NEW YORK, OCT. 18, 2004 (Zenit.org).- Real development must encompass all the dimensions of the human person, and not be limited to levels of wealth and goods and services, a Vatican official told the United Nations.
Last Thursday, the plenary session of the U.N. General Assembly was observing the 10th anniversary of the Cairo International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD). In this context, Archbishop Migliore mentioned the threat to the peace “that humanity longs for” represented by the “gap between the rich and poor,” which is “widening.”
The archbishop pointed out that the very theme of the ICPD “emphasizes the reality that all proper concerns about human population are inextricably connected with the development and flourishing of every human being.”
“All development worthy of the name must be integral and cannot consist in the simple accumulation of wealth and in the greater availability of goods and services, but must be pursued with due consideration for the social, cultural and spiritual dimension of every human being,” he noted.
“It is now a fact that population growth has declined appreciably in many of the industrialized developed nations, and that this decline poses a serious threat to their future,” he added.
This is why the “Holy See continues to follow these matters carefully, while encouraging accurate and objective assessments of population issues and global solidarity in regard to development strategies, especially as they affect the developing nations of the world,” the Holy See’s observer said.
The prelate also voiced the Holy See’s concern “that proper attention is not always given to the comprehensive set of principles, including the ethical ones, essential in determining the right response to the demographic, sociological and public policy analyses of the data of the population trends.”
“It is essential that any discussion of population policies must simultaneously consider the actual and projected development of the human race,” he said.
Emphasizing that development must encompass all aspects of the human being, Archbishop Migliore explained that “development programs must respect the cultural heritage of peoples and nations, foster structures of participation and shared responsibility, and empower our human capacity, so that each one of us can become the person that he or she was created to be.”
In this connection, the archbishop suggested that it would be “wiser if focus were placed upon the formulation of population policies that promote a responsible kind of personal liberty, instead of one that was too narrowly defined.”
“From this, it follows, among other things, that the duty to safeguard the family demands that special attention be given to securing for husband and wife the liberty to decide responsibly, free from all social or legal coercion, the number of children they will have and the spacing of their births,” Archbishop Migliore contended.
“It should be the intent of governments and other agencies to help create the social conditions which will enable couples themselves to make appropriate decisions in the light of their responsibilities,” he urged.
“We know that responsible parenthood is not a question of unlimited procreation or lack of awareness of what is involved in rearing children, but it also involves the right of parents to use their liberty wisely. Moreover, couples that choose to have large families deserve to be supported,” the prelate said.
Archbishop Migliore pointed out that an “important milestone at ICPD was the link between migration and development” that in these years “has prompted increased sensitivity, research, cooperation and effective policies in this field.”
In fact, at present migration is recognized as “a major challenge for all, linked to development and poverty, as well as to financial and health security. In particular, migrants are now seen as proactive agents of development.”
While recognizing these achievements, Archbishop Migliore indicated the need that “states now have to focus much more on creating jobs where people live.”
Moreover, he said, there must be the “political will and firm determination on the part of governments and civil society” to overcome “the persistent phenomena of discrimination, violence, human trafficking and xenophobia.”