On July 17, 2017, the Permanent Observer of the Holy See at the United Nations, Monsignor Bernardito Auza intervened, at the institution’s headquarters in New York, on the theme: “Mobilize Religious Communities: Act with Solidarity and Shared Responsibility to Put an End to Poverty and to Promote Peace.”
The Vatican official pointed out that the greatest contribution that the faithful can make to implement the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development — whose objective is the reduction of poverty –, is to continue in their commitment to this objective, with the protection of the environment and the building of peace.
This should be done, in the meantime, without the fundamental human coordinates, because otherwise the serious risk is run of having the objectives of sustainable development considered only in a partial way. In particular, there would be the risk of favoring economic and sociological aspects and not their ethical and anthropological context, explained the nuncio.
Therefore, he said it is essential that religious leaders, communities and the faithful contribute to nourish courageously and perseveringly “the soul” and “conscience” in favor of a genuinely sustainable development. In a period such as the present, marked by relativism, it is also urgent to help people develop the true meaning of goodness and beauty.
In addition, the Filipino archbishop said that those actions must be corrected geared to prevent instrumentalizing religion for ends that are incompatible with its true essence, such as incitement to violence, which can lead to committing crimes and atrocities.
Religious leaders are not political leaders or experts. They are not called to measure objectives and scientific indicators, but to give their reasons for hope and to foster dialogue. Because, the real priority is to promote an integral human development of the whole person, he stressed.
Archbishop Auza also pointed out that religious leaders and the faithful must be committed to the protection of life in order to defend the weakest and the oppressed. In addition, they must help peoples develop their natural resources in a responsible way, to protect them from economic exploitations and political interests.
The Vatican’s Observer at the UN also quoted Pope Francis’ Encyclical Letter Laudato Si’. “The directives for the solution call for an integral focus to combat poverty, to restore the dignity of the excluded and, at the same time, to take care of nature.” And he reiterated that the most important indicators of sustainable development are not quantitative but qualitative and they refer to ethical values, to values that are opposed to the disposable culture.