Development Cannot Be Restricted to Economic Growth

On Saturday, the Holy Father received members of the Centesimus Annus Pro Pontifice Foundation, which was established by Servant of God John Paul II in 1993 for religious and charitable purposes.

Addressing them, the Pope recalled how during their recent annual meeting they had considered the "most pertinent aspects of the Church's social doctrine with reference to the most pressing problems and challenges in the world today." He also expressed his thanks for the members' contributions "in response to the many requests for help that reach the Pope from all over the world."

Over these days, he said, "your attention has been focused on Asian countries characterized by strong economic growth which, however, does not always lead to real social development, and on African nations where, unfortunately, economic growth and social development face many obstacles. What these peoples really need, as peoples all over the world need, is harmonic social and economic progress of truly human dimensions."

After recalling how this year marks the 40th anniversary of Servant of God Pope Paul VI's Encyclical Populorum progressio, Benedict XVI pointed out how "that great pontiff strongly affirmed that 'development cannot be restricted to economic growth alone'."

"Concern for human beings' real needs, respect for the dignity of each individual, and a sincere search for the common good: these are the motivating principles that must be borne in mind when planning the development of a nation. Unfortunately, however, this does not always happen. Modern globalized society is often marked by paradoxes and dramatic imbalances.

"Indeed," the Holy Father added, "when one considers the sustained levels of economic growth, when one pauses to analyze the problems associated with modern progress — including pollution and the irresponsible consumption of natural and environmental resources — it is evident that only a process of globalization that remains attentive to the requirement of solidarity can ensure humanity a future of real wellbeing and stable peace for all."

"I know that you, professionals and lay faithful actively committed in the world, wish to contribute to resolving these problems in the light of the Church's social doctrine. You also aim to promote a culture of solidarity and to favor a form of economic development attentive to the real expectations of individuals and of peoples. Only by bringing together the three indispensable aspects of development — economic, social and human — can a free and united society grow."

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