Sixty people from all geographical backgrounds were invited by the Dicastery for Integral Human Development to attend the event.
Following the introductory speeches (Bishop Marcelo Sorrondo, head of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences and Cardinal Peter Turkson, in charge of the Dicastery) each person present was invited to speak on the topic, starting from his/her own experience. You can imagine the variety of expressions from such a diverse assembly: most were Italians as it was easier for them to come to the debate, but others from Europe, Africa, Latin America and Asia brought many perspectives which amplified the complexity of the question! Political, legal, substantive issues on the very definition of corruption, relations with taxation, exploitation of persons, migration, complicity – including ourselves – or the harmful effects on the most vulnerable people …
In the afternoon, the assembly had the task of preparing the concrete implementation
Frequently raised questions:
- The definition – complex – of corruption and education issues to try to change attitudes, focusing on young people.
- What commitment of the Church, and with whom? Common good vs. individualism
- Who is corrupt? “It’s not me, it’s the other” (Testimony of a “survivor”)
Many avenues have been opened:
- Exchange of “best practices”
- Choose, because you cannot do everything
- Help justice do its job
- Cooperate with ALL, as this problem affects all of humanity
- Open eyes through art, including cinema, images … that captivate young people
- Make the Catholic Schools a concrete anti-corruption field by encouraging pupils’ expression on any form of abuse, so that they can experience concretely that corruption can be tackled, otherwise they may not realize exactly what is being discussed.
- The journey must start from the heart.
Conclusions by Bishop Thomasi:
- Prepare a definition of corruption (practical and useful)
- Indicate the consequences of corruption (on development, poverty, trust between people …)
- Importance of Prevention.
- The need for a new legal framework, to recall the tools to combat corruption at international level. Implement existing global tools at the level of States.
- The place of change is the heart. Changing mentalities through education, participation of the Church to counter corruption. Achieve the integral development of human dignity. There are 55 million young people in Catholic schools and universities in the world who are taught respect … The Church, an educational agent, must work with all those in society who want to fight and eliminate corruption. The MDGs are a universal tool for the ethical efforts of all.
A draft document will be sent to all. Suggestions will be welcome.
Edited by Anne Kelleher, RENATE Communications.