.- In his remarks at a U.N. economic meeting on Friday, Archbishop Celestino Migliore, the head of the Holy Seeâs permanent observer mission to the United Nations, asked that the poorest countries be given priority at this time of economic crisis. He endorsed the adoption of an âethical approachâ by those active in international markets and those in political office.
Speaking to the Conference on the World Financial and Economic Crisis and Its Impact on Development, Archbishop Migliore said the World Bank has estimated an additional 55-90 million people will be trapped in âextreme povertyâ in 2009, while the number of chronically hungry people may climb over 1 billion individuals this year.
For the Holy See, he explained, there is a âcompelling moral obligationâ to address worsening social and economic disparities which âundermine the basic dignity of so many.â
The archbishop endorsed proposals to provide the vulnerable with âshort-term stabilization measuresâ and long-term measures to help ensure âsustainable financial flows,â thus reducing the likelihood economic crisis will recur.
âWe also urge that the future agenda be not overly ambitious,â he said, advocating âtangible relief.â
âThe new global crisis should not be a pretext for forgetting old concerns,â Archbishop Migliore cautioned. He said eliminating agricultural export subsidies was an âessentially moralâ and âurgentâ prerogative that could provide âsignificant benefitsâ to very poor developing countries.
The archbishop also criticized what he said was the crisisâ underlying ideology, one that places individuals and individual desires âat the center of all economic decisions.â
âThe practice of economics has reflected this ideological focus and has sought to remove values and morality from economic discussions rather than seeking to integrate these concerns into creating a more effective and just financial system,â he critiqued.
âThis world view has created a society in which short-term economic and personal gains are made at the expense of others and have the effect of creating an individualism lacking recognition of the shared rights and responsibilities necessary to create a society respecting the dignity of all people,â Migliore said.
Archbishop Migliore then recalled Pope Benedict XVIâs World Day of Peace reflections, which placed âspecial emphasisâ on the need for âa strong sense of global solidarityâ between rich and poor countries to address poverty.
Noting that international commerce and finance has processes that allow for a âpositive integration of economicsâ that leads to an overall improvement in conditions, the archbishop also warned of negative processes that marginalize peoples and lead to war and conflicts.
Only an âethical approachâ advancing âinclusive participationâ can achieve true global solidarity, the archbishop concluded.