Pope Benedict has expressed his appreciation to heads of State and government who are due to participate in the G20 Summit which will take place in London, today and tomorrow, for the "noble objectives" they have set themselves. These objectives, he writes, arise from the conviction "that the way out of the current global crisis can only be reached together, avoiding solutions marked by any nationalistic selfishness or protectionism".
In his letter, addressed to British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, the Pope recalls that the aim of the gathering is "to co-ordinate, with urgency, measures necessary to stabilise financial markets and to enable companies and families to weather this period of deep recession, as well as to restore sustainable growth in the world economy and to reform and substantially strengthen systems of global governance, in order to ensure that such a crisis is not repeated in the future".
Pope Benedict mentions his recent visit to Africa, where he was able "to see at first hand the reality of severe poverty and marginalization, which the crisis risks aggravating dramatically".
He also notes the fact that "sub-Saharan Africa is represented (at the meeting) by just one State and some regional organisations". This, he writes, "must prompt a profound reflection among the summit participants, since those whose voice has least force in the political scene are precisely the ones who suffer most from the harmful effects of a crisis for which they do not bear responsibility".
After underlining how "a key element of the crisis is a deficit of ethics in economic structures", the Pope insists that "the same crisis teaches us that ethics is not 'external' to the economy but 'internal' and that the economy cannot function if it does not bear within it an ethical component".
He also emphasises the need for "a courageous and generous strengthening of international co-operation, capable of promoting a truly humane and integral development. Positive faith in the human person, and above all faith in the poorest men and women - of Africa and other regions of the world affected by extreme poverty - is what is needed if we are truly to come through the crisis once and for all, without turning our back on any region, and if we are definitively to prevent any recurrence of a situation similar to that in which we find ourselves today".
The Pope concludes his Letter by expressing the wish to add his voice "to those of the adherents of various religions and cultures who share the conviction that the elimination of extreme poverty by 2015, to which leaders at the UN Millennium Summit committed themselves, remains one of the most important tasks of our time".
Gordon Brown has replied, expressing agreement with the Pope's ideas and indicating the paths to follow in order to implement them.