Sunday, October 27, 2013

Wanted: a theology of mining (part 4)

Pope Francecso IIn my last post (#3) on "theology of mining", a while back now, I mentioned the theological and ethical questions that mining raises, and I wrote: "I hope that better qualified people than I am will get into this discussion!"

Well, it seems like someone was listening.  The Vatican news website today reports Pope Francis' message for a  day of reflection on the mining industry, which was celebrated on 7 September and attended by representatives of the world's most important mining companies, including the Anglo American, China Minmetals Corporation, Rio Tinto and Zamin Resources, as well as experts in the sector from within the Catholic Church, Caritas and Oxfam America.

The statement says: "The participants in this meeting are aware that, so as not to repeat grave errors of the past, decisions today cannot be taken solely from geological perspectives or the possible economic benefits for investors and for the states in which the companies are based. A new and more profound decision-making process is indispensable and inescapable, one which takes into consideration the complexity of the problems involved, in a context of solidarity. Such a context requires, first of all, that workers be assured of all their economic and social rights, in full accordance with the norms and recommendations of the International Labor Organisation. Likewise it requires the assurance that extraction activities respect international standards for the protection of the environment. The great challenge of business leaders is to create a harmony of interests, involving investors, managers, workers, their families, the future of their children, the preservation of the environment on both a regional and international scale, and a contribution to world peace."

My earlier posts in this series: part 1, part 2, part 3

(H/T Fletcher Harper for the link to the Vatican statement.)

Image from Flickr user Jeffrey Bruno, licensed under Creative Commons

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