Vatican City, 22 June 2012 (VIS) - This morning in the Vatican the Pope received a delegation from the Italian agricultural organisation "Coldiretti", which is currently celebrating its national congress on the theme "Family agriculture for sustainable development".
"Society, the economy and work are not exclusively secular environments", the Pope said, "even less so are they alien to the Christian message. They are, rather, spaces to be fecundated with the spiritual richness of the Gospel. The Church, in fact, is never indifferent to people's quality of life and working conditions; she feels the need to care for man in the contexts in which he lives and produces, that these may increasingly become places that are authentically human and humanising".
"It is in Coldiretti that Catholic teaching on social ethics has found one its most fertile 'laboratories', thanks to the intuition and far-sighted wisdom of its founder, Paolo Bonomi. ... Now it is up to you, remaining faithful to the values you have acquired, to enter into a courageous dialogue with a changing society. ... Each of you in his or her own role must commit yourselves to support the legitimate interests of the categories you represent, ... in order to bring out the most noble and salient aspects of the human person: a sense of duty, a capacity for sharing and sacrifice, solidarity, and observing the just requirement for rest and corporeal (and, even more so, spiritual) regeneration".
The Holy Father invited the members of Coldiretti to continue their evangelical witness,"highlighting the values which make working activity a valuable instrument in the creation of a more just and human form of coexistence. I am thinking of respect for the person, the search for the common good, honesty and transparency in the supply of services, food security, protecting the environment and the landscape, and the promotion of a spirit of solidarity".
The uncertainty generated by the enduring economic and financial crisis means that people in the agriculture and fisheries sector are facing "a series of difficult challenges which you are called to face as Christians, by cultivating a renewed and profound sense of responsibility and showing your capacity for solidarity and sharing", the Pope said. "Considering that at the roots of current economic difficulties there lies a moral crisis, you must work with solicitude to ensure that ethical requirements maintain their primacy over everything else"."It is on this ethical terrain that families, schools, trade unions and all other political, cultural and civic institutions must play an important role of collaboration, ... especially as regards young people. The young are full of ideas and hopes, and generously seek to build themselves a future. From adults they expect worthwhile examples and serious proposals. We must not delude them".