In an address to 11 new ambassadors to the Holy See, Benedict XVI today said that the interdependence of the human family, brought about by modern technology, is not a threat, but an opportunity.
"In our time the unity of the human family is an undeniable fact," he remarked. "Thanks to the communications media that bring all regions of the planet together, transport which facilitates human contacts, commercial ties which make economies interdependent, and problems of global importance such as environmental protection and mass migration, human beings have become more aware of their shared destiny. ... Mankind must see this interdependency not as a threat but as an opportunity. We are all responsible for one another, therefore it is important to maintain a positive vision of solidarity because it is the driving force of integral human development."
Benedict XVI specifically highlighted "intergenerational solidarity," which has its roots in the family. Concern for education and for the destiny of future generations is "a significant contribution to the perception of the unity of the human race," he said.
"Shared responsibility" for the good of humankind is not opposed to cultural and religious diversity, the Holy Father went on. "The pluralism of cultures and religions does not contradict the joint search for truth, goodness and beauty. ... The Church, illuminated and upheld by the light of Revelation, encourages men and women to entrust themselves to a reason which, purified by faith ... becomes capable of seeing beyond partisan interests in order to discern the universal good necessary to all human beings: social and religious harmony and peace."
Benedict XVI said that solidarity fulfills its role of "social virtue" when it is founded on "structures of subsidiarity and on each individual's firm and unrelenting determination to work for the common good."
"Justice and solidarity," the Pope concluded, "cannot be separated from the concept of the integral development of the person. In this sense, highlighting the primacy of the spirit is not only the responsibility of religions, but also of states which must implement cultural policies that promote universal access to the things of the spirit, emphasize the importance of social relationships and never hinder human beings in their free search for spirituality."