STATEMENT OF THE HOLY SEE
STATEMENT BY H.E. MSGR.
Thursday, 4 February 2010
On behalf of my Delegation, I wish to express best wishes to you and the Bureau for a productive session on this year’s priority theme "Promoting social integration" and look forward to working with the membership and other stakeholders to address the daunting challenges of social integration.
For more than twenty years now the human community has been living and interacting within the context of the so-called globalization of society. And yet, "as society becomes ever more globalized, it makes us neighbours but does not make us brothers" 1. All those responsible for promoting social integration and cohesion know all too well that this is not attainable by a simple, though indispensable, mix of good laws and social measures and incentives. There is always a need to push further ahead and take into consideration the integral good of the human person in his various dimensions, including the spiritual.
In a world beset with the soaring woes of the economic and financial crisis, the deliberations over promoting social integration must take into account its link with poverty eradication and full employment, including decent work for all.
While the financial system seems to be regaining stability and increasing production in some sectors offers signs of economic recovery, still in many places the level of unemployment continues to worsen.
In this context, in order to promote economic and social growth along with employment, it seems that the patterns of consumption should be focused upon relational goods and services which promote greater connection between people. By investing in relational goods, such as medical care, education, culture, art, sport – all things which develop a person and require unique human interaction rather than machine production – the State, through its public intervention, would be addressing development at its root, while also promoting employment and long-term development.
Social development and integration will not come about solely from technological solutions, since they concern primarily human relations.
Focusing on human relations necessarily calls for an openness to life which is a positive contribution to social and economic development. In this light, too often population growth is viewed as the cause of poverty whereas it is a means of overcoming it, for only within the work force can the solution for poverty be found. It is therefore imperative that countries focus their efforts on finding the ways and means for ensuring that people receive the necessary skills, training and education so that human ingenuity can be harnessed in a way which promotes development and human rights. Similarly, where economic growth rates have declined, the answers lie not in trying to close society to others and pushing for population decline but rather in creating a society which is open to and encourages life. Promoting life and the family and finding ways to integrate the contribution of all people will allow societies to realize their full potential and achieve development.
For this reason, the family occupies a central place. The family is the first context in which children learn certain skills, attitudes and virtues which prepare them for the labor force and thus allow them to contribute to economic growth and social development. Education and formation is a long-term investment. It requires that policies promoting the family be based not only on redistribution but above all on justice and efficiency and assume responsibility for the economic and fiscal needs of families.
Mr. Chairman, as we promote social integration in our world today we cannot overlook the increasing concern that needs to be given to migration, and in particular, irregular migration.
Intolerance and mutual friction between citizens and newcomers is always more noted in countries of intense immigration. The phenomenon calls for strong attention to the two tracks of acceptance of migrants and respect for the law, on which the solutions to the problem can be found. Also in this field, integration and social cohesion are the parameters that allow us to find adequate solutions to complex issues connected with immigration.
Integration requires a long time and is usually realized in subsequent generations. It is built on the premise of a proactive vision of national citizenship, of the mechanisms of interaction that involves full respect of the fundamental rights of all – of citizens as well as of newcomers – and of a culture of social justice.
In social integration programs, including the efforts to bridge the gap in education, health care and care for environment, important roles are played by civil society and faith based organizations since they help to ensure the involvement of local communities and promote cooperation and participation of all peoples.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
(1) Benedict XVI, Caritas in veritate, # 19.