“Expo Zaragoza 2008,” an international exposition with the theme, “Water and sustainable development was presented today at the Holy See Press Office. The expo will be held in Zaragoza, Spain from June 14 – September 14.
In his remarks, Cardinal Renato Raffaele Martino, president of the Pontifical Council of Justice and Peace, expressed the hope that the forthcoming exposition "will provide an opportunity to explore and raise awareness of water in the life of the world. This will be important for two reasons. First, the Social Doctrine of the Church recognizes the nature of water as life-giving. ... Satisfying the needs of all, especially of those who live in poverty, must guide the use of water and of the services connected with it," he said.
"The second reason takes us back to our faith. At our Baptism, water was used as a sign of cleansing and new life. ... Water is life giving - both physical and spiritual; it is through water that we are invited to share in the life of Christ."
The cardinal also recalled one of the goals of the United Nations’ Millennium Development, to halve the number of people unable to access safe drinking water by the year 2015. He pointed out that “clean water and safe sanitation are acknowledged as essential elements in the lives of every human being."
A guided tour of the expo is divided into three stages: The first presents water as a life-source; the second contains art associated with water and its role in Salvation History; and the third is dedicated to the many people who have limited access to this vital element and need to solve this problem.
The Holy See will also participate in an international ecological congress promoted by the expo, to be held from July 10-12, on the theme: "The ecological question: the life of man in the world." It has been organized by the archdiocese of Zaragoza and the Pontifical Council of Justice and Peace, and will be attended by numerous international experts on the subject.