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Pope calls for common good, ethical responsibility in science, technology ‎



“Science, like any other human activity, has its limits which should be observed for the ‎good of ‎humanity itself, and requires a sense of ethical responsibility,” Pope Francis said on Saturday.  “The true measure of progress, as ‎Blessed ‎Paul VI recalled, is that which is aimed at the good of each man and the whole man,” the Pope told some 83 participants in the plenary assembly of the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Culture.  The participants met the Pope at the conclusion of their Nov.15-18 assembly which discussed the theme, “The Future of Humanity: New Challenges to Anthropology.” 

Click below to listen to our report:



Incredible advances

The Pope said, the Church wants to give the correct direction to man at the dawn of a new era marked by incredible advances in medicine, genetics, neuroscience and “autonomous” machines.  Speaking about the incredible advances in genetics, he noted that diseases that were considered incurable until recently have been eradicated, and new possibilities have opened up to “programme” human beings with certain “qualities”. 

Not all the answers

The Pope said that “science and technology have helped us to further the boundaries of knowledge of nature, especially of the human being,” but they alone are not enough to give all the answers. ‎“Today,” he explained, “we ‎increasingly realize that it is necessary to draw from the treasures of wisdom of ‎religious ‎traditions, popular wisdom, literature and the arts that touch the depths of the mystery of ‎human ‎existence, without forgetting, but rather by rediscovering those contained in philosophy and ‎theology.‎”

Church teachings

In this regard, the Pope pointed to two principles of the Church’s  teaching. The first is the “centrality of the human person, which is to be considered an end and not a means.”  Man must be in harmony ‎with creation, not as a despot about God‘s inheritance, but as a loving guardian of the work ‎of the Creator.‎

The second principle is the universal destination of goods, including that of ‎knowledge and technology. Scientific and technological progress, the Pope explained, should serve the good of all humanity, and ‎not just a few, and this will help avoid new inequalities in the future based on knowledge, and prevent widening of the gap between the rich and the poor.  The Holy Father insisted that great decisions regarding the direction scientific research should take, and investment in it, should be taken together by the whole of society and should not be ‎dictated solely by market rules or by the interests of a few.‎  And finally, the Pope said, one must keep in mind that not everything that is technically possible or feasible is ethically acceptable. 

(from Vatican Radio)



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The Vatican calls for integral nuclear disarmament



(Vatican Radio) The Vatican is calling for integral nuclear disarmament. According to the preliminary conclusions of a just-ended high level symposium entitled “Prospects for a World Free of Nuclear Weapons and for Integral Disarmament”, integral disarmament is both an urgent immediate need and a long-term process.

The symposium, organized by the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development got underway as tensions escalated between the US and North Korea. 

It saw the participation of eleven Nobel peace laureates, top United Nations and NATO officials, leading experts, ‎heads of  major foundations and of civil society organizations, as well representatives of bishops conferences, Christian denominations and other faiths. Pope Francis addressed the gathering on Friday.

Wrapping up the symposium on Saturday, Cardinal Peter Turkson, President of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, read out the following preliminary conclusions

The Dicastery brought together religious leaders and representatives of civil society, officials of States and international organizations, noted academics and Nobel Laureates and students, to illuminate the connections between integral disarmament and integral development, and to explore the links among development, disarmament and peace.  As our Holy Father, Pope Francis, repeatedly reminds us, “everything is connected.” 

1.     The use and possession of nuclear weapons deserves condemnation since they are indiscriminate and disproportionate instruments of war. In addressing us, Pope Francis said, “If we also take into account the risk of an accidental detonation as a result of error of any kind, the threat of their use, as well as their very possession, is to be firmly condemned.” Similarly, reprehensible are tests of nuclear weapons and the fall out which contaminate the atmosphere and the oceans; as global public good their contamination could constitute crimes against humanity.

2.     Nuclear deterrence does not adequately address the challenges of security in a multi-polar world.  In March 2017 our Holy Father wrote in a message: “If we take into consideration the principal threats to peace and security with their many dimensions in this multipolar world of the twenty-first century as, for example, terrorism, asymmetrical conflicts, cybersecurity, environmental problems, poverty, not a few doubts arise regarding the inadequacy of nuclear deterrence as an effective response to such challenges.”

3.     Nuclear deterrence does not create a stable or secure peace; it contributes to fear and conflict.  As our Holy Father said to us: “Weapons of mass destruction, particularly nuclear weapons, create nothing but a false sense of security.”  They also create a culture of “mutual intimidation” in the international system.

4.     Spending on nuclear weapons wastes resources that are needed to address the root causes of conflicts and to promote development and peace. 

5.     The humanitarian impacts of the use of nuclear weapons are devastating and planetary.

6.     A world without nuclear weapons is possible. Pope Francis encouraged us to hope that “…progress that is effective and inclusive can achieve the utopia of a world free of deadly instruments of aggression…..”

7.     Peace is built on the foundation of justice. Integral disarmament and integral development are connected.  As Pope Francis recalled, Pope Paul VI “set forth the notion of integral human development and proposed it as ‘the new name for peace’.”

8.     Nuclear disarmament is a global issue, requiring a global response.  As Pope Francis wrote in March 2017:  “Growing interdependence and globalization mean that any response to the threat of nuclear weapons should be collective and concerted, based on mutual trust.”

9.      Integral disarmament is both an immediate urgent need and a long-term process.  In March 2017 Pope Francis made clear:  “Achieving a world without nuclear weapons involves a long-term process, based on the awareness that ‘everything is connected’ within the perspective of an integral ecology (cf. Laudato Si’, 117, 138). The common destiny of mankind demands the pragmatic strengthening of dialogue and the building and consolidating of mechanisms of trust and cooperation, capable of creating the conditions for a world without nuclear weapons.”

10.  Dialogue is essential.  This dialogue must be inclusive, engaging both nuclear States and non-nuclear States, and involving civil society, international organizations, governments and religious communities.  In particular, the Catholic Church is committed to advance this dialogue at all levels.

11.  Call upon States that have not yet done so, to consider signing and ratifying the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.

12.  Most importantly, let us commit our efforts to the call for integral nuclear disarmament to prayer by all!

Everything is connected; and everyone is connected.  Together we can rid the world of nuclear weapons, invest in integral human development, and build peace.  These preliminary conclusions do not represent the end of the conversation, but rather the beginning of future dialogue and action.

(from Vatican Radio)



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Pope Francis calls for new social contract for labour



(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has urged companies and businesses to bring more young people into the workplace saying it is both “foolish and short-sighted” to force workers to carry on working in old-age.

The Pope’s words came as he addressed representatives and members of Italy’s CISLConfederation of Trade Unions – whom he received in the Vatican.

Francis  described work as a “form of civil love” that allows men and women not only to earn their livings and flourish as persons, but also to keep the world going. 

But, he pointed out that work is not everything and no one must work all the time. He also said that there are people who must not work – like children – who must be safeguarded from child labour – sick people whose right it is not to work, and elderly people who have a right to a “just pension”.

And on the topic of pensions, the Pope denounced both the “golden retirements” given to some pensioners and the meager ones given to others and said that both are an offense to the dignity of work.

He also made a strong appeal to employers and policy-makers saying that “a society that forces its workers to work for too long, thus keeping an entire generation of young people from taking their places, is foolish and short-sighted”.

“There is an urgent need – the Pope said – for a new social contract for labour” in order to bring more young people into the workforce.

Highlighting the “epochal challenges” faced by trade unions at this time in history, he urged them to be the prophetic face of society, to continue to give voice to the voiceless and to defend the rights of the most fragile and vulnerable workers.

“In our advanced capitalistic societies, trade unions risk losing their prophetic nature and becoming too similar to the institutions and the powers they should be criticizing. With the passing of time Unions have ended up looking too much like political parties” he said.

The other fundamental challenge for Unions Pope Francis pinpointed is that of the capacity to be renewed and updated.

Not only, he explained, must Unions protect those who are within the system, it must also look to and protect those who have no rights, because those who are excluded from the world of work are deprived of their rights and excluded from democracy.

Pope Francis concluded his address with a reflection on how capitalism seems to have forgotten the social nature of economy.

“Let us think, he said, of the 40% of young people in Italy who have no work. That is the existential periphery where you have to take action.”

“And women, he said, are still considered second class workers; they earn less and they are more easily exploited” he said: “Do something!”

(from Vatican Radio)



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Pope calls Consistory to approve causes for canonization



(Vatican Radio) On 20 April 2017, Thursday of Easter Week, Pope Francis will hold an ordinary public Consistory for the vote of the Cardinals on several causes for canonization.

Five causes of canonization are set for approval by the Cardinals:

  • The Martyrs of Natal, Brazil: Andrea de Soveral, Ambrogio Francesco Ferro, diocesan priests, along with Matteo Moreira, a layman, and 27 companions, martyrs;
  • Cristóbal, Antonio, and Juan, of Mexico, young martyrs;
  • Faustino Míguez, Spanish Piarist priest, and founder of the Calasanzian Institute of the Daughters of the Divine Shepherdess;
  • Angelo da Acri (in the world: Luca Antonio Falcone), Italian professed priest of the Franciscan Order of Friars Minor – Capuchin;
  • The visionaries of Fatima, Francesco Marto and Jacinto Marto, children.

The vote of the Cardinals is the final formality after Pope Francis gave approval for the causes to move forward. Upon receiving the approval of the Cardinals in Consistory, the Church will set dates for the canonization of the Blesseds. 

(from Vatican Radio)



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Holy See calls for end to Syria violence



(Vatican Radio) A senior Vatican archbishop has urged all sides of the Syrian conflict to end violence and restore solidarity in the wake of a deadly chemical gas attack.

Archbishop Paul Gallagher, Secretary for the Holy See’s Relations with States, called for increased funding from the international community for displaced people and refugees during an address at the European Union in Brussels.

The conference, called “Supporting the future of Syria and the region”, came just one day after 72 people were killed and more than 100 were injured in an chemical weapons attack in the north of the country.

Archbishop Gallagher said: “The Holy See invites all parties to the Syrian conflict to spare no effort to end the seemingly endless cycle of violence, to restore that sense of solidarity that is the basis of social cohesion and peaceful coexistence.

“While the crisis has entered, regrettably and painfully, into its seventh year, the Holy See remains deeply concerned about the tremendous human suffering, affecting millions of innocent children and other civilians who remain deprived of essential humanitarian aid, medical facilities and education, and urges that international humanitarian law be fully respected, particularly with regard to the protection of civilian populations, guaranteeing them access to necessary medical assistance.

“Furthermore, the Holy See also expresses its concern for the conditions and treatment of prisoners and detainees.”

He spoke of the Holy See’s deep concern for the “vulnerable situation of Christians and religious minorities in the Middle East, who suffer disproportionately the effects of war and social upheaval in the region, to such an extent that their very presence and existence are gravely threatened.”

The Archbishop’s words come as Pope Francis deplored the “carnage” of the gas attack in Idlib province during his Wednesday General Audience and appealed for a halt to the tragedy.

Archbishop Gallagher pledged a renewed humanitarian assistance by the Church in 2017, building on the $200 million of aid given by Catholic charities last year.

The conference brought together 70 countries  and international organisations from across the world and was chaired jointly by the European Union, the United Nations and several national governments.

It comes a year after a summit in London at which the international community pledged significant financial support for humanitarian assistance in Syria and promoted a political solution to the crisis.

(Richard Marsden)

(from Vatican Radio)



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