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Friday, February 20, 2015

The Holy See at the United Nations: social development policies must address the spiritual and ethical dimension of the human person

Vatican City, 20 February 2015 (VIS) – Archbishop Bernardito Auza, Holy See Permanent Observer at the United Nations in New York addressed the 53rd Session of the Commission for Social Development on 10 February. He highlighted the Holy See's concerns regarding economic growth which has led to new challenges, but has not benefited everyone in society equally. Significant inequalities remain and many of the most vulnerable groups in society have been left behind. Without addressing these inequalities, especially as we transition into the post 2015 development agenda, we risk undermining the impact of economic growth on poverty and on the well-being of society as a whole.

“To be sustainable and beneficial for all, social development must be ethical, moral and person-centred”, he said. “We must be attentive to those indicators that give a complete picture of the well-being of every individual in society while promoting policies that encourage a truly integral approach to the development of the human person as a whole”.

He continued, “It is not enough to have gainful employment. Work must also be dignified and secure. Investments in education, access to basic health-care services, and the creation of social safety nets are primary, not secondary factors to improving a person’s quality of life, and ensuring the equitable distribution of wealth and resources in society. By placing the human person at the centre of development and encouraging investments and policies that meet real needs, the progress made towards eradicating poverty remains permanent and society more resilient in the face of potential crises”.

The archbishop reiterated that the market economy does not exist to serve itself, but rather to serve the common good of all of society, and therefore particular attention must be given to the welfare of the most vulnerable. He added that “the authentic integral development of the person and the eradication of poverty are achievable only by focusing on the tremendous value of the family to society”, and by adopting a strategic approach towards the eradication of poverty, “based on true social justice in order to help reduce the suffering of millions of our brothers and sisters. … Social development policies must address not only the economic and political needs, but also the spiritual and ethical dimension of each human person”.

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