Ahead of the G20 gathering in London, Pope Benedict XVI has written to Prime Minister Gordon Brown to insist that any solution to the financial crisis involves the inclusion of ethics and be founded upon a "positive faith in the human person," especially those in extreme poverty.'
This, he writes, "must prompt a profound reflection among the summit participants, since those whose voice has least force in the political scene are precisely the ones who suffer most from the harmful effects of a crisis for which they do not bear responsibility."
The solutions arrived at by the G20 must involve "a courageous and generous strengthening of international co-operation, capable of promoting a truly humane and integral development. Positive faith in the human person, and above all faith in the poorest men and women - of Africa and other regions of the world affected by extreme poverty - is what is needed if we are truly to come through the crisis once and for all, without turning our back on any region, and if we are definitively to prevent any recurrence of a situation similar to that in which we find ourselves today," he wrote.
The Pope concluded his letter by expressing the wish to add his voice "to those of the adherents of various religions and cultures who share the conviction that the elimination of extreme poverty by 2015, to which leaders at the UN Millennium Summit committed themselves, remains one of the most important tasks of our time."
Gordon Brown replied to the Pope's letter by saying that he agreed with the Holy Father's ideas and that "...we stand ready to support the most vulnerable in society. It is vital that rich countries keep their promises on aid, even in these tough times."
LONDON – G-20 leaders pledged an additional $1 trillion to restore credit, growth and jobs in the world economy on Thursday, announcing a broad raft of measures designed to hasten the end of the global financial crisis.
"Today the largest countries of the world have agreed on a global plan for economic recovery and reform," said the host, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown.
"For the first time we have a common approach to cleaning up banks around the world to restructuring of the world financial system. We have maintained our commitment to help the world's poorest," Brown said. "This is a collective action of people around the world working at their best."
The leaders also agreed to new rules on linking executive pay to performance, Brown said.
In an earlier speech Pope Benedict listed tax havens, executive compensation, and protectionism as issues which sorely needed to be addressed. I would imagine he is somewhat pleased with the outcome of the G20 summit as these leaders seem to have genuinely decided the same ole, same ole, was not going to work.
Our President has done himself proud this week, and I'm not writing this as some sort of Obamamaniac. First he and President Medvedev of Russia agreed to joint reduction of nuclear weapons, committing themselves to a new START treaty, and they agreed to work together on terrorism, joint economic issues, and the Middle East. Both of them admitted to a cooling of the relationship between the United States and Russia and both were excited that a new era of relationship was now possible. This is wonderfully positive news.
Secondly, President Obama seems to have convinced China they have obligations to the world economic community. Releasing information on Chinese tax havens is a biggy, as I'm sure these havens had a lot to do with Western investment in the Chinese economy. Pope Benedict was right on target about the evils of tax havens. Now if only the Caribbean would follow China's lead.
If Africans saw a voice for them in President Obama, he, along with President Sarkozy, Prime Minister Brown and Chancellor Merkel seemed truly concerned that Africa not be left out, and indeed it wasn't. It may just be that this global economic crisis has indeed woken up politicians to "take their responsibilities". As far as Presidents Medvedev and Obama, it looks as if those 'taken up responsibilities' go far beyond the economic ones. This is all almost too much to take in, given the US position in global affairs for the last eight years.
I'm sure though, and it makes me sad, that none of this will matter in the Notre Dame debate. That President Obama was a major player in bringing to fruition so much of what Pope Benedict hoped and prayed for at this summit, will count for naught. Obama will continue to be called a baby killer and an agent of death over the one single issue of abortion. That what he has helped to accomplish at the G20 Summit may save incalculable number of lives, both born and pre born, won't matter a diddly squat.
I'm sure our provincial bishops will continue to call for the condemnation of both Notre Dame and President Obama, and Governor Sebelius and Nancy Pelosi and Joe Biden and John Kerry and Ted Kennedy and on and on and on, because abortion trumps all other evil. This in spite of the fact the Pope takes a more nuanced position. But then again, maybe it isn't about Catholicism at all. Maybe it's about the Republican culture war.
The only thing I can say at this point is thank God the world's political leaders aren't paying any attention and don't buy into the bs, and that this includes our current President.