On the G-8 Summit

"The Proclamation of Christ Is the First and Principal Factor of Development"

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VATICAN CITY, JULY 12, 2009 (Zenit.org).- Here is a translation of the address Benedict XVI gave today before and after praying the midday Angelus with crowds gathered in St. Peter's Square.



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Dear Brothers and Sisters!

In recent days everyone's attention has been on the G-8 summit in L'Aquila, a city that has suffered so much from the earthquake. Some of the topics on the agenda were dramatically urgent. In the world there are social inequalities and structural injustices that are no longer tolerable, that demand, besides the right and proper immediate interventions, a coordinated strategy to find long lasting general solutions. During the summit the heads of state and of governments of the G-8 again stressed the necessity of arriving at common accords with the purpose of assuring humanity a better future.

The Church does not have technical solutions to present, but, as an expert in humanity, she offers to everyone the teaching of the sacred Scripture on the truth about man and proclaims the Gospel of Love and justice. Last Wednesday, commenting on the encyclical "Caritas in Veritate" during the general audience -- the encyclical was published on the eve of the G-8 summit -- I said that "[a] new economic plan is needed that will reshape development in a global way, basing itself on the fundamental ethics of responsibility before God and before man as a creature of God." This is because -- as I wrote in the encyclical -- "[i]n an increasingly globalized society, the common good and the effort to obtain it cannot fail to assume the dimensions of the whole human family" (No. 7).

Already the great Pontiff, Paul VI, in the encyclical "Populorum Progressio," recognized and pointed to the global horizon of the social question. Following the same route, I too indicated the need to dedicate "Caritas in Veritate" to such a question, that, in our time, has become a "radically anthropological question," in the sense, that is, that the way itself of conceiving man is more and more placed in the hands of man himself by modern biotechnology (cf. ibid. No. 75). The solutions to the current problems of humanity cannot be merely technical, but must take account of all the needs of the person, who is endowed with soul and body, and must thus take the Creator, God, into consideration. The "absolutism of technology," which finds its highest expression in certain practices that are contrary to life, could design gloomy scenarios for the future of humanity. The deeds that do not respect the true dignity of the person, even when they seem to be based on a "loving decision," are in reality the fruit of a "materialistic and mechanistic understanding of human life" that reduces love without truth to "an empty shell, filled in an arbitrary way" (cf. No. 6) and could in this way lead to negative effects for integral human development.

Despite the complexity of the current situation of the world, the Church looks to the future with hope and reminds Christians that "the proclamation of Christ is the first and principal factor of development." Precisely today in the collect of the Mass, the Church invites us to pray: "Grant us, Father, not to hold anything more dear than your Son, who reveals to the world the mystery of your love and the true dignity of man." May the Virgin Mary obtain for us [the grace] to walk the path of development with our whole heart and intelligence, "that is to say, with the ardor of charity and the wisdom of truth" (cf. No. 8).

[After the Angelus the Pope greeted the pilgrims in various languages. Here is a translation of the some of the remarks he made in Italian:]

In these days I am following the events in Honduras with lively concern. Today I would like to invite you to pray for that dear country so that, through the maternal intercession of Our Lady of Suyapa, the authorities of the nation and all its inhabitants can patiently follow the way of dialogue, of reciprocal understanding, and reconciliation. That is possible if, overcoming particularist tendencies, everyone makes an effort to seek the truth and pursue the common good with tenacity: This is the condition for assuring peaceful coexistence and authentic democratic life! I assure the beloved Honduran people of my prayer and impart a special apostolic benediction.

Tomorrow, if it pleases God, I will depart for a brief period of rest in the mountains. I will travel to Valle d'Aosta, to Les Combes, an area that is celebrated for the sojourns of my beloved predecessor John Paul II and also much loved by me. In saying "goodbye" to St. Peter's Square and to the city of Rome, I invite all to accompany me with prayer. Prayer does not know distances and separations: wherever we are, it makes us one heart and one soul.

In regard to departures, I will take this occasion once again to stress the duty of all to be prudent in driving and to respect highway laws. A good vacation truly begins with this!

[Translation by Joseph G. Trabbic]

[In English, he said]

I am pleased to greet the English-speaking visitors here today. I know that some of you have come from as far away as Sydney, Australia, and I extend a particular welcome to you, remembering the joyful celebration of World Youth Day in your city almost exactly a year ago. To all who are on pilgrimage or on holiday at this time, I offer the assurance of my prayers that you will find refreshment in body and spirit and an opportunity to draw closer to the Lord in prayer and thanksgiving. May God bestow his blessings of joy and peace upon all of you, and upon your families and loved ones at home.

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