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Monday, June 17, 2013


Vatican City, 17 June 2013 (VIS) – Yesterday a letter from the Holy Father to Prime Minister of the United Kingdom David Cameron was made public. It was sent in response to the message he had received on 5 June regarding the British presidency of the G8 and the upcoming meeting scheduled to take place at Lough Erne, County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland on 17 and 18 June, with the theme of “A G8 Meeting that Goes Back to First Principles”.

In the letter, the Holy Father emphasized that, for the theme “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.”

Francis praised the priorities that the British Presidency has set out for the upcoming 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. Similarly, a further sign of attention to the human person is the inclusion as one of the central themes on the agenda of 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,” the Pope noted.

The actions included on the agenda of the British G8 Presidency, which point towards law as the golden thread of development – as well as the consequent commitments to deal with tax avoidance and to ensure transparency and responsibility on the part of governments,” Francis said, “are 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 Holy Father repeated that the long-term measures “designed to ensure an adequate legal framework for all economic actions, as well as the associated urgent measures to resolve the global economic crisis, must be guided by the ethics of truth”. First and foremost, this entails a respect for the truth of the human person, “who is not simply an additional economic factor, or a disposable good, but is equipped with a nature and a dignity that cannot be reduced to simple economic calculus. 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.”

Stressing that “the goal of economics and politics is to serve humanity, beginning with the poorest and most vulnerable wherever they may be, even in their mothers' wombs,” the Pope, in his letter, noted that “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.”

Pope Francis wrote that he wished to share these thoughts with the Prime Minister “with a view to highlighting what is implicit in all political choices, but can sometimes be forgotten: the primary importance of putting humanity, every single man and woman, at the centre of all political and economic activity, both nationally and internationally, because man is the truest and deepest resource for politics and economics, as well as their ultimate end.”

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