Pope Francis says "...to heal the world, severely tested by the pandemic, and to build a more inclusive and sustainable future in which technology serves human needs and does not isolate us from each other..." FULL TEXT
ADDRESS OF THE HOLY FATHER FRANCIS
TO THE PARTICIPANTS IN THE MEETING PROMOTED BY THE
INTERNATIONAL CATHOLIC LEGISLATORS NETWORK
Sala Clementina - Friday, 27 August 2021
I would like to apologize for not speaking standing up, but I am still in the post-operative period and I have to do it seated. Excuse me.
Ladies and Gentlemen!
I am pleased to meet again with you, parliamentarians from different countries, at this critical moment in history: a critical moment in history. I thank Cardinal Schönborn and Mr. Alting von Geusau for their words of greeting and introduction. And I rejoice in the presence of His Holiness Ignatius Aphrem II, Patriarch of the Syrian Orthodox Church.
Since the beginnings of the International Catholic Legislators Network , in 2010, you have accompanied, supported and promoted the work of the Holy See as witnesses to the Gospel in serving your countries and the international community as a whole. I am grateful for your love for the Church and for your collaboration with her mission.
Our meeting takes place today in a very difficult moment. The Covid-19 pandemic is raging. We have certainly made significant progress in creating and distributing effective vaccines, but we still have a lot of work to do. There have already been more than two hundred million confirmed cases and four million deaths from this terrible plague, which has also caused so much economic and social ruin.
Your role as parliamentarians is therefore more important than ever. Prepared to serve the common good, you are now called to collaborate, through your political action, in integrally renewing your communities and society as a whole. Not only to defeat the virus, nor to return to the status quo before the pandemic, no, it would be a defeat, but to address the root causes that the crisis has revealed and amplified: poverty, social inequality, widespread unemployment and the lack of access to education. Brothers and sisters, a crisis does not come out the same: we will come out better or worse. You cannot get out of a crisis alone: we will go out together or we will not be able to get out of it.
In an era of political disturbance and polarization, parliamentarians and politicians more generally are not always held in high esteem. This is not new to you. However, what higher calling exists than to serve the common good and prioritize the well-being of all, over personal gain? Your objective must always be this, because good politics is indispensable for universal brotherhood and social peace (cf. Enc. Brothers All , 176).
In our age, in particular, one of the greatest challenges on this horizon is the administration of technology for the common good. The wonders of modern science and technology have increased our quality of life. "It is right to rejoice in these progresses and be enthusiastic in the face of the wide possibilities that these continuous innovations open to us, because science and technology are a marvelous product of human creativity which is a gift from God" (Enc. Laudato si ' , 102) . However, left to themselves and to the forces of the market alone, without the appropriate guidelines given by legislative assemblies and other public authorities guided by a sense of social responsibility, these innovations can threaten the dignity of the human being.
It is not a question of holding back technological progress. However, the tools of politics and regulation allow parliamentarians to protect human dignity when it is threatened. I am thinking, for example, of the scourge of child pornography, the exploitation of personal data, attacks on critical infrastructures such as hospitals, falsehoods spread through social media and so on. Careful legislation can and must guide the evolution and application of technology for the common good. I encourage you, brothers and sisters, therefore, warmly to take on the task of a serious and in-depth moral reflection on the risks and opportunities inherent in scientific and technological progress, so that the legislation and international standards that govern them can focus on promoting human development. integral and of peace, rather than on progress as an end in itself.
The parliamentarians naturally reflect the strengths and weaknesses of those they represent, each with specificity to be put at the service of the good of all. The commitment of citizens, in the various areas of social, civil and political participation, is essential. We are all called to promote the spirit of solidarity, starting from the needs of the weakest and most disadvantaged people. However, to heal the world, severely tested by the pandemic, and to build a more inclusive and sustainable future in which technology serves human needs and does not isolate us from each other, we need not only responsible citizens but also of leaders prepared and animated by the principle of the common good.
Dear friends, may the Lord grant you to be the leaven of a regeneration of mind, heart and spirit, witnesses of political love for the most vulnerable, so that, by serving them, you can serve Him in everything you do.
I bless you, I bless your families and I bless your work. And you too, I ask you please, pray for me. Thanks.