Catholic Intellectuals Wary of Alignment with Anti-Globalization

Warn Against Ideological Confusion

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MILAN, Italy, JULY 5, 2001 ( A group of 30 Catholic intellectuals, journalists and scientists signed a document distancing themselves from anti-globalization protest groups who seem to have little to say about Jesus or the culture of death.

The six-page document is also a response to a manifesto signed by 40 Catholic associations and nongovernmental organizations, in connection with the upcoming G-8 summit in Genoa.

The intellectuals say the manifesto «runs the risk of making Catholics go back to the situation [of] 25 years ago,» namely, «subordination to ideologies and slogans of political groups and movements that have nothing to do with our faith.»

The document attacks the position of the Italian Catholic associations that signed the manifesto — among them, Italian Workers´ Catholic Action, and the Christian Labor Movement — because «the signatories of the manifesto are long-winded in talking about the most varied subjects, but nowhere consider it necessary to mention that Jesus Christ is man´s only Savior, and this proclamation is their fundamental duty.»

The intellectuals point out that the manifesto´s signatories close ranks non-critically with the anti-globalization activists, so much so that, «they have eliminated all those topics that could have differentiated them from the ´people of Seattle.´»

«Not one word is said against mass abortion, euthanasia, programs of collective sterilization in Third World countries, or the experimental use of genetics in human beings,» the statement says.

The greatest fault is in the ideology of the anti-G-8 movement, the intellectuals say. They believe the movement´s roots lie in a «schematic ideology, Manichean brutality, and contempt for human reason that are absolutely irreconcilable with positive opening to the search for truth, which the Christian experience teaches us.»

The intellectuals believe that this is the consequence of the Marxist component of the anti-globalization movement, which goes so far as to «demonize development, technology and science.»

Moreover, the intellectuals contend, there is an ecology that borders on «religious fanaticism,» guilty of «nourishing collective phobias irresponsibly,» inspired in a pagan conception that is antithetical to Christianity.

The document points out how scientific, technological, cultural and economic progress have made our planet more habitable. What is more, «countries that are open to trade have greater growth than those that are not,» not forgetting that «grave injustices exist in the world.»

The intellectuals agree with New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman, who described the anti-globalization movement as «the coalition that wants to keep the poorest poor.»

The six-page document has been signed by Father Piero Gheddo, of the Pontifical Institute of Foreign Missions; Tullio Regge, Einstein Award-winner in physics; 20 professors and researchers of the Italian Research Center; Luigi Amiconi, director of Tempi magazine; and journalist Antonio Gaspari.

In an April 27 address, John Paul II said that «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.» He warned, however, that globalization could become «a new version of colonialism» if it doesn´t have a common code of ethics guiding it.

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