Privatizing religion impedes human progress, says Pope

.- On Saturday morning, the Holy Father met in the Clementine Room of the Apostolic Palace with participants in a convention titled “Development, Progress, Common Good.” The convention was sponsored by the Centesimus Annus-Pro Pontifice Foundation, a lay organization dedicated to teaching about the social doctrine of the Church.

The Pope expressed his appreciation for the convention's focus, commenting that the human family becomes more and more free "when globalization is guided by solidarity and the common good, as well as by the relative social justice, that find a precious wellspring in the message of Christ and of the Church.”

The worldwide problems and crises among states, societies and economies, he said, are largely due to a lack of trust and creative, dynamic and united efforts to achieve the common good.

"The common good," he highlighted, "is the finality that gives sense to progress and development ..."

Explaining the necessity of ethics to global development, especially in regard to the weakest countries, the Pope also said that "politics must have primacy on finance and ethics must orient every activity."

He went on to describe the responsibility of all members of global society, marked by diverse peoples and religions, to contribute to the common good and integral development. Religions, underscored Benedict XVI, are "decisive" in this area, "especially when they teach fraternity and peace," thus opening minds to God and the transcendent.

"The exclusion of religions from the public sphere, as, on the other hand, religious fundamentalism, impede the encounter between people and their collaboration for the progress of humanity; the life of society is impoverished of motivations and politics assume an oppressive and aggressive face."

Pope Benedict wrapped up the audience by pointing to the social doctrine of the Church as the source of the Christian vision on these matters and called the convention's efforts to deepen and spread it "a valid offering to edify 'the civilization of love.'"

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