Cardinal Secretary of State Angelo Sodano sent a message, in the Holy Father’s name, to participants in the 36th General Assembly of the Organization of American States (OAS), which closed on June 6 in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.

The principle theme of the assembly, the message says, “is the dignity of human beings and the absolute value of human life from conception to natural end.” On this subject, the cardinal recalls how the American continent “has a long tradition of respecting life, now threatened by the pressure of opinions contrary to its nature.”

“In the field of protecting human dignity,” he writes, “another priority is to favor the conditions that reduce violence in its various forms: terrorism, attacks against innocent civilians, kidnappings, threats and drug trafficking.”

Cardinal Sodano identifies another essential theme associated with that of human dignity: “The promotion of the family based on marriage. Promoting the family is an essential task for the development of society throughout the continent. The family is a place of education, knowledge, and of the basic formation of the future protagonists of social life. For this reason, the principal entity that States must protect and promote is the family.”

“The role played by parents is fundamental,” the message continues, “and it cannot be replaced by the State or by any other institution, which are a necessary and very beneficial complement but do not substitute the primordial role of parents, who must also choose the kind of education they want for their children.”

After highlighting that the family “cannot adequately carry out its mission if it does not have the minimum material requirements to do so, the cardinal secretary of State deplored “the persistence, at times aggravated persistence, of poverty, and the growing gap between the richest and the poorest.”

“It is not only a matter of fairer distribution of what is available, but also of improving production conditions and of seeking new ways to develop in peace and harmony for all. In this context. the Church’s social doctrine offers a framework for laying the foundations of a society that has at its center man, not money or ideology.”

Cardinal Sodano concludes his message by making a call “to continue down the path of constant dialogue between States,” it being one of the OAS’s functions “to guarantee such dialogue. The vast majority of inhabitants of the OAS countries are Christians, and Christian roots can make a decisive contribution to the social and political life of American States.”

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