Saturday, September 27, 2008

"A fraternal vision of the world"

Funds for Bailout But Not Development?

Holy See Asks Why Money Can't Be Found for Aid

NEW YORK, SEPT. 25, 2008 ( The Holy See is asking why it is possible to find funds to bailout a broken financial system, but finding fewer resources to invest in the development of all regions of the world seems impossible.

This was a "pressing question" raised today at the United Nations by Archbishop Celestino Migliore, permanent observer of the Holy See to the United Nations, at a high-level event on the millennium development goals.

The MDGs, established in 2000, were supposed to be fulfilled by 2015. They include commitments to address huger, lack of education, inequality, child and maternal health, environmental damage and HIV/AIDS. At current rates of progress, the goals will not be reached.

But, Archbishop Migliore affirmed, "the achievement of these goals is closely interrelated with respect for human rights. While the goals are ultimately political commitments, the human rights inherent in each goal make achieving them a social and moral responsibility."

"We are lagging behind in honoring our word, and more importantly, the people of the world who look to us for leadership, are running out of hope and trust," the prelate said.

Still possible

Archbishop Migliore noted that progress has been made and some of the least developed countries have seen marked improvements.

"Nonetheless, the recent high rate of economic growth in many LDCs [least developed countries] has not contributed sufficiently to tackling the situation of generalized poverty," he said. "The LDCs remain behind and are in serious delay for attaining the goals as set out in the Millennium Declaration, and in some cases reaching the goals may prove impossible."

Still, the Holy See representative affirmed: "The MDGs will be achieved if their attainment becomes a priority for all states."

To make this happen, he called for a "new culture of human relations marked by a fraternal vision of the world, a culture based upon the moral imperative of recognizing the unity of humankind and the practical imperative of giving a contribution to peace and the well-being of all."

Plenty of funds

Archbishop Migliore noted that "money and resources that the LDCs need in terms of direct aid, financial assistance and trade advantages are meager compared to the world-wide military expenses or the total expenses of non-primary necessities of populations in more developed countries."

In that context, the archbishop raised a question: "In these days we are witnessing a debate on an economic rescue aimed at resolving a crisis that risks disrupting the economy of the most developed countries and leaving thousands and thousands of families without work.

"This rescue of enormous proportions, which amounts to many times the whole of international aid, cannot but raise a pressing question. How are we able to find funds to save a broken financial system yet remain unable to find the resources necessary to invest in the development of all regions of the world, beginning with the most destitute?"


The archbishop also called on the United Nations to stay focused on the priorities.

"With only seven years remaining until the end of the MDGs campaign, it is important that we focus upon the goals in the Millennium Declaration which were agreed upon by our Heads of State," he said. "To debate and create new targets, such as those on sexual and reproductive health, risks introducing practices and policies detrimental to human dignity and sustainable development, distracting our focus from the original goals and diverting the necessary resources from the more basic and urgent needs.

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Dumbstruck by the Mystery

...our temptation is always to impose our prejudices or our measure on reality -- except when we are faced with a fact that leaves us dumbstruck, and instead of dominating the fact ourselves, we are dominated, overcome by it. If there were no moments of this kind, the Mystery could do anything, but in the end, we would reduce everything to the usual explanation. But not even a Nobel Prize winner can stop himself from being dumbstruck before an absolutely gratuitous gesture. If there were not these moments, we would find answers, explanations, and interpretations to avoid being struck by anything. It is good that some things happen that we cannot dominate, then we have to take them seriously, and this is the great question of philosophy. If the conditions for the possibility of knowledge (see Kant) impose themselves on reality or if there is something that is so powerfully disproportionate that it does not let itself be "grasped" by the conditions of possibility, then the horizon opens. If this were not the case, then we could dominate everything and be in peace, or at least without drama. Instead, not even the intelligence of a Nobel Prize winner could prevent him from coming face-to-face with a fact that made him dumbstruck -- instead of dominating, it was he who was dominated. Here begins the drama, because I am called to answer. It is the drama that unfolds between us and the Mystery, through certain facts, certain moments, in which the Mystery imposes itself with this evidence. These are facts that we cannot put in our pocket, which we cannot reduce to antecedent factors.
-- Julian Carron in "Friends, that is, Witnesses."