It is error alone which needs the support of government. Truth can stand by itself. -- Thomas Jefferson

Friday, September 30, 2011


VATICAN CITY, 30 SEP 2011 (VIS) - On 27 September Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, secretary for Relations with States, addressed the sixty-sixth General Assembly of the United Nations in New York, focusing his remarks on the principal challenges facing the international community: humanitarian emergencies, lack of religious freedom and the economic crisis.

  On the first of these subjects, Archbishop Mamberti recalled how "in certain parts of the world, such as the Horn of Africa, we find ourselves facing grave and dramatic humanitarian crises which cause millions of people, mostly women and children, to flee there homes, and many have fallen victim to drought, hunger and malnutrition. The Holy See wishes to renew its appeal to the international community, an appeal repeatedly voiced by Benedict XVI, to increase and support humanitarian policies in those areas".

Christians are the most persecuted religious group

  The secretary for Relations with States then went on to consider the question of respect for religious freedom, which he described as "the fundamental way to build peace, to ensure recognition of human dignity and to protect the rights of man".

  "Unfortunately, many situations exist in which the right to religious freedom is denied to followers of various religions. At the same time we are seeing an increase in religiously motivated intolerance, and we note that Christians are currently the religious group suffering the greatest number of persecutions on account of their faith. Lack of respect for religious freedom is a threat to security and peace", the archbishop said.

  The solution to the problem lies "in a shared commitment to recognise and promote the religious freedom of each individual and each community". This requires "sincere inter-religious dialogue, promoted and practised by representatives of the various religious and supported by governments and international institutions".

  Archbishop Mamberti then turned his attention to the global economic crisis. "We know that a fundamental part of the current plight is a lack of ethics in economic structures", he said. "The economy cannot function only through market self-regulation, and even less so through agreements limited to balancing the interests of the most powerful groups. It needs an ethical raison d'etre to ensure that it works for mankind. The idea of producing goods and services ... without seeking to do good - in other words, without ethics - has shown itself to be an illusion, either ingenuous or cynical, but always with fatal results. All economic decisions have moral consequences. The economy needs ethics ... focused on the person and capable of offering prospects to the new generations".

  "The Holy See has repeatedly highlighted the need for fresh and profound reflection on the significance and objectives of economic activity, and for a clear-sighted revision of global financial and commercial structures in order to correct their dysfunctions and distortions. This revision of international economic rules must take place within the framework of a global model for development".

  Such a model has to take account of the notion of "family of nations" so as to pay greater attention to the needs of poorer peoples. "By its nature a family is a community founded on interdependence and mutual trust. ... Its full development is based not on the supremacy of the strongest, but on care for the weakest, ... and its responsibility extends to future generations". Thus, Archbishop Mamberti concluded, "development strategies must be created which focus on people, favouring solidarity and responsibility towards everyone, including future generations".

  On 26 September, the day prior to addressing the United Nations General Assembly, Archbishop Mamberti received a doctorate "honoris causa" from St. John's University in New York.
DELSS/                                                                                           VIS 20110930 (610)

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