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Social Doctrine Study Centers to Open in Asia

Fruit of Congress to Present Compendium

BANGKOK, Thailand, JAN. 30, 2007 ( Centers for research, study and formation in the Church’s social doctrine will open in Asia as the fruit of the continental conference held there last week, the Vatican announced.

The three-day conference held in Bangkok, gathered some 155 clergymen and pastoral ministers for the presentation and promotion of the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church.

“It proved to be an exceptional experience of community and ecclesial friendship,” said Cardinal Renato Martino, president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, which sponsored the event in collaboration with the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conference.

Basic principles

In his closing address, Cardinal Martino mentioned four areas in which the Church in Asia is challenged: human rights, development, the environment and peace.

Cardinal Martino said that the most urgent challenges for the Asian peoples must be addressed in the light of the intangible dignity of the human person, of the common good, of subsidiarity and of solidarity.

A dicastery communiqué explained that the cardinal’s reflection focused on the millions of Asians who suffer discrimination, exploitation, poverty and marginalization.

Inevitable and indispensable for Christians in such a context, is the defense of human rights, safeguarding the primacy of the right to life, the basis of other rights, and of the right to religious liberty, which he called the transcendent foundation of human rights themselves, the cardinal explained.

Considering that some of the poorest nations are located in Asia, the promotion of development is an imperative, especially for migrants, native and tribal populations, and women and children, he added.

Cardinal Martino also mentioned the need to promote an appropriate relationship with nature, which, following the social doctrine of the Church, must neither be idolized nor abused.

Armament and terrorism

The promotion of the right to peace was also a key point in the cardinal’s address, and in particular, he lamented the phenomenon of terrorism and the increase in production and trade of nuclear and conventional weapons.

“There cannot be moral tolerance of any military doctrine that approves nuclear armament,” Cardinal Martino said.

“The enormous financial resources allocated annually to armaments must be directed much more advantageously to education and development, not to war,” the cardinal added.

This was the second continental congress to present the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church. A similar congress took place in Mexico City in 2005.

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