Pope Greets Meeting on Global Emergencies

Scientists Discussing Terrorism, Natural Resources

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VATICAN CITY, AUG. 25, 2006 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI sent his greetings to some 100 scientists from 26 countries gathered for the 36th Erice International Seminar on Planetary Emergencies in Sicily.



In a telegram signed by the Vatican secretary of state, Cardinal Angelo Sodano, the Pope expressed the hope that the working sessions held from Aug. 19-24 were successful.

The telegram was addressed to Antonino Zichichi, director of the Ettore Majorana Center and president of the World Federation of Scientists.

Benedict XVI also assured the event's organizers and participants of his prayers, and sent his apostolic blessing.

Defending the planet

Zichichi, in comments to Vatican Radio, said that "the scientists in Erice want the greater public to understand that we are all embarked on the same spaceship. It is our duty to defend it."

"The cultural emergency is one of the most devastating consequences. The most dramatic is terrorism, which sets us back centuries," said the scientist, who is also a member of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences.

Among the criticisms made at the meeting was the attitude in face of the worldwide energy crisis, which, according to the scientists, is not being addressed by making better use of resources.

Zichichi continued: "Hundreds of millions of people enter the energy market every year, as all want to live better. We are devourers of energy. We cannot avoid this appeal. We must come to an agreement so that the atmosphere will not be turned into a gas chamber."

In order to decrease contamination, the seminar studied the possibility of developing fourth generation nuclear plants.

Also studied were the dangers that asteroids and comets represent for the planet, which, the professor said, at a certain moment "might surprise us" with an impact.

Other areas of study included the risks resulting from recent Internet developments and possible epidemics through mutations of existing viruses.