Cardinal Peter Turkson recently spoke at the “Giving Europe a Soul – European Unification in reconciled Diversity – Foundation of a social ethical network for Eastern and Central Europe” conference. His address included some great insights that are relevant to those in Europe and around the globe.
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He noted the need for our societies to evolve into something greater than the status quo:
Today, in order to re-humanize our fragile societies, we must begin to imagine economics and politics worthy of the human person.
He went on to highlight the human desire and need for community, and pointed out that it is our nature as human persons to live in fraternity with one another:
We are created social, made for freedom and interdependence with others in human communities. We are not first and foremost islands, not wolves to each other, not merely conflict-driven creatures.
Fraternity – treating each other as the brothers and sisters that we are – is our true vocation.
Ultimately, we are called to love one another as we are loved:
Each one of us is fully loved, not more or less but infinitely, fully, uniquely, and unconditionally.
He even offered general guidelines for how to pursue a community and socio-economic vision that is compatible with the Church’s vision – and noted Europe could be the ideal staging ground for putting the vision into action:
There is a profound harmony between the Church’s social vision and the ambitions of the European Social Model, with its commitment to the common good, and with solidarity, equality and social justice as its hallmarks. Sustainable full employment, improved living and working conditions, proper social protection, economic efficiency, dialogue between management and labor, and the combating of exclusion have been its drivers. Economic growth should not be pursued for itself but for the sake of overall social wellbeing. Growth must not be achieved on the backs of the poor!