24 April 2017 | Message

MESSAGE OF POPE FRANCIS: To the members of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences on the occasion of their Plenary Assembly

[…] Even if we live in a world where wealth abounds, a very large number of people are still victims of poverty and social exclusion. Inequalities – along with wars of domination and climate change – are the causes of the greatest forced migration in history, affecting more than 65 million human beings. Just think of the growing tragedy of the new forms of slavery such as forced labour, prostitution and organ trafficking, which are true crimes against humanity. It is alarming and symptomatic that today the human body can be bought and sold as if it were a simple currency of exchange. Almost a hundred years ago, Pius XI predicted the affirmation of these disparities and inequities as a consequence of a world economic dictatorship that he called “internationalism of finance” (Encyclical Quadragesimo anno, 15 May 1931, n. 109). And it was Paul VI who denounced, almost fifty years later, the “new and abusive form of economic domination on the social, cultural and even political level” (Apostolic Letter Octogesima adveniens, 14 May 1971, n. 44). […]


The fifteenth century was the century of the first humanism; at the beginning of the twenty-first century, we feel an increasingly stronger need for a new humanism. At that time, the driving force for change was the transition from feudalism to modern society; today, this transition from one era to another is just as radical: from a modern society to a post-modern society. The endemic increase in social inequalities, the question of migration, conflicts of identity, new forms of slavery, environmental issues, the challenges of bio-politics and bio-rights: these are just some of the questions that point to the distress of our times. Faced with such challenges, the simple fine-tuning of old schools of thought or the use of refined techniques of collective decision-making are not enough; we must try new paths inspired by the message of Jesus Christ. […]