Sunday, July 03, 2005

Pope Benedict Urges G-8 Leaders to Reduce Debt, Fight Poverty

Speaking before delivering the Sunday Angelus prayer in St. Peter's Square, the pope said that he hoped the leaders of the G-8 nations meeting in Scotland would act in solidarity to reduce debt and enact concrete measures to eradicate poverty and promote authentic development in Africa.

The day before, His Holiness had sent a message via Secretary of State Angelo Cardinal Sodan to the participants of the "Make Poverty History" event in Edinburgh.

Greetings to all who are gathered for this event, united by their concern for the welfare of millions of our brothers and sisters afflicted by extreme poverty. As the Second Vatican Council teaches, "God intended the earth and all it contains for the use of everyone and of all peoples; so that the good things of creation should be available equally to all" (Gaudium et Spes, 69).

For this reason, people from the world's richest countries should be prepared to accept the burden of debt reduction for heavily indebted poor countries, and should urge their leaders to fulfill the pledges made to reduce world poverty, especially in Africa, by the year 2015.

His Holiness prays for the participants in the rally and for the world leaders soon to gather at Gleneagles, that they may all play their part in ensuring a more just distribution of the world's goods. In the ardent hope that the scourge of global poverty may one day be consigned to history, he cordially imparts his Apostolic Blessing.

See Zenit's account of Cardinal O'Brien's address to the "Make Poverty History" rally.

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