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Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Cardinal Parolin to the Global Foundation: encourage an economy at the service of our common home, the world

Vatican City, 19 January 2016 (VIS) – Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin spoke yesterday at round table organised by the Global Foundation on the theme "Rejecting the globalisation of indifference – towards a more inclusive and sustainable global economy". This initiative, he said, emphasises the Foundation's "commitment to being a privileged place of dialogue between major economic and political players, as well as a catalyst for ideas for the construction of an economic system at the service of integral economic development".

Cardinal Parolin affirmed that since the beginning of his Pontificate, faced with the many difficulties which afflict the world, the Pope has emphasised "the grave consequences of indifference and of the lack of responsibility", calling for the correction of an economy that causes exclusion and inequality. "He invites the rich and the poor, the powerful and simple, politicians and entrepreneurs to put the creative power of human intelligence at the service of the common good, with a spirit of solidarity and – I would add – mercy".

"Without forgetting how much has been done in these first years of the third millennium to help people escape from extreme poverty, Pope Francis continues to underscore his conviction that much more still needs to be done, and that in times of crisis and economic hardship a spirit of global solidarity must not be lost. It goes without saying – that part of this great effort is the creation and distribution of wealth. The right use of natural resources, the proper application of technology and the harnessing of the spirit of enterprise are essential elements of an economy which seeks to be modern, inclusive and sustainable. That will be possible, keeping in mind the definition of justice of the Roman jurist Ulpian and of St Augustine of Hippo – “Iustitia est constans et perpetua voluntas ius suum cuique tribuendi” (Justice is the constant and perpetual will to render to every man his due), which the Pope quoted in his address to the United Nations on 25th September 2015, with reference to the “2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development”, in order to say to those responsible for global affairs that our world demands of all government leaders a will which is effective, practical and constant, concrete steps and immediate measures for preserving and improving the natural environment and thus putting an end as quickly as possible to the phenomenon of social and economic exclusion".

The Secretary of State concluded by highlighting the importance of the meeting organised by the Global Foundation, which is "an important space for encouraging an increase in global awareness of the serious problems of environmental degradation and exclusion. It will thus provide a stimulus to strengthen the action which has already begun, and is starting to show positive and enduring results. … I reiterate the wish that these days might bring forth worthwhile contributions to encourage an economy which is increasingly at the service of our common home, which is the world as a whole".

Secretary of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, sole non-Muslim speaker at the First Arab Thinkers Forum

Vatican City, 19 January 2016 (VIS) – "Interreligious Dialogue and Extremism: reasons and remedies" was the title of the First Arab Thinkers Forum, held in Abu Dhabi from 17 to 18 January at the Emirates Centre for Strategic Studies and Research. The only non-Muslim speaker was Fr. Miguel Angel Ayuso Guixot, secretary of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, who intervened during the first session during which the Grand Mufti of Lebanon, Sheikh Abdul Latif Daryan, also gave an address. In the other sessions there were contributions from various figures from the Arab Emirates, Egypt and Morocco.

Fr. Ayuso Guixot structured his discourse around five key points: extremism, the culture of encounter, the key role of religious leaders, the need for sincere dialogue and the importance of prayer. He emphasised that it was not his intention to pursue considerations on the economic, political, social and cultural reasons for extremism, well known to those present, preferring to focus instead on Pope Francis' recommendations to the international community on how to construct peace which can serve to counter extremism.

He began by citing the Holy Father's address to the Diplomatic Corps on 11 January this year, in which he affirmed that "extremism and fundamentalism find fertile ground not only in the exploitation of religion for purposes of power, but also in the vacuum of ideals and the loss of identity – including religious identity – which dramatically marks the so-called West. This vacuum gives rise to the fear which leads to seeing the other as a threat and an enemy, to closed-mindedness and intransigence in defending perceived notions. Yet the greatest challenge we face is that overcoming indifference in order to work together for peace, a good which must constantly be sought, by the promotion of a 'culture of encounter'. … Pope Francis believes that the motivation for interreligious dialogue must rest in the mutual commitment to peace and justice, thus making them the basic principles for all exchanges".

With reference to the key role of religious leaders, the secretary of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue underlined that "extremist tendencies, irrespective of their origin, are actually among the most dangerous threats to world peace and security", and are incompatible with a truly religious ethic. Consequently, there is a need for "genuine effort by religious leaders and opinion makers to identify those persons who portray false beliefs and behaviours as part of their religious ideology". Political leaders "must support this campaign of awareness in order to prevent extremism in society and to lay the groundwork for moderation", has said, adding that "As religious leaders, we are obliged to denounce all violations against human dignity and human rights. Human life, a gift of God the Creator, possesses a sacred character. As such, any violence that seeks religious justification warrants the strongest condemnation because the Omnipotent is the God of life and peace".

In relation to the need for sincere interreligious dialogue, the prelate underlined that believers are united in the path of life, starting from our own identify for the good of our brothers and sisters. "Every one of us offers the witness of our identity to others and engages in dialogue with others. Then dialogue can move on to theological questions. But even more important and beautiful is to walk together without betraying our own identity, without disguising it, without hypocrisy".

Finally he recalled that "we believers have no recipe for these problems, but we have one great resource: prayer. As believers we pray. We must pray. Prayer is our treasure, which we draw from according to our respective traditions, to request the gifts for which humanity longs".

In memoriam

Vatican City, 19 January 2016 (VIS) – The following prelates have died in recent weeks:

- Bishop Joseph Roduit, C.R.A, abbot-bishop emeritus of Saint-Maurice, Switzerland, on 17 December 2015 at the age of 76.

- Bishop Placidus Gervasius Nkalanga, O.S.B., emeritus of Bukoba, Tanzania, on 18 December 2015 at the age of 96.

- Bishop Joseph Leopold Imesch, emeritus of Joliet in Illinois, United States of America, on 22 December 2015 at the age of 84.

- Archbishop Grégoire Haddad, emeritus of Beirut and Jbeil of the Greek-Melkites, Lebanon, on 23 December 2015 at the age of 91.

- Bishop Youhannes Ezzat Zakaria Badir, emeritus of Luxor of the Copts, Egypt, on 27 December 2015 at the age of 66.

- Bishop Daniel Leo Ryan, emeritus of Springfield in Illinois, United States of America, on 31 December 2015 at the age of 85.

- Bishop Barnabas Rugwizangonga Halem ’Imana, emeritus of Kabale, Uganda, on 3 January 2016 at the age of 87.

- Bishop Alberto Iniesta Jimenez, auxiliary emeritus of Madrid, Spain, on 3 January 2016 at the age of 92.

- Bishop Raymond William Lessard, emeritus of Savannah, Georgia, United States of America, on 3 January 2016 at the age of 85.

- Bishop Carlos Milciades Villalba Aquino, emeritus of San Juan Bautista de las Misiones, Paraguay, on 8 January 2016 at the age of 91.

- Bishop Paul-Marie Francois Rousset, Ist. del Prado, emeritus of Saint-Etienne, France, on 9 January 2016 at the age of 94.

- Archbishop Francis Thomas Hurley, emeritus of Anchorage, Alaska, USA, on 10 January 2016 at the age of 88.

- Bishop Albert Onyembo Lomandjo, C.S.Sp., emeritus of Kindu, Democratic Republic of Congo, 11 January 2016 at the age of 84.

- Archbishop Daniel Joseph Bohan, of Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada, on 15 January 2016 at the age of 74.

- Archbishop Francis Bible Schulte, emeritus of New Orleans, Louisiana, United States of America, on 17 January 2016 at the age of 89.

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