In a message sent by Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, Pope Francis sent his greetings to participants of the Day of Reflection on environmental and social issues relevant to the mining industry. The meeting, which was held on September 7th, was organized by the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, let by Cardinal Peter Turkson.

Addressing the letter to Cardinal Turkson, the Vatican Secretary of State reflected on the significance of the Day of Reflection and its focus on the environment. “This day of reflection, promoted by Your Eminence, takes on particular importance not only because it brings together leaders of many multinational corporations involved in this sector – Christians, followers of other religions, and non-believers – but above all because it is the first occasion in which senior mining executives have come together, close to the Successor of Peter, to reflect on the importance of their human and environmental responsibilities,” Cardinal Bertone wrote.

“In other words, they wish to make a serious examination of conscience on what must be done so that their industry may offer a constant positive contribution to integral human development.”

Executives from some of largest mining companies were present, including African Rainbow Minerals, Anglo American, AngloGold Ashanti, Areva, Baker Hughes, BHP Billiton, China Minmetals Corporation, Curis Resources, Fortescue, MMG, Newmont, Rio Tinto and Zamin Resources. Also present were several Church representatives from the Secretariat of State and Caritas Internationalis.

“Mining, like many other industrial activities, has ecological and social consequences which go well beyond national borders and pass from one generation to the next,” Cardinal Bertone stressed. The Vatican Secretary of State told participants that a more profound decision making process where the rights of workers and families be placed at the forefront.

“The great challenge of business leaders is to create a harmony of interests, involving investors, managers, workers, their families, the future of their children, the preservation of the environment on both a regional and international scale, and a contribution to world peace,” the Cardinal said.

Concluding his statement, Cardinal Bertone assured participants of the Day of Reflection of the Holy Father’s closeness in prayer and invoked the Pope’s blessing upon them.

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