CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Saturday, 22 July 2017

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Share wealth or fail in your charter pope tells G20

HAMBURG (SE): In a message sent to the heads of state gathering in Hamburg for the G20 meeting on July 7, Pope Francis appealed for an absolute priority to be given to the poorest people in the worldwide community.
 
In a message addressed to the chancellor of Germany, Angela Merkel, as the host of the meeting, Pope Francis says that he wants to encourage the heads of wealthy states to “give absolute priority to the poor, refugees, those suffering, the displaced, those excluded, without national, racial, religious or cultural distinction.”
 
He drew the attention of the gathering to four principles that he had proposed in his apostolic exhortation, The Joy of the Gospel (Evangelii Gaudium)—time is greater than space; unity prevails over conflict; realities are more important than ideas; and the whole is greater than the part.
 
In saying that time is greater than space he pointed to the challenge of welcoming the increasing number of refugees that are being forced from their homes by an escalation in poverty and violence, pointing out that while he believes there is no immediate solution, with cooperative planning and careful setting out of goals progress can be made in a relatively short time.
 
Pope Francis said, “Nonetheless, this tension between space and time, between limit and fullness, requires an exactly contrary movement in the minds of government leaders and the powerful. An effective solution, necessarily spread over time, will be possible only if the final objective of the process is clearly present in its planning.”
 
In this context, he also drew the attention of the leaders of the 20 wealthiest countries in the world to the plight of South Sudan, Chad, the Horn of Africa and the Yemen, where it has been reported that 30 million people are lacking water.
 
“A commitment to meet these situations with urgency and to provide immediately support to those peoples will be a sign of the seriousness and sincerity of the mid-term commitment to reforming the world economy and a guarantee of its sound development,” he said.
 
He then reminded the delegates to the Hamburg gathering that war is never a solution to conflict, disagreement or division.
 
He added that the tremendous suffering that he sees in the world leaves him feeling bound to ask that an end be put to all useless slaughter.
 
Pope Francis then warned that unless the leaders of powerful nations can successfully commit themselves to scaling back and directly renouncing involvement in conflicts, the G20 can never fulfill its task of peacefully resolving economic dilemmas and the goals set by those very same countries to eliminate poverty through the fulfillment of the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals can never be achieved.
 
He then drew attention to some of what he called the fateful ideologies of the early 20th century that wreaked havoc in the world economies and relationships between nations, pointing out that the new ideologies of this century; absolute market autonomy and financial speculation, are not much different.
 
“In their tragic wake, these bring exclusion, waste and even death,” the pope pointed out.
 
On the other hand, he noted, “The significant political and economic achievements of the past century… were always marked by a sound and prudent pragmatism, guided by the primacy of the human being and the attempt to integrate and coordinate diverse and at times opposed realities on the basis of respect for each and every citizen.”
 
He then asked the leaders at the summit to be open to the inspiration of some of the great statespersons who have gone before them in remembering that no solution to any problem can ever succeed without a consideration of the repercussions for all countries.
 
However, he concluded with a general warning, saying that although he believes it is reasonable for a summit to be held among the leaders of nations that produce 90 per cent of the wealth of the world, the situation itself reflects badly on leadership in the international filed.
 
He noted that when he says the whole is greater than the part, it is sadly reflected in the fact that 10 per cent of all the nations in the world have been able to pocket 90 per cent of the economic pie, which highlights the need for a greater respect for the guidelines of the United Nations in promoting the interests of all people.

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