Vatican Plans Document on Integral Development

In Preparation for Johannesburg Summit

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ROME, MAY 30, 2002 ( In preparation for a U.N. summit scheduled for South Africa, the Vatican will publish a document on the concept of “integral and mutually supportive development.”

Bishop Giampaolo Crepaldi, secretary of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, announced the news Wednesday during a symposium organized the Regina Apostolorum Pontifical Athenaeum here.

Ten years after the Earth Summit held in Rio de Janeiro, the U.N. summit in Johannesburg will gather governments, nongovernmental organizations, businessmen and other sectors of civil society, from Aug. 26 to Sept. 4, to analyze the results achieved in regard to development and respect for the environment ().

At the Rome symposium, entitled “Toward Johannesburg: Population, Development and Environment: Debate and Proposals,” Bishop Crepaldi explained that the Vatican document focuses on the development “of the whole man and of all men.”

The Vatican text, which will be distributed among the participants of the preparatory U.N. meeting now under way in Bali, says that “globalization must not damage cultural identities” and, at the same time, requests that “cultural identity not be blocked given the prospect of globalization.”

Moreover, the text attaches particular importance to the principles of subsidiarity and solidarity, in order to emphasize the commitment to the struggle against poverty. It also appeals for special attention to be given to “the rural population, which constitutes half of the world´s population.”

Lastly, the Vatican encourages “the growth of international cooperation for good government,” an issue that, above all, “affects developing countries, where the problem of corruption is still determinant.”

Father Paolo Scarafoni, rector of Regina Apostolorum, opened the symposium by responding to some environmental concerns that fault Christianity for placing man at the center of the cosmos, at the expense of nature.

“Authentic anthropocentrism cannot be contrary to respect for and conservation of nature, the environment in which man is integrated and which he must use with responsibility,” Father Scarafoni said.

The congress ended with an address by Cardinal Alfonso López Trujillo, president of the Pontifical Council for the Family. He said that the myth of the “population explosion” has been deleterious for the family policies of many countries.

“Today all can see that the demographic myth has been a resounding lie,” the cardinal said. “Europe, in particular, is suffering the freezing climate of a demographic winter, whose implications are quite worrying.”

He ended by requesting that two extremes be avoided: “on the one hand, the irresponsible abuse of natural resources sacrificed for immediate earnings; and on the other, an exaggerated, even superstitious, reverence of the earth.”

“To see the future in terms of family means to leave an inheritance to our descendents, but it does not mean to take egotistic steps to ensure that there will be no descendents,” the cardinal said.

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