Numerous religious orders, relief organizations, associations, intellectuals, and bishops in Germany, and supporters from other countries, are signatories of this appeal which was presented to the public in Bonn on Tuesday.
We experience that our world stands in ever crasser contradiction to the message of the Gospel.
“I came so that they might have life and have it more abundantly.” (John 10:10)
We witness the destruction of our planet, we see the suffering of billons of starving people, the hopelessness of youth with no future possibilities.
As Christians and as churches we cannot keep silent about this. Our credibility is on the line. The time is ripe for fundamental rethinking.
We live in a time in which the survival of humanity on our planet is threatened. The signs of climate change are visible everywhere, and this destroys the basis of existence for millions of people.
Common resources such as water and energy, education and health care, indeed, nature itself, are subordinated to the law of profit through privatization.
All-powerful financial institutions caused the worldwide financial crisis and took society hostage. They have put pressure on politicians, burdened coming generations with their speculation losses, and rejected social responsibility.
The growing social chasm between the few who pile up ridiculous riches and the numberless who are denied the minimum for existence leads inevitably to violent conflict between citizens and between peoples.
An economic system which makes a god of money gradually destroys, like a cancerous growth, the dignity and rights of the person. It destroys the sense for solidarity in society and, ultimately, spiritual openness for anything divine.
This dance around the golden calf becomes a dance of death for humanity and nature.
Christians and churches as a whole must vehemently challenge this fatal reversal of values and oppose it with a biblical, Christian vision of a different ordering of the world and of values:
a world in which people live in respect and responsibility for nature and their fellow creatures, use limited resources frugally and sustainably, and preserve the beauty of the earth for coming generations;
a world in which governments defend democratic rights, personal freedom, and individual responsibility, and also promote the common good and protect common resources;
a world in which money is a means of mutual exchange, ownership entails social responsibility, and resources, power, and knowledge serve the good of society;
a world in which the life and future of every person is ensured in solidarity, life in common is marked by responsibility, mutual regard and empathy, and wisdom and engagement for others rather than possession are esteemed as true values;
a world in which the economy serves people, and growth means more life, more freedom and trust, more hope and love.
This hope for an abundant life for all compels us to fight against fatalism and resignation and to trust in the power of faith which changes the world.
We will not tire in naming openly and clearly injustices to people, society, and creation, and to contradict energetically all attempts to justify “structures of sin” (John Paul II) or to claim that there are no alternatives.
There are no simple answers for pressing questions. Only a profound and long-term process of communal reflection and courageous, creative action can lead to a viable new ordering of things.
We profess that the situation in our world obligates us today to seek for solutions to global justice;
we commit ourselves to promote abundant life for all in our prayer, thought, and action;
we consider it indispensable to initiate in the Catholic Church in Germany at all levels and to bring into society a broad-based process of communal reflection on manners of acting responsibly.