Ethics Must Underlie Fight Against Poverty in Mexico, Says Pope

Also Expresses Concern About Indians

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VATICAN CITY, FEB. 24, 2004 ( John Paul II voiced concerns about poverty and the situation of Indians in Mexico when he received the country’s new ambassador to the Holy See.

«The painful and vast problem of poverty, with its grave consequences in the areas of the family, education, health and housing, is an urgent challenge for political leaders and authorities in public life,» he said in his address to Javier Moctezuma Barragán, who presented his diplomatic credentials.

«Its eradication surely requires measures of a technical and political character, so designed that economic and productive activities take into account the common good and, very especially, the most depressed groups,» the Pope added.

«However, it must not be forgotten that all these measures will be insufficient if they are not animated by genuine ethical values,» he said.

John Paul II thus encouraged the government and those responsible for social life in Mexico «to foster solidarity among all, avoiding evils deriving from a system that puts profit above people and makes them victims of injustice.»

«A development model that does not address social imbalances with determination cannot prosper in the future,» the Holy Father affirmed.

The situation of Mexican Indians, «at times relegated to oblivion,» is another of the concerns he expressed during his visits to the country.

«It is necessary today to support the Indians in their legitimate aspirations, respecting and defending the authentic values of each ethnic group,» the Pope said, recalling the words he spoke at the shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in July 2002. «Mexico needs its Indians, and the Indians need Mexico.»

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