Pope Francis sent a message to leaders of the world’s economy gathered for the G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany, reminding them of the responsibility they have to care for those not represented at the summit.
The G20 Summit is annual meeting of heads of state and finance from the leaders of the world’s economy. While only 20 countries are members, they represent 85 percent of the world’s GDP and two-thirds of it’s population.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel is hosting this year’s G20 Summit in Hamburg, Germany from July 7-8. The summit has been met this year with small but significant groups of mostly anti-capitalist protesters, who among other things are protesting the meeting of U.S. President Donald Trump with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
In his address to the leaders, Pope Francis reflected on four key themes, starting with “time is greater than space,” at which point he told the group to consider effective solutions for the immigration crisis that has hit Europe and the Middle East in the past several years. Immigration was already listed on the agenda of the G20 group, for which the Pope said he was thankful.
“An effective solution, necessarily spread over time, will be possible only if the final objective of the process is clearly present in its planning,” he said.
“In the minds and hearts of government leaders, and at every phase of the enactment of political measures, there is a need to give absolute priority to the poor, refugees, the suffering, evacuees and the excluded, without distinction of nation, race, religion or culture, and to reject armed conflicts.”
He paused to especially remind the group of the crisis in South Sudan, where thirty million people are lacking the food and water to survive.
In his next point, “unity prevails over conflict,” the Pope reminded the group that “war…is never a solution”, reiterating the words of Pope Benedict XV.
“There is a tragic contradiction and inconsistency in the apparent unity expressed in common forums on economic or social issues, and the acceptance, active or passive, of armed conflicts,” Francis said.
The Pope also told the summit in his third theme that “realities are more important than ideas”, and asked them not to fall into the ideologies of the first half of the 20th century that brought “exclusion, waste and even death.”
“I pray to God that the Hamburg Summit may be illumined by the example of those European and world leaders who consistently gave pride of place to dialogue and the quest of common solutions: Schuman, De Gasperi, Adenauer, Monnet and so many others,” he said.
And finally, the Holy Father asked the global leaders to remember that “the whole is greater than the part.”
“Problems need to be resolved concretely and with due attention to their specificity, but such solutions, to be lasting, cannot neglect a broader vision,” he said.
“While it is reasonable that G20 Summits should be limited to the small number of countries that represent 90% of the production of wealth and services worldwide, this very situation must prompt the participants to a profound reflection. Those states and individuals whose voice is weakest on the world political scene are precisely the ones who suffer most from the harmful effects of economic crises for which they bear little or no responsibility,” he noted.
“This great majority, which in economic terms counts for only 10% of the whole, is the portion of humanity that has the greatest potential to contribute to the progress of everyone.”
At the end of his remarks, the Pope asked for God’s blessings on the summit.