Poverty Isn't Inevitable, Says Vatican Official

Bishop Crepaldi Addresses International Labor Conference

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GENEVA, JUNE 16, 2003 (Zenit.org).- The progress of the poor is synonymous with the advancement of humanity, a Vatican official told the 91st International Labor Conference.

«Poverty is no longer a matter of fate,» said Bishop Giampaolo Crepaldi, secretary of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace. To free man from it «is an ethical imperative that imposes itself on humanity’s conscience.»

The two-week conference, held annually by the International Labor Organization, is meeting here until Thursday. Bishop Crepaldi is heading the Vatican delegation. This year’s theme for the conference is «To Be Free from Poverty Through Work.»

Quoting John Paul II’s encyclical «Centesimus Annus,» the bishop emphasized the need to «abandon the mentality that considers the poor — people and nations — as a burden.»

«The poor ask that advantage be taken of their ability to work, to create a more just and prosperous world for all,» Bishop Crepaldi added.

«Men’s progress is a great opportunity for the moral, cultural and also economic growth of the whole of humanity,» he stressed.

Reminding his audience of the international community’s 2015 goal of reducing by half the number of people living in abject poverty, the bishop insisted on the need to «respect the promises made to the poor.»

Otherwise, there will be a «dramatic increase in their sufferings due to loss of confidence, with the final result of the fall of all hope,» he said.

The bishop also called the attention of those responsible for labor policies, both at the national and international level, to the problem of youth unemployment.

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