Priorities for Guatemala: Combat Poverty and Corruption, Help Indigenous

Pope Receives New Ambassador to Holy See

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CASTEL GANDOLFO, SEPT. 2, 2004 (Zenit.org).- The struggle against poverty and corruption were the priorities John Paul II proposed to Guatemala when receiving the country’s new ambassador to the Holy See.

The Holy Father encouraged the delegation, led by President Oscar Berger Perdomo, in its efforts “to combat corruption in all its forms” and “to reduce the inequality between those who have everything and those who lack what is necessary.”

“Transparency and honesty in public administration foster an atmosphere of credibility and confidence of citizens in their authorities and lay the foundations for a proper and just development,” he pointed out in his address on Thursday to Ambassador Juan Gavarrete Soberón.

“In this task, the public authorities will find in the Church, from the simplicity of its resources but with the force of its firm convictions, the appropriate collaboration for the search for solutions, recognizing the efforts to make the awareness and responsibility of citizens grow and fostering the participation of all,” the Pope continued.

Another problem mentioned by the Holy Father is the “poverty, which affects the life of many of your fellow citizens.”

“The effort to attend to the needs of the most disinherited must be considered a fundamental priority,” he stressed.

“I am pleased that your government regards it as an objective to which efforts and resources must be dedicated,” he said.

“Among those who suffer that social scourge are the indigenous populations. Although it is true that among them there are those who have succeeded in accessing a better life, with greater educational opportunities and a greater presence in the national scene, others are plunged in poverty and marginalization.”

“The accelerated transformations of the international economy and the fall in the price of agricultural products have put many of them in a difficult situation,” the Pope explained.

“The Church, mother and faithful teacher to her mission, is close to so many peasant families who today live the consequences of this crisis,” he added.

“This is another of the areas where collaboration between different public institutions and the ecclesial community finds fertile ground to attend and promote the poor,” the Pope concluded.

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ZENIT Staff

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