VATICAN CITY, NOV. 20, 2007 (Zenit.org).- Pope Paul VI knew 40 years ago that the situation of world poverty had to be healed or international terrorism would become an issue, says the president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace.
Cardinal Renato Martino explained this in an interview with L’Osservatore Romano on the occasion of that dicastery’s general assembly, under way through Wednesday. The assembly is dedicated to study Paul VI’s encyclical “Populorum Progressio,” released 40 years ago.
The second world congress of ecclesial organizations that work for justice and peace, scheduled for Thursday to Sunday, will also consider the encyclical.
Cardinal Martino affirmed that the encyclical’s discussion of “development as the new name for peace” indicates how important it is today.
“Paul VI knew that if the mire of economic, social and political underdevelopment was not healed, the indignation of the poor would grow to the point of provoking conflicts and international terrorism,” the cardinal said in Sunday’s edition of the semi-official Vatican newspaper.
The cardinal said “Populorum Progressio” is surprisingly current, noting “its truly prophetic capacity of speaking to humanity also in our 21st century.”
Constantly proposing the themes of this encyclical, “with urgency and constancy,” is a task of the Holy See and the Church today, the prelate emphasized.
Cardinal Martino said Paul VI wrote “in the years given to the reawakening of men and peoples until then enslaved in colonies.”
He added, “The West could no longer keep making itself as the lord of destinies.”
The cardinal explained that nations and groups began to associate themselves with developing nations, “even if not in a disinterested way.” And “precisely the manner of that insertion pushed Paul VI to intervene and affirm that the Church could not remain separated ‘from the joys and hopes, the sorrows and pains of man.'”