Courtney Grogan | Catholic News Agency | Source URL
Pope Francis called on nations to work toward a global common good Thursday, particularly in confronting climate change, human trafficking, and nuclear threats.
“In the current situation of globalization not only of the economy but also of technological and cultural exchanges, the nation state is no longer able to procure the common good of its population alone,” Pope Francis told the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences May 2.
“The common good has become global and nations must associate for their own benefit,” Francis said, noting that some nations today have “a spirit of opposition rather than cooperation.”
The pope called “building the common good of humanity, a necessary and essential element for the world balance.”
“While, according to the principle of subsidiarity, individual nations must be given the power to operate as far as they can, on the other hand, groups of neighboring nations – as is already the case – can strengthen their cooperation by attributing the exercise of certain functions and services to intergovernmental institutions that manage their common interests,” he said.
Pope Francis said that when a “supranational common good” is clearly identified, as in the case of climate change or human trafficking, it necessitates a special legal authority capable of facilitating solutions.
He called for new paths of cooperation among nations to achieve peace today when “multilateral nuclear disarmament appears outdated and does not stir the political conscience of nations that possess atomic weapons.”
“If, now, not only on earth but in space, there are offensive and defensive nuclear weapons, the so-called new technological frontier, raised and not lowered the danger of a nuclear holocaust,” he said.
The pope warned against “nationalism that raises walls” or leads to antisemitism or hatred of others.
The Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences addressed the revival of nationalism at their plenary session May 1-3, “Nation, State, Nation-State.”
“The Church observes with concern the re-emergence, almost everywhere in the world, of aggressive currents towards foreigners, especially immigrants, as well as that growing nationalism that neglects the common good,” Pope Francis told the professors gathered in Vatican City for the plenary.
However, Pope Francis rejected the idea of “a universalism or generic internationalism that neglects the identity of individual peoples.”
“The Church has always urged the love of its people, of their homeland, to respect the treasure of the various cultural expressions, customs and habits and the right ways of living rooted in peoples,” he said.
Pope Francis quoted St. Thomas Aquinas’ answer to the tenth objection to the ninth question in his Disputed Questions on Spiritual Creatures, noting that he believes St. Thomas has a beautiful idea of what it means to be ‘a people’: “As the Seine river is not ‘this particular river’ because of ‘this flowing water,’ but because of ‘this source’ and ‘this bed,’ and hence is always called the same river, although there may be other water flowing down it; likewise a people is the same, not because of a sameness of soul or of men, but because of the same dwelling place, or rather because of the same laws and the same manner of living, as Aristotle says in the third book of the Politics.”
Pope Francis went on to talk about the importance of welcoming and integrating migrants.
“It is the task of public authority to protect migrants and to regulate migratory flows with the virtue of prudence, as well as to promote reception so that local populations are trained and encouraged to consciously participate in the integrating process of migrants who are welcomed,” he said.
“The way in which a nation welcomes migrants reveals its vision of human dignity and its relationship with humanity. Every human person is a member of humanity and has the same dignity,” Pope Francis said.