Pope Francis to Merkel, G20 leaders: put people at centre

by | 8 Jul, 2017 | News

Pope Francis has sent a Message to the heads of the Group of 20 nations, who are gathered in Hamburg, Germany from July 7-8.

Addressed directly to German Chancellor Angela Merkel, the Message details four principles of action, which the Holy Father offers as guides for the building of fraternal, just and peaceful societies: time is greater than space; unity prevails over conflict; realities are more important than ideas; and the whole is greater than the part.

Pope Francis expresses the hope that those four principles – drawn from his Apostolic Exhortation, Evangelii gaudium – might also serve as an aid to reflection for the Hamburg meeting and for the assessment of its outcome.

The Holy Father’s reflections touch on several pressing issues, including the ongoing migration crisis.

“In the minds and hearts of government leaders, and at every phase of the enactment of political measures, there is a need to give absolute priority to the poor, refugees, the suffering, evacuees and the excluded, without distinction of nation, race, religion or culture, and to reject armed conflicts,” Pope Francis writes.

The Holy Father also addresses the situation in South Sudan, the Lake Chad basin, the Horn of Africa and Yemen, where thirty million people are lacking the food and water needed to survive, writing, “A commitment to meet these situations with urgency and to provide immediate support to those peoples will be a sign of the seriousness and sincerity of the mid-term commitment to reforming the world economy and a guarantee of its sound development.”

Writing on the ever-present threat and reality of conflict in the world, the Holy Father recalls the upcoming hundredth anniversary of Pope Benedict XV’s Letter to the Leaders of the Warring Peoples, asking that the world put an end to all these “useless slaughters. [Emphasis in original]

“War,” Pope Francis writes, “is never a solution.”

Pope Francis goes on to write of the urgent need to overcome ideological divides.

“The fateful ideologies of the first half of the twentieth century have been replaced by new ideologies of absolute market autonomy and financial speculation,” he writes.

Calling for a recovery of, “a sound and prudent pragmatism, guided by the primacy of the human being and the attempt to integrate and coordinate diverse and at times opposed realities, on the basis of respect for each and every citizen,” which was the hallmark of, “the significant political and economic achievements of the past century,” the Holy Father prays that the Hamburg Summit may be illumined by the example of those European and world leaders who consistently gave pride of place to dialogue and the quest of common solutions, especially Schuman, De Gasperi, Adenauer, and Monnet.

“Problems, Pope Francis goes on to write, “need to be resolved concretely and with due attention to their specificity, but such solutions, to be lasting, cannot neglect a broader vision.  They must likewise consider eventual repercussions on all countries and their citizens, while respecting the views and opinions of the latter.”

He then repeats the warning that Benedict XVI addressed to the G20 London Summit in 2009, to the effect that the states and individuals whose voices are weakest on the world political scene, are precisely the ones who suffer most from the harmful effects of economic crises for which they bear little or no responsibility, and that this  great majority, which in economic terms counts for only 10% of the whole, is the portion of humanity that has the greatest potential to contribute to the progress of everyone.

“Consequently,” he writes, “there is need to make constant reference to the United Nations, its programmes and associated agencies, and regional organizations, to respect and honour international treaties, and to continue promoting a multilateral approach, so that solutions can be truly universal and lasting, for the benefit of all.”



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