Which development model?

The Country's expectations to the light of "Caritas in Veritate"

Experts in the social doctrine of the Church and in economic sciences presented on March 6 in Tirana (at the “Mother of Good Counsel” University) Pope Benedict XVI’s encyclical letter “Caritas in Veritate”. The meeting promoted by the Albanian Bishops’ Conference (CEA) in conjunction with the national Caritas, was announced during the October plenary of Albanian bishops, who expressed their wish to further study the encyclical with a national symposium. The Holy Father was present in the words of the document and with the presence of the apostolic nuncio in Albania Msgr. Ramiro Moliner Inglès, who greeted participants on behalf of the Pontiff. In the ongoing climate, worsened by the economic crisis experienced across a large number of Countries, the document of Benedict XVI holds special topical relevance, panellists remarked commenting on “Caritas in Veritate”. Integral development, the human person, fraternity, gift, rights, duties, solidarity, subsidiarity, peoples’ advancement, and technology: these are some of the words that accompanied the presentation of the encyclical. From the onset the speakers highlighted the close bond with the tradition of the social doctrine of the Church, notably the first chapter, which refers to the basic principles of Pope Paul VI’s “Populorum progressio”. In continuity with what has been previously said, the Pope reaffirms that the highway of the social doctrine of the Church is love (n°2), which thus becomes the “driving force” behind the authentic development of every person and of all humanity (n°1). When this love is lacking, man’s personal relationship with God and with others becomes arid, since its existence grants substance to these relations.Benedict XVI reiterates the integral development of the human person and of peoples in continuity with the thought of Paul VI, as a vocation that requires everyone’s responsibility, and which no political and social structure could ever replace. Human advancement in society is closely linked to Gospel proclamation, since only in the framework of this proclamation can Christians participate and become the protagonists of the development. Thus, bearing witness to Christ’s charity through works of justice, peace and development, is part and parcel of evangelization (n.15). The ongoing crisis will not be solved alone; responsibilities must be assumed for the identification of concrete solutions. In particular, a series of aspects ought to be urgently addressed. These are poverty, the value of life in all its stages, migration, unemployment, the environment and the unrestrained exploitation of natural resources (food and water). A concrete response to these questions can pave the way towards exiting the crisis. The value of gratuitous giving contrasts with business and profit approaches, although the latter lead to the establishment of strong human ties. Investing not merely in profit-yielding structures but also in those with social and educational purposes can be a way to ensure a future to the relationship between ethics and the economy. Human nature is inscribed in the rights and values of development. This is why this document is addressed to everyone, including legislators, economists and politicians, some of whom, like in the case of Albania, are not Christian faithful. Implementing specific proposals regarding unemployment, promoting the principle of subsidiarity bound to solidarity, creating an international leadership with effective powers are the Pope’s concrete proposals to the world. Following a period when the Soviet and Chinese Communist models were the sole models for development, Albania’s economy and society underwent neo-liberal – and often undisciplined – aggression. In view of Albania’s wish for EU integration, which model must the Country follow? What can be Christians’ contribution to this regard? These questions remain open, but by reflecting on this document Albania’s Christian Catholics will certainly provide concrete answers, thanks to their commitment in the political and social life of the Country.

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