Vatican City (AsiaNews) - Benedict XVI has asked for prayers for " the Heads of State and Government of G8 nations gathered in L'Aquila, so this important summit may lead to useful decisions and to the true advancement of all peoples, especially those poorest. " With this exhortation, the Pope concluded his speech addressed to 8 thousand people gathered in the Paul VI audience hall at the Vatican, for today’s general audience during which the Pope also outlined the main points of Caritas in Veritate, his third encyclical, published yesterday.
A meeting held immediately after the conclusion of general audience was linked to the G8, when Benedict XVI met the wives of some of the leaders who are taking part in the summit. In a room adjoining the Nervi Hall, the Pope greeted Sarah Brown, the only wife of a G8 leader in the strictest sense, and with her the wife of Mexican President Calderon, Margarita Zavala, the wife of the President Zuma of South Africa, Sizakele Khumalo, the wife of Indian premier Singh, Gursharan Kaur, and of the Swedish Prime Minister Reinfeldt, Filippa Holmberg. The group was joined by the wife of European Commission President José Manuel Durao Barroso, Margarida Sousa Uva, and of the president of IFAD (International Fund for Agricultural Development), Josette Sheeran. Neither Michelle Obama, whose husband Benedict XVI will meet Friday afternoon, nor Carla Bruni Sarkozy were present. Yesterday, the Pope received the Japanese First Lady Chikako in the company of her husband Taro Aso.
Before this meeting, to the faithful present in the hall, explaining his encyclical the Pope stressed how " a development free of distortions and malfunctions requires a serious reflection on the meaning and purpose of the economy. The state of the planet and the cultural crisis of mankind demands this. " "The economy needs to recover the important contribution of the principle of gratuity and the logic of gifting” even "in the market, the principle can not only be the profit."
Caritas in Veritate, he said, "is inspired in its vision by passage from the Letter of Saint Paul to the Ephesians, which talks about" acting according to truth in charity. " "Truth in charity is the main driving force for every person and for all humanity" and is the foundation around which " the entire social teaching of the Church rotates ", because it is the only way in which "you can achieve the goals of a humanizing development”. The encyclical, he stressed, "immediately recalls two fundamental criteria: justice and the common good. Justice is an integral part of “that love in action and in truth that we are called to by the apostle John”, "loving someone means devotion to his being". "We love our neighbours so much more effectively when we work towards the common good”, which is the "charity towards others", to which every Christian is called.
The Encyclical "takes over and continues" the Churches analysis of society and "in a special way all that Paul VI wrote in Populorum Progressio, a cornerstone of the Churches social teaching in which there are decisive guidelines still relative today, for the development of humanity and the modern world. " In the current situation, "as we see in the news” there are many problems, "on the one hand, there are signs of serious imbalances, on the other reforms are being invoked without delay to bridge the gap between peoples." Globalization can be an opportunity, but "there is a need for a deep social and cultural renewal": "a better future is possible if it is based on the rediscovery of the fundamental ethical values", including "attention to human life and respect for religious freedom. " "Above all we need upright men and women in the economic and political field, who are attentive to the common good."
Benedict XVI then outlined the "urgent need to draw public opinion to the tragedy of hunger and food security, a drama that challenges our consciences" and that must be "decisively dealt with, so as to eliminate the root causes," while searching for a "path of solidarity towards the development of the poorest countries. "
On the political front, "undoubtedly the role of political power of the States must be re-evaluated, where there are restrictions on sovereignty because of the new dimensions of the economy" and participation must be promoted “through a new commitment of associations of workers, called to establish new synergies at national and international levels”. Finally a "global political authority, regulated by law, that complies with the principles of subsidiarity and solidarity is needed. To orientate and achieve common good, respecting of the great moral and religious traditions of humanity."
The encyclical stresses that "rights presuppose corresponding duties, without which they become arbitrary." "The whole of humanity needs a lifestyle change, in which duties towards the environment are closely connected to those towards the person" in the belief that "humanity is one family." And recalling the words of Jesus that "we do not live by bread alone," the Pope said that "the horizon of man is higher and wider", so it also covers the spiritual growth of the person. "This is the integral development that finds its driving force in charity in truth”. And there is a need to "promote cooperation between believers and unbelievers, in a shared perspective to work for peace and justice."
"Let us pray – he concluded - so the encyclical can help humanity to feel as one family" and "pray that the believers who work in economics and in politics understand the importance of their evangelical witness."