Dignity of man central to 'rethinking solidarity,' says Pope

Pope Francis rides through St Peters Square after Mass on April 28 2013 Credit Stephen Driscoll CNA 3 CNA 4 29 13 Pope Francis rides through St. Peters Square after Mass on April 28, 2013. | Stephen Driscoll/CNA.

Speaking to an international group dedicated to promoting education of the Church's social teaching, Pope Francis called for a new economic view that places the human person at the center.

"We must return to the centrality of man, to a more ethical view of business and human relations, without the fear of losing something," the Pope said on May 25.

Pope Francis addressed members of the Fondazione Centesimus Annus Pro Pontifice at the end of their three-day conference at the Vatican. Founded by Blessed Pope John Paul II in 1993, the organization is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year.

The Holy Father greeted the members of the international gathering and thanked them for their efforts to promote a greater understanding of the Church's social doctrine.

He reflected on the theme of the conference, "Rethinking solidarity for employment: the challenges of the 21st century."

The call to "rethink solidarity" is not a call to challenge Church teaching, but rather to apply it to the new circumstances and situations presented by the ever-changing socio-economic development of the modern world, the Pope said.

It is also an opportunity to deepen reflection on the value of solidarity, a key component of Catholic social teaching which is deeply rooted in the Gospel, he added.

Pointing to the "current economic and social crisis," Pope Francis explained that rising joblessness makes the task of rethinking solidarity more urgent.

"There is no worse form of material poverty… than that which makes it impossible to earn a living and which deprives someone of the dignity of work," he stated.

"The current crisis is not only economic and financial, but is rooted in an ethical crisis and anthropology," the Holy Father observed, noting that all too often, profit and power are turned into "idols," while the value of the human person is forgotten.

He reiterated the words of his predecessor, Benedict XVI, that the human dimension of the economic sphere must not be forgotten.

He also urged the restoration of solidarity as a "social value," noting that much of the business and economic world do not hold it in high esteem.

Observing that ethical and economic problems are widespread, Pope Francis stressed that rethinking solidarity will require not only aid to the poor, but also a global reform of the system in ways that respect the inherent rights and dignity of the human person.

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