POPE TO DAVOS FORUM: HUMAN PERSONS, THEIR RIGHTS AND DIGNITY MUST BE AT CENTER OF ECONOMICS

Today is the feast day of Hawaii’s own St. Marianne Cope, also know as Saint Marianne of Moloka’i, for her decades spent in Hawaii – 30 years alone on Kalaupapa, Moloka’i with the victims of Hansen’s disease or leprosy. Marianne was born on January 23, 1838 and died August 9, 1918. She arrived in Hawaii in 1883 and began her mission on Moloka’i in 1888.

Her first grave on Kalaupapa –

A mosaic on a gatepost on Kalaupapa –

A statue in a Honolulu park-

An image in Our Lady of Peace cathedral –

Thus, 2018 marks 3 significant dates for St. Marianne: the 100th anniversary of her death, the 130th anniversary of her arrival on Kalaupapa and the 180th of her birth. The diocese of Honolulu will be celebrating these dates, as well as the 175th anniversary of Honolulu’s cathedral of Our Lady of Peace. Marianne’s remains were transferred here in July 2014, a ceremony I attended, videoed and wrote about.

St, Marianne was both the first beatification and the last canonization under Pope Benedict XVI.

Marianne’s mortal remains in a chapel of the Franciscan Sisters the day before her remains were placed in the cathedral –

In the cathedral –

Bishop Larry Silva and seminarians –

Bishop Silva and some of the Franciscan Sisters (and yours truly) –

In a spirit of ecumenism, St. Marianne is honored jointly with St. Damien of Moloka’i on April 15 on the liturgical calendar of the Episcopal Church in the U.S.

POPE TO DAVOS FORUM: HUMAN PERSONS, THEIR RIGHTS AND DIGNITY MUST BE AT CENTER OF ECONOMICS

Following is the Message sent by the Holy Father Francis to Professor Klaus Schwab, Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum, taking place in Davos-Klosters, Switzerland, from 23 to 26 January, on the theme “Creating a Shared Future in a Fractured World”:

To Professor Klaus Schwab
Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum

 

am grateful for your invitation to participate in the World Economic Forum 2018 and for your desire to include the perspective of the Catholic Church and the Holy See at the meeting in Davos. I thank you also for your efforts to bring this perspective to the attention of those gathered for this annual Forum, including the distinguished political and governmental authorities present and all those engaged in the fields of business, the economy, work and culture, as they discuss the challenges, concerns, hopes and prospects of the world today and of the future.

The theme chosen for this year’s Forum – Creating a Shared Future in a Fractured World – is very timely. I trust that it will assist in guiding your deliberations as you seek better foundations for building inclusive, just and supportive societies, capable of restoring dignity to those who live with great uncertainty and who are unable to dream of a better world.

At the level of global governance, we are increasingly aware that there is a growing fragmentation between States and Institutions. New actors are emerging, as well as new economic competition and regional trade agreements. Even the most recent technologies are transforming economic models and the globalized world itself, which, conditioned by private interests and an ambition for profit at all costs, seem to favour further fragmentation and individualism, rather than to facilitate approaches that are more inclusive.

The recurring financial instabilities have brought new problems and serious challenges that governments must confront, such as the growth of unemployment, the increase in various forms of poverty, the widening of the socio-economic gap and new forms of slavery, often rooted in situations of conflict, migration and various social problems. “Together with this, we encounter certain rather selfish lifestyles, marked by an opulence which is no longer sustainable and frequently indifferent to the world around us, and especially to the poorest of the poor. To our dismay we see technical and economic questions dominating political debate, to the detriment of genuine concern for human beings. Men and women risk being reduced to mere cogs in a machine that treats them as items of consumption to be exploited, with the result that –as is so tragically apparent–whenever a human life no longer proves useful for that machine, it is discarded with few qualms” (Address to the European Parliament, Strasbourg, 25 November 2014).

In this context, it is vital to safeguard the dignity of the human person, in particular by offering to all people real opportunities for integral human development and by implementing economic policies that favour the family. “Economic freedom must not prevail over the practical freedom of man and over his rights, and the market must not be absolute, but honour the exigencies of justice” (Address to the General Confederation of Italian Industry, 27 February 2016). Economic models, therefore, are also required to observe an ethic of sustainable and integral development, based on values that place the human person and his or her rights at the centre.

“Before the many barriers of injustice, of loneliness, of distrust and of suspicion which are still being elaborated in our day, the world of labour is called upon to take courageous steps in order that ‘being and working together’ is not merely a slogan but a programme for the present and the future”(Ibid.).

Only through a firm resolve shared by all economic actors may we hope to give anew direction to the destiny of our world. So too artificial intelligence, robotics and other technological innovations must be so employed that they contribute to the service of humanity and to the protection of our common home, rather than to the contrary, as some assessments unfortunately foresee.
We cannot remain silent in the face of the suffering of millions of people whose dignity is wounded, nor can we continue to move forward as if the spread of poverty and injustice had no cause. It is a moral imperative, a responsibility that involves everyone, to create the right conditions to allow each person to live in a dignified manner. By rejecting a “throwaway” culture and a mentality of indifference, the entrepreneurial world has enormous potential to effect substantial change by increasing the quality of productivity, creating new jobs, respecting labour laws, fighting against public and private corruption and promoting social justice, together with the fair and equitable sharing of profits.

There is a grave responsibility to exercise wise discernment, for the decisions made will be decisive for shaping the world of tomorrow and that of future generations. Thus, if we want a more secure future, one that encourages the prosperity of all, then it is necessary to keep the compass continually oriented towards “true North”, represented by authentic values. Now is the time to take courageous and bold steps for our beloved planet. This is the right moment to put into action our responsibility to contribute to the development of humanity.

I hope, therefore, that this 2018 meeting of the World Economic Forum will allow an open, free, and respectful exchange, and be inspired above all else by the desire to advance the common good.
In renewing my best wishes for the success of the meeting, I willingly invoke upon you and all participating in the Forum the divine blessings of wisdom and strength.

From the Vatican, 12 January 2018

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A SPOTLIGHT ON SAINTS DAMIEN AND MARIANNE OF MOLOKAI’I

RECENT PAPAL TWEETS:

Sunday, October 8: When you experience bitterness, put your faith in all those who still work for good: in their humility lies the seed of a new world.

Monday, October 9: The search for peace is an open-ended task, a responsibility that never ends and that demands the commitment of everyone.

Put this on your calendar: At 5 pm Rome time on Thursday, October 26, from a small room in the Paul VI Hall, Pope Francis will have a linkup with the crew of the International Space Station.

A SPOTLIGHT ON SAINTS DAMIEN AND MARIANNE OF MOLOKAI’I

On Sunday I leave for Hawaii to participate in the October 20-22 Saints Damien and Marianne Catholic Conference at the Honolulu Convention Center. I am very excited about the conference because, starting in 2008, I have spent years researching the lives and works of Saints Damien and Marianne Cope, and then covering their canonizations in Rome (respectively 2009 and 2012), and now I can share my stories and listen to the stories of others who also love Hawaii’s two very special saints.

And Hawaii may well have a third saint – Brother Joseph Dutton. He was not a religious brother but rather received that name from Fr. Damien himself who told Joseph one day as they worked together on Kalaupapa, “You are like a brother to everyone here.”

Born Ira Dutton, he took the name Joseph when he became a Catholic. Joseph worked for 44 years alongside Fr. Damien and Sr. Marianne and her nuns, with the leprosy patients on Kalaupapa, this hankerchief-sized piece of land in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.

Hansen’s disease is the medical name for leprosy. When it came to the Hawaiian Islands, then a kingdom, King Kamehameha V banished all those with the disease to the isolated Kalaupapa peninsula on the north shore of the island of Molokai. The leprosy colonies operated from 1866 to 1969 and had a total of over 8,500 residents over the decades.

At the time of Fr. Damien, a priest of the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary, people sick with leprosy were exiled to Kalaupapa. It was that exile of so many human beings who needed the hand not only of a doctor but of another human being to comfort them in their dreadful living conditions, both physical and spiritual, that prompted Fr. Damien to go to Kalaupapa in 1873. He served there until his death in 1889.

Damien was joined by Mother Marianne Cope and six sisters from her Order, the Sisters of St. Francis of Syracuse, in 1883. She lived and worked there until her death in 1918.

We see the words “heroic virtues” literally come to life in Damien and Marianne.

More than 8,000 people, mostly Hawaiians, have died at Kalaupapa. Many of their tombs can still be seen today, although many thousands were washed away years ago as the result of a tsunami. Kalaupapa is now home to just a few remaining residents who are now cured, but were forced to live their lives in isolation.

The conference will, as its title says, focus on Hawaii’s two saints, on their heroic virtues but also on human rights because that is really what Damien and Marianne fought for over so many decades – the rights of people who had been ostracized by society and forced to live in totally undignified circumstances.

When we think of sainthood and heroic virtues, we think: this is Mission Impossible – not something I can achieve. And yet, this is what we are all called to do! And this is what the conference hopes to achieve: to inspire all of us to – in our way, with whatever gifts God gave us, in whatever circumstances He placed us – aim high, to look at sanctity as something eminently achievable.

Did Marianne and Damien think like Mother Teresa: “I know God won’t give me anything I can’t handle. I just wish he didn’t trust me so much!”

A number of the speakers, as you’ll see from the program, are from the same congregation as St. Damien and the order of St. Marianne.

The special guest of honor is Cardinal Soane Patita Paini Mafi of Tonga. We have been in touch and I’ll be interviewing him!

I’ll also join Bishop Larry Silva on a pilgrimage to Kalaupapa on October 23. I’ve been there several times before, and have written stories and posted videos and interviewed many people.

I am truly looking forward to returning to a place that, for me, is a shrine.

https://www.dmcchawaii.org/