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Auza: Religion's role in development is to keep human dignity at center


  • Paratroopers of NATO armies take part in an exercise in Bezmer, Bulgaria, July 18 with the aim of “supporting security and stability" in the region. A new U.N. plan of action says religious leaders, along with governments, have a role in preventing incitement that leads to atrocities.(CNS photo/Stoyan Nenov, Reuters)
  • A girl walks past the rubble of war in Damascus, Syria, July 19. A new U.N. plan of action says religious leaders, along with governments, have a role in preventing incitement that leads to atrocities. (CNS photo/Bassam Khabieh, Reuters)
  • A government protester hides behind a shield in Caracas, Venezuela, June 7. A new U.N. plan of action says religious leaders, along with governments, have a role in preventing incitement that leads to atrocities. (CNS photo/Miguel Gutierrez, EPA)
  • Pope Francis and other faith leaders attend a ceremony in this 2014 file photo at the Vatican in observance of the U.N. Day for the Abolition of Slavery. A new U.N. plan of action says religious leaders, along with governments, have a role in preventing incitement that leads to atrocities. (CNS photo/GFN handout, Chris Warde-Jones)
  • Philippine Archbishop Bernardito Auza, the Vatican's permanent observer to the United Nations, is seen in New York City June 6. (CNS photo/Gregory A. Shemitz)

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UNITED NATIONS (CNS) -- The U.N. Sustainable Development Goals agreed upon in 2015 are "not ends in themselves," but a means to bring about "the true good" of the peoples of the world through care for one another and for "our common home," Archbishop Bernardito Auza said.

Essential to implementing these goals by 2030, as the agenda calls for, is to put the human person at the center, the Vatican's permanent observer to the United Nations said in a July 17 address.

Religious leaders must partner with one another, as well as the international community, to make sure the good of humanity is integral to these goals, Archbishop Auza said.

"We are living at a time in which many, especially in developed nations and here at the United Nations, like to bracket the most important questions, like those about who we are, where we come from, where we're going, how we should treat each other, and what is good, true, and genuinely beautiful," he said in an intervention delivered at a side event hosted by Religions for Peace during the a U.N. high level political forum.

"While different religious traditions may answer these questions in slightly different ways, these foundational questions -- and our answers to them -- help the world not to forget about them and how important they are," he said.

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