process.
2. The globalization of commerce is a complex and rapidly evolving phenomenon. Its prime characteristic is the increasing elimination of barriers to the movement of people, capital and goods. It enshrines a kind of triumph of the market and its logic, which in turn is bringing rapid changes in social systems and cultures. Many people, especially the disadvantaged, experience this as something that has been forced upon them, rather than as a process in which they can actively participate.
In my Encyclical Letter Centesimus Annus, I noted that the market economy is a way of adequately responding to people’s economic needs while respecting their free initiative, but that it had to be controlled by the community, the social body with its common good (cf. Nos. 34, 58). Now that commerce and communications are no longer bound by borders, it is the universal common good which demands that control mechanisms should accompany the inherent logic of the market. This is essential in order to avoid reducing all social relations to economic factors, and in order to protect those caught in new forms of exclusion or marginalization.
Globalization, a priori, is neither good nor bad. It will be what people make of it. No system is an end in itself, and it is necessary to insist that globalization, like any other system, must be at the service of the human person; it must serve solidarity and the common good.
3. One of the Church’s concerns about globalization is that it has quickly become a cultural phenomenon. The market as an exchange mechanism has become the medium of a new culture. Many observers have noted the intrusive, even invasive, character of the logic of the market, which reduces more and more the area available to the human community for voluntary and public action at every level. The market imposes its way of thinking and acting, and stamps its scale of values upon behaviour. Those who are subjected to it often see globalization as a destructive flood threatening the social norms which had protected them and the cultural points of reference which had given them direction in life.
What is happening is that changes in technology and work relationships are moving too quickly for cultures to respond. Social, legal and cultural safeguards – the result of people’s efforts to defend the common good – are vitally necessary if individuals and intermediary groups are to maintain their centrality. But globalization often risks destroying these carefully built up structures, by exacting the adoption of new styles of working, living and organizing communities. Likewise, at another level, the use made of discoveries in the biomedical field tend to catch legislators unprepared. Research itself is often financed by private groups and its results are commercialized even before the process of social control has had a chance to respond. Here we face a Promethean increase of power over human nature, to the point that the human genetic code itself is measured in terms of costs and benefits. All societies recognize the need to control these developments and to make sure that new practices respect fundamental human values and the common good.
4. The affirmation of the priority of ethics corresponds to an essential requirement of the human person and the human community. But not all forms of ethics are worthy of the name. We are seeing the emergence of patterns of ethical thinking which are by-products of globalization itself and which bear the stamp of utilitarianism. But ethical values cannot be dictated by technological innovations, engineering or efficiency; they are grounded in the very nature of the human person. Ethics cannot be the justification or legitimation of a system, but rather the safeguard of all that is human in any system. Ethics demands that systems be attuned to the needs of man, and not that man be sacrificed for the sake of the system. One evident consequence of this is that the ethics committees now usual in almost every field should be completely independent of financial interests, ideologies and partisan political views.
The Church on her part continues to affirm that ethical discernment in the context of globalization must be based upon two inseparable principles:
– First, the inalienable value of the human person, source of all human rights and every social order. The human being must always be an end and not a means, a subject and not an object, nor a commodity of trade.
– Second, the value of human cultures, which no external power has the right to downplay and still less to destroy. Globalization must not be a new version of colonialism. It must respect the diversity of cultures which, within the universal harmony of peoples, are life’s interpretive keys. In particular, it must not deprive the poor of what remains most precious to them, including their religious beliefs and practices, since genuine religious convictions are the clearest manifestation of human freedom.
As humanity embarks upon the process of globalization, it can no longer do without a common code of ethics. This does not mean a single dominant socio-economic system or culture which would impose its values and its criteria on ethical reasoning. It is within man as such, within universal humanity sprung from the Creator’s hand, that the norms of social life are to be sought. Such a search is indispensable if globalization is not to be just another name for the absolute relativization of values and the homogenization of life-styles and cultures. In all the variety of cultural forms, universal human values exist and they must be brought out and emphasized as the guiding force of all development and progress.
5. The Church will continue to work with all people of good will to ensure that the winner in this process will be humanity as a whole, and not just a wealthy elite that controls science, technology, communication and the planet’s resources to the detriment of the vast majority of its people. The Church earnestly hopes that all the creative elements in society will cooperate to promote a globalization which will be at the service of the whole person and of all people.
With these thoughts, I encourage you to continue to seek an ever deeper insight into the reality of globalization, and as a pledge of my spiritual closeness I cordially invoke upon you the blessings of Almighty God.