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)
" 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[103], as they assume their respective responsibilities, singly and collectively." (CIV, 42)

Related Thoughts on Globalization

.."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"
"Do not expect peace in society without seeking the common good.""More than a tinge of urgency can be Pope Francis' comments on business and economics in his Exhortation, 'Evangelii Gaudium.'" Taken from "Francis - an economic reformer and provocateur"
We must go from here with a sense of urgency, in haste.  The going out: that is the greatest task of all.  This conference, much like the Church, is not a place that we “come to.”  It is a place we “go from.” Taken from "A Time to Gather, A Time to Reflect: Poverty and Developmnt Conference Summary"

Related Events on Globalization

6 days
Certificate Course in Catholic Social Teaching

Sunday, October 29, 2017 at 3:00pm

Washington Retreat House

Related Speakers / Panelists / Authors on: Globalization

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Just a Thought
Consumerism arises from a misunderstanding about the meaning of life and the real source of human happiness: consumerism is the mistaken idea that the consumption of things and experiences leads to happiness. It is an addiction to buying things, to spending money, as a solution to the lack of happiness and peace in one’s life, in one’s family. Read more