On Saturday Pope Benedict XVI received members of the Centesimus Annus Pro Pontifice organization, telling them that “harmonious” human development is possible and that mankind must remain the focus of all economic planning.
The Holy Father took the opportunity to comment on the group’s discussions about the need to “promote a form of global development that remains attentive to the integral promotion of mankind.”
"Harmonious development is possible," Pope Benedict said, "if political and economic choices ... take into account the fundamental principles which make [such development] accessible to everyone: ... subsidiarity and solidarity."
“Only a shared culture of responsible and active participation will enable human beings to consider themselves not just as users or passive witnesses, but active participants in world development," he said.
Profit must be prevented from becoming “purely individual,” and forms of collectivism oppressive of personal freedom must be avoided. “Economic and commercial interests must never become exclusive, because this would be an effective affront to human dignity," Pope Benedict said.
"On the last day, on the Day of Judgment, we will be asked whether we used what God placed at our disposal to meet legitimate requirements, to help our fellow man, especially the smallest and those most in need", he concluded.
Centesimus Annus Pro Pontifice, according to its website, is a lay-led pontifical organization dedicated to lay education and evangelization of Catholic social doctrine as contained in Pope John Paul II’s encyclical Centisimus Annus. The organization, which is composed of business people, academics and professionals, was founded by Pope John Paul II in 1993.