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Put people at the centre of politics pope tells the G8 Summit

VATICAN (SE): Pope Francis told the prime minister of the United Kingdom, David Cameron, that all policy making must make reference to human well-being, in a letter sent during the run up to the G8 Summit held in Lough Erne, Northern Ireland, from June 17 to 18.

The letter was sent in response to a message the pope received on June 5 regarding the British presidency of the G8, which was meeting under the theme, A G8 meeting that goes back to first principles.

It was made public on June 16, the Vatican Information Service reported.

Pope Francis emphasised, “To attain its broadest and deepest resonance, it is necessary to ensure that all political and economic activity, whether national or international,” makes reference to humanity.

“Indeed, such activity must, on the one hand, enable the maximum expression of freedom and creativity, both individual and collective, while on the other hand it must promote and guarantee their responsible exercise in solidarity, with particular attention to the poorest,” the pope pointed out.

Pope Francis praised the priorities set by the British presidency for the summit, noting that the fundamental reference to humanity is not lacking, “specifically in the proposal for concerted action by the group to eliminate definitively the scourge of hunger and to ensure food security.”

He added, “Similarly, a further sign of attention to the human person is the inclusion as one of the central themes on the agenda the protection of women and children from sexual violence in conflict situations, even though it must be remembered that the indispensable context for the development of all the afore-mentioned political actions is that of international peace… and this year (the G8) cannot fail to address the situation in the Middle East, especially in Syria.”

He said that any action decided upon by the G8 must adhere to the agenda set by the presidency to always hold the law as the golden thread of development, especially in the areas of tax evasion and transparency of the part of governments.

Pope Francis called these “measures that indicate the deep ethical roots of these problems, since, as my predecessor Benedict XVI made clear, the present global crisis shows that ethics is not something external to the economy, but is an integral and unavoidable element of economic thought and action.”

The pope made an appeal for long-term measures designed to create an adequate legal framework to resolve the current problems in global economics, which, he said, “Must be guided by the ethics of truth.”

He said that this must involve a heightened respect for the truth of the human person.

He pointed out that people cannot be treated as an economic commodity, let alone a disposable asset. “They cannot be reduced to an economic calculus,” he stressed.

“Therefore concern for the fundamental material and spiritual welfare of every human person is the starting-point for every political and economic solution and the ultimate measure of its effectiveness and its ethical validity,” he told the British prime minister.

He described the goal of both economics and politics as being to serve humanity, right from the time they are conceived in their mother’s wombs.

“Every economic and political theory or action must set about providing each inhabitant of the planet with the minimum wherewithal to live in dignity and freedom, with the possibility of supporting a family, educating children, praising God and developing one’s own human potential. This is the main thing; in the absence of such a vision, all economic activity is meaningless,” he stressed.

The pope told Cameron that he was writing to him in order to highlight what he called implicit choices—firstly, to put people first, at the very centre of all politics and economics, as it is people that are the most basic resource for both activities.

“Man is also the ultimate end,” the pope concluded.

He also encouraged the British presidency to pay great attention to the situation of violence in the Middle East, especially to the dire situation in Syria.

“I earnestly hope that the summit will help to obtain an immediate and lasting cease-fire and to bring all parties in the conflict to the negotiating table. Peace demands a far-sighted renunciation of certain claims, in order to build together a more equitable and just peace,” he wrote.


“Moreover, peace is an essential pre-requisite for the protection of women, children and other innocent victims, and for making a start towards conquering hunger, especially among the victims of war,” he concluded.

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