Conference Will Focus on Pastoral Care on the High Seas

Scheduled for Rio de Janeiro

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VATICAN CITY, SEPT. 19, 2002 (Zenit.org).- The Vatican is organizing a world congress on the pastoral care of men and women of the sea.

The conference will be held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, from Sept. 29 to Oct. 5. A press statement issued today by the Apostleship of the Sea, a section of the Pontifical Council for Migrants and Travelers, said the theme of the meeting will be “The Apostleship of the Sea in a New Globalized World.”

Some 250 delegates — comprising bishops, priests, religious, experts and observers — from more than 60 nations will analyze the pastoral impact and effects of globalization on those working in the maritime industries.

“Globalization has created an environment of increasing competition in the maritime industry, in which profit must be maximized at any cost, and this is done ever more frequently at the price of the dignity of those who work in it,” the press statement continued.

As a consequence, people of the sea “suffer from difficult working conditions, long working hours, minimum wage, no leisure, insecurity of employment. Crews are reduced to a minimum and are often multicultural and multilingual, sometimes lacking a common language, thus making it even more lonely and dangerous an occupation,” the Vatican statement adds.

This is the first time that a congress of the Apostleship of the Sea is held in Latin America.

“Rio de Janeiro was chosen not only for reasons of ecclesial strategy — half of the Catholics of the whole world live in that continent today — but also because it was the seat of the historical Declaration of Rio de Janeiro in 1992, which proclaims that the human being must be at the heart of the concern for sustainable development and that any global policy should consider this as a basic principle,” the document concludes.

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