To change the relationship between the economy and creation

2012-06-19 L’Osservatore Romano

“Our effort over the last two decades... has been to promote worldwide dialogue and cooperation among representatives of various disciplines and faiths, contributing to global awareness of – but also discerning changes in – values and habits related to the ethical and scientific issues raised by the human abuse of the natural creation”: Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople addressed these words to all those who accepted the invitation to take part in the Summit on “Global Responsibility and Environmental Sustainability”, being held at the School of Theology of Halki from 18 to 20 June.

The conference was desired by the Ecumenical Patriarch to reaffirm the importance of Christian commitment in encouraging reflection with a view to a change in the relationship between economics and creation. It is a subject which Bartholomew has pointed out as central in ecumenical witnessing across the world for action in the preservation of creation, taking up and developing the tradition of the spirituality of creation which already exists in the Orthodox world. With his action Patriarch Bartholomew has contributed to developing the ecumenical dialogue on this theme, as demonstrated by the projects that have resulted from collaboration among Churches and ecumenical communities throughout the world and, sometimes, with the participation of other religions.

The Halki Summit follows a series of eight international environmental symposia, organized by the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople in recent years. This conference is taking place on the eve of the Conference on Sustainable Development in Rio de Janeiro, sponsored by the group of the 20 richest countries. With it they wish to make a contribution in the epoch in which Christians are committed to encouraging the definition of a new relationship between economics and creation, recalling the importance of the recovery of human values.

Taking part in the Summit are experts from various places, precisely in order to assure a global approach to the theme; special attention is being paid to the ecumenical and interreligious contribution in the reflection whose central idea is that “no effort can be successful without a fundamental change in the values that have guided financial development until now”, as one reads in the presentation of the summit, in which the accent is placed on the role that ethics, spirituality and religion are required to play in this period of history.