An international gathering in the Vatican this week proposes “to shine the light on the antidotes to fight injustice, inequality and exclusion in a post-pandemic era.”
A report on Vatican News said religious leaders and figures in the fields of science, ecology, education, and economy are meeting for a three-day convention that aims to “define a path to build a better world” after the pandemic.
The meeting, which is being hosted by the Centesimus Annus Pontifical Foundation, aims to discover how people can go “out of so many global pandemics: poverty, injustice, inequality and wars.”
The gathering will take place on October 21 and 22 and will be attended by Nobel laureate Gérard Mourou; CERN director Fabiola Gianotti; Elisa Ferreira of the European Commission for Reform and Cohesion; and cognitive neuroscientist and literacy advocate Maryanne Wolf.
Vatican Secretary of State Archbishop Paul Gallagher and Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, will also be attending.
The conference coincides with the 30th anniversary of Pope John Paul II’s encyclical “Centesimus Annus” that came on the heels of the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of the Soviet Union.
In that encyclical, St. John Paul II noted that “man fulfills himself by using his intelligence and freedom.”
“In so doing he utilizes the things of this world as objects and instruments and makes them his own,” it added.
“It is not wrong to want to live better; what is wrong is a style of life which is presumed to be better when it is directed towards ‘having’ rather than ‘being,’” read the encyclical.
In the communiqué announcing the conference, organizers said Pope Francis’ encyclicals “Laudato sì,” “Fratelli tutti,” and “Caritas in Veritate” are tools to help “make the community in which we live more just.”
The world, however, has to be prepared to “address health, ecological and socio-economic emergencies with the full awareness of the need to anchor our actions in the values of solidarity, cooperation and the sense of responsibility,” it said.
“We must seize the opportunity of the post-pandemic rebuilding process to build back better with discernment, determination, and clarity of thought and action,” the communiqué read.