Pope Francis addressed the participants in an international symposium on disarmament and development on Friday. The two-day event has been organized by the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, in order to address issues that are critical both in themselves and in the light of the complex political challenges of the current international scene.
In remarks prepared for the participants and delivered shortly after noon on Friday in the Clementine Hall of the Apostolic Palace in the Vatican, Pope Francis said nuclear weapons, “exist in the service of a mentality of fear that affects not only the parties in conflict but the entire human race.” He went on to say, “Weapons of mass destruction, particularly nuclear weapons, create nothing but a false sense of security.”
“International relations,” he continued, “cannot be held captive to military force, mutual intimidation, and the parading of stockpiles of arms. They cannot constitute the basis for peaceful coexistence between members of the human family, which must rather be inspired by an ethics of solidarity (cf. Message to the United Nations Conference to Negotiate a Legally Binding Instrument to Prohibit Nuclear Weapons, 27 March 2017).” Pope Francis also addressed the need to recover a sense of the proper end of scientific enterprise, saying, “[T]rue science is always at the service of humanity,” even though, “in our time we are increasingly troubled by the misuse of certain projects originally conceived for a good cause.”
Noting that this year marks the fiftieth anniversary of the Encyclical Letter Populorum Progressio, in which Bl. Paul VI articulated the idea of integral human development and proposed it as “the new name of peace”, Pope Francis said, “We need, then, to reject the culture of waste and to care for individuals and peoples labouring under painful disparities through patient efforts to favour processes of solidarity over selfish and contingent interests.”
Solidarity also goes hand-in-hand with integrating the individual and the social dimensions through the application of the principle of subsidiarity, in view of the need to promote human beings in the indissoluble unity of soul and body, of contemplation and action.
“In this way,” continued Pope Francis, “progress that is both effective and inclusive can achieve the utopia of a world free of deadly instruments of aggression, contrary to the criticism of those who consider idealistic any process of dismantling arsenals.”
The Holy Father concluded, saying, “The Church does not tire of offering the world this wisdom and the actions it inspires, conscious that integral development is the beneficial path that the human family is called to travel,” encouraging participants to carry forward this activity with patience and constancy, in the trust that the Lord is ever at our side, and asking God to bless each of the participants and their efforts in the service of justice and peace.