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Pope: Religious values must be part of solving world's problems
By
Cindy Wooden
Source: Catholic News Service
Published: Thursday, June 18, 2009
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VATICAN CITY (CNS)—The discussions and policy proposals of the leaders of the world's richest nations must promote the common good of all people and respect basic moral values, Pope Benedict XVI said.
 
At the end of his weekly general audience June 17, Pope Benedict greeted 129 religious leaders from around the world who had been meeting in Italy ahead of the G-8 summit, scheduled for early July.
 
Sponsored by the Italian bishops' conference and the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the meeting brought together representatives of major Christian denominations, as well as Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu and other leaders to offer their input on the G-8's expected discussions about the economic crisis, protecting the environment and access to clean water, peace and food security.
 
Pope Benedict told the religious leaders he was certain their reflections "will do much to draw the attention of world political leaders to the importance of religions within the social fabric of every society and to the grave duty to ensure that their deliberations and policies support and uphold the common good."
 
Italian President Giorgio Napolitano told the religious leaders June 16 that there was no hope of a future of prosperity and peace for the world's peoples "if we are not able to affirm, to reformulate the great values of coexistence, dialogue, respect for diversity and peaceful cooperation."
 
While religions and governments have different tasks, they need to work together to help the world's people, especially in overcoming the current economic crisis, which most people agree will require "the re-establishment of spiritual and moral values that largely have been absent from economic and political decisions," the president said.
 
Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, president of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue and a participant in the meeting, told the other leaders that they must convince politicians to place the economy at the service of the human person.

"If instead money is divinized, human relations are reduced to commercial affairs," natural resources are exploited and the inequalities between rich and poor increase, he said.


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