The keynote address of the first panel was delivered by Cardinal Parolin. The Vatican Secretary of State focused his remarks on the concept of “integral security,” and asked participants to consider what kind of security the world desires and how best to ensure it. He said the Covid-19 pandemic has exposed the interconnectedness of all humanity.
As Pope Francis called for at the Plain of Ur in Iraq, the world must pursue an integral security that goes beyond the arms race, the idolatry of money, and consumerism. “It means transforming instruments of hatred into instruments of peace,” said Cardinal Parolin. “It means rejecting the increasing proliferation of arms and accepting the promotion of the common good and the alleviation of poverty.”
Rather than spending money on arms, he said, nations should reallocate those expenditures to investing in “health, social equity, and poverty eradication,” which are better suited for promoting security.
Reiterating the Pope’s appeal for a global ceasefire, Cardinal Parolin said the right to self-defense should be considered as an element of “collective-defense” and “integral security.”
“This means also anchoring security to solidarity, justice, integral human development, the respect for fundamental human rights, and the care for creation,” he noted.
The Cardinal Secretary of State then recalled the Pope’s oft-repeated saying that “we never emerge from a crisis the same as before.” And he urged nations to pursue the path of disarmament by turning competition into cooperation and respecting the priority of personal dignity and promoting human life.
The webinar’s first panel also included an address from Professor Dan Plesch, with the SOAS University of London. He pointed out that redirecting just half of the US$2 trillion the world spends on military expenditure would allow governments to reduce taxes, fund global healthcare, and help reduce carbon emissions. It would also, he noted, get rid of “so many causes of war.”