* * *
It gives me great pleasure to meet you, the Mayors of some of the world´s most important cities. You are gathered in Rome to reflect on how globalization affects the life of your cities, and on the opportunities it offers for closer ties between them. I am deeply grateful to the Honorable Walter Veltroni, Mayor of Rome, for his kind words of introduction and synthesis.
A city is much more than a territory, an economic productive zone, a political reality. It is above all a community of people, and especially of families with their children. It is a living, historically rooted, culturally distinct, human experience. Those who exercise administrative and political control over it have weighty responsibilities for the common good of the people – human beings graced with inalienable dignity and rights; just as citizens have important duties towards the community.
The ethos of a city should be marked by one characteristic above others: solidarity. Every one of you faces serious social and economic problems which will not be solved unless a new style of human solidarity is created. Institutions and social organizations at different levels, as well as the State, must share in promoting a general movement of solidarity between all sectors of the population, with special attention to the weak and marginalized. This is not just a matter of convenience. It is a necessity of the moral order, to which all people need to be educated, and to which those with influence of one kind or another must be committed as a matter of conscience.
The goal of solidarity must be the advancement of a more human world for all — a world in which every individual will be able to participate in a positive and fruitful way, and in which the wealth of some will no longer be an obstacle to the development of others, but a help.
As you reflect on the many complex issues raised by your Conference, I encourage you to see your task as a unique opportunity for doing good, for improving in real ways the world in which we live. May the Almighty enlighten and sustain your efforts. Upon you and your fellow citizens I invoke abundant divine blessings of harmony and peace.
[Original text: English]