Vatican City, 11 April 2015 (VIS) – Pope Francis has sent a message to Juan Carlos Varela Rodriguez, president of Panama, host country of the Seventh Summit of the Americas, which on this occasion takes as its theme “Prosperity with equity: the challenge of cooperation in the Americas”. The Holy Father commented that he is “in harmony” with the theme chosen for the Summit, affirms that he is “convinced … that inequality, the unjust distribution of wealth and resources, is a source of conflicts and violence among peoples, as it presupposes that the progress of some is built on the necessary sacrifice of others and that, to be able to live in a dignified fashion, one must fight with others”.
“Well-being reached in this way is unjust at its root and attacks the dignity of the person”, he writes. “There are 'basic goods', such as the earth, work and a home, and 'public services', such as health, education, security and the environment, from which no human being should be denied access. This desire – which we all share – is unfortunately still far from reality. … The great challenge of our world is the globalisation of solidarity and fraternity in the place of the globalisation of discrimination and indifference, and until a more equitable distribution of wealth is achieved, the ills of our society will not be resolved”.
Francis remarks that many countries have certainly experienced significant economic development in recent years, but “it is equally true that others remain prostrated in poverty. Moreover, in the emerging economies, a large part of the population does not benefit from general economic progress, to the point that frequently a greater rift opens up between rich and poor. 'Trickle down' theories have been shown to be erroneous: it is not enough to hope that the poor may gather the crumbs that fall from the table of the rich. It is necessary to take direct action in favour of the most disadvantaged, attention to should be a priority for governors, as it is for the smallest within a family”.
He then turns his attention to the problem of immigration. “The immense disparity of opportunities between some countries and others ensures that many people feel compelled to abandon their homeland and their family, thus becoming easy prey for human trafficking and slave labour, without rights or access to justice. In some cases, the lack of cooperation between States leaves many people unprotected by the law and unable to guarantee their own rights, and thus obliged to ally themselves with those who take advantage of others, or to resign themselves to being victims of abuse. These are situations in which it is not enough to safeguard the law to defend the basic rights of the person, and in which the rules, without pity and mercy, do not respond to justice. Within every country, at times, scandalous and offensive differences are created, especially between indigent peoples, in rural areas or in the peripheries of large cities. If it fails to genuinely defend these people against racism, xenophobia and intolerance, the rule of law loses its very legitimacy”.
“Efforts to build bridges, to establish channels of communication, to build relationships and to seek agreement are never in vain. The geographical situation of Panama, in the centre of the American continent, making it a point of encounter between north and south, between the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans, is certainly a call, pro mundi beneficio, to generate a new order of peace and justice, and to promote solidarity and collaboration, respecting the just autonomy of every nation”, writes the Pope, who concludes by expressing his hope that the Church “may also be an instrument of peace and reconciliation between peoples”.