On Sunday, the Holy See made public a letter sent by Pope Francis to the British Prime Minister David Cameron prior to the upcoming G8 summit that will be held today and tomorrow in Northern Ireland. The letter was sent in response to a message sent by Prime Minister Cameron to the Holy Father in June 5th.
In his letter to Pope Francis, the British Prime Minister said that he would use his presidency of the G8 summit to help developing countries achieve sustainable development. “Your Holiness has spoken eloquently about the need to rebalance the global economy, to help the poor and disadvantaged, and to find people work,” the Prime Minister said.
“My aim for our G8 Presidency, especially at the G8 Summit at Lough Erne on 17 and 18 June, is to do this by restoring strong and sustainable growth to the world economy by practical action on fairer taxes, freer trade, and greater transparency.”
In his response to Cameron’s letter, the Holy Father thanked him for his letter and commented on the theme of the G8 Summit: “A G8 Meeting that Goes Back to First Principles.”
“If this topic is to attain its broadest and deepest resonance,” Pope Francis wrote, “it is necessary to ensure that all political and economic activity, whether national or international, makes reference to man. Indeed, such activity must, on the one hand, enable the maximum expression of freedom and creativity, both individual and collective, while on the other hand it must promote and guarantee their responsible exercise in solidarity, with particular attention to the poorest.”
The Holy Father commended the priorities laid out by the British Presidency for the summit, in particular the call to action against the scourge of hunger as well as protecting women and children who are victims of sexual violence in conflict situations. However, the Pope said the G8 “cannot fail” to address the current situation in Syria
“In this regard, I earnestly hope that the Summit will help to obtain an immediate and lasting cease-fire and to bring all parties in the conflict to the negotiating table,” the Pope said. “Peace demands a far-sighted renunciation of certain claims, in order to build together a more equitable and just peace. Moreover, peace is an essential pre-requisite for the protection of women, children and other innocent victims, and for making a start towards conquering hunger, especially among the victims of war.”
Pope Francis also called attention to the current economic crisis gripping most of the world, saying that “measures designed to ensure an adequate legal framework for all economic actions […] must be guided by the ethics of truth.”
“Concern for the fundamental material and spiritual welfare of every human person is the starting-point for every political and economic solution and the ultimate measure of its effectiveness and its ethical validity,” the Pope stated.
Concluding his letter to Prime Minister Cameron, Pope Francis emphasized the need for the upcoming summit to place what’s most important ahead in all political choices, which he said was “the primary importance of putting humanity, every single man and woman, at the center of all political and economic activity, both nationally and internationally.”
“I express my sincere hope for a fruitful outcome to your work and I invoke abundant blessings upon the Lough Erne Summit and upon all the participants, as well as upon the activities of the British G8 Presidency during the year 2013, and I take this opportunity to reiterate my good wishes and to express my sentiments of esteem,” the Holy Father wrote.