Contemporary Issue: Globalization
The massive wheels of Globalization - generating the integration of disparate political, socio-economic, environmental, and cultural systems, ideologies, and paradigms at an international scale - are turning ever faster, as the people of our planet become more and more interconnected by - and in - the development of technology.
What this ultimately means for us remains as yet to be fully seen; nevertheless our Holy Fathers have laid a framework - within Catholic Social Teaching - of several essential elements of the globalization process that are of enormous consequence to how we may determine the course of globalization. And while Pope Saint John Paul II acknowledged that the integration and development of nations is contingent upon fair participation in the international economy,
"Recent experience has shown that... the countries which experienced development were those which succeeded in taking part in the general interrelated economic activities at the international level. It seems therefore that the chief problem is that of gaining fair access to the international market..." (CA, 33)
he also made clear that, at its essence, globalization must serve the common good.
"Globalization, a priori, is neither good nor bad. It will be what people make of it. No system is an end in itself, and it is necessary to insist that globalization, like any other system, must be at the service of the human person; it must serve solidarity and the common good." (Address of Pope John Paul II to Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences, 2001, 2.)
Our newest Roman Pontiff, His Holiness Pope Francis, with regards to the Saint's words above, has most emphatically characterized one extant enemy of the common good in our world today:
"New ideologies, characterized by rampant individualism, egocentrism and materialistic consumerism, weaken social bonds, fuelling that “throw away” mentality which leads to contempt for, and the abandonment of, the weakest and those considered “useless”."(Pope Francis, World Day of Peace Message, 1 January 2014, 1)
This "throw away" mentality is at odds with the principle of Human Dignity, and its essence, humanity. Francis' predecessor reminded us that The Church's mission is to advance humanity as a whole so that its people might encounter God, and thereby live in abundance:
"In a world which often feels that God is superfluous or extraneous, we confess with Peter that he alone has “the words of eternal life” (Jn 6:68). There is no greater priority than this: to enable the people of our time once more to encounter God, the God who speaks to us and shares his love so that we might have life in abundance (cf. Jn 10:10). (Benedict XVI, Verbum Domini - On the Word of God in the Life and Mission of The Church, 2010
So too did Pope Benedict XVI identify in his magesterial texts both the role of the Church, and the role of the human person, as indispensable to steering the wheels of globalization:
"Globalization is a multifaceted and complex phenomenon which must be grasped in the diversity and unity of all its different dimensions, including the theological dimension."(CIV, 42)
"...it is useful to remember that while globalization should certainly be understood as a socio-economic process, this is not its only dimension. Underneath the more visible process, humanity itself is becoming increasingly interconnected; it is made up of individuals and peoples to whom this process should offer benefits and development, as they assume their respective responsibilities, singly and collectively." (CIV, 42)
Related Thoughts on Globalization
Pope Francis affirms the necessity of harmonious collaboration among all social forces (business men and women, governments, civil society), with each one committed, according to their area of expertise and responsibility, to the pursuit of the common good. Taken from "Poverty and Development: a Catholic Perspective - Conference Dinner Event Address by His Eminence, Pietro Cardinal Parolin"
.."terrorism represents a fundamental threat to our common humanity." ...At the same time, it should be stressed that to counter the phenomenon of terrorism, achieving cultural understanding among peoples and countries and social justice for all is indispensable. For "whenever adherence to a specific religious tradition gives birth to service that shows conviction, generosity and concern for the whole of society without making distinctions, then there, too, exists an authentic and mature living out of religious freedom." Taken from "Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican Secretary of State, Address to UN Security Council Open Debate on Terrorism"
Catholic Social Teaching is a set of values for us to internalize, to evaluate the framework of modern society, and to provide criteria for prudential judgement and direction for current policy and action. Taken from "Precisely, What is Catholic Social Teaching? (Audio)"
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