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Peter Kodwo Appiah Turkson

Cardinal, Président du Dicastère pour le service du développement humain intégral, Saint-Siège

 This wonderful gathering of peoples of different races and of different faiths here in Barcelona these past few days is really a celebration of the fraternity (brotherhood) of the human family; and it is a providential reminder of the oneness of the human family in origin, in character and in its restless quest for the divine deep in its life and in its world, despite the diversity of forms in which this quest finds expressions. Variously distinguished by race, culture, faith, geographical spread on the face of the earth, technological advances and developments, the unity of the human family is often not perceived. It is hidden and tends to miss out in the regular conduct and life of people. These and the very many other distinguishing features, which should enrich our vision of the display of the unity of our human family in its diversity of forms and expression, rather becloud our vision of the brotherhood of the human family and its essential unity; and this underlines the great worth and significance of celebrations, such as this, to recall and to remind us of our unity, our brotherhood and our belongingness together. It is this truth about the human family which we celebrate here these few days. 

The truth of our existence, as Pope Benedict XVI reminds us, is both a truth of reason and a truth of faith. Thus, the unity and the brotherhood of our human family have been affirmed by anthropologists, sociologists and very many other students of the social sciences. It is a truth of reason, rooted in our common origin and character. But it is also a truth of faith, rooted in our common sonship (confiliation) in and through Jesus, with a vocation to a life of communion with God. 

St. Paul, reaching back to the account of the creation of man in Genesis, did affirm the unity of the human family in his preaching at the Areopagus: From one ancestor, God made all nations to inhabit the whole earth. And when this basic attribute and character of the human family is destroyed by the sinful conduct of man, Paul and the Writings of the New Testament will ascribe its restoration to the Messiah, the Son of God, as an attribute of the salvation of humanity. 

The choice and the mission, therefore, of the apostles of Jesus Christ to preach the Gospel to bring humanity to salvation includes the re-constitution of the unity of the human family. Presented under various symbolisms, as the  sheep outside which must be led into the sheepfold, so that there is only one sheepfold, and as those who will come to believe in Jesus through the preaching of the Apostles, so that humanity is one in Jesus and in his Father, salvation, the ministry of Jesus and mission of Jesus on earth means the re-constitution of the unity of the family of man.