ROME, MARCH 9, 2007 (Zenit.org).- Technology detached from truth will lead to unprecedented servitude of man over man, said the president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace.
Cardinal Renato Martino made this observation today in an address to a seminar held in conjunction with the 58th session of the Rome-based Institute of Higher Defense Studies, entitled “Strategic European Scenarios.”
In the speech, the cardinal paid homage to Alcide De Gasperi (1881-1954), Italian statesman and devout Catholic, and said that the leader, along with Konrad Adenauer and Robert Schuman, is one of the founding fathers of the European community.
Cardinal Martino recalled De Gasperi’s “deep conviction that the people of Europe have a common patrimony of spiritual and humanistic values, and only by rediscovering these common values and cultivating a common European mentality will Europe be finally pacified and developed.”
The president of the justice and peace council said, quoting Pope John Paul II, that the two fundamental questions facing the continent in the coming years will be that of truth and that of freedom.
Regarding the connection between truth and technology, the cardinal said Europe faces a threefold challenge.
Cardinal Martino said that one challenge lies in “the dramatic demand for meaning that technology places in the political field, where the risk of technocracy lies.”
The two other challenges, said the cardinal, lie “in the field of the manipulation of life where one blindly follows the biotechnologies, and in the field of communication remodeled and upset by computer technology.”
Cardinal Martino explained that a great part of Europe’s future and, by definition humanity, depends on the right or wrong answer to these technological challenges.
“In fact, if the reference point of truth is missing, democracy becomes a procedural biotechnology in the ‘creation’ of life and man, and the technology of information producing virtual worlds with the danger of unprecedented forms of servitude by man over man,” he said.
Referring to John Paul II, Cardinal Martino emphasized that “freedom does not mean arbitrariness.”
He added: “The free man is held to truth and there is no freedom without truth.
“Individual freedom should not be separated from freedom of others and therefore there is no freedom without solidarity and without sacrifice.”
“Europe definitely must be an open and welcoming continent,” said the cardinal, “continuing to realize in today’s era of globalization forms of international cooperation, not only economic, also social and cultural, in terms of a new culture of solidarity, seen as the seed of peace.”
Cardinal Martino added: “This old continent, which faced, before others, religious wars, imperialism, ideologies and totalitarianism, has the duty to propose itself today to the globalized world as a laboratory for supportive cohabitation and peace.”