TO Mr MAURIZIO SACCONI, ITALIAN MINISTER OF LABOUR,
ON THE OCCASION OF THE G8 SOCIAL SUMMIT
(ROME, 29-31 MARCH 2009)
You have kindly informed me that from 29 to 31 March, Italy, in the framework of the G8 Presidency, has convened the Social Summit in Rome in which the Labour Ministers of the G8 Member States and six other nations whose economies are among the largest in the world, representing various cultures and geographical regions will participate, in order to address the topic of employment and the social problems in the context of the most serious financial crisis in history.
The initiative of making employment the focus of the international debate is particularly timely because there is no longer any doubt concerning the ethical dimension of the crisis, caused by a globalized management of finances aimed solely at profit rather than the common good and the dignity of the person. Therefore, over and above the short-term measures needed to put an end to the financial turmoil and to emerge from the generalized recession, every effort must be made to restore a human dimension to the economy.
Economic estimates predict, in fact, that millions of workers who might have felt secure before the crisis, will find themselves among the unemployed and will be added to the billion people who live in extreme poverty, at a time in which all the international aid programmes to help the least privileged peoples risk coming to a halt.
The principle of human dignity is at the root of the Church's social teaching. It derives from the fact that the human person, as the centre and summit of all that exists on earth, is the object of all social institutions and all economic activity. Therefore, service to the most fundamental needs of all men and women, especially the poorest, must be established as the pillar and touchstone of every measure that seeks to resolve the financial crisis which is now affecting all nations without exception.
From the numerous multilateral discussions on the crisis, and in particular from the future Italian G8, the world awaits practical and effective proposals capable of guaranteeing to everyone, including those who have lost their job or risk losing it, an basic level of income and security. It is also expected that the fundamental rights of workers, as defined by the International Labour Organization (ILO), be respected and strengthened, and that intergovernmental coordination include dialogue with the social parties and with civil society, so as to succeed in spurring on national economies without jeopardizing international cooperation for development, seeking, rather, to strengthen it.
On behalf of Benedict xvi, I express the hope that the meeting you have organized will be especially fruitful, while I extend a respectful and cordial greeting to you yourself and to all Ministers participating.
With sentiments of esteem, I am respectfully yours, I remain,
Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone
Rome, 30 March 2009