Holy See Aiming to Keep Africa in the World's Sights

Pontifical Council Plans Initiatives to Sensitize the Public

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ROME, NOV. 27, 2003 (Zenit.org).- The Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace plans to undertake initiatives to sensitize the public about the tragic situation of Africa.

Cardinal Renato Martino, president of the council, made the announcement today when addressing a meeting at the International Center of the ecclesial movement Communion and Liberation.

A press statement explained that the cardinal’s dicastery will «promote, over the next months, opportune initiatives of sensitization to go out in sympathy to our African brothers so that, in the full recognition of their right to development, they become protagonists of their own cultural, social and economic future.»

«Like the man in the Gospel, who when he went down from Jerusalem to Jericho fell into the hands of robbers who stripped him naked and hit him, leaving him half dead on the road, Africans also — sick, wounded, excluded, abandoned — have need of the good Samaritan,» Cardinal Martino explained.

Given «the dramatic and well-known civil, educational, health and humanitarian emergencies of the continent,» the cardinal recalled the commitments «repeatedly assumed by the international community.»

In particular, he cited «the need to reduce and in certain cases cancel the external debt of poor African countries and to re-establish equity in international trade, demolishing protectionist barriers.»

Cardinal Martino also stressed the duty to support initiatives that favor «educational and health programs and the participation of local populations in their own development.»

He concluded: «It is an imperative of moral and political solidarity for the whole international community to give a future of hope to Africa, which means to give a future of hope and civilization to the whole world.»

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