Bishop Zubik's Letter on the G-20 Summit
My dear Sisters and Brothers of the Church of Pittsburgh:
In just a few weeks, the City of Pittsburgh will host the international G 20 Summit. The Summit is a gathering of representatives from the world’s 19 largest national economies and the European Union. The focus of the summit has major world leaders coming together in our city to discuss, and hopefully work toward, a resolution of a number of issues related to the global financial recession. It is a heady agenda that hopes to define a post-recession world economy.
For us especially as Catholics, there are critical moral issues involved in economic policy that have enormous impact: the use of natural resources; human freedom; the dignity of human work; wealth versus poverty; issues of war and peace; and most particularly the inestimable value of human life.
As the G 20 Summit gathers in the City of Pittsburgh, it is certainly a moment of welcome and pride for all Southwestern Pennsylvania. The world is coming to us. We as citizens will greet the participants in the G 20 Summit with courtesy and an eagerness to be of service, both hallmarks of Southwestern Pennsylvania.
But we must also support the efforts of the G 20 Summit in prayer. The days leading up to the G 20 Summit should be days of prayer in every one of our parishes. Our hopes are that the Summit leaders will be guided by a true sense of service, a true dedication to peace, and a true desire to create a world where poverty can diminish and wealth is shared more generously. Toward that end, I encourage you to join me in setting aside some time for fasting and prayer in preparation for the Summit. Fasting is an important spiritual practice, a heartfelt, prayerful act, that helps you and I identify with those whose needs are great, while at the same time serves as reparation for the sins of economic injustice.
As I encourage every parish to set aside some special time of prayer for the success of the Summit, I highly recommend a Holy Hour with Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament. Our growing re-appreciation of this sacred opportunity to be with the Lord can, in fact, have a direct impact on what will be done by the world leaders at our Convention Center.
On the diocesan scene, the Catholic Men’s Fellowship, together with myself, are hosting a continuous 40 Hours of Eucharistic Adoration in O’Connor Hall at Saint Paul Seminary. On Thursday, September 24, we will begin the 40 Hours of prayer with Mass at 6:30 a.m. It is my privilege to celebrate this Mass. Following the Mass, there will be a continuous 40-hour opportunity for Eucharistic Adoration in the Auditorium of O’Connor Hall. We will close the 40 Hours with Night Prayer and Solemn Benediction on Friday, September 25 at 10:00 p.m., also in O’Connor Hall. I invite you to be a part of this beautiful 40 Hours devotion.
Also on Monday, September 21, people of good will from many faith traditions—Catholic and non-Catholic, Christian and non-Christian—are invited to come to an Evening Prayer Service in our Saint Paul Cathedral. This service is being planned by ecumenical leaders of the Christian faith as well as leaders in the Jewish and Muslim communities. You are most welcome to attend.
As we pray that the work of the G 20 Summit reflects our thirst for worldwide justice, peace, religious freedom, uppermost is our hope for a world which grows to appreciate the dignity and sacredness of every human life.
At the same time, passion for justice cannot become mired in a culture of protest and violence. Most especially, our parishes must be centers of prayer, worship and welcome during this Summit.
As a diocese, in our parishes and Catholic institutions, the G 20 Summit provides the perfect time to remind ourselves of the principles of Catholic social teaching.
- It is a time to remind ourselves that the Catholic Church proclaims that human life is sacred and that the dignity of the human person is the foundation of a moral vision for society.
- It is a time to remind ourselves that marriage and the family are the central social institutions that must be supported and strengthened, not undermined.
- It is a time to remind ourselves that we not only have duties and responsibilities to our families, but also to our society, to our whole world, and to generations who come after us.
- It is a time to remind ourselves that a basic moral test of a society is how we treat the most vulnerable.
- It is a time to remind ourselves that the economy must serve people, not the other way around. The right to productive work, to decent and fair wages, to organize and join unions, to private property and to economic initiative are hallmarks of Catholic social teaching.
- It is a time to remind ourselves that we are sisters and brothers of the human race, and as such, love of neighbor has global dimensions.
- It is a time to remind ourselves that how we treat the environment is a measure of our stewardship and a sign of our respect for the Creator.
- It is a time to remind ourselves that all people have a right to participate in the economic, political, and cultural life of society.
- It is a time to remind ourselves of the natural marriage between peace and justice.
In his encyclical Caritas in Veritate (Charity in Truth), Pope Benedict XVI reminds us that while “the poor of the world continue knocking on the doors of the rich, the world of affluence runs the risk of no longer hearing those knocks on account of a conscience that can no longer distinguish what is human.”
During this time of the G–20 Summit, may you and I dedicate ourselves to building not only a better world but especially the Kingdom of God.
Grateful for our belief that “Nothing is impossible with God,” I am
Your brother in Christ,
Most Reverend David A. Zubik
Bishop of Pittsburgh