Pour money in education, not in guns, wars
VATICAN CITY – Governments must spend more money on education and drastically cut military spending for there to be real progress and world peace, Pope Francis said in his annual message for the Day World Peace Day on January 1.
“It is therefore high time for governments to develop economic policies aimed at reversing the proportion of public funds devoted to education and armaments,” the Pope said.
“The pursuit of a genuine process of international disarmament can only prove beneficial for the development of peoples and nations, by freeing up financial resources better used for health care, schools, infrastructure, maintenance of earth, etc. “, did he declare.
The pope’s message was released on December 21 at a Vatican press conference chaired by Cardinal Peter Turkson, Prefect of the Dicastery for the Promotion of Integral Human Development.
The Pope’s message, which the Vatican sends to heads of state around the world, called on everyone to “work together to build a more peaceful world, starting from the hearts of individuals and relationships within the family, then within society and with the environment, and even relations between peoples and nations.
Pope Francis has proposed âthree waysâ to build lasting peace: dialogue between generations and the concrete projects they can share; education aimed at building freedom, responsibility and development; and dignified work that protects human rights and the environment.
“The great social challenges and peace processes necessarily call for dialogue between the custodians of memory – the elderly – and those who advance history – the young,” said Pope Francis.
“The global crisis we are experiencing clearly shows that meeting and dialogue between the generations must be the engine of a healthy policy”, which “does not content itself with managing the present” with piecemeal solutions or solutions fast “, but considers itself an exceptional form of love for the other, in the search for shared and lasting projects for the future”, he declared.
Young people, he added, should also be respected and encouraged for their commitment to work for a more just and sustainable world.
Education helps provide the skills and framework for intergenerational dialogue, cooperation and sharing of expertise and experiences to promote integral human development, he said. However, âthere has been a significant reduction worldwide in funding for education and training; these were seen more as expenses than as investments â.
At the same time, he said, military spending “has exceeded the levels of the end of the Cold War and it looks certain that it will increase dramatically.”
He called on governments to cut military spending, increase investment in education and do more to “promote a culture of caring, which, in the face of social divisions and insensitive institutions, could become a common language. to break down barriers and build bridges. “
Cardinal Turkson told reporters that trying to bolster security by stockpiling weapons only creates more mistrust, which, in turn, fuels a desire for more weapons.
Working on confidence building will help reduce arms spending, he said, and the more the world develops a heightened sense of human brotherhood and “closeness”, the more weapons will become unnecessary.
The Pope said in his message that having a decent job is also part of building and maintaining peace, as it enables people to contribute to “a more livable and beautiful world”.
But the COVID-19 pandemic has harmed many people in an already challenging labor market and has had a devastating impact on the “informal economy, which often involves migrant workers,” a- he declared.
Many migrant workers and their families âlive in very precarious conditions, plagued by various forms of slavery and without a social protection system to protect them,â the Pope said. “Currently, only a third of the world’s working-age population benefits from a social protection system, or only in a limited way.”
The only response to this and other challenges “is an expansion of decent employment opportunities” and decent working conditions for jobs that support the common good and preserve creation, the Pope said.
“The freedom of entrepreneurial initiatives must be guaranteed and supported,” he said. “At the same time, efforts must be made to encourage a renewed sense of social responsibility, so that profit is not the only guiding criterion.”
Businesses must respect the fundamental human rights of workers, which requires “awareness-raising not only on the part of institutions, but also of consumers, civil society and entrepreneurial entities,” he said.
Politics have an active role to play here “in promoting a fair balance between economic freedom and social justice,” he said, adding that Catholic workers and entrepreneurs can find guidance with the social doctrine of the ‘church.
Salesian Sister Alessandra Smerilli, Acting Secretary of the Dicastery for Human Development, said at the press conference: âThere is no justice without just … decent and respectful jobs for all.
Sister Smerilli, who is also part of the Vatican COVID-19 Commission, said the dicastery and commission are launching a âWork for Allâ project that will garner input from people who âseek creative solutions to work problemsâ to that the right conditions can be created “for something new to happen”.
âWork can no longer be disconnected from care,â she said.
“If we leave everything to the market, the ‘rejected’ will increase and they will be excluded from (having) income and care; we have to put care back at the center of the social contract,” she said.