Caritas Leader Sees a Threat in Latin America

Honduran Cardinal Sounds Warning About Underdevelopment

VATICAN CITY, NOV. 23, 2007 ( Underdevelopment plaguing Latin America provokes tensions conspiring against peace, said the president of Caritas Internationalis.


Cardinal Oscar Rodríguez Maradiaga affirmed this Wednesday, the second day of work for the plenary assembly of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, which focused on consideration of Paul VI’s “Populorum Progressio.”

The archbishop of Tegucigalpa, Honduras, said, “The objective of development is not just elevating all people to the level of the rich countries, but rather basing a more dignified life in the work of solidarity, a life in which the dignity and creativity of each person can effectively increase, as well as his capacity of responding to his own vocation, and therefore, to God’s call.”

The cardinal added, “The integral development of the human person is favored by the productivity and efficacy of work,” although a business should not be considered only “a society of capital” but “a society of persons.”

Given this, he explained, the Church’s social doctrine emphasizes the concept of social responsibility of a business, and places emphasis on the priority of the human person and the common good.

The archbishop of Tegucigalpa said that “just as there exists a collective responsibility to avoid war, there should also exist a collective responsibility to promote development.”

Echoing a theme of Paul VI, the cardinal said: “If development is a new name of peace, Latin American underdevelopment, with particular characteristics in each country, is a situation of injustice that promotes tensions conspiring against peace.”

“In the work of evangelization,” he concluded, “the practice of charity and the fight for justice should be considered a permanent model for the Church.”

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