Keep the Wealth Gap from Widening, Asks Pope
Appeals to World Leaders for Measures to Globalize Solidarity
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VATICAN CITY, APRIL 11, 2002 (Zenit.org).- John Paul II appealed to political and economic leaders to take creative measures to ensure that globalization will not widen the gap between haves and have-nots.
"In the first place, it corresponds to political and economic authorities to do everything possible so that globalization will not take place in detriment of the least favored, the weakest, widening the gap between rich and poor, between rich nations and poor nations," the Pope exhorted.
The Holy Father made this proposal today when he received the members of the Pontifical Academy for Social Sciences, who are meeting this week in the Vatican. The members are continuing a yearlong reflection on democracy and globalization, and are now giving special attention to solidarity.
John Paul II has explained repeatedly that globalization presents positive aspects as well as "disturbing threats," particularly the "exacerbation of inequalities between powerful economies and dependent" ones.
This fact urges rethinking in an innovative way "on the question of solidarity," the Holy Father added.
The Bishop of Rome said that it "corresponds to the political sphere to regulate the markets, to subject market laws to solidarity, so that individuals and societies are not sacrificed by economic changes at all levels, and are protected from impulses linked to the deregulation of markets."
He encouraged the "agents of social, political and economic life to go further in the way of cooperation among people, businesses and nations so that the management of our earth will be at the service of persons and peoples, and not just of profit."
In order to achieve this objective, John Paul II proposed "collective decisions" at the "planetary level" directed "to implementing [these decisions] through a process that favors the responsible participation of all men, called to build their future together."
"The fostering of democratic models of government enables the totality of the population to be interested in the management of ´res publica´ [public affairs], based on a just conception of the human person," the Holy Father added.
"Social solidarity implies putting aside the simple pursuit of particular interests, which must be evaluated and harmonized in keeping with a hierarchy of balanced values," the Pope explained.
Therefore, the key to the future consists in "educating young generations in a spirit of solidarity, in an authentic culture of openness to the universal, and of attention to all peoples, regardless of their race, culture or religion," John Paul II continued.
In this connection, the Pope pointed out "the progressive lengthening of human life, solidarity between the generations must become the object of much attention, paying particular care of the weakest members, children and the elderly."
"In its journey toward greater unity, may today´s humanity transmit to future generations the goods of creation and the hope of a better future!" the Holy Father concluded.
John Paul II founded the pontifical academy in 1994 in order "to promote the study and progress of social, economic, political and juridical sciences in the light of the social doctrine of the Church," according to its statutes.
Its academics are named by the Pope. They cannot be fewer than 20, or more than 40. They are appointed without regard to their religious denomination, and are chosen for their high level of competence in the various social disciplines.
The academy´s president is professor Edmond Malinvaud of the National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies of Paris.