VATICAN CITY (CNS) — A “fallacious” economic model that exploits the earth’s resources while disregarding the rights and cultures of indigenous people has left the planet in a precarious condition and requires a change of heart that places the common good before financial gain, Pope Francis said.
Addressing participants of a two-day conference at the Vatican May 3, the pope said that like all economic activities, mining “should be at the service of the entire human community,” especially indigenous people who are often pressured “to abandon their homelands to make room for mining projects which are undertaken without regard for the degradation of nature and culture.”
“They are not merely one minority among others, but should be the principal dialogue partners, especially when large projects affecting their land are proposed,” he said. “I urge everyone to respect the fundamental human rights and voice of the persons in these beautiful yet fragile communities.”
The May 2-3 conference, titled “Mining for the Common Good,” was sponsored by the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development and included representatives of the mining industry in Canada, Latin America, Africa and Asia.
Members of the Anglican and Methodist churches, the International Union of Superiors General, and Catholic social justice and development organizations also attended the event.