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My People

Vol. 18, Issue 8, August 2005

"If my people, who are called by My name, humble themselves and pray, and seek My face and turn from their evil ways, I will hear them from heaven and pardon their sins and revive their land." — 2 Chronicles 7:14


Need For "Decent Work For A Decent Life" Challenges World
Compendium Offers Concise Presentation Of Truths Of Faith
In Defense of Life: Do Not Be Afraid
Debt Remission Could Be Turning Point In International Development
Disease Continues To Plague Humanity
Approved Prayer For The Intercession Of Pope John Paul II
Nuclear Disarmament Is Key To Building A Culture Of Peace
Pray the News


Need For "Decent Work For A Decent Life" Challenges World

The 93rd International Labor Conference in Geneva, Switzerland, considered challenges facing individual nations and the international community in making progress toward a society with greater dignity of life and employment opportunities. On June 7, Mons. Silvano Tomasi addressed the conference on behalf of the Vatican. His address follows:

"The future that challenges and confronts the international community and individual countries is marked by an increasing awareness that only together we can make progress and find the right path toward a truly human life. The rapid pace of change may give rise to doubt and to the temptation of isolation and momentarily derail the move forward. But the process of globalization continues: making it inclusive and removing the obstacles that obstructs its beneficial impact for all is the commitment that emerges from this 93rd International Labor Conference.

"Clearly the spirit of solidarity and of enterprise that flows from the unique tripartite collaboration of states, workers, and employers shows a model of interdependence that can enrich other international organizations in this moment of search for reforms devoted to a more effective service to the whole human family.

"The road towards a decent work for a decent life in a world where the globalization of solidarity is an active agenda starts indeed with young women and men and the promotion of their employment.

"There is a sense of urgency to find a response to the fact that globally less than half of the youth available for work had jobs in 2004 and that an estimated 59 million young people aged 15 to 18 years are in hazardous forms of work.

"Already John Paul II had asked during his visit to the ILO in 1982: can we tolerate a situation in which many young people may find themselves without any prospect of one day getting a job and which, at the very least, could leave them with lifelong scars? (John Paul II, Address to the International Labor Organization, June 15, 1982, n.12). In developing countries, lack of innovative technologies makes it difficult to translate research findings into productive initiatives. The priority to be given to education and formation, especially in a knowledge-based economy, is evident. At the same time, youth unemployment should be contextualized and the whole economic structure of developing countries needs to be sustained in its evolution and enabled to compete fairly in the world market.

"Decent jobs for young people have a critical pay off. Their creativity supported by an adequate technical culture and a sound sense of responsibility can make up for their limited experience and even open additional jobs through the micro-enterprises they may launch with the granting of appropriate credit. The communities, where young people are not employed, lose hope. The creative energy of the young, not channeled toward productive goals, is dispersed and wasted. In fact, the risk is unfortunately real that lack of jobs and employment opportunities push the young into the destructive underworld of drugs, violence, criminal activities and, even terrorism.

"Speaking on May 1, 2005, to many workers attending his first Sunday audience, the new Holy Father Benedict XVI underlined how solidarity, justice, and peace should be 'the pillars on which to build the unity of the human family.' He called on workers to witness in contemporary society the 'Gospel of work.' 'I hope,' he added, 'that work will be available, especially for young people, and that working conditions may be ever more respectful of the dignity of the human person.'

"The creation of decent work for all in a sustainable world has been a long-standing common base for a fruitful dialogue between the ILO and the social doctrine of the Church. It is the dignity of every human person that requires access to work in condition of personal security, health, fair remuneration, a safe environment. Work is a right and the expression of human dignity. My Delegation, therefore, sees unemployment as a 'real social disaster' and supports international organizations, employers, labor unions, and governments to join forces, strengthen juridical norms of protection, promote the implementation of existing conventions. In such convergence of forces it is particularly significant to recall that the last official audience scheduled by the late Pope John Paul II, whose official visit to ILO and masterful encyclical on human work, Laborem Exercens, remain a lasting contribution, had been for the ILO Director General. And much appreciated has been the presence of the Director General at the funeral of John Paul II and at the inauguration of Benedict XVI's ministry. There is a shared vision that work is the motor for development and poverty elimination, for unlocking the hidden resources of nature, for personal and professional fulfillment and family support, for social participation in the wellbeing of society.

"As a popular saying goes, 'Think globally, act locally,' fundamental principles and strategic objectives need to be enfleshed in the daily existence of people to make a difference. In the word of the Director General's Report, a common effort is demanded 'to maintain and increase this advocacy of a decent work perspective in economic and social policies locally, nationally, and internationally,' and to implement decent work country programs so as to move in this positive direction. However, a more determined outreach to the most vulnerable categories of workers is called for. Coherent action against forced labor, at the national level and in a collaborative mode with the international community can eradicate this most indecent work which should have no place in the modern world. The estimates provided for the first time at this Conference are their own commentary: Today, at least 12.3 million people are victims of forced labor worldwide. Of these, 9.8 million are exploited by private agents, including more than 2.4 million in forced labor as a result of human trafficking, a 32 billion dollar global business.

"Another 2.5 million are forced to work by the State or by rebel military groups. (International Labor Office, A global alliance against forced labor, Report I (B) International Labor Conference, 93rd Session 2005, p. 10). Obviously the human person is treated as an instrument of production, his or her freedom and dignity violated, the rights that flow from work stifled. When work is isolated from the broader context of human rights, the worst forms of exploitation take over.

"An important sign of the continued dynamism of the ILO is its persevering commitment to focus on forced labor as well as on all segments of the world of work that are most emarginated. The workers of the sea have not been forgotten. For fishermen, a much needed instrument that holds the potential for improving the life of 90% of these most forgotten people, is the convention hopefully to be approved and opened for ratification at this Conference. It is difficult, and therefore a greater achievement, to produce a convention that will take into consideration in a balanced way very different situations that go from the small fisher that fishes with a net from his wooden boat for sustenance to the commercial fishing vessels, some so sophisticated to be a processing factory on the waves of the sea. Fishing is a complex and also dangerous profession with high occupational accidents, deaths and injuries. The proposed convention: 'Work in the fishing sector,' and its recommendations, can make all kinds of professional fishing safer and a decent workplace.

"For the first time, an integrated approach and framework is proposed for the protection of workers against injuries and sickness related to their work. The combination of norms, clear lines of responsibility and mechanism for compliance should strengthen prevention and increase the wellbeing of workers and their productivity. It is a dramatic realization to read that fatal and non-fatal accidents are estimated at 270 million and that some 160 million workers suffer from work-related diseases (International Labor Organization, Promotional framework for occupational safety and health, 93rd Session 2005, p.3). An instrument dealing with renewed commitment with occupational safety and health seems really timely and opportune.

"Mr. President, new questions and problems are always arising as the economy, technological advances, and the globalized organization of society evolve.

"Work remains central in building up the future. But protagonist of his work is the human person and safeguarding his dignity and centrality in all new realities is the best guarantee for a more just and peaceful world."


Compendium Offers Concise Presentation Of Truths Of Faith

On June 28, the Vatican presented the Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. In an address, Pope Benedict XVI said:

". . .It sees the light after the publication of the Catechism of the Catholic Church in 1992. Since then, there has been an ever more widespread and pressing need for a concise catechism that would contain all and only the essential, fundamental elements of Catholic faith and morals, simply expressed in a way that is clear, concise, and accessible to all. Moreover, it is precisely in meeting this need that in the past 20 years numerous attempts at summing up the above-mentioned Catechism have been made in various languages and countries, some more successful than others. They brought up certain problems concerning not only the fidelity to and respect of the structure and content, but also the completeness and integrity of Catholic teaching.

"Hence, the need arose for an authoritative, reliable, and complete text on the essential aspects of the Church's faith, in full harmony with the Catechism mentioned, approved by the Pope and destined for the whole Church.

"The participants in the International Catechetical Congress expressed this widespread need in October 2002 and presented an explicit request to the Servant of God John Paul II.

"It has been just over two years since my Venerable Predecessor decided, in February 2003, on the drafting of a Compendium of this kind, realizing that it would be good not only for the universal and particular Churches, but also for today's world that is thirsting for truth. These have been two years of intense and fruitful work. All the Cardinals and the Presidents of the Bishops' Conferences have also been involved. The vast majority, when questioned on one of the last drafts of the Compendium, expressed a very positive opinion.

"Today, on the eve of the Solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul, 40 years after the end of the Second Vatican Council, I feel deep joy in presenting this Compendium, which I have approved, not only to all the members of the Church – most of whose various members are represented here – but also to all of you who are taking part in this solemn meeting.

"However, through you, venerable brother cardinals, bishops, priests, catechists and lay faithful, I would also like in spirit to consign this Compendium to every person of good will who desires to know the unfathomable riches of the saving mystery of Jesus Christ.

"It is not, of course, a new Catechism, but a Compendium that faithfully reflects the Catechism of the Catholic Church, which continues to be the source from which to draw for a better understanding of the Compendium, the model to look at ceaselessly in order to rediscover a harmonious and authentic explanation of Catholic faith and morals, as well as a reference point that must encourage the proclamation of the faith and the drafting of local catechisms.

"The Catechism of the Catholic Church, therefore, keeps intact its full authoritativeness and importance, and this synthesis will be an effective means to make it better known and used as a fundamental vehicle of education in the faith.

"This Compendium is a renewed proclamation of the Gospel in our time. Furthermore, through this authoritative and reliable text, 'let us carefully preserve the faith we received from the Church,' in the words of St. Irenaeus whose liturgical Memorial we are celebrating today, 'because under the action of God's Spirit, like a deposit of great worth contained in a precious vase, it is continuously rejuvenating and also rejuvenates the vase that contains it' (cf. Irenaeus of Lyons, Adversus Haereses, 1, 10, 2; Sc 264, 158-160).

"The Compendium presents the faith in Christ Jesus. Following the four-part structure of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, it actually presents Christ professed as the only-begotten Son of the Father, the perfect Revealer of God's truth and the definitive Savior of the world; Christ, celebrated in the sacraments as the source and support of the life of the Church; Christ, listened to and followed in obedience to His Commandments, as the source of new life in love and in harmony; Christ, imitated in prayer, as the model and master of our prayerful attitude to the Father.

"This faith is expounded in the Compendium in the form of a dialogue. Thus, it intends to 'reproduce,' as I wrote in the Introduction to the Compendium, 'an imaginary dialogue between master and disciple through a series of incisive questions that invite the reader to go deeper in discovering ever new aspects of his faith.'

"'The dialogical format also lends itself to brevity in the text by reducing it to the essential. This may help the reader to grasp the contents and possibly to memorize them as well.' The brevity of the answers fosters the essential synthesis and clarity of what is being communicated.

"Images have also been incorporated into the text at the beginning of the respective part or section. This choice aims to illustrate the doctrinal content of the Compendium: indeed, images 'proclaim the same message that Sacred Scripture transmits through words and help to reawaken and nourish the faith of believers' (Compendium, n. 240).

"Images and words are thus mutually enlightening. Works of art always 'speak,' at least implicitly, of the divine, of the infinite beauty of God, reflected in the Icon par excellence: Christ the Lord, the Image of the invisible God.

"Sacred images, with their beauty, are also a Gospel proclamation and express the splendor of the Catholic truth, illustrating the supreme harmony between the good and the beautiful, between the via veritatis and the via pulchritudinis. While they witness to the age-old and fruitful tradition of Christian art, they urge one and all, believers and non-believers alike, to discover and contemplate the inexhaustible fascination of the mystery of Redemption, giving an ever new impulse to the lively process of its inculturation in time.

"The same images are found in the various translations of the Compendium. This will also be a way to identify and recognize this text easily in the variety of languages: the one faith is professed by each member of the faithful in the multiplicity of ecclesial and cultural contexts.

"The text includes an Appendix at the end which consists of several common prayers for the universal Church and several catechetical formulas of the Catholic faith.

"The appropriate decision to add several prayers to conclude the Compendium is an invitation to rediscover a common way of praying in the Church, not only personally but also in community.

"In each one of the translations, the majority of the prayers will also be presented in Latin. Learning them, even in this language, will make it easier for the Christian faithful who speak different languages to pray together, especially when they meet for special circumstances. As I said in 1997, on the occasion of the presentation to my Venerable Predecessor of the Typical Edition in Latin of the Catechism of the Catholic Church: 'Precisely in the multiplicity of languages and cultures, Latin, for so many centuries the vehicle and instrument of Christian culture, not only guarantees continuity with our roots but continues to be as relevant as ever for strengthening the bonds of unity of the faith in the communion of the Church.'

"I am truly grateful to everyone who has worked on the publication of this important work, especially the Cardinal members of the special Commission and the editors and experts: all those who have collaborated with great dedication and competence. May the Lord God, Who sees all things, in His infinite goodness reward them and bless them.

"May this Compendium, the fruit of their efforts but above all a gift that God bestows upon His Church in the third millennium, give a new impetus to evangelization and catechesis, on which depend '[not] only her geographical extension and numerical increase, but even more her inner growth and correspondence with God's plan' (Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 7).

"May Mary Most Holy and the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul support with their intercession this hope for the good of the Church and of humanity. . ."



"Do Not Be Afraid"

Fred H. Summe
Fred H. Summe, vice president of Northern Kentucky Right to Life
by Fred H. Summe

"Do not be afraid," was how Pope John Paul II, upon being elected pope, greeted the people of Rome. Throughout his pontificate, this apostle of life kept reminding the faithful throughout the world of these words of Jesus.

For 2,000 years Christians have pondered this expression, applying it to the circumstances of their lives. Faced with persecution or oppression, with great economic hardships or devastating diseases, Christians throughout time had the courage to try to live out God's will. For them, this simple phrase, "Be not afraid," helped them let go of their fears and concerns in order to place their confidence and trust in God.

Today, even in the United States and Western Europe, among affluence and national security, there is a fear that dominates our decisions.

This fear is the fear of a child, arising from worries that we might not have enough material goods, or the time and energy to enjoy them. A child has become a "threat" to our "pursuit of happiness."

Concerns over financial security, the desire to be constantly entertained, or the avoidance of any pain or frustration, have led people to concentrate more and more on their own well-being. Although one must be concerned about oneself, this concern has grown out of proportion, dominating one's decision. A child, which requires giving of one's self, is seen as an interference, an obstacle, or a great burden.

From this fear, has arisen an attempt to take more control of not only our lives, but of the lives that God has intended to place in our lives. Instead of allowing God to decide how many children one should have and how they are spaced, couples have looked to artificial contraception to assist them in controlling the number of lives that God wishes to bring into the world. When contraception fails, the same fear of the child helps one to feel "justified" in killing a child through abortion.

With abortion has come the so-called homosexual "same sex" marriages, in vitro fertilization, cloning, human experimentation, and the right to starve the disabled to death. Mankind is again proving that once mankind rejects the principle that all human life is sacred, then no human life is sacred.

The western world has lost a basic principle of natural law that life is good and that all human life should be supported and protected.

A Child is a Gift

Only a few generations ago, a child was considered a gift from God, a great blessing. As a mother of eight, my mother would sometimes come home from an Altar Society function or a Mothers' Club meeting with a gift for having the most children. Then again, many times she would come in second or third. Other women, who may have less children, gladly honored those to whom God had granted many blessings.

Today, the announcement that a mother has eight children would guarantee a barrage of comments such as, "Now, how are you going to have enough love for all those children? The world is overpopulated. Can't you control yourself?"

Is it things that really make us happy, or is it the people with whom we share those things? Do we long to go to a movie alone, or would we prefer to "just do nothing" with a good friend? Isn't it other people that we need? As the old song stated, "People who need people are the luckiest people in the world."

If a couple truly loves each other, what is better than for them to share that love with another new life. If a couple considers a child a great joy to them, what greater gift can you give your child than a brother or sister? Financial wealth they may someday attain for themselves, but they can never give themselves a sibling.

"Perhaps, sometimes, there is too much planning, not enough love, not enough commitment to found and grow a family," writes Rita Joseph in Voices. This mother of 11 children, a lecturer at John Paul II Institute for Marriage and Family Studies in Melbourne, Australia, observes:

"In planning a family, we must be careful to avoid the human arrogance and conceit that denies God's providence. . . and so though it is relatively easy for well-educated men and women to articulate and weigh reasons for choosing a career, a political party, a dog, a house, or what to have for breakfast, choosing to have children is different. Somehow we have to find the honesty and the humility to admit that it is really a choice beyond our ken, this choice to bring to life another human being.

"Procreation isn't a choice, it is a need, perhaps the oldest, deepest, most fundamental need of humankind, a profoundly compelling need to share the miracle of life.

"We have a need to acknowledge the Creator to recognize that each child is pure gift. . .Do we really think that God doesn't know the best gift to give us both right now and in the long run? God's gifts are never arbitrary and certainly never mistimed."

Be Afraid of What?

So Christ told us, "Do not be afraid." Be afraid of what? To this Jesus would surely answer, "To love."

And what is love? Mother Teresa of Calcutta answered this first by her example and then by her words, "Love is giving until it hurts."

Isn't this what we are afraid of? Loving a child requires giving until it hurts. Having children does require a giving of oneself, a sacrifice of one's interest and desires for another.

In her article, Mrs. Joseph quoted St. Catherine of Siena concerning what the Lord had told her, "I have placed you in the midst of your fellows that you may do to them that which you cannot do to Me, that is to say, that you may love them of free grace, without expecting any return. . ."

Each child is an opportunity to love "of free grace." It is in the family where God asks most of us to serve Him by loving our spouse, children, parents, in-laws, and grandchildren.

Be not afraid, for a great joy awaits those who love Him.


Debt Remission Could Be Turning Point In International Development

On July 1, Msgr. Celestino Migliore represented the Holy See at an ECOSOC meeting in New York. This was prior to the G8 leaders meeting in Scotland July 6-8, where the leaders of the G8 nations voted to pursue the actions proposed by G8 finance ministers and which are referred to in Msgr. Migliore's address, which follows:

"The Holy See is pleased to associate itself with those who support the accord reached in London recently by the G8 finance ministers to cancel the debts of 18 heavily indebted poor countries (HIPC). In these last decades, the Holy See has been among the most outspoken advocates of this kind of step, as expressed by the late Pope John Paul II, who often raised his voice in favor of debt cancellation for the world's poorest countries. For now, the London accord remains only a proposal. The G8 leaders, meeting at Gleneagles on July 6-8, must now pay attention to the demands of their own people and of civil society, and place before their respective legislatures bills that will lead to the immediate fulfillment of the accord's promises. In order to consolidate these achievements and convert them into a kind of launch pad, we have to put them in perspective.

"It cannot be ignored that, while countries are quick to defend and promote whatever is perceived as in their own interests, there is often a marked contrast with international financial measures on behalf of the world's poorest countries. It must also be acknowledged that the actual sums involved here are modest compared with the vast military expenditure throughout the world and the subsidies that the industrialized countries pay to sectors in their own economies, when often those very subsidies are responsible for severe distortions in the world's poorest countries.

"The Secretary-General's Report In Larger Freedom and the draft declaration for the forthcoming UN summit of heads of state in September 2005 both recall that the true guarantee of world security is to be found in the development of the world's poorest countries and in that of the more marginalized sectors in each of those countries. In other words, it is a question of working at both inequality within individual countries and inequality between different States.

"The debt remission measures which one hopes to see effectively adopted by the multilateral financial institutions are just the start of that path, first of all because the measure in question needs to be extended to some 38 HIPC countries. Secondly, if debt remission were implemented by diverting financial resources from other aid programs and if there were no significant increase in real ODA, the world would end up facing a situation worse than before the measures adopted at Gleneagles.

"The upcoming G8 meeting must show the world the magnanimity and breadth of vision of its leaders, something which could serve as a solid and effective basis for a broad consensus at the forthcoming Millennium+5 summit in September.

"This year will also see the sixth ministerial conference of the WTO taking place in Hong Kong in December. Debt remission and the increase in ODA necessarily must be complemented by the creation of an international trade system that is at the very least friendly towards the most indebted countries, in the terms delineated at Doha. The obligations undertaken by countries which are either very poor or have grave structural deficiencies, for their part, must become flexible enough to promote at home an economic development which is fully responsive to local social requirements. Thus, the most industrialized countries – along with emerging economies and more recent industrial powers – should not hesitate in allowing, even favoring, concessions and privileges for extremely poor countries.

"Finally, when talking of financing for development, one cannot fail to mention the lack of financing for basic scientific research and for the industrial development of pharmaceutical products to combat the major tropical diseases such as malaria, as well as the lack of research in favor of agriculture in poorer regions. There would appear to be no point in waiting for private financing to invest in such fields, since these are problems which do not concern directly the public of the countries where the resources exist. What is needed is a generous provision of public monies in favor of the many existing initiatives, like the Global Fund for example, to promote an intensive and broad participation of the world's scientific research institutes.

"The multilateral political events of the second half of this year, starting with this session of ECOSOC, could become an international turning point, in which the financing of international development converts itself into the highest international priority, if world leaders were able to move their Governments and peoples. Thus all countries, developed and poor ones alike, would be able to play their true part in the achievement of the MDGs. . ."


Disease Continues To Plague Humanity

Cardinal Javier Barragan, president of the Pontifical Council for Health Pastoral Care, spoke to the 58th Assembly of the World Health Organization (WHO) on May 18, in Geneva, Switzerland. His speech follows:

"I am pleased to convey to the World Health Organization the cordial greetings of the new Pope Benedict XVI. His Holiness is deeply concerned by the world's health problems. He offers all his support and help to the global effort to obtain health for all, especially the most defenseless, with priority to topics that cause us the greatest concern today and to the health of mothers and children above all.

"Unfortunately, diseases and infectious diseases in particular are most virulent in the poorest countries which, precisely because of their poverty, have no resources with which to obtain the medicines that thanks to technological progress could easily provide a cure for some of them.

"As a matter of fact, infectious illnesses account for the death of 17 million people each year, 90 percent of whom live in developing countries.

"For example, 95 percent of those infected with AIDS have no money to pay for antiretrovirals. Today on the market of some of these countries it is impossible even to find the medicines necessary to treat the so-called 'diseases of the poor,' such as, for example, tuberculosis, malaria, smallpox, dengue hemorrhagic fever, leishmaniasis, certain forms of meningitis, sleeping sickness, etc.

"Recently, at the end of the 20th century, only 13 of the 1,223 new medicines put on the market in the 22 years between 1975 and 1997 were for the treatment of infectious tropical diseases. The total cost of medicines throughout the world is estimated at between $50 and $60 billion (U.S.) annually, and only 0.2 percent of this sum is allocated to the treatment of respiratory ailments, tuberculosis, and diarrhea infections.

"These diseases are thought to be the cause of 18 percent of the deaths across the world (cf. Médecins sans frontière,

"Together with these health problems, with special reference to mother and child health, it is appalling to note that out of 211 million new human beings conceived, there are 46 million induced abortions, 32 million die prematurely or at birth, and only 133 million are born and survive (WHO, The World Health Report 2005, Make every mother and child count, 48-52).

"Mr. President, aware in the Holy See of these and similar problems, Pope John Paul II set up 'The Good Samaritan' Foundation to help the neediest sick in the world. The new Pope Benedict XVI has been pleased to ratify this Foundation.

"We are complying with its initial aim by purchasing medicines for the neediest. To date, we have been able to assist sick people in 11 countries in Africa, one in Asia, and another in Latin America; 26.7 percent of the care centers for the sick with HIV/AIDS in the world are served by the Catholic Church.

"In this way we desire to cooperate in some way with the great task that the WHO is carrying out, and in this health context, to contribute our endeavors to helping in particular the poorest and neediest."


Approved Prayer For The Intercession Of Pope John Paul II

O Holy Trinity,

we thank You for having given to the Church Pope John Paul II, and for having made him shine with Your fatherly tenderness, the glory of the Cross of Christ, and the splendor of the Spirit of love.

He, trusting completely in Your infinite mercy and in the maternal intercession of Mary, has shown himself in the likeness of Jesus the Good Shepherd and has pointed out to us holiness as the path to reach eternal communion with You.

Grant us, through his intercession, according to Your will, the grace that we implore, in the hope that he will soon be numbered among Your saints.



Nuclear Disarmament Is Key To Building A Culture Of Peace

Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons met in New York to review progress made under the treaty.

On May 4, Monsignor Celestino Migliore made the following statement on behalf of the Vatican:

"The Holy See adhered to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) on February 25, 1971, convinced that it was an important step forward in the creation of a system of general and complete disarmament under effective international control, something that would be possible only if it were completely observed both in detail and in its entirety.

"After 35 years, the Treaty has become a cornerstone in the global security framework since it has, to some extent, helped slow the arms race. The fact that it has received an extremely high number of adhesions, with 188 States Parties, shows the importance it has for the international community. This is so by means of three pillars: preventing the spread and proliferation of nuclear arms, promoting cooperation in the peaceful use of nuclear energy, and pursuing the objective of nuclear disarmament which implicitly leads to general and complete disarmament. In essence, the NPT promised a world in which nuclear weapons would be eliminated and technological cooperation for development would be widespread.

"A Review Conference of the NPT is therefore a time to measure the progress of the international community in achieving the goals of the Treaty. When the NPT was indefinitely extended in 1995, the nuclear weapons States joined all other parties to the Treaty in making three promises: a Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty would be achieved by 1996; negotiations on a treaty to ban the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons would come to an 'early conclusion'; and 'systematic and progressive efforts globally' to eliminate nuclear weapons would be made. In 2000, all parties gave an 'unequivocal undertaking' to the elimination of nuclear weapons through a program of 13 Practical Steps. Nevertheless, the Preparatory Committee for the current Review Conference failed to achieve consensus on the documents to be adopted now, which leads to concern for the outcome of the Conference.

"With regard to the 1970s, when the NPT entered into force, there took place at the same time profound social and geopolitical changes. An awareness began to grow of the close correlation and interdependence between national and international security, while new challenges sprang up, like transnational terrorism and the illegal spread of materials for making weapons of mass destruction. These are two phenomena which, among others, directly question the capacity of the NPT to respond to new international challenges. In this regard, the Holy See considers the General Assembly's adoption of the International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism as an important step forward. The time has come to underline again the importance of observing the NPT in detail and in its entirety.

"Since the Treaty is the only multilateral legal instrument currently available, intended to bring about a nuclear weapons free world, it must not be allowed to be weakened. Humanity deserves no less than the full cooperation of all States on this grave matter. The Holy See makes an appeal that the difficult and complex issues of the Review Conference be addressed in an even-handed way. Measures taken at this Review Conference, even if they are small steps forward, must be framed by the overall goals of the Treaty. The Review Conference must not go backwards by forgetting past commitments; it must advance the effectiveness of the NPT.

"The world is rightly concerned about the proliferation of nuclear weapons and attempts to redirect nuclear technologies and fuels away from their peaceful use and towards nuclear weapons instead. The non-proliferation side of the NPT must be strengthened through increasing the capacity of the International Atomic Energy Agency to detect any misuse of nuclear fuels. The compliance measures of the Treaty must also be strengthened.

"But concentrating only on non-proliferation measures distorts the meaning of the Treaty. Compliance with its nuclear disarmament provisions is also required: non-proliferation and nuclear disarmament are interdependent and mutually reinforcing. The Holy See therefore calls upon the nuclear weapons States to take a role of courageous leadership and political responsibility in safeguarding the very integrity of the NPT and in creating a climate of trust, transparency, and true cooperation, with a view to the concrete realization of a culture of life and peace which will promote the integral development of the world's peoples. Thus, in an effort to put priorities and hierarchies of values in their proper place, a greater common effort must be made to mobilize resources towards moral, cultural, and economic development so that humanity may turn its back on the arms race.

"The time has gone for finding ways to a 'balance in terror'; the time has come to re-examine the whole strategy of nuclear deterrence. When the Holy See expressed its limited acceptance of nuclear deterrence during the Cold War, it was with the clearly stated condition that deterrence was only a step on the way towards progressive nuclear disarmament. The Holy See has never countenanced nuclear deterrence as a permanent measure, nor does it today when it is evident that nuclear deterrence drives the development of ever newer nuclear arms, thus preventing genuine nuclear disarmament.

"The Holy See again emphasizes that the peace we seek in the 21st century cannot be attained by relying on nuclear weapons. The century opened with a burst of global terrorism, but this threat must not be allowed to undermine the precepts of international humanitarian law, which is founded on the key principles of limitation and proportionality. We must always remember that the use of arms must not produce evils and disorders graver than the evil to be eliminated. Nuclear weapons, even so-called 'low yield' weapons, endanger the processes of life and can lead to extended nuclear conflict.

"Nuclear weapons assault life on the planet, they assault the planet itself, and in so doing they assault the process of the continuing development of the planet. The preservation of the Non-Proliferation Treaty demands an unequivocal commitment to genuine nuclear disarmament.

"Therefore, the Holy See looks to all States Parties to the NPT to uphold the integrity of the Treaty. All Parties should contribute to the success of the Review Conference in preserving and strengthening the credibility of the Treaty, so that it can be effective and lasting. In this way the culture of peace can be advanced and the culture of war diminished, for the enduring benefit of all humanity."


Pray The News

Because we are sons and daughters of God, saved by Jesus and empowered by the Holy Spirit, we do not merely read the news but make the news. We direct the course of world events by faith expressed in action and intercession. Please pray for the stories covered in this paper. Clip out this intercessory list and make it part of your daily prayer.

  • We pray that World Youth Day will be very fruitful.
  • We pray that workers will have "decent work for a decent life."
  • We pray in thanksgiving for the progress made in addressing the needs of poorer nations, especially in Africa, and pray for continued progress.
  • We pray for an end to violence and war and that we would be builders of a culture of peace.
  • We pray that the Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church will be utilized in spreading the faith.
  • We pray for the sick and suffering to receive compassionate care.


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Phone: (513) 662-5378

Published by: Presentation Ministries, 3230 McHenry Ave., Cincinnati, OH 45211, (513) 662-5378,



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