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Dear Brothers and Sisters,

1. I am pleased to send my greetings to all the participants who have gathered in Rome for the International Conference on the theme: Confronting Globalization: Global Governance and the Politics of Development, organized by the Vatican Foundation Centesimus Annus - Pro Pontifice.

I extend a grateful thought to Cardinal Attilio Nicora, President of the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See (APSA). I greet Count Lorenzo Rossi of Montelera, President of the Centesimus Annus - Pro Pontifice Foundation, the Relators and all those who have seen to the arrangements for the meeting.

As everyone knows, globalization is a widespread social phenomenon that poses numerous challenges to the international community and expects responses that are effective and ethically responsible. For this very reason, the reflection your Convention intends to develop by applying itself to listening to the new claims that are emerging from the social, cultural and economic contexts across the world, is particularly apt.

2. Your Conference has started from the premise that in the globalization process throughout the world the gap between rich and poor countries is unfortunately growing wider and wider. It is urgently necessary to intervene on behalf of those who are living in unacceptable conditions of wretchedness or situations of hunger, poverty and growing social inequality, to safeguard the dignity of the person and promote the common good.

You are rightly wondering, therefore, whether globalization and solidarity may be integrated to give rise to global dynamics that will lead both to a harmonious economic growth and balanced development.

The ongoing challenge remains:  to give life to a globalization with solidarity, identifying the causes of economic and social imbalances and exploring operational decisions that are likely to assure to everyone a future under the banner of solidarity and hope.

3. The globalization process under way must be inspired by basic ethical values and must aim at the integral development of every person and of the whole person; it is vital to inculcate in consciences a strong sense of responsibility and attention to the good of humanity as a whole and of each individual member.

Only on these conditions will the human family, made up of peoples of different races, cultures and religions, be able to introduce forms of economic, social and cultural cooperation that are kindled by humane brotherly feeling.

Dear brothers and sisters, I am certain that your meeting will also provide useful guidelines for facing these vast, new economic and social problems with competence and an open mind.

With respect for the various cultures and in tune with the Magisterium of the Church, your Foundation will be able to make its own contribution to protecting the dignity of the person. This is a noble form of Christian witness that seeks to instil in our contemporary society the perennial values of the Gospel. May God bless your every effort and make your activity fruitful!

Lastly, I take this opportunity to reiterate to this praiseworthy Institution my deep appreciation for the work that it has been carrying out for years at the service of the Church, and particularly of the Successor of Peter.

As I assure each one of you and your families of my daily remembrance in prayer, I impart a special Apostolic Blessing to you all.

From the Vatican, 29 April 2004



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