In a message to Britain’s Prime Minister David Cameron, Pope Francis underscored that the “material and spiritual welfare” of every person must be the impetus behind political and economic efforts to remedy the economic crisis and help the poor.
The goal of both economics and politics, the Pope said in his June 15 letter, “is to serve humanity, beginning with the poorest and most vulnerable wherever they may be, even in their mothers’ wombs.”
Pope Francis wrote his reply to David Cameron after the British prime minister sent him a letter dated June 5, in which he outlined his priorities for the United Kingdom’s turn as president of the Group of Eight Industrialized Nations, which is meeting June 17-18 in Northern Ireland.
The prime minister told the Pope that he wants to help developing and developed nations by “restoring strong and sustainable growth to the world economy.” He plans to employ as tools: increasing international cooperation to prevent tax evasion, expanding free trade and improving governmental transparency.
The Holy Father responded to Cameron’s plan by writing, “(i)f this topic is to attain its broadest and deepest resonance, it is necessary to ensure that all political and economic activity, whether national or international, makes reference to man.”
“Every economic and political theory or action,” the Pope explained, “must set about providing each inhabitant of the planet with the minimum wherewithal to live in dignity and freedom, with the possibility of supporting a family, educating children, praising God and developing one's own human potential.”
“This is the main thing,” he stated, “in the absence of such a vision, all economic activity is meaningless.”
“Money and other political and economic means must serve, not rule, bearing in mind that, in a seemingly paradoxical way, free and disinterested solidarity is the key to the smooth functioning of the global economy,” Pope Francis wrote, repeating a theme that has frequently appeared in his daily homilies.
The G8 is holding its annual meeting in Lough Erne, Northern Ireland and one topic that will certainly be raised is the ongoing conflict in Syria.
On that score, the Pope said, “I earnestly hope that the Summit will help to obtain an immediate and lasting cease-fire and to bring all parties in the conflict to the negotiating table.”
He also observed that achieving peace “demands a far-sighted renunciation of certain claims, in order to build together a more equitable and just peace.”
Pope Francis told Prime Minister Cameron that he is pleased to see that Britain is working to place man at the center of its priorities by listing among its goals improving food security and protecting women and children from sexual violence during conflict.